Here’s the item from Metro CEO Art Leahy’s daily email to staff yesterday:
Today [Thursday], a conservative group of House Republicans unveiled a legislative proposal that seeks to cut more than $2.5 trillion from the Federal Budget over the coming decade. The plan, released by the chairman of the Republican Study Group, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), would primarily target cutting non-defense appropriations programs. These programs would include, but not be limited to, transportation programs like the Federal New Starts program. Over the past several decades, our agency has secured billions of dollars in New Starts funds for projects like the Metro Red Line and the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension. Currently, our agency is seeking New Starts funds for the Regional Connector and the Westside Subway Extension. As outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) discretionary New Starts program is the federal government’s primary financial resource for supporting locally-planned, implemented, and operated transit “guideway” capital investments. From heavy to light rail, from commuter rail to bus rapid transit systems, the FTA’s New Starts program has helped to make possible hundreds of new or extended transit fixed guideway systems across the country. These rail and bus investments, in turn, have improved the mobility of millions of Americans; have helped to reduce congestion and improve air quality in the areas they serve; and have fostered the development of viable, safer, and more livable communities.
The Republican Study Committee is a group of over 165 House Republicans organized for the purpose of advancing a conservative social and economic agenda in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Lynn Capouya cannot resist picking up trash in an area she will soon be landscaping. Sunset Dr Bridge spans the I-405 behind her.
Long before she became a landscape architect, decades before she landscaped schools, ports, airports and parks, Lynn Capouya gathered discarded Christmas trees.
“I was five or six,” she explains, “And I thought they were so beautiful. I went through my neighborhood and dragged them back to my house. It was all about the ‘color.’ My work is still all about the color.”
For Capouya and her team, however, finding that color does not necessarily mean creating lush gardens and sweeping lawns and towering foliage.
Just as important might be devising a planting scheme that avoids distracting drivers or avoids the threat of fire blight or requires little maintenance. These were major concerns for Capouya and her team as they developed the landscaping design for the widened I-405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.
Complicating her task, some of the areas that contained trees will now be too narrow for them. Some sidewalks that featured trees will now have extensive utilities under them, restricting the space for tree roots. Some large trees will be replaced with smaller trees, because of their greater chance of survival.
“We design the open spaces between and around facilities,” says Capouya. And the results of that work are not apparent immediately. “We want the environment to look better over time.” Continue reading
Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Chairman Don Knabe leads transportation panel at Cerritos Library. From left, Metro CEO Art Leahy, Lakewood City Councilwoman Diane Dubois, Santa Monica City Councilwoman Pam O'Connor, FTA / FHWA team leader Ray Tellis, and Metro staff members Raffi Hamparian, Michael Turner, Doug Failing and Renee Berlin. Photo by Juan Ocampo
Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Chairman Don Knabe brought the “State of Transportation” Wednesday to a group of civic leaders from the Gateway Cities and South Bay regions of Los Angeles County at the Cerritos Library.
The confab took transportation on the road, detailing highway, rail and other transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County, with a special emphasis on projects within the Gateway Cites and South Bay regions and state and federal funding expectations for the next year.
Cerritos May Joseph Cho welcomed Metro Board Chairman Don Knabe, Directors Pam O’Connor and Diane Dubois; Ray Tellis, Team Leader, joint FTA and FHWA Los Angeles Metropolitan Office; and Metro CEO Art Leahy and his staff, who provided status reports on Measure R, highway and transit projects and alerts on pending issues in Sacramento and Washington, D.C.
In this relatively new feature for The Source, I express actual opinions while working for government. Members of the media: please take any of these ideas and run with them — we could use the coverage!
1. I think it’s good news to hear that Caltrans is beginning scoping work on how to improve the rail corridor between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, much of which is single track. The fact that it takes 2.5 hours to travel 95 miles by train from Union Station to Santa Barbara says a lot about — and not much good — about the state of our passenger rail system in California.
2. One of the most interesting points I’ve read in the ongoing debate about the effectiveness of President Obama’s first term was in the New York Time’s profile of new Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who was previously Denver’s mayor. Hickenlooper’s main point was that Obama should have focused first on infrastructure. Excerpt:
But he did go on to question one aspect of the Obama presidency — in order, tellingly, to make clear that he values consensus over a crusade. “Rather than going to health care first, I would have gone, I think, to transportation infrastructure,” Hickenlooper said, explaining that he noticed through his work with the U.S. Conference of Mayors that the issue had moved from a Democratic preoccupation to a more bipartisan one. “Here’s something everybody cares about. Maybe we focus on that to build bridges.” Was the double entendre deliberate?
“I think the Obama administration,” he added, “saw a higher need to make history.” Continue reading
Refined Alignment for Regional Connector
Metro has made some new refinements to the proposed alignment for the Regional Connector project through Little Tokyo. The aim is to bring down costs and lessen construction impacts in the area.
The proposed change would essentially eliminate the sharp curves the light rail alignment was going to use to meet up with the Metro Gold Line at 1st and Alameda. Metro staff will brief the Little Tokyo Business Improvement District on Thursday. On Wednesday, Metro presented the changes to the Little Tokyo Community Council Transit Committee in order to receive feedback.
Metro’s project team says the refined route would avoid a storm drain on 2nd Street, avoid the Office Depot property and most of the businesses businesses facing Central Avenue. The refinements would also mean the elimination of having cut and cover construction along 2nd Street within the Little Tokyo community. These were key concerns raised by the Little Tokyo stakeholders during the draft environmental study process. Continue reading
Here’s the news from Metro CEO Art Leahy’s daily email to staff:
Today, a major milestone was reached with the ExpressLanes Project with the issuance of the Notice to Proceed to Atkinson Contractors, LP. The Contractor was competitively selected to design-build-operate-and–maintain (DBOM) the ExpressLanes Demonstration Project. The Atkinson team includes AECOM for design and ACS Inc for tolling integration. This is the first DBOM contract in the history of the agency.
We have established and the Contractor has made a commitment to a Contract Goal for the participation of Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprise firms of 16.2% of the total contract price.
The ExpressLanes project is converting the existing carpool lanes on parts of the 10 and 110 freeways to HOT lanes in which variable tolls will be used to improve speeds and allow single-occupant motorists to buy time in the lanes. People who currently carpool, vanpool or take buses that use the existing carpool lanes will continue to do so for free. More details are on the project’s website.
The public meetings begin on Wednesday night for a planned segment of the Gold Line that would run from Azusa to Montclair in the San Gabriel Valley. Details are after the jump.
The Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority — an independent agency from Metro — has said it will begin construction of the Pasadena-to-Azusa segment of the line this year. That segment is funded by Measure R, the sales tax increase approved by county voters in 2008. The segment from Azusa to Montclair is listed in the first tier of “strategic unfunded” projects in Metro’s long-range plan. Continue reading
In this 1960 photograph, Sepulveda Bl snakes north toward Mulholland Dr Bridge. The earth embankment below the bridge was moved for the freeway. Photograph Courtesy of California Department of Transportation.
On Monday, April 4, 1960, the same day the 1959 Academy Awards were held at RKO’s Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, Peter Kiewit Sons Co. completed a bridge across the Sepulveda Pass.
Mulholland Dr Bridge nears completion. The San Diego Freeway will come approximately two years later. Photograph Courtesy of California Department of Transportation.
Ben Hur, still considered a landmark film, won the Best Picture award that year. The new Mulholland Drive Bridge received fewer headlines. After all, the bridge overlooked an undeveloped canyon. No freeway ran beneath it. No rapid route between West Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley existed.
Now renamed Kiewit Infrastructure West, the contractor that built Mulholland Drive Bridge will be demolishing it. The San Diego Freeway that carried 100,000 vehicles per day at Olympic Bl in 1965 now carries more than 300,000 vehicles each workday, making it one of the busiest freeways in the United States.
The Sepulveda Pass I-405 Improvements Project will add a high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane to a 10-mile stretch of the northbound freeway, creating the nation’s longest continuous HOV corridor, continuing a long tradition of channeling vehicles through the Sepulveda Pass to join Los Angeles with its northwestern neighborhoods.
It is a long history. Continue reading
Ronald Llanos speaks with Saskia Siebrand, Creative & Technical Director, Mosaika Art & Deisgn about his work for Expo/Western Station.
Ronald Llanos describes himself as a visual journalist. “My images are inspired by people and by the places I travel to or frequent,” he says.
Ron collects drawings in a sketchbook while people watching in a café or walking through Los Angeles neighborhoods. He creates thousands of quick sketches of people engaging in city life: talking with friends, walking past businesses carrying shopping bags, pushing a baby carriage or talking on a cell phone. These vignettes become the subject matter for zines – small self-published magazines that tell a story about a particular place at a moment in time. You can see more of Ronald’s images and follow his blog here.
Ronald Llanos shares pages of his sketchbook documenting his urban adventures.
In preparing the artwork designs for the Expo/Western Station, Ronald spent time filling his sketchbook with drawings of people and activities he observed around the station area. He then mapped the art panels at the platforms to unfold like the pages of an open book. A series of 16 watercolor paintings describe scenes from the local neighborhood.
Ronald’s watercolor paintings have a fresh, spontaneous quality to them. The task of translating his translucent washes of color into a hard, permanent material was a challenge. Artisans at Mosaika Art & Design traced Ronald’s designs onto ceramic tile and added thin layers of glaze to preserve the feel of the artist’s hand in the work. Next the work was fired, cut into small pieces and placed within the panels.
Hand glazed art tiles are cut into small pieces then placed within the art panels.
Speaking about the artwork for Expo/Western Station Ronald says, “I feel that if I search within myself for that which I find interesting about the places and people of those areas, I might be able to communicate with people across time.”
Art panels in process at Mosaika's shop.
Art panel depicting neighborhood teens.
More ‘Art for Expo Line’:
Metro will be holding community update meetings January 24 through 31 for the Westside Subway Extension Project, currently going through its Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR) planning phase.
Metro will provide members of the public with background on Project planning to date, detail what community members can expect during the Final EIS/EIR phase and provide an overview of the anticipated subway construction process.
The public can participate in any of the three community update meetings. Content for all three meetings will be identical:
- Monday, January 24, 6-8 p.m., LACMA West – Terrace Room, 5th Floor, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Served by Metro Lines 20, 720, 217 & 780. Validated vehicle parking is available in the Museum’s 6th Street underground garage. Enter from 6th and Ogden. Spanish & Korean translation will be provided.
- Wednesday, January 26, 6-8 p.m., Westwood United Methodist Church – Fellowship Hall, 3rd Floor, 10497 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90024. Served by Metro Line 20. Free parking is available below Belmont Village, the building east of the Sanctuary. From Wilshire Blvd., use the Belmont Village driveway and proceed under the overhang to the underground parking lot. Park on levels P2, P3 or P4 and take the church elevator in the southwest corner of the parking lot. There will be signs to direct public to the meeting room. Spanish translation will be provided. Metro will also offer a live webcast of this meeting that you can view from any computer simply by going to metro.net/westside.
- Monday, January 31, 6-8 p.m., Roxbury Park – Auditorium, 471 S. Roxbury Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Served by Metro Line 28 and Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 5. Metered lot and street parking is available. Spanish translation will be provided.
The final environmental review and preliminary engineering phase is scheduled to last approximately one year and is a precursor to final design and construction based on project funding.