Transportation headlines, Monday, May 12

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

Growing ranks of bicyclists still just one percent of L.A. commuters (City News Service)

The article is based on the new report from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition released today. Excerpt:

Motorized, solo commutes — via car, truck or van — is still easily the most common way to get to work in Los Angeles, with 77.3 percent of the 1.7 million local workers traveling an average of 29.2 minutes to get to work, according to survey results announced last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Just 1 percent of all commuters in Los Angeles city commute to work on bikes, which is above the national average of 0.6 percent, according to data collected from the census’s 2008-2012 American Community Survey.

This is compared with 11.1 percent of workers who use public transportation and the 3.7 percent who walk to work.

But bicycling is on the rise, according to the census’s report, “Modes Less Traveled — Bicycling and Walking to Work in the United States: 2008- 2012.” The report notes that the national rate of bicycle commuting has seen “a larger increase than that of any other commuting mode.”

The Census numbers are certainly interesting and the reporter was smart to include them for context. One thing I find interesting is that even in the big bike towns such as Portland, the Census Bureau shows no more than 3.3 percent about six percent of commuters as riding bikes to work.

While commuting is important, I think it overlooks the power of bicycling to affect change. While many people may not bike to work for a variety of reasons, they can still bike to other destinations instead of driving. Bikes can be perfect for running short errands and other types of trips (going to the gym!) that add a lot of miles to peoples cars while chewing up a lot of fuel.

In other words, what matters most is getting out of your car occasionally and walking, taking transit and biking — all good ways to help ease traffic, lower greenhouse gas emissions and get your backside in motion. :)

Related: here is coverage of this morning’s Bike Week L.A. Kick-off at Union Station.

Build the Sepulveda Pass train tunnel (L.A. Times letters) 

VICA Board Chairman Coby King writes the Times, saying the $20-billion price tag for the Sepulveda Pass tunnel is for a project that would run from LAX to the northern San Fernando Valley. A simple rail tunnel under the pass to connect Westwood and the San Fernando Valley would cost $5 billion to $7 billion based on Metro information, King writes. The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project — which is set to receive $1 billion in Measure R funds — has been discussed as part of the race to replace termed-out Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky.

L.A Designer: Michael Lejeune, making Metro ‘cool’ (KCRW)

A nice interview with Metro’s creative director, whose group created the marketing campaign that got a lot of people (including me) noticing Metro. Excerpt:

ML: So at my interview for the job 12 years ago I asked what is the goal for Metro and they said, Metro is not on anybody’s radar, or if it is, it’s a negative story in the local press. Our goal is really simple, we need to make Metro cool.

And that is the perfect creative reason for this job. It’s not about false cool. LA is cool, it is the place you can come and be your best, coolest self, it is that place and it has always been that place.

Now Metro is reinventing itself. We are into bikes and sponsoring cicLAvia and helping to bring Bikeshare to LA; we’ve opened up to really fulfill our destiny about being all mobility, buses and highways and bikes and walking.

But our philosophy has been that you can’t make Metro cool if you can’t get Metro to be noticed. We thought, we are not going to simply show a photo of a bus or train, but rather present a more colorful version of getting around LA that’s focused on people and possibility.

 

End of the line for Metro North’s bar car (New York Times) 

The bar car — where commuters could buy drinks — on Metro North trains was retired on Friday. While some riders mourn the loss of a Happy Hour on rails, agency officials say the tradition’s time has passed, citing DWI laws and changing norms.

City eyes BRT to speed up MTA rides (New York Daily News) 

The New York MTA is studying the idea of full-time bus lanes in Brooklyn and Queens to shave about 25 percent off bus travel times. New York has six bus lines with BRT-like aspects (off-bus boarding), but buses still often find themselves stuck in regular traffic. Los Angeles, btw, is listed as one of the places with BRT, a reference to Metro’s Orange Line.

 

Video: Bike Week L.A. kicks off with new bicycle ridership report

This morning at Union Station officials kicked off “Bike Week L.A.” a week-long effort this week to encourage people to bicycle as a way to commute to work and for recreation. See full details of Bike Week L.A. here. 

Los Angeles City Councilman and Metro Board Member Mike Bonin joined with the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition to announce the results of the LACBC’s biannual survey of bicycle riding. The report found that bicycle riding in the City of Los Angeles has increased 7.5 percent since 2011. The count also found that:

  • The busiest time for bicycling is the evening commute period, suggesting that most people are riding for transportation.
  • People strongly prefer riding on dedicated facilities like bike paths and bike lanes over streets with no bicycle facilities.
  • Fewer than one in five bicyclists are female while female ridership is highest on bike paths and bike lanes, suggesting that the lack of safe and comfortable facilities is causing a gender disparity among bicyclists.
  • Bike lanes improve bicyclist behavior, cutting sidewalk riding in half compared to streets without and reducing wrong-way riding as well.
  • This report shows that as ridership continues to grow in Los Angeles, not everyone feels safe riding without better bicycle facilities.

Download the full report here.

 

Temple City to host Rosemead Boulevard Grand Opening Festival on May 10

Photo: C.I.C.L.E.

Photo: C.I.C.L.E.

Join Temple City in celebrating the completion of the Rosemead Boulevard Safety Enhancements and Beautification Project this Saturday, May 10, at the Grand Opening Festival. The community event will take place on the southbound lanes of Rosemead Boulevard between Las Tunas Drive and Broadway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Activities include a scavenger hunt, public art walking tours, raffle prizes, interactive exhibits and more.

It’s also where Metro will kick off Bike Week L.A. with the Old Roots, New Routes Temple City Bike Ride led by C.I.C.L.E. and Eastside Bike Club. The ride leaves at 11 a.m. and will head down L.A. County’s newest cycle tracks.

The Rosemead Boulevard Safety Enhancements and Beautification Project was funded $2.25 million through Metro’s 2011 Call for Projects. For the full press release from Temple City, keep reading after the jump.

Continue reading

Northbound 405 full freeway closure overnight next Monday through Thursday

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is planning to conduct overnight closure of the northbound I-405 freeway between Getty Center Drive and Greenleaf Street in the overnight hours Monday night, May 12 to Tuesday morning, May 13; Tuesday night to Wednesday morning, May 14; Wednesday night to Thursday morning, May 15 and Thursday night through Friday morning, May 16. The closure will facilitate permanent striping of general purpose lanes and electrical, drainage, concrete barrier and k-rail removal work.

 

Schedule:

  • Night of Monday, May 12, midnight to 5am, Tuesday, May 13
  • Night of Tuesday, May 13, midnight to 5am, Wednesday, May 14
  • Night of Wednesday, May 14, midnight to 5am, Thursday, May 15
  • Night of Thursday, May 15, midnight to 5am, Friday, May 16

Ramps begin closing as early as 7 p.m. on the nights of each operation and lanes begin closing at 10 p.m. on the night of each operation.

 

Closures during all nights:

  • Northbound Sunset Boulevard on-ramp
  • Northbound Moraga Drive on-ramp
  • Northbound Getty Center Drive on-ramp
  • Northbound Skirball Center Drive on-and-off-ramps
  • Northbound I-405 to the north US 101 connector

Detour Routes:

Detour for the NB I-405 Moraga Drive to Greenleaf Street closure: Take the    northbound Moraga Drive off-ramp, head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf Street.

Detour for NB I-405 Wilshire Boulevard to Greenleaf Street closure:

Take the northbound off-ramp to eastbound Wilshire Boulevard, head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf Street.


Transportation headlines, Friday, May 9

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

LAX takes steps to alleviate traffic in what could be a record-setting year (Los Angeles Newspaper Group) 

The airport is on track to break its record of 67.3 million passengers in a year, set in 2000. The article looks at discussions by the Board of Airport Commissioners earlier this week on numerous future improvements that are being studied, including the automated people mover and a consolidated rental car facility that would be a mile east of the airport. The people mover would also stop at a transit hub where passengers could be picked up and dropped off — and would also connect to Metro light rail (precisely where is under study as part of the Airport Metro Connector project). The hub would reduce the number of private vehicles entering the Central Terminal Area horseshoe while the rental car facility would eliminate the need for the bus shuttles chronically circling the airport.

As reporter Brian Sumers notes, there are still environmental reviews to be done and it could be years before construction begins on anything. If you don’t feel like fighting traffic to the airport, I strongly recommend trying the LAX Flyaway bus that runs from four locations — Union Station, the Expo Line’s La Brea station, Westwood and Van Nuys — to the LAX terminals for one-way fares between $8 and $10.

Beverly Hill Unified’s legal fight against Metro against Purple Line paid for with school construction bonds (L.A. Register)

The school district has spent between $3.1 million and $4.1 million in its lawsuits against Metro and the Federal Transit Administration challenging the environmental documents and route for the Purple Line Extension project, which will go under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus. District officials say it was necessary to spend the money from Measure E bond school improvement program to preserve the ability to build underground on the campus, whereas Metro has said that the subway tunnels won’t be in the way of any planned structures.

Beverly Hills Councilman Willie Brien says it’s time to drop the fight against the subway route and focus on mitigations and protections for the campus. A Superior Court judge in March ruled in favor of Metro in the BHUSD and city of Beverly Hills’ state lawsuit against Metro. A lawsuit by both the district and city against the Federal Transit Administration is pending.

Next section of high-speed rail route approved while state waits for bond sale appeal (Associated Press) 

The California High-Speed Rail Authority on Wednesday voted unanimously to approve the 20,000-page environmental document detailing the route and mitigations for 114 miles of track between Fresno and Bakersfield. The Board had previously selected the route for a much shorter stretch between Fresno and Madera. Excerpt:

The environmental document includes plans to address air quality during construction, add green space to compensate for damaged habitat and prevent the spread of the highly contagious fungal disease known as Valley fever. The complex review is required to comply with state and federal environmental laws and has been in the works since 2011.

Disturbing native soils is thought to be one way to spread the fungus that causes Valley fever, thus the reason it was studied. The route approval is a big step for the project, although the sale of state bonds to fund construction is on hold due to a lawsuit challenging whether the project as approved matches promises made to voters in 2008.

The Authority still must approve the environmental studies that outline how the train would travel between Bakersfield and Los Angeles. The route under study would involve tunneling under Tehachapi Pass and then would roughly follow the tracks that parallel the 14 freeway through the Antelope Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains before reaching the San Fernando Valley.

Northbound 405 weekend full freeway closure modified for Saturday night

Here is the construction notice:

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is planning to conduct overnight closure of the northbound I-405 freeway between Moraga Drive and Greenleaf Street in the overnight hours tonight, May 7, through Saturday morning, May 10, and Sunday night, May 11, through Monday morning, May 12.

However, the closure will be lengthened on Saturday through Sunday morning to include the area between Wilshire Boulevard to Greenleaf Street. The closure will facilitate permanent striping of general purpose lanes and electrical, drainage, concrete barrier and k-rail removal work.

Schedule:

  • Night of Friday, May 9, 1 a.m. to 6 a.m., Saturday, May 10
  • Night of Saturday, May 10, 2 a.m. to 7 a.m., Sunday, May 11
  • Night of Sunday, May 11, midnight to 5 a.m., Monday, May 12

Ramps begin closing as early as 7 p.m. on the nights of each operation and lanes begin closing at 10 p.m. on the night of each operation.

 Ramp Closures:

  • Northbound on-ramp from eastbound Wilshire Boulevard
  • Northbound on-ramp from Santa Monica Bl (only during the full directional closure on Saturday, May 10 to Sunday, May 11 )
  • Northbound on-ramp from westbound Wilshire Boulevard
  • Northbound Sunset Boulevard to on-ramp
  • Northbound Moraga Drive on-ramp
  • Northbound Getty Center Drive on-ramp
  • Northbound Skirball Center Drive on-ramp
  • Northbound I-405 to the north US 101 connector

Detour Routes:

Detour for the NB I-405 Moraga Drive to Greenleaf Street closure: Take the northbound Moraga Drive off-ramp, head north on Sepulveda Bl to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf St.

Detour for NB I-405 Wilshire Boulevard to Greenleaf Street closure:

Take the northbound off-ramp to eastbound Wilshire Boulevard, head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf Street.

710 freeway/westbound Ocean Blvd connector at Port of Long Beach to close for 30 months starting May 10

The project fact sheet is shared on The Source here. Here’s the full press release from the project team:

When the southbound I-710 (Long Beach) Freeway connector to westbound Ocean Boulevard closes for 30 months starting Saturday, May 10, multiple measures will be in place to enforce safe driving along the detour route, as well as urge motorists to consider alternate routes.
Officials today reminded commuters and truck drivers headed to the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, as well as all Southern California motorists, about the long-term closure and detour that are needed in order to demolish and rebuild the connector ramp as part of the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement Project.
“We have spent the past several months preparing for this closure and have made key improvements to ensure a smooth flow of traffic along the detour route,” said John Pope, Port of Long Beach Community Relations Manager. “However, we recognize that closing this connector may cause some impacts, and we encourage motorists to use alternate routes if they have the option.”
About half of the vehicles currently using this connector ramp are traveling to the Port of Los Angeles, officials said. When the connector closes, southbound I-710 traffic heading to Terminal Island will be diverted briefly onto southbound Pico Avenue, then to an on-ramp that joins westbound Ocean Boulevard to cross the Gerald Desmond Bridge. Trucks and other vehicles whose destination is beyond the Port of Long Beach are being asked to consider using the I-110 (Harbor) Freeway, SR-47 or other alternate routes to avoid the surface street detour.
To accommodate traffic along the quarter-mile detour, the Port of Long Beach made several improvements in advance of the closure, including:
· Widening the Pico Avenue off-ramp from the southbound I-710 Freeway to install two “free” right-turn lanes of traffic onto southbound Pico Avenue. (Free right turn lanes at signalized intersections can accommodate more vehicles and improve the level of service.)
· Widening and restriping Pico Avenue to create a third southbound lane.
· Installing a traffic signal at the intersection of Pico Avenue and Pier D Street to replace a four-way stop and improve traffic flow.
The Port of Long Beach has partnered with Caltrans, California Highway Patrol, Long Beach Police Department and other organizations to put measures in place to keep traffic moving. As a precaution, the Port has scheduled extra coverage from CHP, Long Beach Police and Harbor Patrol to make sure vehicles are entering the detour route at safe speeds and proceeding safely through the construction zone. Heavy-duty tow trucks will be on standby to quickly remove broken-down trucks and clear accident scenes.
Demolishing the ramp will require a future, short-term closure of southbound Harbor Scenic Drive, which passes under the connector. Southbound Harbor Scenic Drive is the primary route from the I-710 Freeway to Piers F-J, the Queen Mary, the cruise terminal and south waterfront hotels. Southbound Harbor Scenic Drive is scheduled to close at 5 p.m. Friday, May 23, and reopen by 6 a.m. Tuesday, May 27. To access these areas during the Memorial Day weekend, the detour route is the southbound I-710 Freeway onto southbound Pico Avenue to Harbor Plaza West. However, Long Beach visitors heading via the southbound I-710 to the Queen Mary, cruise terminal, and hotels are encouraged to use the “Downtown Long Beach” exit and Shoreline Drive.
Demolition of the I-710 Freeway/Ocean Boulevard connector ramp is required to lay the foundations of the new bridge replacing the existing Gerald Desmond Bridge, and to build a new southbound I-710 Freeway connector ramp. The new bridge will be constructed just north of the existing structure.
The public is encouraged to sign up at www.newgdbridge.com for weekly traffic alerts and download the “LB Bridge” mobile app from the App Store, Google Play or the Windows Store. The alerts and app inform motorists about construction-related detours and provide project updates.