This short video of an Expo Line train at the La Brea aerial station popped up on YouTube yesterday. Enjoy!
One of the big Measure R projects moving toward construction is the Crenshaw/LAX Line, a light rail project that will run from the intersection of Exposition and Crenshaw boulevards south through Inglewood to a connection with the Green Line near Los Angeles International Airport.
In April, County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas submitted a motion that asked: 1) an additional station be added to the line in Leimert Park Village at Crenshaw and Vernon Avenue, and; 2) the section of the line between 48th and 59th streets through Park Mesa Heights should run underground instead of at street level because of safety concerns.
In late April, Ridley-Thomas sent a nine-page letter to Metro CEO Art Leahy requesting again those changes to the line be made, seeking more information about the line and suggesting possible funding sources for the changes. Leahy has responded in a lengthy letter that defends the project as it is currently being planned.
Here are both letters together in a single pdf document.
The motion is scheduled to be considered by the full Metro Board of Directors at their meeting this Thursday. I expect it to be a lengthy discussion, to say the least. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is already deep into the planning process – Metro staff are working toward finishing the project’s final environmental impact statement this summer — and any changes need to be made sooner rather than later.
Here’s the latest from the Expo Line Construction Authority:
Here’s the item from Metro CEO Art Leahy’s daily email to staff:
We successfully concluded the traffic simulation being conducted at three East Los Angeles intersections located along the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension. The six days of testing began on Wednesday, May 11, 2011. The traffic simulation modified the traffic signals at selected intersections along the Gold Line to simulate gating along the alignment. All signals went to an “all red” signal phase when Metro Gold Line trains were detected to simulate the train pre-emption timing that would occur following installation of rail crossing gates. The primary purpose of the simulation was to identify the potential changes that would occur with Metro Gold Line train operations as well as impacts to motorist, pedestrian traffic and emergency response operations in the corridor.
Our Planning, Operations, Community Relations and Corporate Safety team members worked in close coordination with the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to conduct the simulation. A final report of the simulation findings will be prepared in the coming weeks. The report will be distributed internally and submitted to the California Public Utilities Commission.
A 7.7-mile Wilshire Boulevard peak hour bus plane project was endorsed on Wednesday afternoon by the Metro Board of Directors’ planning committee by a vote of 5 to 0. It is the same route recommended by Metro staff.
The route — shown above — includes a 2.3-mile segment west of Beverly Hills in the Brentwood area and 5.4 miles of Wilshire east of Beverly Hills. A segment of about one-mile between Selby and Comstock avenues in Westwood was excluded. (Here’s more info on all the alternatives).
The five yes votes on Wednesday came from Board members Diane DuBois, John Fasana, Richard Katz, Pam O’Connor and Zev Yaroslavsky.
The full 13-member Board of Directors will consider the same issue at their meeting on Thursday, May 26, when the Board is asked to approve the final environmental report for a project that has been talked about since the 1990s.
In the lobby of the historic Los Angeles Theater, nearly 100 Angelenos participated in a workshop last night to learn about the proposed downtown L.A. streetcar project. Those who attended were also given the opportunity to make official public comments as part of the “scoping” process, during which planners will sketch out the basic parameters of the project.
Metro staff members began the meeting by bringing the audience up to speed on a project whose conceptual roots go back to the mid-1990s. In short, Metro was brought on last year to head up the environmental planning process on behalf of the city of Los Angeles and the non-profit Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc., which are working to secure funding for the $125-million dollar project.
In March 2011, the City of L.A. and its Community Redevelopment Agency allocated seed money — including funds from the city’s Measure R local return funds — to pay for preliminary engineering, continued community outreach and other planning work.
The Wilshire bus lanes project has been in the planning stages for quite some time and still needs the final approval of Metro’s Board of Directors, the L.A. City Council and the Board of Supervisors before construction can begin.
The Metro Board is scheduled to consider the bus lanes as part of its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 26. As a prelude, the Board’s Planning Committee will take up the issue at its meeting tomorrow (May 18) at noon at Metro headquarters.
The big thing remaining to be settled? The exact location of the peak-hour bus lanes. A comparison of three alternatives that have been studied is above — the focus of the Board will likely be on alternatives A-1 and A-2. The above chart also appears in this helpful PowerPoint on the bus lanes prepared by Metro staff.
Metro staff recently released a revised final environmental study of the project with a recommendation for 7.7 miles of bus lanes. It’s essentially the same project as proposed in the previous study except that, at the direction of the Metro Board, this study evaluated dropping the one mile of bus lanes between Comstock and Selby avenues in Westwood because of community opposition to the lanes there. Some community members said they feared losing one of three general purpose traffic lanes in each direction to a bus lane, saying it would have too great a harm on traffic.
The Santa Monica City Council last week signed off on a slew of bus service changes to improve the efficiency of the city’s municipal bus operations and improve connections with Metro Rail.
Travelers to and from the Westside will benefit from increased service, larger buses and a Metro Rail connection on the popular Rapid 7 line that runs mostly on Pico Boulevard. Instead of the line ending at Rimpau Terminal — as it does now – the Rapid 7 will make a stop there before continuing up Crenshaw Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard, then heading east to the Wilshire/Western Purple Line station. Continue reading
A scoping meeting to discuss returning streetcar service to downtown Los Angeles will be held from 4 to 7: 30 p.m. today at the Los Angeles Theatre in downtown at 615 South Broadway.
The big point of the meeting is to discuss and suggest possible routes for the project, which still needs to be funded in order to be built. As far as routes go, nothing has been decided yet — this is the start of the formal environmental review process. Downtown L.A. covers an enormous area and I hope a wide variety of ideas are discussed and refined for further study.
For tons more info about the project, visit the L.A. Streetcar website. The streetcar is a city of Los Angeles project but Metro is overseeing the environmental review aspect of the project.
With the news that the 405 freeway in the Sepulveda Pass will be entirely closed the weekend of July 16-17 to tear down the southside of the Mulholland Bridge, the Metro team working on the project sent over more details about the bridge:
The Mulholland Drive Bridge will be the third bridge demolished and reconstructed to accommodate the widening of the I-405 freeway and to add a high-occupancy vehicle lane through the Sepulveda Pass. The Mulholland Drive Bridge is scheduled to be demolished and reconstructed after the Skirball Center Drive Bridge. When completed, the expanded and seismically enhanced Mulholland Center Drive Bridge will be widened by approximately 10 feet.
Demolition activities will take place over a weekend for 53 consecutive hours, resulting in the full freeway closure of the I-405 freeway. The Mulholland Drive Bridge and both directions of the I-405 freeway will be closed roughly between US 101 freeway to the Getty Center Drive ramps. Some intermittent closures of the Mulholland Drive Bridge will occur during the preparation for bridge demolition and bridge reconstruction. Access will always be provided for emergency responders.