If you live in the area in Santa Monica, please read this closely — this is a weeklong closure. Yes, it may be a pain in the rear quarters for some folks, but it’s also a sign that construction of the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and Santa Monica continues at a brisk pace.
The final Metro Board of Directors meeting of the year was a low-key affair. Perhaps of the most interest to everyday riders were motions approved concerning restrooms at stations, parking at stations and fare evasion along the Orange Line — more about those in this previous post.
Here are some of the actions taken today:
•On consent, the Board approved a $1.64-million contract with STV/Parsons Brinckerhoff for consulting services to help draw up specifications for the eventual procurement for new subway cars.
•On consent, the Board approved a new policy to govern requests from cities, third parties and other stakeholders for changes to transportation projects after they have been approved by the Board. The gist of the new policy: the modifications should not delay the project or increase its budget unless funding is identified. This one falls under the wonky but important category as a lot of these requests do come in after project construction is underway.
•On consent, the Board approved a Memorandum of Understanding between Metro and Los Angeles World Airports for changes to the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Aviation/Century project that could help improve connections to future airport facilities such as a consolidated rental car facility or a people mover:
•On consent, the Board approved a $6.17-million contract with ARINC, Inc. to provide a new computer software and hardware that provide “centralized control and/or monitoring of train movement, traction and auxiliary power, fire detection and suppression, gas detection, emergency tunnel and ancillary ventilation” and other communication systems.
Good morning! The gavel just thwacked the tabletop, setting in motion the final Metro Board of Directors meeting of 2013.
The 13-member Board serve as the final deciders of most things Metro. Learn more about them here.
The agenda is above. If you are not one of the lucky ones who can attend the meeting in person, listen in by phoning 213-922-6045.
As part of the service changes taking effect on Sunday, December 15, two new stops on the 704 Rapid Line on Santa Monica Boulevard. Here is the news release:
Bus riders in West Hollywood get a holiday present as the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) adds Metro Rapid service to two bus stops on Santa Monica Boulevard near Plummer Park.
Beginning Sunday, December 15, 2013, Metro Rapid line 704 will stop on westbound Santa Monica Boulevard at North Gardner Street and eastbound Santa Monica at Fuller Avenue. Prior to the change only the Metro 4 line serviced the stops. The Metro 4 line is local service that picks up and drops off at every bus stop, while the 704 Rapid service makes stops about every 3/4 of a mile.
In a recent analysis of service and ridership Metro staff recommended Rapid stops closer to Plummer Park. Currently, the distance from Plummer Park to the nearest Rapid stop is about a half-mile, which is considered too far to walk for many senior citizens who use the park and rely on Metro.
Line 4 local service has an average of 22,663 daily boardings on the route that begins in Downtown Los Angeles and ends in West Los Angeles. The Metro 704 Rapid service has an average of 11,307 daily boardings. Before the change, the nearest Rapid stops were at Santa Monica and Fairfax and Santa Monica and La Brea.
Metro Rapid service is successfully reducing travel times in some of Los Angeles County’s busiest transit corridors. Buses arrive every 3-10 minutes during peak commute times, carry a bus signal priority system that reduces traffic delays at intersections by extending green lights and the distinctive red and silver color scheme makes it easy to identify Metro Rapid stops and buses.
In an attempt to burn some holiday-induced blubber yesterday, I made the short but scenic hike to Temescal Peak in Topanga State Park from the Palisades Highlands. As it happened, there were pretty nice views of the route the Purple Line Extension subway will take between downtown Los Angeles (left) and Westwood (right).
The above photo almost has the entire route beginning with the Federal Building at the far right of the photo, then extending to Westwood Village and then veering south to Century City. At that point, the subway’s route will rejoin Wilshire Boulevard, which is easily seen in the photo as the developed corridor linking Century City to downtown L.A.
Below is a much wider view that shows the entire route. The subway will actually terminate on the western side of the 405 freeway near Wilshire Boulevard and the front of the VA Hospital. (Here’s a narrower view of Century City and downtown L.A.) The first phase between Wilshire and Western and Wilshire and La Cienega is ramping up for construction and is forecast to open in 2023.
The Santa Ana Winds were blowing yesterday, contributing to the smog. It was still nice to be able to see three major peaks — from left, San Gorgonio (at 11,503 feet the highest peak in Southern California), San Jacinto (at 10,834 the highest peak in Riverside County) and Santiago Peak (at 5,689 feet the highest point in Orange County).
Although off-topic, the hike also offered a nice view of Reseda Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley (below). That street is a major transit corridor serviced by two Metro bus lines, the 240 Local and the 741 Rapid.
And the sunset view wasn’t shabby either. That’s Santa Barbara Island, one of the Channel Islands. If you look real hard, I think that’s San Nicolas Island on the horizon on the right side of the photo.
If you want to download full-size versions of any of these photos, please visit our Flickr page. Click on the photo you want, then click on the “…” at bottom right, click “view all sizes” and then choose “original” on the next screen and then download.
Let’s do a double dip of good news from the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is building the 11.5-mile Gold Line extension from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border.
First, from the Authority’s most recent e-newsletter:
Pasadena to Azusa:
Significant progress continues along the 11.5-mile corridor, as the Pasadena to Azusa project nears 50% completion. Most bridge structures and at-grade crossings have been completed or are nearing completion, and light rail track will soon be laid along the corridor. Work is underway at four of the six stations, and in mid-November the third (and final) concrete pour for the Duarte Station platforms took place. The Operations Campus is also moving along on schedule. Light rail track is being installed, and nearly all of the OCS (overhead catenary system) pole foundations for the future system to power the trains are now ready.
Please click here for the full newsletter, including information about planning for the Azusa-to-Montclair segment. That segment is beyond the scope of Measure R funding and is unfunded at this time — although the project is in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan.
And here’s the news release about the reopening of Mayflower Avenue:
Mayflower Ave to Re-Open Ahead of Schedule
WHO: Residents / Commuters in the City of Monrovia.
WHAT: This evening, Mayflower Ave at the railroad crossing in the city of Monrovia will fully reopen to thru-traffic. Crews have completed the grade crossing improvements at the street crossing ahead of schedule. This grade crossing work required a full closure of Mayflower Ave at the railroad crossing since late September. Please note that although no additional full closures of this street are anticipated, future work activities in the area may require occasional lane closures as needed.
The pedestrian shuttle service, which helped assist pedestrians around the closure during construction, will no longer be provided after today’s work completion and re-opening of the street and sidewalks.
- Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.: Mayflower Ave will fully reopen to thru-traffic at the railroad crossing located between Evergreen Ave and Duarte Rd. The sidewalks will also reopen, and the pedestrian shuttle service will no longer be available.
WHERE: Mayflower Ave at the railroad crossing (between Evergreen Ave and Duarte Rd) in the City of Monrovia.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
- Mayflower Ave will be reopen to thru-traffic and no additional full closures of this street are anticipated; however work activities will continue in the area with occasional lane closures as needed.
- The sidewalks will reopen and the pedestrian shuttle service will no longer be provided.
Construction schedules are subject to change for various reasons, including, but not limited to, weather conditions and unforeseen delays.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Visit www.foothillextension.org
# # #
About the Construction Authority: The Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 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 $1.7 billion extension that will connect Pasadena to Montclair in two construction segments – Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair. The 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa segment is fully funded by Measure R and will be completed in September 2015, when it will be turned over to Metro for testing and pre-revenue service. Metro will determine when the line will open for passenger service. Three design-build contracts, totaling more than $500 million, are being overseen by the Construction Authority to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment. The Azusa to Montclair segment is environmentally cleared and is proceeding to advanced conceptual engineering in 2014.
This is an important issue because local transit agencies are currently prohibited from creating local hiring programs when using federal funds for projects. The rationale has been that all Americans should have access to jobs created with national funding, but the policy fails to take into account that most of the funding for most projects these days is raised locally.
Here is the update from Metro’s government relations team:
Earlier today, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-37) moved to introduce legislation that will allow transportation agencies “to prioritize hiring local residents for highway and transit projects.”
According to a press release issued by the Congresswoman’s office, the legislation, entitled the “Local Hire Act” will make it easier to “generate jobs in the very counties and states where their transportation projects are located, while preserving competition and cost effectiveness.”
In September of 2011 our Board voted to add an additional component to our America Fast Forward initiative to permit transportation agencies to establish local hiring programs in proportion to the local share of a given project(s) total cost. Currently, federal procurement regulations do not permit agencies, like Metro, to require bidders to establish local hiring or purchasing programs or to take such programs and local hiring directly into account in the bid evaluation process.
And now there are train tracks across Overland Avenue for the second phase of the Expo Line!
Work was completed over this weekend, as shown in the above photos. Westwood Boulevard got the same treatment last weekend.
The project to extend the Expo Line six miles from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica is now halfway complete. The project is funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. It is currently forecast to open in early 2016.
The northbound ramp from the 405 freeway to Sunset Boulevard reopened this morning, thereby ending construction work on ramp improvements at the 405-Sunset interchange.
The top photos shows one of the first vehicles to use the newly lengthened and widened ramp; the bottom photo shows a later participant More details and photos in this earlier post.
Reminder to Westsiders: Overland Avenue will be closed this weekend between Ashby Avenue and Coventry Place so that the rail crossing for the second phase of the Expo Line can be constructed. The closure begins tonight at 9 p.m. and runs until Monday at 6 a.m. More details are above.
And here are three photos from last week’s work installing tracks across Westwood Boulevard: