Metro responds to op-ed in L.A. Times on 405 freeway detour and construction signage

The following statement is from Metro in response to an op-ed that ran earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times saying there is a need for more detour signs for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project:

The buck stops with Metro. We are the lead agency responsible for communicating 405 impacts to the public. We take that responsibility seriously. Overall, we have a very good track record for getting the word out about this project’s construction work. Metro has implemented a program of portable message signs that exceeds Caltrans requirements for freeway construction projects. Portable message signs are activated on a 24/7 basis on both the northbound and southbound 405. When there are no ramp closures, these message signs display 55 MPH limit information. At Skirball Center Drive, needed ramp closures are shown on message signs in advance near the northbound Getty off ramp. Metro has confirmed with its contractor that correct signage for the Skirball ramp closure the night of October 28 was in effect, providing a strong indication that the system is in fact working reliably on a daily basis. Drivers’ view of the signs can be temporarily obstructed by other passing vehicles. Fortunately, this project is winding down and we anticipate ever dwindling impacts to drivers. The public is still encouraged to track remaining work utilizing any one of Metro’s numerous outreach channels. Metro updates construction information twice per day, seven days a week at:

Project Hotline: 213.922.3665
www.metro.net/I-405
http://twitter.com/I_405
www.facebook.com/405project

Metro and Caltrans hold public hearings on High Desert Corridor draft EIR/EIS

map_corridor_hidesert_eng

Here is the news release from Metro:

To continue informing the public about one of the most comprehensive transportation plans ever proposed for north Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will host a series of public hearings to receive input on a Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) on the High Desert Corridor (HDC) released September 30, 2014.

The public comment period, open until December 2, 2014, seeks input on the HDC, a 63 mile corridor connecting SR-14 in Los Angeles County with US-395, I-15 and the SR 18/Bear Valley Road in San Bernardino County. HDC aims to improve travel safety and reliability while connecting residential, commercial and industrial areas in the Antelope Valley and Victor Valley, with major elements under study including a new highway/ expressway, tollway, high speed rail feeder service, potential green energy production and/or transmission facilities and a bikeway. The Draft EIR/EIS considers four build alternatives and the legally required “no build” alternative.

The hearing dates are:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014, 7 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Lake Los Angeles Elementary School
16310 East Avenue Q
Palmdale, CA 93591

Thursday, November 6, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.*

Endeavour School of Exploration
12403 Ridgecrest Rd
Victorville, CA 92395

Wednesday, November 12, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.*
Larry Chimbole Cultural Center, Manzanita Ballroom
38350 Sierra Highway
Palmdale, CA 93550

Thursday, November 13, 2014, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Apple Valley Conference Center
14975 Dale Evans Parkway
Apple Valley, CA 92307

*These meetings will be broadcasted live on the Internet. To participate, please go to ustream.tv/channel/metro-high-desert-corridor. Webcast begins 30 minutes after each start time.

The Draft EIS/EIR may be viewed online at: www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/HDC and at www.metro.net/hdc

The public is encouraged to review the Draft EIR/EIS and plan on attending the upcoming public hearings. The public is asked to assess whether or not the potential impacts have been addressed and provide any information that should be included in the final document.  Following the comment period, Caltrans and Metro will evaluate the comments received, revise the document as needed and select a preferred alternative.

The public can submit written comments until December 2, 2014, using the following tools:

Mail -Ronald Kosinki, Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street, MS 16A, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Electronic comments can be submitted through the Caltrans and Metro websites at-  www.dot.ca.gov/dist07/HDC and www.metro.net/hdc

Public Hearings – Verbal and written comments may be submitted during any of the four public hearings noted above.

City of Santa Clarita holds ribbon cutting for McBean Bridge Widening and Bike Path Project

The city of Santa Clarita held a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning to celebrate the completion of the McBean Bridge Widening and Bike Path Project. The project was funded with $3.775 million through Metro’s 2009 Call for Projects. The city contributed $3.088 million.

The McBean Bridge Widening and Bike Path Project includes the widening of the McBean Parkway Bridge to eight lanes to improve traffic flow, the addition of a raised landscaped median and asphalt improvements.

The project also added a dedicated bike path and protected sidewalk on the bridge to connect the Santa Clara River Trail and the South River Trail. An additional trail connection beneath the north side of the bridge to connect the east and west portions of the Santa Clara River Trail was also built, providing improved connectivity for bicyclists and pedestrians.

Historic Lankershim Depot gets extreme makeover

Metro today announced that it has completed a $3.6-million restoration of the historic Lankershim Depot near the Metro Orange and Red Lines in North Hollywood.

The train depot, originally built in 1896 and historically known as Toluca Southern Pacific Train Depot, has undergone a major transformation. About 70 percent of the original structure has been completely rehabilitated, with contractors completing a new building foundation and roof, electric and plumbing systems, platforms, signage and seismic upgrades. Metro contractors have also restored sidings, eaves, windows and doors.

Pacific Electric North Hollywood Station 1950-

The depot in 1950.

The three-room depot and outside platform area now has its original paint colors of mustard yellow and brown, and features a sign on the roof that reads “Southern Pacific-Pacific Electric Station” that harkens back to the early and mid 20th century when the depot primarily served as a passenger and freight rail stop.

The depot will remain unoccupied until Metro determines the best use for the property and finds a future tenant. The chosen tenant will then make its required renovations to the interior, as well as plant landscaping around the depot’s perimeter. Additional work upon occupancy will include the restoration of an adjacent park and rebuilding railroad tracks next to the station to provide the proper context for the building.

Initial concepts for the re-use of the property include a bike hub, museum, coffee shop, restaurant or combination of those elements that provide the greatest public benefit.

When the depot becomes available for occupancy is dependent upon the construction schedule for Metro’s North Hollywood Station Underpass Project that will provide a safe, convenient underground connection between Metro’s Red Line and Orange Line stations — eliminating the need for riders to cross busy Lankershim Boulevard. Construction activities are now underway and the project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

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Public meetings in November for East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project

This is a project that I know many people have been following. The aim of the project — which has some Measure R funding — is to improve transit on Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road between Ventura Boulevard and the Sylmar/San Fernando Road Metrolink station.

Here is the project’s web page on metro.net — which has tons of great info — and here is a Source post from last October looking at project. Among the alternatives being studied: the legally-required no build option, road and traffic signal improvements, light rail, bus rapid transit and a tram, a type of train easy to board from street level.

esfv_study_area

The news release from Metro is below with all the details on the public meetings:

Meetings to be held at locations along the corridor on November 6, 12 & 13.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will host a series of informational meetings beginning November 6, 2014 to update the community on the status of the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor Project.

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project, a Measure R funded transportation project, will add a new public transit system along Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road in the east San Fernando Valley. Transit alternatives being considered for the line include: Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail Transit in addition to the required No Build and Transportation Systems Management options.

Members of the public can participate in three informational meetings to be held in November at the following locations and times:

Thursday, November 6, 6–7:30 p.m., San Fernando Regional Pool Facility, 208 Park Ave., San Fernando, CA  91340

Wednesday, November 12, 4:30 – 6 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Room 1A, Van Nuys, CA  91401. This meeting will be available via live-stream and on-demand at http://ustream.tv/channel/eastSFV.

Thursday, November 13, 2013, 6 – 7:30 p.m., Pacoima Neighborhood City Hall, 13520 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, CA  91331.

Special accommodations are available to the public at Metro-sponsored events. All requests for reasonable accomodations must be made three working days (72) hours in advance of the scheduled meeting date. Please call (818) 276-3233 or the California Relay Service at 711. Spanish language interpretation will be available at all meetings.

The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project is currently in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/R) stage of planning. Public meetings were held last year to begin the process and to provide stakeholders the opportunity  to provide input on the options originally proposed through the Alternatives Analysis (AA) process. As a result of comments received and additional technical analysis, the alternatives were refined to better meet the transit needs of those travelling in the East San Fernando Valley.

The project’s Draft EIS/R is expected to be completed in 2015 and will be made available for public review. Following a Public Comment Period, the Metro Board of Directors will be asked to select the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) for the project and authorize completion of the Final EIS/EIR. The Final EIS/R is anticipated to be completed in 2016.

$170.1 million of funding for the project has been identified in Metro’s 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). A portion comes from Measure R, the ½ cent sale tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

When finished, the project will run approximately 9.2 miles north-south along Van Nuys Boulevard and San Fernando Road through the communities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima and the City of San Fernando. This corridor is currently the seventh busiest bus corridor in the entire Metro system with more than 24,800 weekday bus boardings and in the San Fernando Valley is second only to the Metro Orange Line.

For questions, please call (818) 726-3233 or email eastsfvtransit@metro.net.

About Metro

Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and it is the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is, literally, changing the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region.  Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

Expo Line Construction Notice: Full closures of Barrington Avenue between Olympic and Tennessee

Two full weekend closures will be required in order to complete track work and roadway improvements on Barrington Avenue for the Expo Line project. Here’s the construction notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the independent agency building the six-mile project between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

expo barrington closure expo barrington map

The Source turns five years old: how are we doing?

I glanced at the calendar this morning and realized five years had suddenly rumbled by. It was on Oct. 20, 2009, that The Source debuted on Metro’s website. At the time, I wrote this:

Local media has taken more than a few hits (I was one casualty although I prefer to look at it as the long-awaited liberation of my soul ). At the same time, the Internet has provided government a way to directly speak to taxpayers without having to go through the media. No longer can government complain the middleman got it wrong or wasn’t interested in doing a story.

Readers will naturally wonder if an agency can honestly write about itself. Here’s what I can tell you: The agency still very much wants and needs press coverage and invites and needs outside scrutiny. As for the Source,  I’m not here to invent some new form of propaganda, nor am I the agency’s new inspector general. The goal is to honestly and fairly explain how Metro works.

As I write this, we’ve had 7,333 posts, more than 26,000 reader comments and have been viewed on more than one million different computers. As far as I can tell, we’re certainly one of the most frequently updated government blogs out there — the result of a lot of teamwork and hard work on the part of my colleagues at Metro — and a lot of us have come to believe that providing info on the blog and Metro’s social media is an essential service.

Since five years is a significant milepost, I thought I’d take a few minutes to talk a little bit about the blog (don’t worry–I’ll be asking for your feedback in a sec). A few thoughts:

•I’ve done my best to avoid the “everything is awesome” approach to the blog. While the blog is certainly not independent media, we’re not traditional PR either and I hope that readers find the information on the blog to be credible. We try to include outside viewpoints about the agency — i.e. the daily headlines linking to media stories about Metro, some positive and some bit — and point readers to staff reports that include a wealth of information about Metro’s projects and programs.

•I do hope that The Source has proven helpful for journalists, even if it’s just calling attention to an ongoing issue or upcoming project that makes for a good story. I sense there’s an uptick in coverage of the agency. Some of that is because there’s a lot going on with so many transit and road projects under construction. Some of that (I think) is because the agency has been proactive about getting the word out via social media and traditional media channels.

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