County Supervisor Don Knabe at the event this morning. Photo by Anna Chen/Metro.
Los Angeles County and Metro Board Member Don Knabe will join local law enforcement officials, Metro executives and local businesses Thursday morning to unveil a multimedia awareness campaign aimed at informing the public about the heinous crime of child sex trafficking.
A Metro bus operator was allegedly shot and killed by a passenger on Sunday morning shortly after leaving a bus layover for the 105 line at Santa Monica Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard in West Hollywood. The operator, who was 51 and a five-year veteran of Metro, was transported to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead at approximately 9:30 a.m.
His identity has not been released.
At the scene, Metro CEO Art Leahy told media that this was a highly unusual incident and that his chief concern was for the welfare of the operator’s family, as well as the Metro family of bus operators. He could not recall a fatal shooting of a bus operator at Metro or at the Southern California Rapid Transit District.
Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Capt. Mike Parker said this morning that a suspect has been detained.
Adding a northbound carpool lane may be the most known part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. But the project will also rebuild the Wilshire Boulevard ramps to and from the 405 to eliminate a conflict on both sides of the freeway in which traffic trying to enter the freeway gets tangled with vehicles trying to exit to Wilshire.
Here are an overview of the ramp work on the project home page and two renderings show what the project aims to do. There is also a good story on ZevWeb, the website for County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky.
Click above for a larger rendering of the new Wilshire ramps to be built.
The news release announcing the beginning of construction follows:
Advance Notice Motorist Travel Advisory 90-Day Closure of Two I-405 Freeway Ramps at Wilshire Boulevard Planned Beginning June 22, 2012
Los Angeles, Calif. – Plan Ahead, Adjust Travel Times, or Share the Ride. That’s the new message public officials are advising motorists in the greater West Los Angeles region to help reduce severe congestion resulting from the first extended, 90-day closures of key Wilshire on- and off-ramps to the I-405 now scheduled to officially begin Friday, June 22, 2012.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), Caltrans and Los Angeles Department of Transportation are giving the public advance notice that the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor must begin demolishing and reconstructing eight heavily traveled freeway ramps at Wilshire Boulevard in order to complete the construction project schedule. This single interchange is where one of the nation’s busiest boulevards meets the nation’s busiest freeway, where tens of thousands of freeway-bound motorists travel on a daily basis.
Demolition and reconstruction of the Wilshire ramps is required to build a 10-mile carpool lane on the northbound I-405 between the I-10 and U.S. 101.
Ninety-day closures for the first two Wilshire Boulevard ramps are as follows:
•Westbound Wilshire on-ramp to the Northbound I-405. Detour: Motorists should travel northbound on Sepulveda Boulevard to access the Moraga on-ramp or travel southbound on Sepulveda to access the Santa Monica Boulevard on-ramp.
•Northbound I-405 off-ramp to Westbound Wilshire. Detour: Motorists should exit freeway using Santa Monica off-ramp, then proceed northbound on Sepulveda to Wilshire Boulevard. Other alternatives include the off-ramp at Sunset Boulevard.
Traffic control officers were deployed to ensure vehicular safety during the busway testing.
Metro Orange Line Extension testing is now in its third week. Buses continue to run intermittently on their very own dedicated right-of-way between Canoga Station and the Chatsworth Metrolink/Amtrak Station.
Metro reminds motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to watch out for buses as they pass intersections to ensure a safe operation. (see this previous Source post). The extension is still on track for a June 2012 opening.
See Damien Newton’s post on Streetsblog, including video here.
Here are a few photos from the testing now in progress:
Metro Liner arrives at the Southbound Roscoe Station.
Rail Fleet Services team oversee the rail car overhaul program at the Metro Blue Line maintenance facility. From left, Brian Rydell, Nick Madanat, Russell Homan. Photos by Gary Leonard.
The hefty Metro Blue Line rail cars make a hard day’s run between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles, running the 22-mile stop-and-go course to the tune of 87,000 trips a year, 1.7 million service miles and 26 million boardings. Although the rail cars of the Blue Line’s original fleet are not slowing down — some have been running for two decades now – the cars are in the midst of a comprehensive overhaul of rail car components and systems that impact safety and reliability and appearance.
In the works for more than a year now, the $30-million rail car overhaul program will enhance and extend the revenue service life through the projected 30-year life span of the cars.
Fresh out of the paint shop, this rail car is refurbished inside and out.
The work is being done in the cavernous vehicle maintenance buildings of the Blue Line rail yard in Long Beach. Scores of maintenance specialists are poring over rail cars that pull in and out of the rail yard pit stops. With only six years to accomplish the overhaul, the tasks are handled one set of components at a time — in a fashion that keeps the overhaul process moving while providing cars for service each day.
Late last week, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $ 3.7 million to fund safety enhancements to one of Metrolink’s busiest crossings, the Broadway/Brazil crossing in Glendale.
“Approximately a hundred trains and thousands of cars travel through this intersection every day. This funding will be used to enhance safety at one of the region’s busiest crossings,” said Glendale City Councilman and Metrolink Board Member Ara Najarian. “Working with cities such as Glendale and Los Angeles, this is part of Metrolink’s initiative to upgrade rail crossings across its system to create a sealed corridor of safety.”
The enhancements are designed to improve safety at the crossing by adding warning devices and barriers that make it difficult for drivers or pedestrians to circumvent gate arms when a train is approaching. Enhancements include additional exit and pedestrian gates, new raised median islands, flashing signals and right of way security gates. Rail signals will also be interconnected with traffic signals to further pre-empt a sequence that ensures the two systems work together to direct safe movements among vehicles, pedestrians and trains.
These funds come from the Highway-Railroad Crossing Safety Account (HRCSA), approved by voters as Proposition 1B for the completion of high-priority rail safety projects. Work on this crossing is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2012 and be complete by the third quarter of 2013.
Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 19th year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the seventh largest based on annual ridership.
Starting at about 8 a.m. this morning, Saturday, 2/4, there will be another emergency drill along the new Metro Expo light rail line — this one inside the tunnel/trench between Jefferson Boulevard/Flower Street and Exposition Boulevard, just east of Trousdale Parkway near the Expo Park/USC Station. This drill will simulate a fire in the line’s tunnel/ trench area.
Again, this is one of several drills that need to be conducted in preparation for the opening of the new Expo light-rail line. Metro conducts emergency drills on new and existing rail lines throughout the year in an effort to better coordinate response times and communications with Metro Rail staff and emergency responders.
Sheriff’s Deputies and Los Angeles Police Department officers this morning participated in a traffic enforcement operation on about seven-mile stretch of the Blue Line from the Florence station to Artesia.
It’s in a section of the Blue Line in which trains run at speeds up to 55 miles per hour and where it’s especially critical that pedestrians and motorists obey all safety rules near the tracks.
Metro Deputy CEO Paul Taylor speaks at the Blue Line safety event this morning.
The crackdown focused on illegal left turn violators, jaywalkers and distracted motorists among other safety violations — 314 citations were issued between 7:50 a.m. and 11 a.m. The operation is part of an ongoing effort to educate and remind drives and pedestrians about safety along the Blue Line corridor. One way to drive home that message is to issue citations to flagrant violators who do not pay attention to the numerous rail warning signs, flashing lights, crossing arms, bells and train horns.
The minimum fine for these citations is $100.
Metro’s emphasis on educating the public and making engineering improvements and enforcing the law has sharply reduced overall accidents on the Blue Line, particularly collisions between trains and cars and trucks. However, pedestrians and motorists who aren’t paying attention to warning signals and signs or engaged in other risky behavior such as jaywalking across the tracks are an ongoing concern for Metro because the public shares responsibility for their safety.
Here is video from the event:
Here are the links to our March 2010 four-part series on Blue Line safety: