Monday’s Zocalo forum will ask: Is traffic L.A.’s destiny? (We certainly hope not!)

Metro photo

Metro photo

What could speed up traffic? We all have opinions, of course. But at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Petersen Automotive Museum some pretty good minds will tackle the subject as part of a Zocalo Public Square forum. The forum is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended.

Here’s how the Zocalo website describes it:

When people say that death and taxes are the only certain things in life, they are forgetting about Southern California traffic. Despite freeway widening and highway construction and newly synchronized streetlights, there’s still not enough room on the roads. We now get accident reports in real time and can change our routes to avoid jams, but Angelenos still spend more time in traffic than other Americans. However, there is more change still to come. The region is in the early stages of a 30-year transit transformation that began with the passage of Measure R in 2008, a sales tax increase that is funding a wide range of transportation projects. Will express lanes, fewer potholes, and improved interchanges speed drivers along? And will new rail lines, improved bus service, and bike lanes finally get millions of people out of their cars? L.A. Business Council president Mary Leslie, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies director Brian D. Taylor, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic executive director Hilary Norton, and Metro CEO Art Leahy visit Zócalo to ask whether traffic is forever L.A.’s destiny. KCRW traffic reporter Kajon Cermak will moderate.

What could speed up traffic? Taking Metro bus 720 or 20 down Wilshire or the 217 down Fairfax to the Monday night forum could help. Find out more at the forum.

Zocalo is an L.A. based not-for-profit group that blends live events with written and broadcast journalism. Metro and Zocalo are co-presenting the event.

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

A Better Blue Line: major construction right off the bat

Major construction work on the Blue Line in downtown Long Beach began this past weekend. Here are a few photos of the tracks on 1st Street being removed. Work on the tracks and the four closed stations will continue until October 19. For more information on the closure and the Blue Line bus shuttles, see this previous post. We’ll have more updates as the project progresses.

Full closure of parts of Crenshaw Boulevard this weekend for Crenshaw/LAX Line construction

Three releases from Metro:

Crenshaw Boulevard to Close Two Weekends to Complete Walls for Underground Crenshaw/Expo Station

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Metro and Walsh/Shea Corridor Contractors will close Crenshaw Boulevard between Exposition Boulevard and Coliseum Street two weekends on Sept. 19 and Oct. 24 to complete pile installation and begin excavation of the underground Crenshaw/Expo station.

The work has been schedule for two weekends, Friday, Sept. 19 to 6 a.m. Monday, Sept, 22 and 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24 to 6 a.m. Monday, Oct. 27.

The installation of pile and building of the walls is necessary for the construction of the light rail line Crenshaw/LAX and its underground stations. Simultaneous wall installation and soldier pile will continue to occur behind K-rail on the west side of the street.

Detours during the three weekend closures will be as follows:

Southbound:

If traveling south on Crenshaw Boulevard, turn left at Jefferson Boulevard, right at Arlington Avenue, right at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and left at Crenshaw Boulevard.

Northbound:

If traveling north on Crenshaw Boulevard, turn right at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, left at Arlington Avenue, left at Jefferson Boulevard and right at Crenshaw Boulevard.

Eastbound and westbound traffic on Rodeo Road will be maintained as well as access to businesses and pedestrian access.

For information on bus stops changes, please visit metro.net/service/advisories/

Construction of Underground Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Station Moves from east to west side of Crenshaw Boulevard

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Pile installation operation for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project underground Martin Luther King station will move on Sept. 20, from the east to the west side of Crenshaw Boulevard between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street.

A 16-hour full street closure will be needed to implement a new traffic reconfiguration it will begin at 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, and concluded by 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept 21.

The detours will be done in two phases: from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. between Jefferson Boulevard and Vernon Avenue and from 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street.

Detour from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. from Jefferson Boulevard to Vernon Avenue

Southbound:

If traveling south on Crenshaw Boulevard, turn left at Jefferson Boulevard, right at Arlington Avenue, right at Vernon Avenue and left on Crenshaw.

Northbound:

If traveling north on Crenshaw Boulevard, turn right at Vernon Avenue, left at Arlington Avenue, left at Rodeo Road and right at Crenshaw Boulevard.

Detour from 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Stocker Street

Southbound:

When traveling south on Crenshaw Boulevard turn left at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, right at Arlington Avenue, right at Vernon Avenue, and left at Crenshaw Boulevard.

Northbound:

If traveling north on Crenshaw Boulevard turn right at Vernon Avenue, left at Arlington Avenue, left at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and right at Crenshaw Boulevard.

The traffic reconfiguration will allow street restriping, relocate existing K-rail (concrete barriers) and place heavy equipment to continue building the walls for the underground station.

After the Sept 20-21 weekend Crenshaw Boulevard will have two traffic lanes in each direction. Once the street reopens Sunday afternoon, the left turn pockets on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street will be restored. The same reconfiguration will last for approximately next three years until the underground station is completed.

There will be limited access to businesses during the night-time activity, although pedestrian access will be maintained. Also, after the closure, bus stops on the west side of Crenshaw and on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will be relocated to the northwest corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and to the southwest corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Stocker Street.

For information on bus stops changes, please visit metro.net/service/advisories/

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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.