Reminder: tomorrow is deadline to register to vote in special downtown L.A. streetcar election

As you likely know, downtown Los Angeles residents who live near the proposed streetcar line have a special vote-by-mail-only election in the latter half of November to decide whether to tax themselves to help pay for the project by creating a Community Facilities District. This is a city of Los Angeles project.

Here’s the skinny on registering from the Los Angeles Streetcar website:

Step 1: Check your registration status 

To vote on Streetcar you must be registered at your CURRENT Downtown address or you will not receive a ballot. Without a ballot, you won’t be able to vote on Streetcar, and the only way to vote in the special Streetcar election is by mail. If you are unsure whether you are registered or not, head on over to L.A. County’s Voter Registration Verificaiton website to get an immediate status check (simply input your last name, birth date, and address). 

Step 2: Not registered?

If you’re not registered at your current Downtown address just follow these easy steps:

  1. Visit the Secretary of State website
  2. Fill-Out the Online Registration Form
  3. Congratulations! Keep a lookout for the Streetcar Ballot in early November

Step 3 (Optional): Mail or Deliver Your Registration Form by OCT. 28 

If don’t want to use the online form, you must submit a hard copy of your voter registration form by October 31 (Halloween to all of you party people) to guarantee you’ll be able to vote on the Streetcar. So before you even think about donning your clever costumes and begging for candy, hit the post office and submit your registration form.


Is your residence within the Community Facilities District? Check out the map after the jump.


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Construction has started on Division 13 bus maintenance facility

A bird’s eye view of the construction site. Metro’s Support Services Center is in the back right corner.

Here’s the latest on Division 13 from Metro:

Construction of Division 13, a state-of-the-art bus maintenance facility adjacent to Union Station, has recently begun. The project is estimated to take two years to complete and is partially funded by a $52.5 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

“I am pleased that federal funds are being matched by Metro to build a state-of-the-art bus facility in my Congressional District.  I am encouraged that this new bus division will enhance the mobility for thousands of my constituents and thousands of other commuters in Los Angeles County,” shared U.S. Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard. “The construction of this bus division will both promote the continued growth of mass transit in our region and provide good paying jobs to hundreds of construction workers,” Rep. Roybal-Allard added.

The $72 million construction project will consist of a multi-level parking garage, a maintenance building, bus fueling, bus washing, chassis wash and non-revenue vehicle washing, non-revenue vehicle fueling and maintenance and transportation offices and support areas. Construction of Division 13 is anticipated to generate more than 1,200 direct and indirect jobs. The completed project also will set an example for sustainable design by using energy efficient and environmentally responsible building methods to meet Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold standards.

“In addition to replacing Metro’s entire fleet of old diesel buses with new compressed natural gas buses, we are now constructing this new LEED Gold standard bus facility to house 200 buses,” said Metro Board Chair and Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. Completion of the facility is expected in the summer of 2014. 

The facility design will incorporate an exemplary system of storm water reclamation and reuse for a bus wash system utilizing reclaimed storm water and chassis and non-revenue vehicle wash systems utilizing 100 percent recycled water. Low maintenance native vegetation will be incorporated as  part of a green roof to combat storm water run-off and the urban heat island effect. Division 13 also is part of Metro’s Support Services Center, which has 6,720 individual solar panels installed to generate 1.2 megawatt, or 1,200 kilowatts of renewable, emission-free power.

The project also includes three-axis lift systems for accessing roof mounted equipment on buses, mobile work platforms, high-density stacking systems and carousel and vertical retrieval modules for parts.

The project site is located on the northeast and southeast corners at the intersection of Vignes Street and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue.

For more information, visit

Some photos of construction and renderings after the jump!

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Expo Line Phase 2 construction notice: water main relocation under Barrington Avenue

Click above to see larger.

Above is the latest construction notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, which is building the Measure R-funded second phase of the line between Culver City and Santa Monica.

Progress has been considerable. Here’s a good pic from Dwight Sturtevant of the beginning of the support structure for the Expo Line’s bridge over Sepulveda Boulevard.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Metrolink!!!

A Metrolink train in Camarillo in 2006. Photo by KaroliK, via Flickr creative commons.

A Metrolink train in San Clemente in 2011. Photo by Loco Steve, via Flickr creative commons.

A midday Metrolink train at the Fullerton station in 2008. Photo by SP8254, via Flickr creative commons.

An early map of the Metrolink system. Date unknown. Photo from Metro Transportation Library and Archive’s Flickr page.

It’s pretty amazing that in sprawling Southern California commuter rail was all but absent for most of the latter half of the 20th century. That changed when five counties — Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside — agreed to come together and foot the bill for a commuter railroad with Los Angeles Union Station as its main hub.

The arrival of Metrolink and the Metro Red Line brought Union Station back to life. Metrolink also targeted the long-distance car commuter, finally giving them an alternative to long, slow freeway commutes across the region. Entering its third decade, Metrolink should fare well as linkages improve to the Metro system and more development is hopefully targeted near stations. Source readers: What do you think are the main challenges for Metrolink in the next decade?

Here is a good interactive 20th anniversary report from Metrolink and below is the news release from Metrolink:

LOS ANGELES – The west coast’s largest commuter rail system, Metrolink, will celebrate 20 years of service on Friday. To date, Metrolink has transported more than 100 million people throughout Southern California.

Metrolink began operations on Oct. 26, 1992 with three routes, 11 stations and 112 miles of track in two counties. It initially carried 2,300 daily passengers. Today, Metrolink offers seven routes, 55 stations and 512 miles of track in six counties. Average weekday ridership consists of over 44,000 boardings.

“This is a tremendous milestone,” Metrolink Board Chairman Richard Katz said. “When you consider the tens of thousands of lives we impact each and every day, our positive impact on improving air quality and reducing congestion…it can be overwhelming. Our employees and crews take great pride in their work and being a part of this occasion is very special for everyone associated with Metrolink.

“The safety of our passengers and crews is and always will be Metrolink’s core value,” he said.

(More photos after the jump!)

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Utility relocation to begin in November for Regional Connector!

Click above to see larger.

The Connector is a 1.9-mile underground light rail line that will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold lines in downtown Los Angeles, making it a lot easier and quicker to move about the region without having to transfer so much. The project is partially funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

Here’s the announcement from the project team:

Update: Initiation of Advanced Utility Relocation Activity

What: The Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project will extend Light Rail Transit (LRT) tracks 1.9 miles underground through Downtown Los Angeles, connecting the Metro Gold, Blue, and Expo lines. The project also includes the construction of three new stations located at 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway, and 2nd/Hope. Utility relocation activities are expected to begin in November 2012, with construction of the Regional Connector beginning in late 2013. Anticipated project completion is 2019.
When: Beginning November 2012 and continuing through Fall 2013.
Utility relocations will generally take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. Work may also need to be performed at certain locations during weekday peak periods, up to 11 p.m. at night and on Sundays, subject to City approval.
This work is being completed in advance of the Regional Connector construction. Activities such as tunnel boring and station construction will not begin until Metro has selected a Design/Build contractor, which is expected in Fall 2013.
Where: Activities will be focused around Regional Connector station locations:

  • 1st Street at Central Avenue
  • 2nd Street at Broadway
  • 2nd Street at Hope Street
What to Expect: Utility relocation activities will include the removal, realignment, and installation of new power, water, sewer, telephone, cable, and fiber optic lines. Specifically, there will be excavation and trenching in the area.
Current and completed activities for the Regional Connector have included investigative pothole drilling to determine the depth and location of existing utilities in order to prepare for relocation.

Sign up to receive notices for specific activities by following this link: Please call 213.922.7277 to request further information For the latest construction information, visit Thank you for your patience and cooperation

Special guest appearance by Mel tomorrow!

Mel the Metro ExpressLanes Van.

If you don’t have your ExpressLanes transponder yet — and think you will use one — Mel, the Metro ExpressLanes Van, will be out and about tomorrow, setting up transponder accounts on FasTrak®.

Visit her at the Farmer’s Market at L.A. City Hall tomorrow, as well as the following two Thursdays between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 200 N. Main St. in downtown L.A. 90012.

Mell is traveling around the region to bring FasTrak® accounts and transponders to commuters so they will be ready to use the Metro ExpressLanes when the lanes open on the 110 Harbor Freeway on Nov. 10 and on the 10 San Bernardino Freeway early next year.

Transponders can also be ordered online.

Legal brief in Expo Line Phase 2 case

For those who read yesterday’s post about the attempt by Neighbors for Smart Rail to halt construction on Expo Line Phase 2, below is the legal brief filed by the Expo Line Construction Authority to the California Supreme Court. It’s an interesting read and includes background on the case — which involves a dispute over how traffic impacts are calculated for environmental studies — and many arguments for allowing construction of the Measure R-funded project to continue.

EXPO – Opp to Motion for Stay