Listen to Metro’s Social Media Week panel on how Metro uses social media to connect with riders

First, a big thank you to our panelists and everyone who attended yesterday’s “Metro Moves Forward: Engaging Customers of Public Transportation in L.A.” event at Union Station. The presentation and panel discussion were part of Social Media Week.

Above is the 49-minute panel discussion. I accidentally deleted a few seconds at the beginning (blame Garageband please!) in which my colleague Anna Chen introduces herself and explains how she landed her gig at Metro. The panelists are frequent Metro riders who also often write about transit and their experiences on Metro:

Alissa Walker is the Urbanism Editor at Gizmodo where she writes about cities, architecture, transportation, and technology and she blogs at awalkerinla.com. She is on the steering committee of Los Angeles Walks and relishes life in Los Angeles without a car. Follow her at @awalkerinLA. And you may want to read (or re-read) her great #lahaters series in which Alissa exposes the dumb stereotypes that media-types like to write, rinse and repeat about Los Angeles and the surrounding area.

Gann Matsuda covers the Los Angeles Kings and the National Hockey League at Frozenroyalty.net and uses the Expo Line to travel to and from Staples Center. He is also a member of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. Follow him at @frozenroyalty. Check out his recent series on how Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi built a team that has won the Stanley Cup twice in the past three seasons (part one and part two). Short answer: draft young talent and develop them, something I think works at non-sports organizations, too.

Steven White is the Content and Media Manager for Bounce AEG. He manages digital media and social media projects for live events. A graduate of the USC School of Cinematic Arts, Steve lives in Downtown Los Angeles and regularly rides Metro for all of his transportation needs. Follow him at @stevenmwhite. Steve provided valuable input to Metro’s TAP team earlier this year when they were designing new screen prompts for the agency’s ticket machines (the prompts are due to debut later this year, btw).

Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro. If you need a Metro-related pic to use on the web, these are available for download at a variety of sizes at our Flickr page — along with a variety of other images.

Schedule of public hearings for Gold Line Eastside Extension study

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Here’s the news release from Metro:

A series of public hearings conducted by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is set to receive community input to a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) on a proposed extension of the Metro Gold Line Eastside light rail system from East Los Angeles to either South El Monte or Whittier. In addition to the two alternatives, the Draft EIR/EIS analyzes a Transportation Systems Management proposal that identifies bus corridor improvements and a no-build option. The environmental document was released August 22, 2014.

Metro will conduct four public hearings during a 60 day public comment period, which is open until 5 p.m. October 21, 2014, each to include a 30 minute open house when the public can view the Draft EIR/EIS, see project display and talk to staff. They are:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pico Rivera Senior Center

9200 Mines Ave. Pico Rivera, CA 90660

Open House: 9 a.m. Public Hearing: 9:30-11:30 a.m.

Monday, September 29, 2014                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Quiet Cannon Banquet Center

901 Via San Clemente, Montebello, CA 90640

Open House: 5:30 p.m. Public Hearing: 6-8 p.m.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014                                                                                        

Uptown Whittier Senior Center

13225 Walnut Street, Whittier, CA 90602

Open House: 5:30 p.m. Public Hearing: 6-8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014  

South El Monte Senior Center

1556 Central Avenue, South El Monte, CA 91733

Open House: 5:30 p.m. Public Hearing: 6-8 p.m.

The Draft EIR/EIS studied the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2, an extension of the existing Gold Line connecting Pasadena and East Los Angeles through Union Station to communities where commuting to work is expected to grow by 32 percent by 2035 and peak period travel times to increase 25 percent in the morning and 34 percent in the afternoon by 2035.

The Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project includes proposals known as the SR 60 Alternative and the Washington Boulevard Alternative.

The SR 60 Alternative proposes a 6.9 miles extension of mostly elevated tracks running adjacent to the 60 freeway to South El Monte with four proposed new stations in Monterey Park, Montebello and South El Monte.

The Washington Boulevard Alternative would extend the Gold Line 9.5 miles, traveling south in an aerial configuration down Garfield Avenue, turning southeast on Washington Boulevard where it would transition to a street running operation at Montebello Boulevard before ending in Whittier. The alternative would include six proposed new stations in Montebello, Pico Rivera and Whittier.

Each of the two alternatives would begin at the Eastside Gold Line’s current terminus at Atlantic and Pomona boulevards in East Los Angeles.

Estimated ridership for the SR 60 Alternative is 16,700 boardings each weekday with a cost estimate of approximately $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion in 2010 dollars. Estimated ridership for the Washington Boulevard Alternative is 19,900 weekday boardings with an estimated cost of approximately $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion in 2010 dollars.

An EIR is required to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act and an EIS fulfills requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. The laws require government agencies to identify the significant environmental impacts of their actions and to avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects. Information from public comments will be weighed before preparing the final environmental document.

Metro staff is scheduled to present a summary of technical analysis and comments received along with a recommended Locally Preferred Alternative to the Metro Board of Directors in November and the Board will decide how to proceed.

For more information about the project, review the Draft EIR/EIS and submit comments, visit the project web page at www.metro.net/eastsidephase2

New episode of Metro Motion: L.A. Mayor Garcetti shares his vision for better mobility

In the newest edition of Metro Motion, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti explains why he thinks a regional approach to traffic management and business is the best way to lead us into a more mobile and prosperous future.

In another segment, we explore a neighborhood rich in culture and history along the Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line, which is now under construction. Leimert Park was designed as a model community and a center of African American art, music and culture. The artistic center has held and residents still celebrate what has made the neighborhood community strong and distinct.

Also join us for a taste of the Taste of Soul, the family food and entertainment festival (this year, Saturday, Oct. 18) in the neighborhood surrounding Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, where the food is delicious and the welcome warm. Hear what inspired entrepreneur Danny Bakewell Sr. to begin the Taste of Soul, sample some of the best food L.A. has to offer and go away inspired to dine along the line. What do you do on the way to work?

Find out what three creative Angelenos do with the free time they earn away from the drivers’ seat. And then consider making a pledge to give up four wheels in a segment celebrating Rideshare Week, Oct. 6-10.

And finally, Metro Motion’s favorite two wheeler takes us on a tour of the beautiful Long Beach coastline. Find out what to do, where to go and how to pedal the LB coast, even if you don’t have a bike. For these stories and more go to metro.net/metromotion. Metro Motion is co-produced with Santa Monica City TV. It runs quaterly on cable stations throughout L.A. County.

 

Metro staff seeks approval to secure federal funding for Phase 2 of Purple Line Extension subway

Pre-construction is already underway on the first phase of the Purple Line Extension, which will stretch the subway from its current terminus at Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard with new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. Earlier this year, Metro received $2.1 billion in federal grants and loans for the first phase and the agency this summer picked a contractor to build the project.

In the meantime, Metro is beginning to turn its gaze toward the project’s second phase, which will extend the tracks to a downtown Beverly Hills station and a station at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard Century City. In the above report, Metro staff are asking the Metro Board for approval to seek federal funding for phase two in the form of a $1.1-billion grant from the federal New Starts program and a $307 million low-interest loan from the federal TIFIA program.

The target date for completion, with the federal funding, would be 2025. That’s one year earlier than the original target date for the second phase (the first phase to La Cienega Boulevard is forecast to open in 2023). Pursuing more federal funding as quickly as possible has other advantages — offsetting a higher cost estimate for the project, as the report explains.

The Purple Line Extension is also funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The full Metro Board of Directors will consider the staff proposal for Phase 2 funding at its Oct. 2 meeting.

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A Better Blue Line: 30-day closure of four DTLB Blue Line Stations starts tomorrow

Blue Line shuttle buses headsigns.

Blue Line shuttle buses headsigns.

This is it, folks: the 30-day closure of four downtown Long Beach Blue Line stations starts Saturday, September 20. During the closure, bus shuttles will replace train service at Downtown Long Beach Station, Pacific Street Station, 1st Street Station and 5th Street Station.

Anaheim to DTLB Closure

Click to see larger size.

Customers will be able to ride the bus shuttles from Anaheim Street Station to the four stations listed above at no charge. Shuttles will run at the same Blue Line service levels and will be scheduled to meet trains for transfers. At Anaheim Street Station, regular train service will continue northward to Los Angeles.

Buses in Long Beach will be detouring off 1st Street to Ocean Avenue during the closure. First Street will be closed from Long Beach Boulevard to Pacific Avenue during construction. Pedestrian and bicycle access on 1st Street will remain open.

The press release from Metro is after the jump.

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Here’s the map and highlights for new 788 Valley-Westside Express Bus

Line 788 Key Points

Line 788 Key Points2

 

As was reported yesterday on Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky’s website, the new 788 Valley-Westside Express Bus will begin service on Dec. 15. The bus will use the HOV lanes on the 405 over the Sepulveda Pass (as you likely know, the northbound HOV lane was recently built and opened this year as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project).

The above PowerPoint slides show some highlights of the service and the route. For those wondering about the dip down to Oxnard Street in the San Fernando Valley, the reason is that it allows the new 788 to stop at two key Orange Line stations — Van Nuys and Sepulveda. It also makes it easier for the 788 to get on the 405 freeway and make its way over to the HOV lanes.

Metro Board to consider changing official names of two rail stations

I know readers are always interested in station naming news — and there are two station naming motions before the Metro Board of Directors this month:

•To rename the Gold Line’s East Los Angeles Civic Center Station the East Los Angeles Civic Center/Gloria Molina Station.

•To rename the Red Line’s North Hollywood Station the North Hollywood/Zev Yaroslavsky Station.

The motions are posted above. They were authored by Metro Board Members Ara Najarian and Pam O’Connor. The Board’s Construction Committee approved the motions this morning and the full Board will consider them at its Oct. 2 meeting.

Here is Metro’s property naming policy. It’s worth noting that even when station names are named after people, the geographic names are the ones commonly used in announcements on buses and trains and on maps and agency literature.