L.A. becomes more pedestrian friendly with new crosswalk upgrades

DTLA Bike Patrol officers demonstrate how to properly cross a crosswalk with a bike. Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro

DTLA Bike Patrol officers demonstrate how to properly cross a crosswalk with a bike. Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro

53 intersections throughout L.A. will be upgraded with continental crosswalks (a.k.a. zebra crossings, see above pic) by March of 2013, which is fantastic news for the thousands that live and work in L.A. Continental crosswalks provide higher visibility to advise motorists that pedestrians may be present, making for a safer walking environment. There’s also a set-back limit line to help reduce vehicular encroachment into the crosswalk area.

Cross with care! Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro

Cross with care! Photo by Jose Ubaldo/Metro

Mayor Villaraigosa joined Los Angeles Walks and local business owners this morning to announce the new pedestrian safety intiative at the corner of 5th St. and Spring St., the first intersection to be upgraded. The conversion of the 53 crosswalks is funded through Measure R monies set aside for pedestrian improvements by the mayor and City Council.

Eventually, LADOT would like to make continental crosswalks the new standard for all development and transit projects.

Metro Board Members Antonio Villaraigosa and Pam O’Connor announce start of utility relocation work on Regional Connector


Photo by Luiz Inzunza/Metro

This morning, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Member Antonio Villaraigosa, Santa Monica Mayor and Metro Board Member Pam O’Connor, City Coucil Member Jose Huizar and Metro CEO Art Leahy joined other Metro officials and downtown business leaders to announce the start of utility relocation work to prepare for construction of the Regional Connector.

Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro

Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro

The full press release from Metro:

In the latest milestone toward the delivery of Measure R transit projects to county residents, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today officially began advance utility relocation work for the Regional Connector, a major light rail project in Downtown Los Angeles. 

Utility crews have begun relocating existing underground telecommunication lines on Spring Street near the planned 2nd/Broadway rail station.  Work will begin Friday, December 14, and will continue through April 2013. Work will take place on 2nd Street, between Hill and Main Street.  Additional work will take place on Broadway between 1st and 3rd Streets; Spring Street between 1st and 3rd Streets; and Hill Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets.

The $1.367 billion Regional Connector project, partially funded with $160 million in Measure R sales tax money approved by voters in 2008, is considered one of the region’s most significant transit projects.  The nearly two-mile project will enhance Metro Rail service by providing one continuous trip between Azusa and Long Beach, and between the Eastside and Santa Monica. This project essentially creates two major regional light rail transit lines for Los Angeles County: A north/south line from Azusa to Long Beach, and an east/west line from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.   In so doing, it minimizes the need for transfers, reducing one-way light rail trip times across the County by 10 to 20 minutes or more.  Eleven intersections also will be improved, including at 1st/Alameda Streets, which will see improved performance and less congestion.

“Today’s advance utility work in Downtown Los Angeles marks the beginning of an improved, integrated transit system for the entire county,” said Michael D. Antonovich, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “The light rail connections made by this project will link the Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Lines, catalyze the entire Metro Rail system, and better prepare Metro to meet the demands of its expanding transit system.”

Transit passengers will have access to three new stations in Downtown Los Angeles: 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway, and 2nd/Hope.  The new stations are estimated to provide access to 88,200 daily users, including approximately 17,700 new transit riders. 

“The Regional Connector will connect transit riders from East LA to Santa Monica and from the San Gabriel Valley to Long Beach – without a single transfer,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “This vital project puts us one step closer to building the connected regional transportation system that Angelenos want and deserve.”

The Federal Transit Administration recently permitted the Regional Connector project to advance into its Final Design phase.  Metro intends to seek a Full Funding Grant Agreement through FTA’s New Starts Program next year, which would constitute a federal matching contribution to the project. Metro estimates construction of the tunnel and new stations could begin in late 2013.  The project, if fully funded, could open in 2019.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation forecasts that the Regional Connector project will create 15,400 jobs (direct, indirect and induced), $890 million in labor income, and $2.38 billion in business revenue generated by the project in the Southern California region.

For more information about the Regional Connector project, visit metro.net/regionalconnector.

About Measure R

Measure R, approved by two-thirds of L.A. County voters in 2008, commits a projected $40 billion to traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years.  This sales tax measure will help fund dozens of critical transit and highway projects, create more than 210,000 new construction jobs and infuse an estimated $32 billion back into the local economy, according to estimates by the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

Gold Line Foothill Extension Bridge is complete!

A 584-foot bridge over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway — the first major piece of infrastructure for the Gold Line Foothill Extension — is now complete, on time and on budget. The media had their chance to see the bridge this morning and a public ceremony will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. until noon at Newcastle Park in Arcadia (101 W. Colorado Boulevard).

The Foothill Extension will extend the Gold Line from its final station in Pasadena for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border, near both Citrus College and Azusa Pacific University. The new $18.6-million bridge will take the two train tracks from the middle of the 210 freeway across the eastbound lanes to the south side of the freeway.

The project will have one set of tracks in each direction and is being built atop an old freight railroad right-of-way. An old bridge that spanned the 210 was demolished because of seismic concerns following the 1993 Northridge earthquake.

The concept and design for the new bridge was conceived by Andrew Leicester, who told the media that he wanted to build a structure that served as a gateway to the San Gabriel Valley. The San Gabriel Mountain foothills have long been an important travel corridor in Southern California, beginning with Native Americans and continuing to the advent of Route 66 and, later, the 210 freeway. Leicester said the 25-foot-tall baskets on the bridge commemorate the main tool Native Americans used in their travels.

Habib Balian, the CEO of the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, said that 92 percent of the materials used to construct the bridge were manufactured in Southern California.

Skanksa USA was the contractor that built the bridge; architecture and engineering was done by AECOM.

The Construction Authority is an independent agency building the line that will be operated by Metro. The project is funded by Measure R, the sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Measure J results updated again; yes votes rise to 65.33 percent

Here are the latest Measure J results, posted a few minutes ago the Los Angeles County Registrar.

According to the Registar, 130,063 ballots were added to the election results today. It appears of those, 112,383 cast a vote in the Measure J election. That brings the estimated total still to be counted to 215,991 ballots, according to the Registrar.

Measure J needs two-thirds voter approval to pass. As we’ve said the last two weeks, it’s possible but unlikely due to two issues: 1) of the remaining votes to be counted, it’s unlikely all of them cast votes for or against Measure J, and; 2) Of the ballots remaining, it’s likely that at least 75 percent of them would need to be ‘yes’ votes for Measure J to pass.

The news release from the Registrar is posted after the jump.

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Go Metro to the East LA Safe Connections Festival

This Saturday, Nov. 17, take the Gold Line to the East LA Civic Center for the East LA Safe Connections Festival. The free community event will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features safety courses, workshops and live entertainment. East LA residents can also provide input on neighborhood improvements during the community open house.

This is the first of two community events for the Metro Gold Line Eastside Station Access Project, a Measure R project that will provide $9 million worth of improvements. The full press release from Metro is after the jump.

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Measure J unofficial results

The final unoffiicial results were posted by the Registrar within the past hour. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Measure J is nearly two percentage points shy of the two-thirds threshold needed for passage. It appears about 889,000 fewer people cast a vote in the Measure J election than in the Measure R election in 2008.

J Votes Percent
NO 745,310 35.28

Registration 4,593,621
Precincts Reporting 4,993
Total Precincts 4,993
% Precincts Reporting 100


Last Measure J update of the evening

The results are still trickling in — it’s even slower than usual this time around. Below is the latest from the County Registrar below. Obviously Measure J has an uphill battle at this point to reach the two-thirds threshold needed for passage.

As I noted earlier this evening, more than three million votes were cast in the Measure R election in 2008. It doesn’t appear there will be anything close to that in the Measure J election.

NO 447,852 35.37

Registration 4,593,621
Precincts Reporting 2,782
Total Precincts 4,993
% Precincts Reporting 55

Remember, you need to refresh this page to ensure that you have the latest results.

Last Updated: 01:40 11/07/2012

Work starting on other bridges for Gold Line Foothill Extension

Here’s the good word from the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the 11.5-mile light rail line from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border, funded by Measure R:

Throughout the 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa construction project now underway, there are a total of 17 existing bridges that must be altered or replaced to accommodate the dual-track light rail system. Although we have focused much attention on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge over the last year, there will be many stories to tell about these other bridges that support our project and require significant work in the coming months and years.

[Above] is a map of the existing structures along the corridor and photos of the first three that FTC crews are preparing for construction. Lead paint removal on the 700-linear-foot San Gabriel River Bridge (top left), built in the early 1900s, is now complete. The bridge will soon be demolished and a new dual-track light rail bridge will be constructed. Two single track bridges within the Azusa shared corridor – at Palm Drive (bottom) and Citrus Avenue (top right) – will be renovated. Two additional single track bridges will be built alongside the existing bridge in these two locations to support two light rail tracks and one freight track.

Also, here’s the latest video update on the construction of the bridge for the Foothill Extension over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway:

All structural work complete for I-210 bridge for Gold Line Foothill Extension!

Here's the news release issued today by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is building the 11.5-mile line from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border:

MONROVIA, Calif. – After more than one year of intense activity, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority) announced today that all structural work has been completed on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge. This announcement follows the recent completion of post-tensioning activities (internal strengthening of the structure through tensioning of supportive steel bands) and grouting of all internal ducts – the last steps in the process to complete the structural elements of the 584-linear foot, $18.6 million rail bridge.

“The bridge can now stand on its own,” said Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian. “This is an important milestone in our progress to complete the bridge, and we commend Skanska USA for their hard work and ability to meet the project deadlines while providing excellent craftsmanship.”

With the structure now fully secure on its own, the temporary support structure will now be removed. The “falsework,” which was installed in a series of nighttime closures in February and March 2012, has supported the bridge while under construction. Up to 20 nighttime closures of the eastbound I-210 Freeway will take place over the next six weeks to safely remove this temporary structure.

“The removal of the falsework is even more challenging than the installation,” said Balian. “When Skanska installed the support structure there was nothing around. Now they need to work around the bridge, as well as over an active freeway.”

To safeguard the traveling public, full closures of the eastbound I-210 Freeway are planned. For each of these consecutive closures, the eastbound I-210 Freeway will be closed between Baldwin and Santa Anita Aves. from Midnight until 5:00 a.m. The first closures will occur starting late Tuesday, Sept. 4, and include closures on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Closures will continue the following week, starting late Sunday, Sept. 9, and continue through early morning Friday, Sept. 14. Additional dates will be announced as they are scheduled, with work expected to continue through mid-October.

“We understand that these closures can be inconvenient and we appreciate the community’s patience,” added Balian. “We encourage motorists and truckers who can use other routes to do so.”

When finished, the bridge will feature columns designed to resemble Native American baskets, in recognition of the first residents of the area – the Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribe. The baskets are under development now, and will be installed after the falsework removal process is complete.

The bridge is on schedule to be completed in December 2012. In addition to the upcoming basket installation, additional work to be completed on the bridge includes: concrete placement for the barrier walls on either side of the deck, building retaining walls on the ingress and egress to the bridge, landscaping and lighting. In December, the bridge will be turned over to the Construction Authority, and future work to add the utilities, track and other light rail features.

To learn more or receive construction alerts and project updates, sign-up at: http://www.foothillextension.org/ or follow the project on Facebook and Twitter. To receive text alerts about freeway closures, text from your cell phone “GOLDLINENEWS” to 888777.

About the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority)

The Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1999 by the California State Legislature. Its purpose is to extend the Metro Gold Line light rail line from Union Station to Montclair, along the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The Construction Authority built the initial segment from Union Station to Pasadena and is underway on the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The Foothill Extension is a nearly $1.6 billion extension that will connect Pasadena to Montclair in two construction segments. The first segment, Pasadena to Azusa, is funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R and currently underway. The 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa segment will be completed in late 2015 and includes future stations in the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa. Three design-build contracts, totaling more than $500 million will be overseen by the Construction Authority to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment, including the $18.6 million I-210 Gold Line Bridge, awarded to Skanska USA in June 2010 and a $486 million contract awarded in July 2011 to Foothill Transit Constructors (FTC). The Azusa to Montclair segment is currently undergoing final environmental review.

For more information, visit: www.foothillextension.org.


Recap of today's Metro Board meeting

The Metro Board approved amendments to the Measure R ordinance and its extension, which included the motion by Director John Fasana to allow for the transfer of funds between the transit capital and highway capital subfunds within the same subregion.

Board members voted 10 - 1 to approve the Fasana amendment and to integrate the amendment into the existing Measure R Extension Ordinance, with Board Chairman Antonovich voting against and Director Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining. The remaining portions of the item to place the amended Ordinance on the Nov. 6 ballot passed 9 – 3, with directors Antonovich, Knabe and Ridley-Thomas voting no. Mayor Villaraigosa was absent from today’s proceedings.

The amendments will be considered by voters with the Measure R extension language on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Board Chairman Antonovich proposed that members consider items 4 and 5 together within the context of a reevaluation of safety procedures. Here are links to the individual items:

  •  Update on the Expo Line / BLue Line junction, regarding Metro and CPUC investigation of an alignment issue on the junction at Washington Boulevard and Flower Street, where the Blue and Expo Lines merge. The report from the Metro Inspector General is still in progress and should be completed in the fall. 
  • And the Yaroslavsky motion to convene a Metro Blue Line Task Force to examine safety procedures and strategies for the Blue Line operation.

Directors approved the Yaroslavsky motion as amended by Director Mark Ridley-Thomas to establish public information protocols to report accident and service disruption information when incidents occur and regularly report the information to news media and via social media.