Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.
L.A. Philharmonic concerned about potential subway noise (L.A. Times)
The story reports on the ongoing process by Metro to protect the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Colburn School from any noise from Regional Connector trains that will pass under or near the buildings. Metro CEO Art Leahy told the Times that the Regional Connector is being designed to have zero net impact on acoustics at either building.
Two other points to add: Metro has hired Rick Talaske, a renowned acoustic engineering consultant, to assist with the Regional Connector project. And, the project will not go out to bid until appropriate sound levels for trains are determined. In other words, the construction firm or firms that wins the contract to build the Regional Connector will have to build the project to the sound standards mandated by Metro and agreed upon with both the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Colburn School.
Orange crush (ZevWeb)
Very good story on crowing on the Orange Line busway, particularly at peak hours. Excerpt:
While improvements are planned to handle the growth in ridership during off-peak hours, rush hour is a different story. One additional bus trip will be squeezed onto the back end of the peak traffic period but, after that, the agency is just about maxed out on how many buses it can run at a time. Among other issues, the line is constrained at intersections with north-south roadways, which are managed by the city of Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation.
“Running buses every 4 minutes during rush hour is the best we can do under the current traffic configuration,” Hillmer said. “The city is reluctant to go below the 4-minute frequency level.”
Jonathan Hui, a spokesman for the city agency, said it allows buses to pass through the intersections every two minutes, but they only get special priority—early or longer green lights—every four minutes. That preferential treatment is important to keep the line moving swiftly.
“Not everybody can get the green at the same time,” Hui said. “The Orange Line is obviously important, but so are drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists.”
The two agencies are currently working on a solution to the problem. Hillmer said possibilities include sending two buses in tandem through intersections, or shortening the length of the green lights the buses get, which could enable more of them to get through.
Is future baseline the baseline of the future? (Thomas Law Group)
A good look at the legal arguments in the Neighbors for Smart Rail versus Expo Line Construction Authority case made earlier this month before the California Supreme Court. In the case, Neighbors for Smart Rail (which wants the train to go underground in the Cheviot Hills and Rancho Park area) is challenging the EIR for the second phase of the Expo Line project, saying it was improper for the Construction Authority to use future traffic conditions as the baseline for determining the train’s impacts. The Authority argued using future conditions is a better way to gauge the real impacts.
According to the blog, four Justices seemed receptive to Neighbors for Smart Rail’s arguments, another Justice seemed to favor the Construction Authority’s stance and two other Justices didn’t say anything during the hearing. A ruling is expected within 90 days. With construction of the project underway, it remains to be seen if an unfavorable ruling would impact work — or whether the Court just wants to clarify how agencies should handle the baseline issue in future EIRs.