Construction notice: Military Avenue closed at Exposition Boulevard for utility work May 19 to June 13

Expo notice

Here’s the latest notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the independent agency charged with building the line that is being funded by Measure R.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

Service Advisory: expect minor delays on Expo Line this weekend due to Phase 2 construction

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Crews will work to relocate tracks so they can be used for Expo Line Phase 2.

The Expo Line Construction Authority will be conducting track integration work on Expo Line Phase 2 this weekend, which will result in minor delays on the Expo Line. Trains will share one track between Expo/La Brea and Culver City stations at various times between 7 a.m. and 5.p.m this Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18.

Over the weekend, crews will be working to relocate tracks so they can be used for the Phase 2 aerial structure over Venice Boulevard.

For live service updates, follow Metro on Twitter or check the Metro home page. You can also check out the latest construction photos on Expo Line Phase 2 in this previous post.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

More pics of recent work on the Expo Line Phase 2

Retired Metro scheduler Alan Weeks was gracious enough to send along the above photos that he has taken recently of construction along the six-mile alignment of the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The project is funded by Measure R and at this time is forecast to open in early 2016.

The Expo Line Construction Authority — an independent agency — is building the project. Metro will take ownership of the line when it is complete and operate it. The Authority estimates that it will be a 46-minute ride between downtown Santa Monica and 7th/Metro Center.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

New light-rail car makes its first public appearance

Here’s a peek at the first Metro P3010 prototype rail car operating under power on the Kinkisharyo test track in Osaka, Japan. Note that it’s decked out in chic new colors that are attractive as well as eminently visible. And those colors will be enhanced, in the final design, with reflective side graphics.

A solo rail car traveling down a track may not seem all that engaging but to those of us counting the minutes until the new Kinkisharyo rail cars arrive, this video is pretty exciting.

The cars are much needed for the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa. Expo 2 and Foothill are scheduled to open in early 2016; underscoring the need for new cars.

When a previous agreement with AnsaldoBreda — the Italian contractor originally hired to manufacture Metro Rail cars — failed, the car construction process was set back about two years. But Kikisharyo is working aggressively to deliver the cars quickly and to ensure they are of the highest quality.

As the test video indicates, car construction is carefully watched. Testing begins even before the cars are assembled, with progress monitored throughout design and construction. Currently, Metro staff is watching over something called “the floor fire test” (We can pretty much guess what that means) along with operation of the prototype vehicle.

All systems — a car is composed of numerous systems — must be tested and pass before the car can be delivered. But you can’t mess around with a rail car that must safely carry thousands throughout its hopefully long lifetime.

If all goes well in testing, this car and 23 others will arrive in L.A. by the end of 2015. After that, the cars will arrive at a rate of four per month until the contract for 78 new vehicles is complete. Metro has already exercised two of four options to buy an additional 97 vehicles to be used on other projects — the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Regional Connector and fleet replacement. Final assembly of the rail cars will be at a new facility in Palmdale in the Antelope Valley

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New rail car designs in the works

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Work on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, is expected to begin later this year. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles..

Clear view of ‘City of Angels:’ Union Station mural refreshed

Specialized Metro Art staff work on the mural from a temporary scaffolding above escalators to contain dust particles, and not hinder the flow of transit patrons below.

Specialized Metro Art staff work on the mural from a temporary scaffolding above escalators in Union Station’s west portal to the Red/Purple Line to contain dust particles, and not hinder the flow of transit patrons below.

Following a recent maintenance effort, the artwork LA: City of Angels, a mural by Los Angeles based artist Cynthia Carlson, has returned to its original heavenly splendor.

Located in Union Station West and facing the entrance to the Red/Purple Line, LA: City of Angels was installed in 1993 in the early years of the Metro Art program. To keep it looking bright and new, specialized Metro Art staff thoroughly cleaned the mural using wet and dry techniques.

“Metro’s art program is now in its 25th year and many of our artworks from the early years require cleaning, restoration and other maintenance,” explained Creative Services Manager Angelene Campuzano. “It’s gratifying to be able to maintain the integrity of the artwork that artists have so thoughtfully contributed to our system and make it look as vibrant as when it was first installed–in this case, 1993.”

Maintaining artwork in the heavily trafficked space of a rail station requires support from and close coordination with Metro departments. “Metro Wayside Facilities staff have been incredibly supportive to our program and our efforts to maintain the aesthetics of the transit environment for our customers,” Campuzano added.

Some before and after views of the mural are below:

Before cleaning, detail.

Before cleaning, detail. The 40 foot long mural by Cynthia Carlson is located in Union Station’s West portal to the Red/Purple Line.

After cleaning, detail.

After cleaning, detail. The mural surface, painted aluminum honeycomb panels, was thoroughly cleaned using wet and dry techniques.

LA: City of Angels before maintenance work.

LA: City of Angels before maintenance work.

LA: City of Angels after maintenance work.

LA: City of Angels after maintenance work. The project also included full replacement of all overhead entrance lighting.

Bikes and walking + transit = lower greenhouse gas emissions

FirstLastMile

I thought that posting the above chart would be a nice way to begin Bike Week. As the chart neatly shows, taking transit can be an effective way to reduce greenhouse gases — especially those who bike or walk to and from light rail stations. It makes sense: no fossil fuels are needed to power your legs.

The chart is from Metro’s  First Mile/Last Mile Strategic Plan that was adopted by the Metro Board of Directors in April.

Greenhouse gases, of course, are the primary agents for climate change. As the amount of carbon dioxide and other gases from the burning of fossil fuels increases in our atmosphere, the planet is growing warmer. Here’s a good explanation of the basics from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The reduction of important topic given how much climate change has been in the news lately. The White House released a report last week on the ongoing impacts in the United States from climate change, including warmer temperatures, increased rains and flooding in some areas, drought in others and more intense wildfires and tree die-offs due to insects. The report followed one by the United Nations released in March that found the same phenomenon on a global level.

The state of California, too, agrees there are impacts and we’re already seeing them:

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There are some important caveats when it comes to figuring out greenhouse gas emissions from transit. One involves how a project is built. It helps to have a green construction policy to help curtail pollution from trucks and other heavy equipment (and Metro does have such a policy). Even more important: the number of people riding a train or bus. The more people riding, the more efficient buses and trains are. (See this Duke University study comparing passenger per mile emissions from a bus getting 2.33 mpg versus a car that gets 25 mpg).

Metro’s numbers are based on a study looking at the Gold Line and Orange Line published in the academic journal Environmental Research Letters in 2013 by researchers from UCLA, Arizona State University and UC Berkeley. The Federal Transit Administration in 2010 also published a useful guide to comparing greenhouse gas emissions from cars and public transit. The FTA’s work shows that heavy rail transit (typically subways such as Metro’s Red/Purple Line that use bigger, heavier trains) are even more efficient than buses and light rail, due in part to heavier ridership.

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