Here’s the latest notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, which is building the light rail project:
With no discussion, a motion officially supporting an Antelope Valley route for California’s high-speed rail route was unanimously approved by the Metro Board today.
The motion was by Member Mike Antonovich, who pointed out that many residents who voted for the high-speed rail bond in 2008 believed the route would go through the Antelope Valley and have a station in Palmdale.
The California High-Speed Rail Authority that is planning the project recently started to re-study an alternative route along the 5 freeway that would bypass the Antelope Valley.
That was the last major item heard by the Board, which has now moved into the closed session part of its meeting today.
The top photo was taken in March before work began on the Gold Line bridge over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway. The bottom photo was taken yesterday — Wednesday, Aug. 3.
Here’s the update sent out today by Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian:
Work on the Iconic Freeway Structure has begun. As you have seen over the last few weeks, the center median of the eastbound I-210 is clear and the 500-foot-long retaining wall is well on its way to completion. The retaining wall is the first step in the construction process, creating the needed wide flat surface for the large construction equipment to access the construction area. Below, are two images – the first was taken in March 2011, before construction began; and the second was taken yesterday:
As construction continues in the coming weeks, the wall will be completed, and then work will begin on the 110 foot deep foundations. That will be the first time a late night full closure of the eastbound lanes will be needed. We will provide advanced notice of those activities.
The Gold Line Foothill Extension will extend the Gold Line from Pasadena for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border. The project is being funded by Measure R, the sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 and is scheduled for completion in 2015.
Here’s the news release:
Metro today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will conduct a ventilation test on the Expo light rail line, inside the trench between Jefferson Boulevard at Flower Street and Expo Park/USC Station at Exposition Boulevard. The testing will continue Thursday, August 4, under the same schedule. Residents, pedestrians and motorists, should be aware that smoke may be visible at street level but it is odorless and not toxic.
Congress has finished up its work on the U.S. economy and is preparing to flee Washington for their summer recess, which some people — such as U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood — are calling a “vacation.”
One tiny little thing: Congress still hasn’t reauthorized the Federal Aviation Administration. Because the Crenshaw/LAX light rail project will pass near the south runway at LAX, the FAA is supposed to be reviewing the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (FEIS/R) for the project.
The 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. carpool and transitway closures begin Sunday night, Aug. 7 to accommodate the ExpressLanes project, which is converting the existing carpool lanes into toll lanes. The closures are scheduled to continue through Sept. 2012.
Several bus lines, including the Silver Line, will be impacted. Please note that the regular lanes will REMAIN OPEN.
Please keep in mind that carpoolers, buses, vanpools and motorcycles will still be allowed to use the lanes for free when the ExpressLanes open, scheduled for late 2012. Single motorists will be allowed to use the lanes for a toll — when there’s extra space in the lanes to sell. It’s part of a one-year project in partnership with the federal government to give congestion pricing a try.
The news release from Metro with more info on bus detours is after the jump.
I suspect one of the most interesting discussions at Thursday’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors will involve a non-Metro project: the California high-speed rail project between Anaheim and San Francisco.
County Mayor/Supervisor and Metro Board Vice Chairman Mike Antonovich has authored a motion asking the Board to support a high-speed rail route that travels through the Antelope Valley between L.A. and Bakersfield — with a station in Palmdale. That was, in fact, the plan for the state agency building the line. But earlier this year the agency — beset with funding woes — decided to reopen studies of an alternate route along the 5 freeway that would be shorter and cheaper to build.
It will be intriguing to see if the Metro Board at this stage wants to throw its weight behind a particular route, given that the entire high-speed rail project is in such a tenuous state. The 5 freeway corridor between Bakersfield and Santa Clarita has relatively few people living near it, whereas Lancaster and Palmdale have a combined population of about 300,000. The Antelope Valley also lacks Amtrak rail service and is presently a two-hour journey to L.A. Union Station via Metrolink.
Earlier this year, Antonovich and Board Member Ara Najarian authored a motion — approved by the Metro Board — asking Metro to work with Metrolink to develop a master plan to greatly speed up train trips to the Antelope Valley. It’s clear that Antonovich has concerns about keeping the northern part of his district connected to the rest of the state and metropolitan area. The motion – which also seeks to have a So Cal representative on the high-speed rail board — is below.
The Westside Subway Extension is a big, complicated project that has been discussed in Los Angeles in one form or another for the past 50 years. Planning for the current project got underway in 2007 and is now in the final environmental review stage.
The Source is launching a new series called “Subway Facts & History” to address some of the issues generating discussion involving the subway project. The facts below are based on information from Metro staff and consultants planning the project. The information, in various forms, has already been publicly released.
Part one of the series will look at what can be built above subway tunnels and stations since the subway does not travel exclusively under city streets. It’s an especially hot topic because one of the subway routes under study by Metro would require tunnels to travel under parts of the Beverly Hills High School campus.
•Current Metro subway tunnels run under numerous buildings that were there long before the subway was built. The slide below shows just one place where the current subway runs under private property.
•Metro must pay for an easement to tunnel beneath any property. Any impacts to future development of a property would be part of the easement negotiation. Here’s a property acquisition fact sheet with more information.
•The right-of-way for the tunnels would extend 10 feet from the top of the tunnel — not all the way to the surface. In other words, the easement prevents structures from being built within 10 feet of the top of the tunnels.
Metro is holding a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. today in the 1st floor conference room at the Caltrans building (1st and Main streets) to discuss the planning process and possible routes for the return of streetcar service in downtown Los Angeles.
Here is a link to a previous Source post about possible routes and below is a new two-page fact sheet on the project.
Some good news out of Washington today: Metro received word that $9.7 million in federal funding for the Wilshire bus lane project has been secured. The project, approved by the Metro Board of Directors this past spring, will add 7.7 miles of peak hour bus lanes to portions of Wilshire, mostly within the city of Los Angeles.
The $9.7 million is the first of two installments that Metro is expected to receive in $23.3 million of Very Small Starts funding, a program run by the Federal Transit Administration to help pay for transit projects. Attentive readers will recall there was concern during the project’s planning stages that shortening the lanes slightly could impact federal funding but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Construction of the lanes is expected to start next year, with an opening date scheduled for 2013. Here’s the news release from Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein:
Feinstein, Boxer Announce $9.7 Million for Bus Rapid Transit in Los Angeles
Will create dedicated bus lanes along Wilshire Boulevard
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) today announced a $9.7 million grant for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to enhance bus rapid transit on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
This award was the result of funding that Senator Feinstein secured in the fiscal year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.