Transportation headlines, Friday, May 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! 

Union Station: L.A.’s nearly perfect time machine (L.A. Times) 

D.J. Waldie has a nice op-ed piece on the eve of Union Station’s 75th anniversary celebration on Saturday. Excerpt:

Those who pause will see a nearly perfect public space meant to be both monumental and deferential, and designed to reassure as much as to impress. In the station’s concrete daydream of Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission, Moorish and Art Deco styles, the city’s imagined past and hoped-for future overlay seamlessly. Those faux wood beams were given a patina to look as if they had been there a century or more. The station’s streamlined details in aluminum and bronze pointed toward a triumphant, machine-age tomorrow. When Union Station was new, everything about it reflected the longing of Los Angeles to be both modern and nostalgic.

Union Station, like few of the city’s other architectural survivals, is a place where it’s possible for the patient sojourner to slip out of now and into an earlier time like a shadow passing.

John and Donald Parkinson, the station’s supervising architects, understood shadows and how pausing in them invites reverie. The station’s shadows are there by design: to give shelter from the Los Angeles sun in the long arcades and add movement through the day to the static surface of its exterior. Inside, transient light patterns the travertine walls and contrasts with the durable patterns laid in the 75,000 square feet of cement, marble, tile and linoleum flooring, as well as on the faience wainscoting and doorway surrounds and the parquetry of the patios’ brick walkways.

In addition, KPCC’s Take Two has a nice eight-minute segment on the station’s history.

And here’s the lineup of events for Saturday’s celebration at Union Station.

Gold Line bill hurt by lack of communication: guest commentary (San Gabriel Valley Tribune) 

The president of the San Bernardino Associated Governments board writes that a bill that would have allowed planning of a Gold Line segment between Montclair and Ontario Airport did not provide enough protections for San Bernardino County taxpayers. At this point it’s a moot point — the bill was withdrawn last week. Construction of the Pasadena-to-Azusa phase of the project continues, as does planning and engineering work for the unfunded segment between Azusa and Montclair.

The huge Obama transportation bill you heard nothing about (Time)

The President released the details of a four-year transportation funding bill earlier this week, a follow-up to a budget released earlier this year. The $300-million, four year bill would greatly include funding for transit and other worthy infrastructure programs, but Time says it’s non-news until the time comes when Republicans may agree to such a bill. Debate over the bill is likely to continue for the remainder of this year.

Madrid’s smart parking meters charge more for most polluting cars (The Guardian)

About one in four motorists — those with the most polluting cars — will pay 20 percent more for parking. Meanwhile, those in the least polluting cars will pay 20 percent less. Great idea!

Want to be more creative? Take a walk (New York Times) 

A new Stanford study aims to show that people who walk show more signs of creative and innovating thinking. Not exactly a surprise — creative types have been singing the praises of going for a stroll for ages. No one is exactly sure the mechanism at work that boosts creativity — one idea is that walking simply puts people in a better mood and good moods translate to more expansive thought.

The train tunnel in this film is now part of PCH (Southland) 

Great footage shot in 1898 of a train rumbling through what is now the McClure Tunnel that connects the Santa Monica Freeway to Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.

 

City of Hawthorne breaks ground on Hawthorne Boulevard Mobility Improvement Project

The City of Hawthorne broke ground yesterday on the Hawthorne Boulevard Mobility Improvement Project. The project will enhance traffic circulation along Hawthorne Blvd. from El Segundo Boulevard to Rosecrans Avenue by enhancing left-turn storage, widening and modifying existing medians and installing bow-outs. The project will also provide a Class II bicycle lane, upgrade pedestrian crossing signals and improve signalization along Hawthorne Blvd.

The Hawthorne Blvd Mobility Improvement Project is funded $5.9 million through Metro’s 2009 Call for Projects and Measure R.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 30

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! 

L.A., Central Valley have nation’s worst air (L.A. Times) 

The latest American Lung Assn. rankings show that Los Angeles leads the list of American cities with the worst air when it comes to pollution from ozone and fine particulate matter, according to data from 2010 through 2012. The triumverate of Bakersfield, Visalia and Fresno have the worst spikes in particulate matter in the country — owing to farm work and construction — with L.A. fourth behind them.

Gold Line to Ontario airport off track; bill withdrawn by its author (San Gabriel Valley Tribune) 

Assemblyman Fred Rodriguez withdrew a bill that would have given the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority the authority to begin studies of a third (and currently unfunded) segment running between Montclair and the airport. But officials in San Bernardino County have been lukewarm to the idea, saying there may be other ways to reach the airport via transit — and some officials there want money spent on other projects. Ontario Airport served about four million passengers in 2013 compared to 66.6 million at LAX.

The rise of protected bike lanes in America (people for bikes) 

Nice video showing what bike lanes can and should look like — protected from road traffic by something more than a thin white line of paint.

How EZ Pass lanes could make premature births less common (The Atlantic Cities) 

Transponders that enable motorists to travel through toll plazas in New Jersey and Pennsylvania without stopping may have also reduce the number of premature births according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University. The reason: less pollution from idling cars, so says the study. Hmm. I’m not crazy about idling cars — obviously — but not sure I’m buying into this study quite yet.

Semi-related to transit: Tonight we’re all Captain Quints, with the exception of that last scene. Assuming we prevail, go Metro to Game 3 and 4 of the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs!

Jaws_081Pyxurz

 

 

Metro launches new bike ad campaign in time For Bike Week L.A. May 12-18

Nina & JohnIn anticipation of Bike Week L.A. May 12-18, 2014, Metro has launched a new bicycle ad campaign entitled “Every Day is a Bike Day” to encourage more Angelenos to bicycle for every day transportation.

Running on county billboards, the Internet and Metro buses from May through July 2014, the new ads normalize bicycling as part of everyday life and show that bicycling is for everyone. The ads also remind drivers about bicyclists’ presence, encouraging safe and shared interactions on L.A. county streets.

The new campaign builds off Metro’s 2013 “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” campaign that encouraged motorists and bicyclists to share the road to decrease incidents and increase safety. The popular campaign helped raise awareness that bicyclists can ride in the full traffic lane in certain situations and have equal rights and responsibilities on the road per the California Vehicle Code.

Metro also partnered with the bicycling community on the campaign. Members of local bicycling groups and non-profit organizations, including Multicultural Communities for Mobility, Bici Libre, Wolfpack Hustle and Eastside Riders Bike Club are featured in the ads.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 29

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: Okay, this isn't the train station we've been featuring prominently on this blog in recent weeks. Union Terminal in Cincinnati was completed in 1931 -- eight years before our Union Station opened -- and is also Art Deco but obviously very different from our station. Also different from L.A. Union Station: Cincy's station is now a museum, served only by a single Amtrak train that runs a somewhat odd route between Chicago and New York. Photo by Steve Hymon.

ART OF TRANSIT: Okay, this isn’t the train station we’ve been featuring prominently on this blog in recent weeks. Union Terminal in Cincinnati was completed in 1931 — eight years before our Union Station opened — and is also Art Deco but obviously very different from our station. Also different from L.A. Union Station: Our station is busier than ever in its 75-year history while Cincy’s station is now a museum, served only by a single Amtrak train that runs a somewhat odd route between Chicago and New York. Related reminder: National Train Day is Saturday with associated Union Station and train events. Click here for the rundown of events. Photo by Steve Hymon.

L.A. is a pedestrian death capital (LA weekly)

Newly released federal statistics show that Los Angeles is second only to New York City when it comes to pedestrian deaths involving motor vehicles. Excerpt:

Nationwide, pedestrian deaths comprised 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. In L.A., pedestrian deaths accounted for a whopping 41 percent of all killed in car crashes. For New York, it was 47 percent, according to the NHTSA stats.

Los Angeles’ per-100,000 pedestrian fatality rate wasn’t at all the highest, at 2.57 percent. But it beat out New York’s 1.52 percent.

Scary stuff perhaps attributable to the volumes of cars and people here. While the LAPD’s crackdown on jaywalking in downtown Los Angeles has received considerable media attention, I’m curious how much attention local police — in L.A. and elsewhere — are paying to vehicular encroachments on crosswalks. I see it happen all the time, I can’t recall ever seeing any one pulled over for it in my 20 years living in the L.A. area.

Semi-related: transportation accounts for 42 percent of worker deaths in the U.S. including road worker incidents, trucking accidents and even fishing incidents on boats.

The MTA has declared us a class-based society (CityWatchLA)

Writer Bob Gelfand despairs the Metro Board’s decision last week to extend the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 beyond next January (which also requires state legislation). He doesn’t like Lexus Lanes, saying they are more likely to be used by higher income motorists. His solution: have tolls based on the value of the car. That strikes me as fraught with problems, namely that the price of a vehicle doesn’t always correlate with a person’s income level. There has also been some evidence that transponder accounts have been opened from a variety of zip codes and census tracts representing a variety of income levels. As for the “class-based society,” it’s probably worth pointing out that Silver Line ridership has increased since the ExpressLanes opened.

Amtrak to test allowing pets on trains (Amtrak)

The pilot program in Illinois would allow pets 20 pounds or under in exchange for a $25 surcharge. Pets would have to be in carriers. Smart move, I think as Amtrak works to speed up its trains in some Midwest carriers and possibly compete with the airline and driving industries. Disclosure: I have dogs and have traveled with dogs frequently in recent years, usually by car.

Union Station: Forget private planes. Private rail is the way to go

This is the seventh in a series of posts on the history of Union Station that we are running this month. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3.

Tucked in a low-profile corner of the Union Station complex are a half dozen or so glittery antique rail cars — several of which bear the iconic name, Pullman. This is the private parking lot for corporations and travelers who love the elegance of private rail car travel and have the money and time to spend on it. It’s one of only a handful of full-service private rail car facilities in the United States.

Among antique cars sometimes in residence is one owned by billionaire Jean Paul DeJoria, founder of Patron Tequila and co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products. His luxury Patron Tequila Express car (see images above) has been carefully restored for his family’s private sojourns and as a rolling ambassador for Patron’s marketing and charitable efforts.

The 85-foot-long car, built in 1927, contains an observation parlor, dining room, bedrooms, marble bath with stained glass windows and a full kitchen capable of producing multi-course meals. The décor is eclectic, as the photos show, including gorgeous hand-carved wood panels from Kashmir.

To travel from one spot to another, the Patron car, like other private cars, books passage with Amtrak and is attached to the rail carrier’s regularly scheduled trains. The cars must be Amtrak-certified and there is a fee for this, as well as for parking. But if you own a private rail car, you may not worry much about the costs of travel and lodging. And you can save money on hotels.

Here’s more information … in case you’re planning a trip in your private rail car.

RELATED:

In the dead of the night, Union Station a popular location for music videos

Union Station: a star on big screen and small screen

Metro and The Academy release only known film of Union Station’s grand opening

Metro Motion celebrates beautiful Union Station’s 75th anniversary

Union Station: a grand opening

Union Station’s 75th: Seymour Rosen celebrates the opening

How Harvey House restaurants changed the West

Union Station: a man worthy of respect

Union Station: a star of big screen and small

Our first podcast: filming over the years at Union Station

Reminder: Crenshaw/LAX live chat tomorrow night from 6 to 7 p.m.

Crenshaw_MLK_existing-4-28-2014_board-32x42 Don’t forget to join Metro for a one-hour live chat on Tuesday, April 29 at 6 p.m. to discuss the upcoming full street closures that will take place due to Crenshaw/LAX construction. Project director Charles Beauvoir will answer questions regarding travel options for pedestrians, motorists, business owners and the general public during the Crenshaw Boulevard closures.

Crenshaw Blvd. will be closed between Martin Luther King Jr. and Stocker Street from 10 p.m. Friday, May 2 through 1 p.m. Saturday, May 3, as work begins on the Crenshaw/MLK underground station. On Friday, May 16, a second full street closure will take place on Crenshaw Blvd. between Exposition Boulevard and Rodeo Place.

The full street closures are required to implement traffic rerouting for upcoming construction activities such as utility relocation, pile installation, decking and excavation. The rerouting will also require bus stop changes. Please see the service notice after the jump.

The live chat will be hosted on Reddit. You can leave advance questions on the chat page once it is live, email your questions to CrenshawCorridor@metro.net or call the project hotline 213.922.2736. If you’d like to call in via phone during the chat, call 213.922.4601 to submit your questions. All questions will be answered from 6 to 7 p.m. on the Reddit page.

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