Motion asks for study of upgrading Orange Line and possibly connecting to Pasadena

The Metro Board of Directors will consider this month the above motion that asks for study of a number of upgrades to the Orange Line, including better traffic signal synchronization by the city of Los Angeles, using more articulated buses, building grade separations, the possibility of extending or connecting the line to Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena and an assessment of converting the line to light rail.

The key word in the above paragraph: “study.” This is NOT a funded project, nor is it in Metro’s long-range plan. The motion comes on the heels of Gov. Jerry Brown signing a bill earlier this month lifting the restriction on building rail along the Orange Line right-of-way (which, ironically, was once a Southern Pacific rail corridor).

An amendment by Board Member Pam O’Connor asked a broader — and crucial — question: what kind of process could be created to evaluate new projects to see if they merit being added to the agency’s long-range plan?

The Board’s Planning Committee forwarded the motion and amendment without recommendation to the full Board of Directors to consider (the full Board meets next Thursday, July 24). As Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky said, the agency needs to figure out the best path forward for evaluating new transit projects so that the ones with the greatest impact are the ones that get built.

Metro CEO Art Leahy explained why that is important. Metro will soon be receiving a list of potential transportation projects from sub-regions in the county for inclusion in a possible ballot measure in 2016 to accelerate and/or build new transit projects by extending Measure R and/or some type of new tax (Measure R was a half-cent sales tax increase for 30 years and expires in mid-2039). Leahy said that it’s very likely that the list of projects will exceed what could be funded. And, thus, the list of projects will ultimately have to be narrowed.

In short, this motion is really about two things. The first is obviously seeking ways to improve the Orange Line, which has enjoyed very strong ridership since the first segment opened in 2005. The second is about the possible 2016 ballot measure and the Board trying to find a way to evaluate projects beyond a metric commonly used: political support.

 

Some pre-Century Crunch demolition already taking place

Work crews hanging new banner on Century Boulevard Bridge informing those in the area of the upcoming Century Crunch closure. Photo: Jose Ubaldo/Metro

Work crews hanging new banner on Century Boulevard Bridge informing those in the area of the upcoming Century Crunch closure. Photo: Jose Ubaldo/Metro

A new banner is up to inform motorists and all travelers to LAX about Century Crunch. Make sure to allow extra time or steer clear of airport area traffic and take public transit the weekend of July 25-28. The intersection of Century Boulevard and Aviation Boulevard will be closed for 57 hours that weekend as the old railroad bridge is demolished to make room for a new Crenshaw/LAX light rail station.

Some pre-bridge demolition work also began today. Check out the video below to see the demolition of the north side approachment to the Century Boulevard Bridge.

First of new light rail cars arrives at Port of Long Beach

First new Kinkisharyo light rail car arriving at the Port of Long Beach.

First new Kinkisharyo light rail car arriving at the Port of Long Beach. You can just make out the windows under the protective covering.

Exciting news! The first of the 78 Kinkisharyo light rail vehicles Metro ordered has arrived in the Port of Long Beach, less than 23 months after Kinkisharyo was given the notice to proceed in August 2012. To see the car in its unwrapped glory during testing in Japan, see video below.

In compliance with Buy America’s final assembly contract provisions, the car will be transported to the new Kinkisharyo facility in Palmdale, where final assembly and vehicle testing will take place. The car is scheduled to be shipped from the Palmdale facility to Metro by October 2014.

The new light rail vehicles will be used in support of the openings of Expo Phase II and Gold Line Foothill Extension. 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 replacement of other rail cars currently in use.

RELATED

New light-rail vehicle makes its first public appearance (in Japan)

New rail car designs in the works

Metro Board approves contract to purchase new light rail cars

Metro currently has four rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line, the Gold Line Foothill Extension and the Regional Connector and work is expected to begin soon on the Purple Line Extension’s first phase. 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..

Mayor Garcetti asks public to plan ahead during Century Crunch, recommended detours in LAX area

Here’s the press release from Metro, LADOT and LAWA:

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti has released a public service announcement urging LAX travelers, employees and others to plan ahead, allow extra time or steer clear of airport area traffic the weekend of July 25-28.  A portion of Century Boulevard by Aviation, a major artery leading into the heart of LAX will be closed for 57 hours that weekend as an old railroad bridge is demolished to make room for building a light rail aerial station for the new Crenshaw/LAX light rail line now under construction.

The video public service announcement is available on You Tube at http://youtu.be/iWYAkhgZ-z8 to help businesses, community, travelers and general public alike raise awareness about the upcoming demolition operation that will require street closures.

“Because we planned ahead, Carmageddon never happened on the 405. So let’s plan ahead again, avoid the area if you do not need to be there; and if you must, allow for extra travel time and use public transit,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Century Boulevard will be closed at the intersection with Aviation Boulevard beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, July 25, through 6 a.m. Monday, July 28. The southbound Aviation Boulevard lane will be closed between Arbor Vitae and 104th Street. Motorists are advised to monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips and to follow recommended detour routes.

Detours

Westbound:  For westbound traffic on Century Boulevard heading to LAX, motorists can head northbound on La Cienega Boulevard, turn left (west) onto Manchester Boulevard, turn left (south) on Airport or Sepulveda boulevard, and then turn right (west) on Century Boulevard to enter the airport.

Eastbound: Leaving LAX on Century Boulevard, motorists should turn left (north) onto Airport Boulevard and proceed to Manchester Boulevard.  Motorists can then turn right on Manchester Boulevard to proceed eastbound to La Cienega Boulevard or turn right (west) to proceed southbound to Century Boulevard.

Century Boulevard is a major artery to Los Angeles International Airport with more than 92,000 motorists traveling through the Century and Aviation Boulevards intersection daily

The $2.058 billion Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project is an 8.5-mile light rail line that will connect the Green Line with the Expo Line. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is expected to open in 2019.

For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, the Century bridge demolition, related street closures and recommended detours go to metro.net/crenshaw or call project hotline (213) 922-2736 or Metro Customer Relations at (323) GO.METRO. Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CrenshawRail and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/crenshawrail.

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.

Follow LAX on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/LAInternationalAirport?fref=nf

Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/flyLAXairport and www.LAXisHappening.com for airport construction and traffic-related impacts.

Countdown clocks now available for Century Crunch July 25-28

LOS ANGELES (July 11, 2014): In efforts to help individuals, businesses, agencies and other organizations count down to the planned closure of the Century/Aviation intersection at a key entrance to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) the weekend of July 25-28, 2014, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has created an official online clock and banner ads that are freely available for public use at metro.net.

The “Century/Aviation Intersection Closed: Plan Ahead to Avoid delays” clock counts down the number of days, hours, and minutes before the planned demolition of the old railroad bridge for 57-hours beginning 9 p.m. Friday, July 25 until 6 a.m. Monday, July 28. An old railroad bridge needs to be demolished to allow for the future construction of a new Century/Aviation light rail station.

Demolition will close a portion of Century Boulevard, a major artery leading into LAX during one of the busiest travel times of the year. It also will restrict traffic on Aviation Boulevard. An estimated 92,800 motorists travel through that intersection on a daily basis.

A selection of countdown clocks and banner ads in various sizes and options are available to help raise public awareness of the operation and resulting closures.  To obtain the Countdown clock and banner ads, visit http://www.metro.net/projects/crenshaw_corridor/webmasters-spread-word-crenshawlax/.

For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, the Century bridge demolition, related street closures and recommended detours go to metro.net/Crenshaw.  Join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CrenshawRail and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/crenshawrail.

Follow LAX on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LAInternationalAirport, Twitter at www.twitter.com/flyLAXairport and www.LAXisHappening.com for airport construction and traffic-related impacts.

The detour map:

map_proj_crenslax_detour_final

About Metro

Metro is a 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; the lead transportation planning 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.

Exciting new video: work on joining Expo Line Phase 1 to Expo Line Phase 2

It may not quite be the Golden Spike, but it’s still a nice sign of progress: above is a short video taken this week from the Culver City Station platform showing welding work where tracks from the existing Expo Line meet tracks from the second phase of the Expo Line. There is a lot more to be done to truly join the two projects — work is expected to be completed late this year — but it’s still exciting to see the present meet the future.

Below are a couple of nice photos in West L.A. of the Expo Line alignment taken by Darrell Clarke (who founded Friends4Expo and currently advocates for transit on behalf of the Sierra Club) from the top of the parking garage for Bed, Bath & Beyond in West L.A. The top photo is looking west toward the Bundy Station and the bottom photo is looking east toward the Expo Line bridge over Pico Boulevard and the undercrossing of the 405 freeway.

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The second phase of the Expo Line will extend the tracks for six miles from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica with seven new stations. The Measure R-funded project is currently scheduled to open in early 2016.

Many more construction photos can be found on Expo Line Fan’s photo page.

And speaking of photos, an important public service announcement: Metro is very happy folks are excited about the many transportation projects under construction around Los Angeles County. And we’re happy that people want to take photographs. Our one request: please, please, please take those photos from vantage points outside the construction work zone. We don’t want anyone to get hurt and we don’t want to expose contractors and/or Metro to unnecessary litigation that will ultimately cost taxpayers. Work zones are covered by all sorts of laws and rules to keep workers safe. We really appreciate everyone’s cooperation especially with an unprecedented four Metro Rail projects currently under construction and a fifth on its way. Thank you!

 

“Notice to Proceed” granted for construction of Regional Connector project!

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It’s official: there are now four Metro Rail projects currently under construction after the Metro earlier this week gave its contractors — the Regional Connector Constructors, Joint Venture — the official “notice to proceed” on building the line. Until recently, Metro never had more than two rail projects underway at the same time.

The Regional Connector will be a 1.9-mile underground light rail line that will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown Los Angeles. With a scheduled opening of 2020, the Regional Connector will allow trains to run directly between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles on an east-west line and between Azusa and Long Beach on a north-south line.

That should pass along several benefits to Metro Rail riders: faster and more frequent trains through downtown Los Angeles; fewer transfers for most riders; three new stations in Little Tokyo, Civic Center and 2nd/Hope, and; eliminating the need to turn around every Blue Line and Expo Line train at 7th/Metro Center, where both lines currently dead end.

Utility relocations and other advance work on the project began last year.

The three other Metro Rail lines under construction are a 6-mile extension of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica, an 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border and the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line that will run between the Expo Line and connect to the Green Line south of the airport.

The Expo Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension projects are currently scheduled to open in early 2016. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled to open in 2019; it will eventually connect to a people mover to be built by Los Angeles World Airports to connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line to terminals at the airport.

The Metro Board is also scheduled to consider awarding a construction contract later this month for the 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway between the existing Wilshire/Western station and Wilshire/La Cienega. When work begins, there will be five Metro Rail projects under construction.

All five of these projects are receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by two million Los Angeles County voters in Nov. 2008. Measure R included funds for 12 transit projects and a number of highway projects, as well as money for operations and funds for smaller transportation projects in cities in Los Angeles County.