Metro to conduct rail safety exercise at Union Station subway platform June 29

Metro and the Los Angeles Sheriff and Fire Departments will be conducting a rail safety training exercise on Sunday, June 29, on the northeast corner of the Metro Red/Purple Line platform at Union Station. The exercise will last from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

The exercise area will be clearly marked and will not be open to the public. Metro train service will not be impacted by the exercise and subway trains will run on their normal Sunday schedule.

LASD announces arrest of assault suspect

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LASD Transit Policing Division Chief Ronene Anda announces arrest of assault suspect at Metro Headquarters.

Ronene Anda, chief of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Transit Policing Division, announced today the arrest of the suspect wanted in connection with multiple assaults on board Metro buses. The suspect was taken into custody without incident about 11:45 a.m. in Huntington Park. LASD will continue the investigation.

Metro would like to ask all customers to “See Something, Say Something” if they spot suspicious activities or persons on board Metro. You can report incidents via the Transit Watch LA app, available for both iPhone and Android, or call the Sheriff’s hotline at 1.888.950.SAFE or 323.563.5000.

Metro debuts new security video monitors on buses

Metro CEO Art Leahy showing the new security video screen on board a Metro bus. Photo: Paul Gonzales/Metro

Metro CEO Art Leahy showing the new security video screen on board a Metro bus. Photo: Paul Gonzales/Metro

As part of increased efforts to augment security and safety for Metro riders, video monitors are being installed on board some of the new buses that Metro has purchased and is putting into service. The monitors show live video from the buses on which they’re installed.

Two video monitors will display a live feed from already-installed security cameras. One view shows passengers boarding and the other is of the main bus compartment. Older buses may be retrofitted to include the video monitors at a later date.

MobileApp iPhone-ReportIt01Metro CEO Art Leahy, during his CEO report to the Board on Thursday, said the idea is to instill a bit of caution among passengers and potential troublemakers by reminding them that buses have security cameras.

Metro would also like to ask all customers to “See Something, Say Something” if they spot suspicious activities or persons on board Metro. You can report incidents via the Transit Watch LA app, available for both iPhone and Android, or call the Sheriff’s hotline at 1.888.950.SAFE or 323.563.5000.

Here comes the rain again…a few things to keep in mind please

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Above is the good word from the National Weather Service on the second storm that is supposed to blow through our area beginning tonight and into tomorrow.

A few things to keep in mind:

•It’s not exactly a secret some L.A. drivers pilot their cars like total idiots in wet weather. Please slow down and be mindful of slick roads and idiots.

•Same goes with Metro facilities. Slow down, don’t run around buses or trains.

•Try NOT to jab people with your umbrellas please! Ouchies!

•Customers riding the Metro Blue, Expo, Green, and Gold Lines during stormy weather may note that their train doors aren’t opening automatically. This is because trains may be operating in “passenger door release mode,” which means customers wishing to board or exit the train must press the illuminated, green buttons adjacent to the doors in order for the doors to open. The buttons can be found on both the interior and exterior of the train doors, and will only release the doors when lit up. “Passenger door release mode” helps minimize the intrusion of weather elements on board, improving customer comfort.

•Work planned for all our construction projects — Purple, Regional, Crenshaw, 405, Blue Line, etc.  – might be impacted or possibly deferred because of the rain.

Additional Metro track and maintenance personnel will be on standby to resolve any potential issues that may arise due to the storms. That being said, passengers should consider a cushion of extra travel time in their normal commute, in case of weather-related delays.

So, enjoy this week’s much-needed respite from a particularly dry winter, but please, be safe and alert in foul weather. To stay up-to-date on the status of your bus or train, follow Metro on Twitter at @metrolosangeles and @metroLAalerts, and be sure to check back here at The Source.

And keep in mind the big goal here — safety, safety and then a little more safety — is the same as the title of this song…


Jamzilla update #2, 5:40 p.m. Saturday

405Above is a look at traffic on the northbound 405 about 5:15 p.m. this afternoon according to Google maps. Motorists are experiencing some delays, but it’s not as bad as it could be if traffic was as heavy as usual.

Only two lanes remain open on the northbound side of the freeway through the Sepulveda Pass and a full closure of the northbound lanes is scheduled for tonight from 2 a.m. until 7 a.m. Sunday.

Because of traffic and safety concerns, both connectors from the 10 freeway to the northbound 405 will remain closed for the remainder of Jamzilla closures.

Again, the message remains the same: please avoid driving on the northbound side of the 405 through this holiday weekend. The freeway can only handle about a third of its normal traffic load when only two lanes are open. Click here to see the full schedule of closures this weekend.

Repaving work remains on schedule. The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project is providing frequent updates on its Twitter feed. The project is adding a northbound HOV lane to the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways to match the existing lane on the southbound side of the freeway.

A few photos of work are below:

New — and very, very blunt — safety video from New York MTA

The video debuted last month and is hardly New York specific. Stay off the tracks, people.

I also think it’s interesting in that it’s yet another very blunt safety video to come forth, a list that includes Werner Herzog’s “From One Second to the Next” on the dangers of texting and driving to the “Dumb Ways to Die” video from Australia on rail safety.

Suspect arrested in fatal stabbing on Red Line last week

Here is the news release issued earlier by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the stabbing death of an adult male at 9:20 AM on Monday, January 13, 2014, on the Metro Red Line at the Vermont/Santa Monica Station, 1015 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.

Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators have arrested a suspect for the January 13th murder of Mr. Velasco-Alvarado (MH/34), which occurred on the Metro Red Line rail.

Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators received an anonymous tip which enabled them to establish the identity of the suspect and determine the location of his residence. On Friday, January 17th, investigators executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in North Hollywood, where they arrested Suspect Angelo Correia (M/B-25) for Mr. Velasco-Alvarado’s murder.
Suspect Correia was booked at West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station and is being held in lieu of one million dollars bail.

The case will be presented to the District Attorney’s office on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Sheriff’s Department news release on Monday’s fatal stabbing on the Red Line; help sought from the public

Here is the latest from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the fatal stabbing Monday and which patrols Metro buses and trains:

(Update) Stabbing Death Investigation, Metro Red Line Vermont Station – 9:20AM, Mon, Jan.13

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the stabbing death of an adult male at 9:20 AM on Monday, January 13, 2014, on the Metro Red Line at the Vermont/Santa Monica Station, 1015 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.

Detectives have learned that Sheriff’s Metro Transit Services Bureau deputies responded to a call of a stabbing victim. The victim was reportedly sitting in a seat on the train as it approached the train station. The suspect approached the victim and stabbed him one time before exiting the train and fleeing the train station.

The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead at 6:36 PM. The victim has been identified as 34 year-old Los Angeles resident, Jose Velasco-Alvarado.

The suspect who is described as a male African-American in his early 20’s, and the weapon, are still outstanding. This is an on-going investigation.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Officials have noted that incidents of serious crime on their system is comparatively very low vs. the amount of Metro Riders. Their statistics show a .30 Part I Crimes (Robberies, Rapes, Assaults, other serious Felonies) per 100,000 passenger boardings. Also noting that there have been 2 homicides in the 20 year history of the subway in Los Angeles, and Metro Rail Lines have safely carried over a 1 billion patrons during that same time period.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.

Jamzilla is coming: Unprecedented 80-hour paving operation planned for northbound 405 Presidents’ Day weekend

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Northbound traffic on the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass will be greatly curtailed President’s Day weekend. Avoid the area if you can. Photo by Jonathan Poh, via Flickr creative commons.

Los Angeles transportation officials are alerting I-405 and regional freeway motorists of an unprecedented 80-hour northbound I-405 freeway lane closure operation in the Sepulveda Pass this Presidents’ Day weekend, February 14 to 18, 2014.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in conjunction with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), and a host of law enforcement and emergency response agencies throughout L.A. County are giving the public advance notice that if they do not have a critical need to travel northbound through West Los Angeles and the Sepulveda Pass during the Presidents’ Day three-day weekend, they should eliminate unnecessary auto trips, avoid the area and/or divert to other freeways to avoid major traffic delays.

Traffic conditions on local streets and freeways within the region of Los Angeles County and beyond could become severe, with significant, hours-long delays if motorists do not cooperate with authorities and limit northbound freeway trips.

Motorists who must travel during this weekend are advised to prepare their itineraries in advance, monitor real-time traffic conditions prior to beginning their trips and follow alternate routes that are provided. Motorists will be continually informed of the closure in advance by Caltrans-operated freeway message signs.

The I-405 contractor will be paving a major segment of the future northbound I-405 High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane in the Sepulveda Pass. The work is considered key to meeting the project’s scheduled completion date of 2014.

Work over the Presidents’ Day weekend will eliminate the need for several consecutive 55-hour freeway closures from the project schedule. This closure operation will save significant time and minimize future closure impacts to the community and traveling public.

The closure operation consists of a partial day-time lane reduction and a full night-time directional freeway closure on the northbound I-405 between Getty Center Drive and Ventura Boulevard.  The closure area is approximately 5.6 miles long, or nearly two-thirds of the entire I-405 project area.

During daytime hours, two northbound lanes will remain open while the remaining three lanes will be closed.  During night-time hours, all five northbound freeway lanes in this area will be closed.

The southbound I-405 will remain fully open during the day, but some southbound lanes may be closed during night-time only paving operations.

Work is scheduled to begin Friday night, February 14 starting at 11 p.m. and will last until Tuesday, February 18 at 6 a.m.

Ramps within the project area will begin to close as early as 7 p.m. Traffic officers provided by LADOT will help guide motorists at each I-405 northbound on-ramp.

Full northbound night-time freeway closure times are as follows:

  • Friday night, February 14 – 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Saturday night, February 15 - 2 a.m. to 7 a.m.
  • Sunday night, February 16 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Monday night, February 17 – 12 a.m. to 5 a.m.

The designated alternative route for night-time full closures will be for motorists to take the Wilshire northbound to westbound off-ramp to northbound Sepulveda Boulevard, returning to northbound I-405 at the Greenleaf northbound on-ramp.

Sepulveda Boulevard also will be fully open with two lanes in each direction during the paving operation.  However, Sepulveda Boulevard will not have the capacity to accommodate all diverted northbound freeway traffic, and could become severely congested. Freeway motorists should instead divert to other freeway routes.

I-10 connectors to the northbound I-405 also will be closed. Motorists detouring from the closed I-10 connectors should use freeway detour routes rather than local streets.

The connector detour routes will be as follows:

  • For eastbound I-10 to northbound I-405 – use northbound I-110, northbound US 101, to northbound I-405.
  • For westbound I-10 to northbound I-405 – use northbound I-5, westbound SR 134, northbound US 101, to northbound I-405.

The construction schedule is subject to change, and paving work is dependent on favorable weather conditions. In the event of inclement weather during the 80-hour closure, the project will commence continuous 55-hour weekend closures of the northbound freeway starting the following weekend, February 21 for up to four weekends to complete the originally intended work.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements project has now concluded most major freeway widening work between the I-10 and U.S. 101. The contractor is now building the future northbound HOV lane that will connect West Los Angeles with the San Fernando Valley.

The project will officially complete the last remaining gap in the entire I-405 lane network.  Additional project benefits include improved freeway safety through standardized lane and shoulder widths, greater ramp capacities at key locations, new sound and retaining walls, widened overpasses, widened and seismically updated bridges.

The project is a joint effort between Metro and Caltrans, and is being constructed by Kiewit Infrastructure West Co.

Why Gold Line service in Pasadena was disrupted this morning

Photo: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Photo: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

The above object — a lock shaped like a hand grenade — was spotted on the Gold Line tracks just west of the Sierra Madre Villa station in Pasadena about 10:20 a.m. The Gold Line between Sierra Madre Villa and Allen stations was subsequently shut down so the device could be investigated and removed by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Arsons/Explosives Unit.

Regular service on the Gold Line has resumed.

Which brings us to the PSA part of this post: If you see something, say something. The Sheriff’s Department can be reached in an emergency by phoning 888.950.SAFE (7233); if you use the Metro system, please put this number in your cell phone’s contact list.

The LASD also has a smartphone app that can be used to report problems in non-emergencies.