Foothill Extension Construction Authority files objection to court ruling

This involves a lawsuit brought against the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority alleging that the environmental studies for the Pasadena-to-Azusa light rail project didn’t properly study alternative locations for a rail maintenance yard.

The suit was brought by a Monrovia land owner who is objecting to attempts to acquire his land for the rail yard.

Here is the news release issued by the Construction Authority, the independent agency building the line that Metro will operate:

2012-01-04 Construction Authority Files Objection to CEQA Ruling

State bill could allow county voters to decide to extend Measure R past 2039

In 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved the Measure R sales tax increase of one-half cent to pay for new road and transit projects. The approval of Measure R — with 68 percent of the vote — jump-started Metro’s efforts to build a network of bus and rail projects that had long been talked about but lacked any kind of real funding.

Unlike Prop A and Prop C — similar half-cent sales tax hikes for transit — Measure R sunsets after 30 years, meaning the tax can’t be collected after July 1, 2039. On Tuesday, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) introduced AB 1446 (full text after the jump) that would extend the Measure R sales tax, although the number of years is yet to be determined.

The idea is to help accelerate the building of Measure R projects, create jobs and try to take advantage of lower construction costs. The extension of Measure R, as written in Assemblyman Feuer’s legislation, would allow Metro to borrow against future Measure R receipts.

It is important to emphasize that it is ultimately the decision of Metro’s Board of Directors whether to put such an extension to county voters. The Board has yet to discuss the issue.

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Bridge work continues for Gold Line Foothill Extension

Work is proceeding on the “Iconic Bridge” that will carry the Gold Line tracks over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway in Arcadia.

The latest, shown above: crews are installing the first of 18 “small diameter cast-in-drill-hole piles” that will be the foundation for the abutment on the freeway’s south side.

The Foothill Extension will run for 11.5 miles from the Gold Line’s current terminus in Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. The project is funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

Expo Phase 2 design moves forward as preliminary construction gets underway

A rendering of the planned Bundy Drive station in West Los Angeles.

The Expo Construction Authority hosted a community meeting last night in Santa Monica to update Westsiders on the progress of Phase 2’s design and the preliminary construction schedule. The Measure R project will connect Expo Phase 1’s terminus in Culver City to downtown Santa Monica when completed, providing a reliable transit alternative to the Westside’s notorious gridlock.

Because Phase 2 is being done as a “design-build” project, Expo staff is finalizing the design details even as early phases of construction get under way. More than a hundred members of the public turned out to view a presentation and pepper Expo staff and contractors with questions.

Topics included:

  • Ways to improve bicycle and pedestrian connections to stations.
  • The precise alignment of the tracks.
  • The design and amenities at each station.
  • Parking for bicycles and cars.
  • And, how the bicycle path will negotiate tricky intersections.

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The art of transit: Making maps with words

Designer Scott Glew uses the text of station names to outline transit routes for his posters.

I first stumbled across teacher/designer Scott Glew’s sleek transit posters on his website FadeOutDesign.com this summer. The idea is simple but compelling: Use the text of station names to spell out city transit lines.

I admired Glew’s series of maps for Chicago, New York, the S.F. Bay Area and other cities known for their transit systems. So in my never-ending quest to prove to the world that Los Angeles is genuine transit city in its own right, I sent Scott an email to ask if I could hope to see one for L.A. County Metro in the near future. He responded that L.A. was on his short list for new designs and that he would let me know when it would be available.

Scott followed up with me this weekend and I’m happy to report that the 17″ x 22″ Los Angeles posters are now for sale on his website. And at $25 a piece, they make a great holiday present — *cough cough* — for transit aficionados.

I asked Scott to elaborate a bit for The Source on his inspiration and interest in this project and he gladly obliged:

My name is Scott Glew and I teach middle school social studies in the Minneapolis area. For some reason, I’ve always been interested in maps and transportation (I suppose you understand) and I started playing around with this idea in the spring of 2010. That summer, I shared a version of the Chicago and D.C. maps (not very different than the current ones…more or less a font change) with some friends and family and they encouraged me to try and sell them online. I guess what I am trying to convey with the maps is my passion for the subject. I really enjoy sharing that passion with other people who are interested and it has been amazing to read the countless emails I have received from people around the world who like the maps. At this time I don’t have any other transit related projects, but I do plan on continuing this one with new cities as time allows.

Congrats to Scott on the great work. In the mean time, hopefully Metro can keep bringing Measure R transit projects on line in short order and keep Scott busy updating this one.

Above: the Blue, Green, Red, Purple, Gold, Orange and Silver Lines. Image by fadeoutdesign.com.

Reminder: Expo Phase 2 community design meetings next Monday and Tuesday

Construction of Expo Phase 2 is moving along at a good clip: Construction crews are preparing the rights-of-way and the California Public Utilities Commission just approved all the line’s 27 street crossings. But there are still some design details to go over and that’s where you come in. I’ll be at the Santa Monica meeting, so if you see a guy with black glasses and a notepad, don’t be a stranger.

Here are the details from the authority:

Join us for a design update on Expo Phase 2!

The Exposition Construction Authority invites you to a design update community meeting for Phase 2 of the Expo Line project. Stakeholders will receive information on design progress and will have the opportunity to view progress renderings.

The format will include a short presentation followed by an Open House session to facilitate dialogue and community input. The information presented at these meetings will be identical, so interested individuals, organizations and public agencies are welcome to attend on either of the following days:

Monday, November 14, 2011
6:30 p.m.
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services – Gymnasium
3200 Motor Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Parking available on campus

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
6:30 p.m.
Santa Monica Civic Auditorium – East Wing Meeting Room
1855 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Special Event free parking

Planned Agenda for Community Meetings
6:30 – 7:00 pm: Formal Presentation
7:00 – 8:00 pm: Open House Session

ADA Language Accommodation: If you require an interpreter, including sign language services, or other accommodations at these community meetings, please contact Expo at least five business days prior to the meeting date at 213-243-5534.

For more information about the Expo Line project, visit www.BuildExpo.org or call 213.922.EXPO (3976).

Find us on www.Facebook.com/ExpoLine and follow us on @ExpoLine

Van Nuys Boulevard Rapidway community presentation now available

The Van Nuys Rapidway corridor travels over 10 miles between Ventura Blvd. and the 210 Freeway. Here is a closeup of how it will connect to existing and planned Metro transit lines. The full corridor is after the jump.

Metro planners and the city of Los Angeles hosted three community meetings last week to kick off a study that will identify options for improving transit service along the Van Nuys Boulevard corridor in the San Fernando Valley. For those who didn’t have a chance to attend, the presentation from those evenings is now available here [PDF].

The project is still very much in its early stages — the so-called “pre-scoping process” — in which the community and Metro planners determine what kind of project meets the needs of the community and the regional transportation system, given budgetary and other constraints. In other words: If you’re interested in getting involved in shaping this project, there’s still plenty of time to weigh in.

The Van Nuys corridor is one of four north-south corridors — Reseda, Sepulveda and Lankershim/San Fernando Boulevards are the others — identified to receive improved transit service. Thanks to Measure R, the county-wide half-cent sales tax, $68.5 million of local funding is already allocated for this project; Metro will likely pursue state and federal funding as well.

You only have to ride a Van Nuys bus at rush hour to appreciate the compelling need for transit improvements: the corridor is second only to the Metro Orange Line for boardings in the San Fernando Valley. To highlight a few more motivations for this project, here are four bullet points from the “Purpose and Need” section of the presentation:

  • Improve mobility in the eastern San Fernando Valley by introducing an improved north-south transit connection with existing east-west service.
  • Encourage [drivers to shift] to transit in the congested Van Nuys Boulevard Corridor, thereby reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Improve transit access to jobs and discretionary trips within the corridor, thereby promoting economic growth.
  • Provide additional transit options in a largely transit dependent corridor where bus overcrowding is a frequent occurrence.

Metro staff will ultimately recommend one of five alternatives to the Metro Board of Directors: bus rapid transit, light rail, streetcar, transportation system management or a no-build alternative (pages 9-13 of the presentation address some of the pros and cons of each). Here’s a quickly summary of some of the distinguishing characteristics:
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