Construction notice: 6-day closure of Military Avenue to install Expo Line tracks begins Monday


Metro announces break-through program to help small businesses compete for contracts

This is an important article for readers who wish to do business with Metro. As the monthly agenda for the Metro Board shows, the agency contracts out quite a bit of work — and the following is about an effort to give more businesses a chance to compete for that work. The article was written by folks in the Small Business Enterprise program:

In January of this year, the Metro Board approved an agency-wide Small Business Set-Aside Program as a breakthrough initiative to level the playing field for Small Business Enterprises (SBEs) so that they can compete as prime contractors, consultants and suppliers. 

The program covers competitively negotiated contracts, sealed bids and public works that range from $3,000 up to $5 million and meet certain criteria, depending on the type of procurement. Certain informal and formal procurements will now be set aside for competition among SBEs when there is a competitive pool of three or more SBE firms available to perform the work.  

The Set-Aside Program was developed in response to a recent mandate by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to improve competition by SBEs on FTA-funded procurements. Metro also expanded the program, which launched June 2, 2014, to include other procurements (i.e. they don’t have to be federally-funded projects) under its Small Business Enterprise Program.   

“Small business participation is essential to our procurement strategy as we sharpen our focus on increasing SBE competition,” said Stephanie Wiggins, Metro’s Executive Director, Vendor/Contract Management.  “Under Metro’s groundbreaking Small Business Set-Aside Program, SBEs will have improved access to learn about and respond to solicitations, competing only against other small businesses on applicable contracts.” 

To be eligible, small businesses must be certified by Metro as SBEs in the applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes at the time of bid or proposal submission, and must perform a Commercially Useful Function (CUF) – meaning SBE primes must perform at least 30 percent of the total cost of contract value with their own workforce.  

Businesses interested in participating are encouraged to become certified as SBEs with Metro as soon as possible. Those firms that are already certified are encouraged to review their current data to ensure that their NAICS codes and contact information are up-to-date. 

“This unprecedented access to Metro’s contracting opportunities significantly boosts small business competition, leading to more contract awards, increased job creation and accelerated growth for the local economy,” Wiggins added.  

You can learn more about Metro’s Small Business Set-Aside Program at the Metro Diversity and Economic Opportunity Department web page. 

Century Boulevard Bridge to be demolished July 25-28, 2014


Here’s a traffic and construction alert that is still a little down the road. But it’s important, especially for those trying to reach LAX: the old rail bridge over Century Boulevard has to be demolished to make way for the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Aviation/Century station.

The demolition will close Century Boulevard at the intersection of Aviation Boulevard from Friday night, July 25, through Monday morning, July 28.

A detour map and alternative routes will be posted as they become available. We wanted to provide ample warning for those who already know they need to travel to or from the LAX terminals that weekend.

The company in charge of the demolition project will be Penhall, the same company that demolished the Mulholland Bridge during the Carmaggedon closures on the 405 freeway in 2011 and 2012.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project is a light-rail line that will run between the Expo and Green Lines. The $2.058-billion Measure R transit project will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the LAX area with eight new stations, a maintenance facility and park and ride lots.

For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project visit or by email to, by phone at (213) 922.2736 or follow the project at or

Reflections on Union Station: an essay by David Kipen


On the occasion of Union Station’s 75th anniversary, Metro created a special commemorative publication, Union Station: 75 Years in the Heart of LA, featuring eight written and five photographic essays that celebrate the station by authors John C. Arroyo, William D. Estrada, Stephen Fried, Rafer Guzman, David Kipen, Marisela Norte, D. J. Waldie, and Alissa Walker. The book is on sale now at the online Metro Store. All essays will also be posted on The Source in the coming weeks. The series was edited by Linda Theung, an editor and writer based in Los Angeles.

A Station Made of Paper
by David Kipen

“There was nothing to it. The Super Chief was on time, as it almost always is, and the subject was as easy to spot as a kangaroo in a dinner jacket. She wasn’t carrying anything but a paperback which she dumped in the first trash can she came to.”
—Raymond Chandler, Playback, 1958

Urban legend would have you believe that Union Station was literally built out of newspapers. To help kill the echo, the building’s architects mixed yesterday’s papers into the acoustic tile of the ticket hall.

Somewhere up there, mulched together, resound the brash voices of all those old 1939 tabloids and broadsheets. Not just the once-titanic Los Angeles Times, but the likes of the Los Angeles Daily News, Hollywood Citizen News, the Hearst-owned Los Angeles Examiner (so invulnerable in its Byzantine casbah at Twelfth Street and Broadway) and the Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express—herald itself of all the doomed shotgun newspaper mergers to come.

Ever since it opened, the popular press and the fate of Union Station have intertwined. The year Union Station opened is the same year that Los Angeles discovered itself in literature. There had been books from L.A. before, even good ones, but nothing that rivaled Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust, John Fante’s Ask the Dust, Carey McWilliams’ Factories in the Field, or Aldous Huxley’s After Many a Summer Dies the Swan, all published in 1939.

Even Dalton Trumbo’s Johnny Got His Gun, written but not set here, qualifies—if you’re willing to read the story of a wartime quadruple amputee as an allegory of the Hollywood screenwriter and his work. For its redefinition of an entire genre, though, and its inexhaustible legacy, there is nothing to compare to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep and his private detective, Philip Marlowe.

Continue reading

Video from the Purple Line funding event in Washington last month

Better late than never! Above is a condensed version of the many, many speakers at the Washington D.C. event on May 21 where Metro and the Federal Transit Administration finalized a deal for $2.1 billion in a federal grant and federally-backed TIFIA loan to help pay for the construction of the first phase of the Purple Line Extension.


New Purple Line Extension provides construction timeline and other key info


Southbound 405 closures between Getty Center Drive and Sunset Boulevard planned nights of June 5, 6

Here’s the press release from Metro:

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is scheduled to conduct nighttime freeway closures on the southbound I-405 between Getty Center Drive and Sunset Boulevard the nights of Thursday, June 5 and Friday, June 6, 2014 to facilitate demolition, excavation, paving, drainage work, and preparatory work for permanent striping. Closure information is as follows:

The southbound I-405 will be fully closed from Getty Center Drive to Sunset Boulevard on:

  • Midnight, Thursday, June 5, to 5 a.m., Friday, June 6
  • Midnight, Friday, June 6, to 5 a.m., Saturday, June 7

Ramp Closures:

  • Ramps begin closing as early as 7 p.m. and lanes begin closing at 10 p.m. on the nights of each operation
  • Southbound on-ramp from Getty Center Drive

Detour Route:Exit southbound Getty off-ramp, head southbound on Sepulveda Boulevard, make a right onto Church Lane and head south to the southbound on-ramp from westbound Sunset Boulevard.

What to expect:


New Purple Line Extension presentation provides construction timeline, other key info

The Purple Line Extension held a meeting with the Phase 1 advisory group last week. The Powerpoint presentation given by Metro is posted above with a ton of information on ongoing utility relocations, future construction activity and mitigation plans to keep noise at a minimum, as much as is possible, for those who live and work near the future subway [pdf here].

I’ve also pulled a few key slides to show below (but please see the entire presentation!!!). In particular, I know several readers asked for a construction timeline after Metro and the Federal Transit Administration last month signed a deal providing $2.1 billion in federal grants and loans to help fund the building of the project’s first phase, which is also funded by the half-cent Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

The first phase of the Purple Line Extension will run for 3.9 miles between the existing Wilshire/Western station and Wilshire/La Cienega. There will be three new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. The project’s second and third phases will extend the Purple Line to downtown Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the VA Hospital.



The following slides describe the basic construction activities that will be taking place over the next nine years.







There are also 10 slides on noise mitigation strategies. A couple of the key ones are below — but I highly encourage you to look at the entire presentation above for more info about this topic. Metro officials have emphasized to me time and again that while they are seeking extended work hours to get the project open in 2023, they are committed to keeping as much noise as is possible to a minimum, performing the most noisy tasks during the day or early evening and being respectful of surrounding neighborhoods.

Metro officials really want people to understand that a lot of the construction activity will be occurring below street level and out of view. The most disruptive activity is that which happens at street level — at the new station locations and Wilshire/Western where Metro has to open the ground to retrieve the tunnel boring machine and the extension must be connected to the existing Purple Line tracks. Those activities will be restricted by time and location.

As we’ve stated previously, Metro is seeking extended work hours in order to wrap up the surface work as quickly as can be done and then most of the station construction will occur below ground, beneath concrete decking.

Noise1 Noise2 Noise3

There is a wealth of information about the Purple Line Extension on the project’s home page on You can receive updates on the project via Facebook and Twitter.