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.

Caltrans memorial honors 183 fallen highway workers and reminds motorists to slow for the cone

Caltrans held a memorial ceremony yesterday to honor fallen highway workers and remind motorists to always slow for the cone and move over when driving through a work area. The full press release from Caltrans is below:

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) employees and guests gathered at a maintenance station in Whittier for a Workers’ Memorial event to recognize and remember District 7 workers killed on the job.

Statewide, Caltrans has lost 183 employees since 1921, when the Department began keeping records of such fatalities.  Of the 183, 32 of the workers were from District 7, covering Los Angeles and Ventura counties.  The district’s last work related fatality occurred in 2005.

Last year in Northern California, Shawn Baker, 50, of Weed, and Joseph “Robert” Jones, 40, of Montague, died in April 2013 while working on a rock scaling operation to stabilize a hillside on State Route 96, west of Yreka. Their deaths ended a two-year stretch without a highway maintenance worker fatality.  Several District 7 workers perform similar duties along state highways throughout the year as well.


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Transportation headlines, Thursday, May 8

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! 

New contract guarantees a series of raises for some Metro workers (L.A. Times) 

Metro and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 127 have approved a new contract that will provide three percent annual raises for about 2,300 maintenance workers for the next four years. The new contract will cost Metro roughly $36 million with agency officials saying that it’s important to retain and fairly pay the skilled workers who keep buses and trains moving each day. Union officials say the contract is fair but that workers are still paid less than their counterparts in New York and Chicago.

Sexual harassment makes nearly 20 percent of riders feel unsafe (L.A. Times) 

The story concerns a question asked in Metro’s annual Customer Survey that was released this week. Excerpt:

The sexual harassment question was prompted, in part, by a national discussion about safety on public transit that followed a fatal gang rape on a New Delhi bus in 2012, Boberg said. A study by London’s transit agency the following year found that 15% of women riding transit there had experienced “unwanted sexual behavior,” but 90% of them had not reported it, according to the Guardian

Metro staff members who read stories online about such data realized they had very little comparable information, Boberg said, and decided to add the question to the most recent passenger survey. He added that Los Angles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his transportation staff also indicated they were interested.

One of the biggest surprises in the data was that men reported feeling unsafe because of sexual behavior nearly as often as women, Boberg said About 18% of women felt unsafe, as opposed to 16% of men.

Obviously, Metro takes this issue seriously and, as a Metro spokesman notes in the article, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department has increased patrols on Metro buses in addition to deputies that patrol Metro Rail trains and stations. Metro asked the question on the survey to better discern the number of actual incidents versus perception of the problem.

Here are some key statistics. According to the LASD, there were 103 sex crimes including one rape on Metro buses and trains that was reported in 2013. Metro Customer Relations has received seven sexual harassment complaints in the past three years. Metro had 478.1 million boardings on its buses and trains in 2013.

Agency officials stressed this to me today: Metro takes seriously the perception that people feel unsafe for any reason. Sexual harassment is obviously a societal issue that also exists beyond the bounds of transit and Metro wants to stay ahead of the curve. The agency encourages anyone to let the bus operator, LASD deputies or any Metro personnel know if they feel harassed or threatened. On trains, passengers can use emergency intercoms located on rail cars and in rail stations. All bus and rail passengers can report problems via the TransitWatchLA app for smart phones or contact Metro Customer Relations by calling 323.GO.METRO (323.466.3876), emailing customerrelations@metro.net or filling out the online form.

As we noted, harassment is certainly an issue beyond transit in Los Angeles County. For some helpful context, sexual harassment on transit received some attention a few years ago in New York when a survey by the then Manhattan borough president at the time suggested that harassment on the New York subway system was extremely widespread. Here’s a New York Times article about a New York City Council meeting on the issue in 2009 with some statistics and anecdotal quotes.

Breathing uneasy: living along the 710 freeway corridor (KCET)

The article looks at a project being studied by Caltrans and Metro to improve traffic along the southern stretch of the 710 freeway between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the 60 freeway (where much of the freight traffic begins to head east). As noted in this news release, alternatives include widening the 710 freeway up to 10 lanes (five in each direction), modernizing and reconfiguring the I-405, SR-91 and a portion of the I-5 interchanges with the I-710; modernizing and reconfiguring most local arterial interchanges along the I-710 and looking at a provision of a separate four-lane freight corridor to be used by conventional or zero-emission trucks. Some nearby community members want to see more traffic diverted from the freeway, better transit and bike paths along the 710 corridor and the zero emission corridor come to fruition. Click here to visit the study’s home page.

How I learned to stop worrying and love the train (The Poston Report)

Writing on his personal blog, L.A. Times reporter Ben Poston reports on the evolution of his commute over the past couple of years. He used to bike to work in DTLA, but got tired of being hit by cars. He then went back to driving — and wrote about it — but took a lot of heat from readers who said he should either stick with biking or try something else.

And the something else? Excerpt:

Since I started riding the Metro two months ago, I haven’t looked back. It’s now my preferred mode of travel and I only drive when my job requires it.

With gas prices typically at more than $4 a gallon, I know that I’m saving serious cash every month, not to mention the wear and tear on my car.

Though I have to leave earlier than before, I’m enjoying the slower pace of transit commuting. During my 20-minute morning walk from my apartment to the Red Line stop I usually stream National Public Radio or listen to music on my smart phone.

I read magazines and newspapers on the train, which is relaxing. It’s also nice to walk among my fellow Angelenos instead of being isolated in my car bubble. The best part is the ride home: I don’t have to sit in traffic or deal with it at all, which is much less stressful.

So that’s it. My LA commuting sage is over. I’m taking the train as often as possible and enjoying it. I’d encourage anyone else to give it a try.

Metro tweets trash Ducks: is this the start of a new hockey tradition? (L.A. Register) 

The new L.A. Register asks whether it’s appropriate for government agencies to support the home team and tweet about sports, using Metro’s tweets (read: my tweets) about the Kings and the Stanley Cup Playoffs as an example. One attorney interviewed says that a pre-Game 7 tweet I wrote about the Sharks that included a chart on the Heimlich Maneuver may not have been appropriate. I obviously disagree. The Sharks’ lousy playoff record speaks for itself and the Kings, in fact, overcame a three games to zero deficit to win the series. As for the bigger question about why tweet about sports? Well, the Kings have had a Destinations Discount deal with Metro in the past, many Kings fans take Metro to games at Staples Center (using Pico Station shared by the Blue and Expo lines) and who says that everything government says has to be boring?

Mileage tax for California drivers proposed in State Senate (Mercury News) 

The article — picked up from the Los Angeles Newspaper Group — looks at SB 1077 by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) that would allow a pilot program for a device to be used to track mileage in cars and then tax the motorist based on miles driven. Motorists are currently taxed in California by paying 5.9 cents per gallon for fuel. Proponents of a by-the-mile tax say it would more accurately tax motorists for the true cost of driving by taxing those who use road space the most. 




Bridge work to close Wilshire Boulevard near 405

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is planning to conduct overnight closure of Wilshire Boulevard from Sepulveda Boulevard to Bonsall Avenue Thursday, May 8 from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Friday, May 9 and Friday night from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. Saturday May 10. The closure will facilitate girder painting at the southbound off-ramp to eastbound Wilshire Boulevard

This operation requires the following closures:

  • Thursday, May 8th- Westbound Wilshire Boulevard fully closed from Sepulveda Boulevard to Bonsall Avenue from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
  • Friday, May 9th- Eastbound Wilshire Boulevard fully closed from Sepulveda Boulevard to Bonsall Avenue from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

For a listing of daily closures and latest updates visit our website at www.metro.net/405 or follow us on twitter: www.twitter.com/I_405 and Facebook at www.facebook.com/405project.

Northbound 405 Full Freeway Closure Between Moraga Drive and Greenleaf Street Planned Tonight through Sunday

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 Sunday May 11. The closure will facilitate permanent striping of general purpose lanes and electrical, drainage, concrete barrier and k-rail removal work.



  • Night of Wednesday, May 7, midnight to 5 a.m., Thursday, May 8
  • Night of Thursday, May 8, midnight to 5 a.m., Friday, May 9
  • 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 1

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 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


Take the northbound Moraga Drive off-ramp, head north on Sepulveda Bl to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf St.


Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 7

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! 

Just a reminder, there’s a reason they haven’t begun digging the 710 tunnel (Streetsblog L.A.) 

The foremost reasons are that the environmental review process is still far from complete and the more expensive alternatives under study for the SR-710 project — in particular a tunnel or light rail line — are not fully funded. But Streetsblog editor Damien Newton says the real reason is lack of any kind of broad-based support for such a project. He also takes another shot at tonight’s Zocalo Public Square forum on the 710, intimating that it will be a Metro-sponsored rally for 710 expansion although conceding that “it’s possible that tonight’s discussion will take a different turn.” One correction: The event at MOCA in downtown L.A. is free and is near the Red/Purple Line’s Civic Center station and numerous Metro bus lines. It’s only $9 for those who choose to drive and to park at Disney Hall.

MTA may have tough time getting federal rail money past House GOP (L.A. Times) 

Republicans in the U.S. House are proposing spending cuts to the federal New Starts program that helps local agencies pay for large transit projects. That could impact $200 million in next year’s federal budget for Metro’s Regional Connector and Purple Line Extension projects. Excerpt:

Raffi Hamparian, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority director of federal affairs, said county officials would work to increase the amount when the House committee acts on the bill in coming weeks or to win approval for a higher amount from the Senate, where Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) sits on the Appropriations Committee.

“It may be that the Senate is going to come in with a solid number that fully funds the program, and we don’t have a problem,” Hamparian said. “But the bottom line is, a low number adds uncertainty, and we don’t like uncertainty.” [snip]

“We’re determined to get these projects built, on time and on budget,” Hamparian said. “Los Angeles County voters have repeatedly stepped up to fund these projects, and we look forward to Congress meeting us halfway to get these great American infrastructure projects built.”

L.A.’s plan to make Figueroa a ‘complete street’ makes sense (L.A. Times)

The editorial backs the city of Los Angeles’ plans to put four miles of Figueroa on a road diet between downtown L.A. and Exposition Park, meaning that two traffic lanes could be lost and replaced, in part, with protected bike lanes and other improvements to help pedestrians and bus riders. Businesses, including USC, have pushed back. The Times says that’s a bad idea and that transferring some of the improvements over to Flower Street (which runs parallel to Figueroa) would be a bad idea.

How tolls could prevent a U.S. transportation crisis (The Atlantic Cities) 

With the federal Highway Trust Fund in perpetual crisis mode, Eric Jaffe writes that it’s encouraging that President Obama is proposing to allow states set tolls on their portion of the interstate system to pay for maintenance. The proposal would also allow some toll money to be used for public transit. My three cents: the interstates have been toll-free for so long that it’s going to be a mighty tough sell to get this past Congress and to get states to go for it, even if they have the permission to set tolls.

Show us how you dump the pump with the 2014 Transit Pix Contest

From May 1 to May 15, dump the pump and snap some photos that show what you love about riding buses and trains in Los Angeles County–then enter in the 2014 Transit Pix Contest for the chance to win some fantastic prizes!

How to enter:

  • Follow us @metrolosangeles on Instagram.
  • Take a pic(s) illustrating how transit helps you, and why others should try it.
  • Post pic(s) to your Instagram (make sure your profile is public!).
  • Tag pic(s) #LATRANSITPIX14

New Instagram photos and submitted between May 1 and May 15, 2014 with the correct hashtag will be collected and then posted on the Metro Los Angeles Facebook page for anyone to review and Like their favorites. Winners will be selected based on the number of Likes per photo received only on the Metro Facebook page. Photos with the most Likes will have a chance to win great prizes!

Winners will be announced on June 19, Dump the Pump Day.

See contest page for official rules. And what are the prizes, you ask? Keep reading after the jump to find out!

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