Here’s the update from the Expo Line Construction Authority:
Free rides on the subway will be offered by Metro to help area residents move around the region when the 405 freeway is shut down over the Sepulveda Pass on the weekend of July 15 to 17, agency officials said Friday.
In addition, Metro plans to run frequent weekday service on all its rail lines and the Orange Line busway that weekend. More buses will be running on key streets, including Ventura Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Boulevard and Fairfax Avenue. Only the subway will be free — regular fares will apply on other rail lines and Metro buses.
The Red Line subway offers a vital link between North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley and downtown Los Angeles. Subway passengers can transfer from Red Line subway stations to bus service on major east-west streets to reach the Westside.
The 405 is being shut down for 53 hours that weekend for the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge over the freeway. The bridge is being rebuilt both wider and seismically stronger as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project that is adding a northbound carpool lane to the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways and making numerous other fixes.
Metro, Caltrans and law enforcement officials are encouraging motorists to plan ahead for alternative routes, avoid the area or stay home. There is expected to be severe congestion throughout the area. More details are on this news release.
County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky — who is also a Metro Board Member — has a blunt post on the closure on his website. Excerpt:
Obviously, the best way to steer clear of the aggravation zone and reduce congestion is to stay home that weekend or make plans in the neighborhood, like catching a movie at the local theater. If you’re supposed to work, try to change your schedule, take a couple vacation days or telecommute.
If you must hit the road, chart a course using the region’s many other freeways. You may end up driving more miles, but I guarantee you’ll get to your destination faster than by gambling on 405 detours that could leave you stuck for hours.
For those of you who think you can outsmart this potential mother of all traffic jams, my advice is simple: save your gas. After representing the San Fernando Valley and Westside for more than three decades as a Los Angeles city councilman and county supervisor, I know virtually every shortcut in those parts—and none will work because of the sheer volume of vehicles being taken off the freeway.
A news conference on the closure will be held Monday morning. We’ll provide coverage at The Source and I am taking an educated guess that there will be a considerable media presence.
The latest detour maps for motorists are posted after the jump.
The Los Angeles Chapter of the Urban Land Institute held a conference in Pasadena on Thursday to discuss transit-oriented development in the greater-L.A. area.
The aim of the conference was to figure out a way to put more development around transit hubs. It’s a strategy embraced in many places to promote alternatives to driving and provide housing closer to jobs.
There is also evidence it’s already taking hold here in Los Angeles County. Thousands of units of new housing near transit have sprouted in North Hollywood, Hollywood, Koreatown, Long Beach, downtown Los Angeles and Pasadena in recent years. That said, there are many places along the Metro Rail system where there has been little or no development.
Metro played a big role at the conference because it’s involved in building transit-oriented developments on land it owns near rail and bus stops.
One panel’s topic was: “Where is the ‘T’ in TOD? What is the status of major projects in Los Angeles County.”
The Measure R sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008 included three key projects for the San Fernando Valley:
•The Orange Line busway extension from Canoga Park to the Chatsworth Metrolink station, which is under construction and scheduled for completion in 2012.
•A transit project to connect the Westside to the Valley via the Sepulveda Pass. Measure R has more than $1 billion set aside for this project, but studies to define the project have yet to begin.
•A project to speed up bus travel on four north-south streets in the Valley: Reseda Boulevard, Sepulveda Boulevard, Van Nuys Boulevard and Lankershim Blvd./San Fernando Road.
As for the last one, here’s a new report from Metro staff to the Metro Board of Directors about progress so far. The gist of it: there’s one environmental study being done for the Van Nuys Boulevard part of the project and another study now underway for the remaining three streets.
As you are hopefully aware by now, the 405 freeway will be closed between the 10 and 101 freeways — in other words, over the Sepulveda Pass — from the evening of Friday, July 15, until the early morning of Monday, July 18.
The freeway is being shut down for the partial demolition of the Mulholland Bridge as part of the work needed to widen the freeway as part of the I-405/Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. Among the improvements: building a northbound carpool lane over the pass, updating on- and off-ramps and rebuilding bridges across the freeway to better handle traffic and earthquakes.
Here’s the most recent press release, issued late last week. The message, in short: plan ahead, avoid the area or stay home. There is expected to be severe congestion throughout the area.
Which leads me to an email we recently received from someone who lives in the Santa Clarita area. In short, this person said their family was going on vacation to Northern California and planning on returning Saturday, July 17.
The specific question: Would traffic on the southbound 5 freeway be backed up all the way to Santa Clarita and beyond to the point that the family couldn’t reach their home or would be stuck on the freeway for hours trying to do so?
Here’s the notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the agency building the line that Metro will eventually operate:
Here is the news release issued today by LAPD, LAFD, CHP, LADOT, Metro and Caltrans:
Countdown to the Closure: Extended 53-Hour Closure of I-405 Freeway Between U.S. 101 and I-10 Planned in Mid-July for Mulholland Bridge Demolition Work
Los Angeles, Calif. – Plan Ahead, Avoid The Area, Or Stay Home. That’s the message public safety officials are sending to the public in anticipation of a planned 10-mile, 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway between the U.S. 101 and I-10 on the weekend of July 16-17, 2011 for planned demolition work on the Mulholland Bridge, part of a major I-405 improvement project.
The Los Angeles Police Department, Los Angeles Fire Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, Metro and Caltrans are informing the public in advance that if they do not have a critical need to be in or near the vicinity of the closure, they are being asked to avoid the area.
The specific freeway closure boundaries are as follows:
- Northbound I-405: 10-mile closure between I-10 and U.S. 101
- Southbound I-405: 4-mile closure between U.S. 101 and Getty Center Drive Ramps
Motorists who must travel through the Los Angeles metropolitan area are advised to use alternate freeways within the region, including the 5, 15, 23, 55, 57, 101, 118, 126, 210, 605 and 710 freeways to bypass the impacted area. In addition, public transportation options are available such as the Metro Rail service within L.A. County and Metrolink servicing the five county Southern California region. Additional alternate route information will be made available on the project web site at www.metro.net/405.
Two loose ends from today’s Board of Directors meeting:
•The Board approved rolling passes for TAP cards — meaning that weekly and monthly passes will be good seven and 30 days from the time they’re purchased instead of being tied to the calendar. Metro’s target date to begin such sales is Aug. 1. Staff report
•The Board also approved plan to distribute transponders for the ExpressLanes congestion pricing project on parts of the 10 and 110 freeways. The big to-do in this item is that transponders will be available through AAA, making it easier for motorists to get them. Earlier Source post
In the sixth hour of their monthly meeting on Thursday, the Metro Board just approved a $4.145 billion budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
It’s the largest budget in the agency’s history, mostly due to money being spent on the construction and planning of Measure R transit and road projects approved as part of the half-penny sales tax increase in 2008.
Here is the press release from Metro:
The budget will keep Metro fares at current levels, however, the Metro Board today approved lowering the cost of the Metro day pass from $6 down to $5 for a one year test starting Aug. 1 to help attract commuters and others squeezed by rising gas prices.
In FY 12 Metro will trim some unproductive bus lines that were either underutilized or that duplicate service operated by Metro, the municipal bus operators or by the expanding Metro Rail system. Trains are being tested for the first phase of the Expo light rail line that will run from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City past USC. An opening date has not yet been announced but it should be soon.
Metro CEO Art Leahy stressed that Metro is not skimping on maintenance or on street supervision and is focused on improving on time performance, equipment reliability and cleanliness. He also said he is positioning the agency to strategically add service where it’s needed and to give commuters and others more incentives to beat the high price of gas. Service is being added to the Silver Line express bus service from the South Bay into downtown Los Angeles, the Metro Gold Line and the Metro Red Line subway. In addition, Metro will be adding service on selected bus lines to ease overcrowding.
The Metro Board of Directors voted Thursday to add an underground station in the heart of Leimert Park Village as part of the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line — but on one big condition. The station would only be built if funds, estimated at about $131 million, can be secured.
The money could potentially come from a variety of sources, the most likely being lowered construction costs. In essence, the Board agreed that the project must stay within a budget of $1.715 billion with or without a Leimert Park Village station at Vernon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard.
The 9 to 3 vote for an amendment by Board Member Richard Katz ended a five-hour debate on an issue prompted originally by a motion by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas — a member of the Metro Board — that sought the new station.
Ironically, Ridley-Thomas ended up voting against the motion, saying he wanted stronger language to ensure the station gets built. “We know what we need to do to move forward to ensure we have a credible project at the end of the day,” an obviously disappointed Ridley-Thomas told the audience after the votes. Board Members Mike Antonovich and John Fasana also voted against the motion.
In particular, the Board asked that the station be included when construction firms bid to build the project. The hope is that the winning bid can find a way to get the station done within the project’s budget — or, at the very least, an underground box where a station can be added at a later date.
If neither is possible, the motion recommends that a street level station be built at 48th Street — two blocks south of Vernon — and that non-Metro funding be found to build it.