Friends, Instagrammers, Metro riders, lend me your ears…

The “12 Days of Metro” Instagram scavenger hunt contest begins tomorrow at 8 a.m.!

The contest will run each weekday through Friday, Dec. 12. Here’s how it works: each weekday at 8 a.m. Metro will post a clue on its Instagram account.

  1. Follow @metrolosangeles on Instagram
  2. Solve the daily riddle, which will involve a location accessible by Metro
  3. Take a photo of your TAP card at that location
  4. Post it to your Instagram (make sure your profile is public!)
  5. Tag @metrolosangeles and #tapandsave

Submissions showing the correct location and tags will be entered to win the daily prize from some of Metro’s Destination Discounts partners! The contest will close at 6 p.m. each business day; submissions posted after 6 p.m. will not be included.

The daily winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Metro’s Instagram the following day. Prizes include theatre tickets, restaurant gift cards and more! Click here for the official contest rules, terms and conditions.

Final Update: Blue Line resuming normal service

Final Update 2:53 p.m.: The Blue Line is resuming normal service after earlier damage to overhead wires was repaired at 9th and Long Beach Boulevard in Long Beach. Bus shuttles have been cancelled between Anaheim St. and the Long Beach Loop, and trains resume regular service to all stations.

Delayed by Blue Line this morning and need delay verification for employer/school? Call Customer Relations 213.922.6235 / Fax 213.922.6988.

Metro thanks you for your patience as repairs were made as quickly as possible.


Metro speaks freely

Tired of sitting in traffic? Trying to save money? Interested in getting around our wonderful but traffic-clogged region more easily? The Metro Speakers Bureau can help.

The Speakers Bureau will provide free presentations throughout Los Angeles County on a variety of transportation topics, including jobs at Metro.

Please email us at metrospeaks@metro.net to book a speaker.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, December 4

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!

ART OF TRANSIT: Now that’s a well composed photo!

Silver Line coming to Tysons but don’t look for lots of new parking (Washington Post)

A garage at the Washington Metro's College Park station. Photo by Bossi, via Flickr creative commons.

A garage at the Washington Metro’s College Park station. Photo by Bossi, via Flickr creative commons.

The story is about the lack of giant parking garages at four new Washington Metro Silver Lane stations opening soon in Fairfax County, Virginia. Excerpt:

Parking garages — and the large surface parking lots that have long dominated the Tysons landscape and suburban Metro stations elsewhere — don’t fit with the new vision of an area seeking to swap its congested, car-centric image for that of an urban, pedestrian-friendly enclave.

And so Fairfax officials did not include parking garages at the four Silver Line stations in Tysons.

That decision has been cheered by “smart growth” advocates, but some residents are concerned that their streets will become de facto Metro parking lots. And some potential Silver Line riders — accustomed to driving to Metro stations to board their trains — wonder how they’ll get to the new rail line if they can’t drive.

“The plan did not originally include parking because there were advocates that claimed that having parking garages would draw cars into Tysons,” Fairfax County Supervisor John W. Foust (D-Dranesville) said. “In my opinion, those cars are coming anyway, and they’re going to be driving around looking for a place to park.”

We discussed the issue of parking at transit stations in a post yesterday about a motion to study expanding parking at the Red Line’s NoHo and Universal City stations.

Detroit to study removing freeway in favor of walkable street (Detroit Free Press)

The 375 freeway in Detroit. Photo by gab482 via Flickr creative commons.

The 375 freeway in Detroit. Photo by gab482 via Flickr creative commons.

The mile-long 375 freeway, which sits in a trench, would be converted to a surface street and sit at the same level of surrounding roads and buildings. The idea is to better connect neighborhoods to downtown Detroit but the plan may anger suburbanites who use the freeway to quickly zip into and out of Detroit proper.

Madrid’s big plan to swear off cars (The Atlantic Cities)

Traffic in Madrid in a photo taken last month. Photo by Grey World, via Flickr creative commons.

Traffic in Madrid in a photo taken last month. Photo by Grey World, via Flickr creative commons.

With much of Spain’s economy stuck in low gear, Madrid is updating its general plan to focus on revitalizing the central city. Excerpt:

So the plan calls for 24 major Madrid streets to be radically overhauled, with car lanes removed, bike lanes added and trees planted to make them cool and shady. A new hierarchy will be in place: pedestrians come first, then public transport, then bikes, then cars.

Overall, 66 percent of the affected street surface will be given over to people on foot. The irony is that before car-friendly policies reshaped central Madrid, many of these streets were just the sort of leafy, broad-sidewalked avenues the city wants, but they were remodeled to add extra motorist lanes.

Now chastened by years of fumes and grime, the city is coming full circle back to its old ways. The use of the word boulevard (“Bulevar” in Spanish) may suggest Parisian influence, but the real model seems to be La Rambla, the central pedestrian avenue in Madrid’s great rival city, Barcelona.

Will it work? As the article notes, the city’s last update didn’t really go anywhere and this one is likely to be met with skepticism and opposition. Nonetheless, can you imagine someone marching into L.A. and saying two-thirds of street surface will be given over to pedestrians — i.e. the same pedestrians who are often treated more as annoyances than as people?

Delta bumps passengers off flight and gives seats to college basketball team  (Gainesville Sun) 

When the University of Florida’s usual plane wasn’t available to them last weekend, Delta decided to use another plane. Another plane with paying passengers, who were given vouchers and booked on other flights. I know there’s a lot of good to be said for college sports, but at times — and often at its highest levels — it really just comes off as kind of a really, really skeezy enterprise.

Blue Line service between downtown Long Beach and Willow station suspended due to equipment failure

UPDATE: 1:41 p.m Repairs to the damaged equipment have been completed. Test trains are currently being run. Update to follow.

UPDATE: 6:41 a.m. Blue Line service has been suspended between Willow Station and downtown Long Beach. Metro is operating shuttle bus service between Willow Stations and downtown Long Beach to assist riders through the affected area. Long Beach Transit Bus 51 is also available.

There is regular service between Willow Station and 7th/Metro Center station in downtown Los Angeles.

At approximately 5:20 a.m. a southbound Blue Line train experienced equipment damage at 9th and Long Beach Boulevard in Long Beach. The overhead wires were severely damaged and will take several hours to repair.

For up to date information, please follow our twitter pages @MetroLosAngeles and @MetroLAAlerts.


Transportation headlines, Tuesday, December 3

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!

ART OF TRANSIT: Canada’s holiday train.

Metro North train sped at 82 mph ahead of curve in fatal crash (New York Times) 

The speed limit on the turn in the Bronx where the commuter train crashed is 30 miles per hour. Trains aren’t allowed to go faster than 70 miles per hour anywhere on the Hudson Valley Line. Yet, for some reason, the Metro North engineer didn’t hit the brakes until six seconds before the crash that killed four passengers and injured many others. The train’s brakes appear to have been in working order.

 A subsequent Times story says that the engineer’s cell phone doesn’t seem to indicate he was using it before the crash but that investigators are also looking to see if perhaps another device was being used.

Shifting gears: commuting aboard the L.A. bike trains (NPR)

Nice segment on All Things Considered about cycling groups that get together to help newbies navigate rides to and from work. The group is the “train” and the group leader is the “conductor.”

The meaning of #BlackFridayParking (Strong Towns) 

Blogger Charles Marohn asked his Twitter followers to send photos of empty parking lots last Friday. The followers didn’t have any problems finding unoccupied asphalt and concrete. Excerpt:

We literally can’t afford all of this unproductive space. When you look at the Big K and Jimmy’s Pizza we featured in last week’s post, the major difference in the financial productivity of the properties is the amount of land devoted to parking. Storing cars is very expensive. The only thing more expensive is building parking spaces to store cars and then have them never be used. What a waste!

Can you imagine Wal-Mart building an entire row of their store and then leaving the shelves empty? It would be ridiculous. Why then do we simply accept that large swaths of their land would be built upon for a use (parking) that literally never happens? We accept it because that is the price of entry, the cost of complying with local regulations.

This is an ultra-intelligent post that you should read. The big point here is that parking requirements favor big retailers who can afford the land needed for that kind of parking. Big costs also mean a higher barrier to entry for competitors while big parking lots guarantee that these kind of stores will be built, in many places, in the darkness on the edge of town that is away from city centers.

Go for a drive through small town America and see for yourself.

High-speed rail gets yellow light (San Francisco Chronicle)

A pair of court rulings in November will likely make it more difficult for the state’s bullet train project to get off the ground. As a result, columnist Dan Walters — who has long been skeptical of the project — calls on Gov. Jerry Brown to either kill the project or go back to voters with a more realistic plan.

The original bond measure that went to state voters in 2008 included a variety of requirements for the bullet train (in particular involving speed of travel) that have proven to be extremely expensive.

This Friday the 13th: Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones bring swing music to Union Station

A blast to the past at Union Station: WWII-era swing music. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones.

A blast to the past at Union Station: WWII-era swing music. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones.

Grab your dancing shoes and all your friends for a night of WWII-era swing music by Independent Shakespeare Co.’s Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones at historic Union Station on Friday, Dec. 13. The group will appear as part of Metro Presents‘ program of arts and entertainment at the iconic station. The performance will take place inside the former Fred Harvey Restaurant, a dramatic space that is usually closed to the public.

The performance is free to the public and open to all. No reservations are necessary.

Event Details:

Friday, December 13, 2013
Two 45-minute sets beginning at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m.
Union Station Fred Harvey Room
800 North Alameda St.

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Here’s a sample of Dr. Pinch and the Pinchtones in action:


“12 Days of Metro” Instagram scavenger hunt contest starts this Thursday

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Participate in the “12 Days of Metro” for a chance to win great prizes from some of Metro’s Destination Discounts partners!

The scavenger hunt begins on Thursday, Dec. 5, and will run each weekday through Friday, Dec. 12. Here’s how it works: each weekday at 8 a.m. Metro will post a clue on its Instagram account.

  1. Follow @metrolosangeles on Instagram
  2. Solve the daily riddle, which will involve a location accessible by Metro
  3. Take a photo of your TAP card at that location
  4. Post it to your Instagram (make sure your profile is public!)
  5. Tag @metrolosangeles and #tapandsave

Submissions showing the correct location and tags will be entered to win the daily prize! The contest will close at 6 p.m. each business day; submissions posted after 6 p.m. will not be included.

The daily winner will be chosen at random and will be announced on Metro’s Instagram the following day. Prizes include theatre tickets, restaurant gift cards and more! Click here for the official contest rules, terms and conditions.

Long-term full closure on South Firestone Boulevard begins Dec. 9

cal

Here’s the press release from Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will fully close South Firestone Boulevard in both directions from Rosecrans Avenue to just south of Silverbow Avenue  beginning on Monday, December 9 at 6 a.m. and continuing through April 2014.
The work involves  demolishing the existing roadway and reconstructing S. Firestone Boulevard and realigning the intersection of Bloomfield Avenue and Rosecrans Avenue.

Detours will be posted and digital portable message signs are in place to notify the motorists. Residents and emergency responders will have access at all times during the closure.  Noise will be experienced from back-up alarms, work crews and other related equipment and water trucks will be on-site and used to minimize dust during working hours.
Wednesday, December 4 – to prepare for the long-term closure on Dec. 9, crews will move cranes and equipment into the work zone during overnight hours.   The following streets and ramps will be fully closed overnight on Wed. Dec. 4:
Local Streets:
8 p.m. to 6 a.m. –  So. Firestone Blvd., from Bloomfield Ave. to Carmenita Rd.
-  Shoemaker Ave. from South Firestone Blvd.  to Excelsior Dr.
10 p.m. to 6 a.m. –  Eastbound Rosecrans Ave. from Bloomfield Ave. to No. Firestone Blvd.
Freeway Ramps:        
9 p.m. to 6 a.m.  -  Southbound I-5 on-and off-ramp at Rosecrans Ave.
-  Northbound I-5 off-ramp at Rosecrans Ave.
The work is part of the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) South Corridor Improvement Projects extending nearly seven miles in both directions from the Los Angeles/Orange County line to I-605 to widen the freeway, bridges and overcrossings and add one High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane and one general purpose lane.

The public is encouraged to sign-up to receive email notifications on freeway lane and ramp closures and local city street closures by calling the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Projects Toll-Free Hotline (855) 454-6335 or by visiting www.I-5info.com

Traffic Information:  For timely, accurate and accessible real-time traffic information:
Caltrans Quick Map http://quickmap.dot.ca.gov/  Caltrans Quick Map
Caltrans Lane Closure System:  www.lcswebreports.dot.ca.gov

Transportation headlines, Monday, December 2

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!

Ridership discrepancy calls Metro’s estimation method into question (L.A. Times)

The article ponders the difference between Metro’s traditional way of estimating ridership and new data generated by the latched turnstiles at entrances to Red and Purple Line stations. The traditional ridership estimates have been running significantly higher than the turnstile counts since gates begun to be latched in June.

Metro officials say that the turnstile data is preliminary and not yet complete enough to serve as a substitute for ridership data. As for ridership, officials say the traditional estimates seem to be capturing trends on the subway and that the methodology behind those estimates is approved by the Federal Transit Administration.

Speed is cited as possible cause of deadly train crash in the Bronx (New York Times) 

No official word yet on the cause of the Metro North commuter train derailment just north of Manhattan on Sunday morning that killed four passengers and critically injured 11.

The speed limit along the curved stretch of track next to the Hudson River is 30 miles per hour and officials suggested Monday that the train was going faster; no one knows why. The NYT quotes an anonymous source saying the engineer told emergency workers he had to quickly apply the brakes.

Metro North’s Hudson Valley Line remains closed. It has been a difficult year for Metro North; two of its trains on the New Haven Line collided in May, injuring 70, and a railroad worker was struck and killed by a train in late spring.

More states raise taxes to pay for transportation (Kansas City Star) 

With Congress log-jammed, states and local governments are increasingly willing to raise taxes to pay for transportation improvements. Conservative groups are grumbling and may challenge some of the tax hikes, but politicians from both parties are finding that improving infrastructure is popular with voters.

In other words, the closer the politicians live to the actual people and land they govern, the more responsive they are.

Why mass transit is doomed in America: politicians don’t know people who use it (Salon) 

Race, class, fear and shame: transit barriers (KCET)

Two good semi-related articles. At KCET, long-time transit rider D.J. Waldie looks at some recent studies and articles that suggest the so-called ‘car bias’ remains strong and is preventing people from trying transit — even when transit may save them time and money. The big problem, as Waldie writes, is that new policies are encouraging denser developments near transit which may end up housing people who still won’t take the bus or train. Hmmm. No, make that a double hmmm.

At Salon, writer Alex Pareene gets grumpy on the fact that politicians in New York — which should be the most transit-friendly state in the nation owing to the Big Apple — consistently find ways to steer money away from transit.

But it’s not just a New York problem, Pareene writes before delivering a big-time spanking to Minneapolis and Atlanta. And then he finishes up his article with this eternally glorious paragraph which made the Source smile and then smile again:

Just about the only place where there seems to be hope for mass transit in America is, bizarrely enough, Los Angeles, where the system is currently in the process of growing and improving. Why there, of all places? Maybe because while Los Angeles politicians are as unlikely to ride buses and trains as politicians anywhere else, they do have a personal stake in seeing other drivers get the hell off the road.