Transportation headlines, Monday, February 24

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It may be Monday, but maybe you’re already thinking of Friday. Take it away, Bruce Springsteen…

Beverly Hills using petty bureaucracy to hold up Purple Line work (Curbed LA)

Some excerpts:

The city council decided last August that all permit requests from Metro related to the subway extension’s first phase—which is nowhere near the disputed Century City station or the much-fretted-about Beverly Hills High School—must be passed by the full council instead of just getting a staff approval, which is the normal procedure; staff work five days a week and the city council only gathers monthly or, at most, twice a month. That move is already proving to be a problem as Metro is waiting on two permits related to pre-construction activities (like utility relocation and groundwater and gas sampling). The council refused to grant the permits in January and asked for Metro to come back and provide more explanation on traffic and parking issues related to the construction. Metro did, but by then the council’s February agenda was already too full to add a vote on the permits, so maybethey’ll grant them at their March 4 meeting.

[snip]

It doesn’t seem like a coincidence, though, that Beverly Hills ands its school district have four lawsuits pending over the placement of the Purple Line’s Century City station, which requires tunneling under Beverly Hills High. There are officials like Councilmember Nancy Krasne, who makes no bones that she’s sticking it to Metro just to be petty (she’s also the one that thought terrorists would use the subway tunnel to blow up BHHS), but you can’t heap all the blame on the politicians—they’re beholden to their constituents, many of whom read the histrionics and half-truths in the Beverly Hills Courier every day (Metro’s The Source blog has to correct them nearly every time they publish a story on the line).

[snip]

Bryan Pennington, Metro’s executive director of engineering and construction, says that even if Beverly Hills approves the permits, the process could be very bad news for Purple Line construction:

“We are continuing to work with the City of Beverly Hills to obtain these two outstanding permits. We believe that we have provided the information they are seeking while we continue working to deliver this much needed project as it has been promised to the taxpayers and commuters of greater Los Angeles. Up until last August, we were able to work with Beverly Hills city staff for the permits we needed for street work. We have cooperative agreements with the City of Los Angeles and the County of Los Angeles that allow us to handle permit requests at the staff level. If Beverly Hills continues to require review of all permits by their Council, it could extend the construction schedule.

I recommend reading the entire Curbed post. There is a lot of additional information and important context I didn’t excerpt. Also, here is a recent Source post about the construction timeline for the Wilshire/La Cienega station. And here is a post from last fall about the construction timeline for the entire project and the importance of master cooperative agreements with cities along the subway’s route.

Four key executives leaving in shakeup of Metro’s leadership (L.A. Times) 

The departures are part of a reorganization effort designed to make Metro less top-heavy and reduce the number of executives reporting to the CEO’s office. The restructuring was recommended in an outside audit of Metro obtained by the Times. As the story points out, the changes come amid a project building boom but with the agency facing a budget deficit within a couple of years.

Federal authorities give state more time to raise cash for bullet train project (L.A. Times)

The feds have given the California High-Speed Rail Authority three more months to start spending on the project, meaning the state has to find the money given that bond sales — the planned source of funding for the project — are tied up in court.

Now what? City fears flameout after the games (New York Times) 

The Rosa Khotor ski area map. Looks fun but will anyone be skiing there in the future?

The Rosa Khotor ski area map. Looks fun but will anyone be skiing there in the future?

Most of the transit lines in the above map are new. Source: Sochi2014 website.

Most of the transit lines in the above map are new. Source: Sochi2014 website.

The Russian government isn’t saying exactly what was spent on bringing the Winter Olympics to the Black Sea resort town of Sochi but one media report puts the figure at $51 billion. The rough part: there is no apparent plan on how many facilities or improvements in the area — including a new rail line and new highway to new ski resorts — will be used in the future or how Sochi will see long-term benefit from the Winter Olympics.

Hmm. My first thought: I hope the ski resort helps introduce more Russians and other people who live in the region to the skiing sports. Russia — given its climate (at least for now) — should be good at skiing. It’s not, based on Olympic and World Cup results.

My second big thought is that we’re now three-and-a-half years away from the International Olympic Committee’s decision in 2017 on where to put the 2024 Summer Olympics. Los Angeles officials have said they will seek the Summer Games, meaning L.A. first has to earn the right to be America’s bidder from the U.S. Olympic Committee. IOC President Thomas Bach told NBC’s Bob Costas that an American bid would be welcome, given that in 2024 it will have been 22 years since the Games were in the U.S. (Salt Lake City in 2002).

I would love, love, love to see L.A. go for a three-peat when it comes to hosting the Games. And I hope the bid here, if it does emerge, is a rebuttal of sorts to the IOC’s love affair with demanding that Olympic host cities build new facilities and spend billions on the Games (exactly what the IOC loved about Sochi, according to the NYT). The strength of our bid could be that ongoing improvements here are being done anyway and will make it possible, and even easy, for the region to seamlessly host the Games without breaking the bank. And, of course, setting an example for future host cities.

Transit improvements, of course, could be a big part of our region’s pitch. Transit already serves or is near many existing facilities (Staples Center, Coliseum, Rose Bowl, Honda Center, Santa Anita Park, Long Beach Marina, East L.A. College, entire list of venues here) and ongoing projects are expanding the existing transit network. The two big projects to watch are the Airport Metro Connector, which is still in the planning stages and not scheduled to be complete until the late 2020s under Measure R. Same goes with the Purple Line Extension to Westwood, which wouldn’t reach there until 2036. Serving LAX and getting the UCLA campus (with several sports facilities and potential athlete housing) connected to rail would almost certainly be important for the Olympics.

The lovely thing about are ongoing transit expansion is that we’re doing it anyway, Olympics or no Olympics. The same goes in Denver, another city that could — and probably should — look to host the Winter Olympics, given its ongoing rail expansion and proximity to the Rockies.

And let me toss one other thought out there: given that the last two Winter Olympics took place in temperate climates (Vancouver and Sochi) along the coast, why not put the Winter Games in L.A. with the alpine events in the Sierra? (I’m not sure betting on big snow at the local resorts is a good idea given what happened to Vancouver). It would be different and challenging in that the Sierra ski resorts tend not to have the kind of terrain suited to modern alpine ski courses. But could it be done….

Transportation headlines, Friday, February 21

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Metrolink to roll out collision avoidance system (L.A. Times) 

Initial runs by trains using the Positive Train Control system began this week and Metrolink plans to expand it to the rest of their system well before a December 2015 deadline. It’s important because Metrolink trains must share their tracks with freight trains and Amtrak.

Freewaves debuts “Long Live LA” on Transit TV (L.A. Streetsblog) 

Videos by Los Angeles Couty-based artists that tackle a range of health issues will be shown regularly on Transit TV on Metro buses. Damien has posted one of them — if the TVs must be there, sounds like good programming.

Portland: the citizens’ priorities for transportation (Human Transit) 

Transportation planner Jarrett Walker parses the results of what appears to be a thorough survey that asked Portland residents to prioritize their transportation needs. Number one on the list was safer pedestrian crossings. The number one transit priority: more frequent bus service.

Walker sees this as a sign of tension between Portland residents and the regional transit agency that actually runs bus service. Excerpt:

Core cities have higher per capita transit demands than their suburbs [see Chapter 10 of my book Human Transit] so they always tend to be underserved — relative to demand — by regional transit agencies that aim for some concept of “regional equity.”  In many cases, the only solution is for core city voters to step up and vote, for themselves, the additional service that only they know that they need.  This doesn’t have to mean breaking up the regional agency, but it does mean giving up on the idea that any service distribution formula that a suburb-dominated region would agree on will meet the core city’s expectations for transit, based on the core city’s economy and values.

Such tensions certainly exist in sprawling L.A. County, where Metro serves both the urban core and suburban areas — some with and some without their own city bus service. The public policy question is where is it best to put service? Bulk up in the busiest areas ridership-wise? Or try to spread it around in recognition of the fact that folks who are transit dependent live in the ‘burbs, too? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this one.

Bill would add two members to Metro Board of Directors (California bill tracker) 

The bill was introduced by Assemblyman Chris Holden, whose district includes Pasadena, Altadena and other parts of the northern San Gabriel Valley. The bill proposes adding two voting members to the Metro Board of Directors, bringing the total to 15 — and those two members would be appointed respectively by the Speaker of the Assembly and the Senate Rules Committee.

That’s a radical departure from the current practice with every Board member either being someone who was elected by voters in parts of Los Angeles County or appointed by someone who was elected by voters in our area. In other words, the bill (as written now) could allow elected officials from outside Southern California to choose who sits on the Metro Board, which is the deciding body on many countywide transportation issues.

By law, the Metro Board is comprised of each of the five County Supervisors, the Mayor of Los Angeles and his three appointees and one City Council member or Mayor from four subregions in the county.

So what’s this really about? The very same issue discussed in the above item about tensions between core urban areas and suburbs when it comes to transit service and where to build projects. An example: the proposed Gold Line extension to Montclair that is in Metro’s long-range plan and is currently unfunded (along with other projects), which some in the San Gabriel Valley have alleged is the result of the the Board being too L.A.-centric.

Is it? The city of L.A. has its four members on the Board in addition to representation from the five County Supervisors who all have part of the city of L.A. in their districts. Each of the five supervisors also have other cities in their districts, meaning they have to consider a lot of different and often competing interests.

City of Los Angeles officials have long countered that the current arrangement makes sense, given that Los Angeles tends to be the densest and the part of the county where transit is most used. Others counter back that the city has about 38.5 percent of the county’s population, meaning 62.5 percent of Los Angeles County residents are not living in the nation’s second-largest city but are helping pay for transit service there. (It’s also worth noting that existing law would take away one of Los Angeles’ appointees and give it to another city if L.A.’s population falls under 35 percent of the county’s total).

We’ll see if the bill gets any traction and whether the Metro Board takes a position on it; the issue has come up in the past. I’m guessing the bill will also attract the interest of other transit agencies who have a view one way or the other whether the Legislature should be involved in selecting their Board members. One thing to keep in mind is that transit agency boards don’t just make decisions involving what gets built transportation-wise — they also choose contractors and approve of labor contracts. Under the proposed bill, the Assembly and Senate could potentially gain a say in those matters.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, February 20.5

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ART OF TRANSIT: Mid-day traffic constipation on the 101. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: Mid-day traffic constipation on the 101. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Metro to connect $670 million for downtown rail connector (L.A. Times) 

Coverage of today’s announcement that after years of negotiations, Metro and the Federal Transit Administration have signed a grant for $670 million in New Starts money and a federally-backed $160-million loan for the Regional Connector project. The Times reports that wi-fi may be available in the Connector’s stations — which is nice to hear given the project’s $1.37-billion price tag :)

Free wi-fi now available on the Sprinter, in addition to the Coaster (Mass Transit Magazine)

Speaking of wi-fi, it’s now available on trains in north San Diego County. Before you email me the Obvious Big Relevant Question: Metro is working in the next two years to install equipment that will allow our customers to get a cell phone signal in underground Metro Rail stations.

Is California’s Congestion Management Program at the end of the road? (The Planning Report) 

This is a wonky but important article. The gist of it: Metro has studied replacing the current state program — which many see as bureaucratic and ineffective — with a program that would impose fees on new development to pay for transportation improvements. Twenty-two cities in L.A. County already have the impact fees (and they’re common elsewhere in the country), but they’re controversial nonetheless, with opponents arguing that such a fee would greatly harm the local economy and are redundant. Still, the issue is likely to return to the forefront soon and Metro will be involved, as we’re the agency that would collect the fees.

Elon Musk: autonomous driving just a few years away (Bloomberg News) 

The Tesla founder says his company will be a pioneer in self-driving cars and we’re only a decade away from widespread adoption of cars that can largely (and safely, say proponents) guide themselves. In other words, Musk will be able to go online and complain about the 405 project and hype his hyperloop thingy while his Tesla drives itself blissfully through West L.A. traffic.

Houston Metro rail line ridership exceeds expectations (Metro Magazine)

The 4,200 daily boardings on the 5.3-mile extension of the Red Line are ahead of the 2,600 boardings that were expected. So here’s the lesson for any Younglings out there thinking of spending some of their parents hard-earned dollars on a degree in transportation planning: when your ridership model burps out expected ridership numbers, always choose the low one in order to earn an “exceeds expectations” article. Now, go take the $20,000 I just saved you in college tuition and spend the money instead on backpacking Europe and falling in love with a Estonian boy/girl who can’t understand a damn thing you’re saying but will provide you with free snowboarding lessons and tasty pizza.

Service Alert: Green Line major delays through rush hour

FINAL UPDATE 6:44 p.m.: Signal issues at Lakewood and Norwalk Station have been resolved. Metro Green Line is resuming normal service at this time, though trains may experience residual delays for the next 20 minutes. Extra shuttle bus service between Lakewood and Norwalk has been cancelled. Metro greatly appreciates the patience of all Green Line customers affected by this evening’s delays.

UPDATE 6:08 p.m.: Signals at Lakewood and Norwalk Station have been partially restored, reducing service delays to fifteen minutes within the incident area. Trains may experience residual delays along the rest of the Green Line.

The Metro Green Line is currently experiencing major delays due to signal issues between Norwalk and Lakewood stations that began around 4:45 p.m. this evening.

As a result of the signal issues, trains are moving through the incident area at reduced speeds. Some Norwalk-bound trains may turn back towards Redondo Beach to relieve congestion caused by trains slowing as they approach Lakewood.

Metro has requested supplemental shuttle buses for extra capacity between Norwalk and Lakewood stations. Customers traveling between Downtown Los Angeles and Norwalk Station should consider using Metro Express 460 to avoid delays. Metro Express 460 connects Flower/7th St (7th St/Metro Center), and uses the I-110 Harbor Transitway and I-105 HOV lanes to Norwalk Station.

Metro will provide updates on this incident as they become available. For up-to-the-minute status updates, follow Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metroLAalerts.


Transportation headlines, Wednesday, February 19

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! 

A CyclingSavvy instructor explains her objections to bike lanes (Biking in LA)

Karen Karabell, of St. Louis, makes a thoughtful, cogent argument against bike lanes, saying that she believes it’s safer for cyclists to be in traffic lanes — where motorists see them sooner and better — than in a narrow lane that is often ignored by many motorists. I agree with her on the issue of sight lines. But I still don’t want to ride in traffic lanes unless I must — I see this as a post for bigger, wider and better designed bike lanes.

Newsom changes mind on high-speed rail (CBS) 

Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom says he’s just voicing an opinion privately shared by many Democrats. Although he was ardently backed the bullet train project between Los Angeles and San Francisco, he said that too little federal or private funds have emerged to build a project with an estimated $68 billion price tag. The money, Newsom said, would be better spent on other infrastructure needs.

Obama orders new efficiencies for big rigs (New York Times) 

The President on Tuesday order the EPA to develop tougher new fuel standards for trucks, with a goal of implementing them by 2018. While trucks comprise just four percent of traffic on the nation’s roads, President Obama said they are responsible for 20 percent of the transportation sector’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, February 18

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Jamzilla on the 405 ends ahead of schedule (L.A. Times)

The 80-hour lane closures on the northbound 405 over the President’s Day weekend turned into 79-hour closures when the 405 reopened about 5 a.m. this morning instead of the planned 6 a.m. reopening. Enough people avoided the NB 405 to keep traffic moving for most of the weekend with Monday afternoon seeing the most time-munching delays.

Riders look for love on Valentine’s Day on the speed-dating train (L.A. Times) 

The speed dating event on the Red Line subway on Friday garners both an article and video! In the latter, reporter Trishna Patel scores a nice pair of socks. I rode for a couple hours on Friday and was mildly surprised at the healthy turnout as “speed dating” sounds basically horrifying to me — unlike Ukulele Man on the train Friday, I usually need seven or eight years before summoning the courage to speak to girls.

Here are our photos and video from the speed dating event. We’ll see if the event makes a return engagement next year. In the meantime, please let us know if any of our entrants make it to The Aisle — and I don’t mean bus or train aisle.

Semi-related: the following sentence in the LAT story caught me eye:

Sometimes he’ll try and talk to people on trains, but girls act conceited, he said, adding that

he was hoping to meet someone special.

Trust me, I’m no grammarian, but I thought it’s supposed to be “try to” in writing while “try and” is accepted as common in speech. Anyone out there in busland or trainland know?

Metro’s hardest seat to get (ZevWeb)

Kudos to whoever is writing the headlines for Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s website. The article looks at the public safety and financial challenges of providing restrooms for transit users. As you probably guessed, the story was prompted by complaints that a public restroom is need at the Orange Line’s Pierce College station.

Excerpt:

The agency, in its report, acknowledged the unpleasant realities that confront customers at some stations.

“Metro’s custodial staff report on-going issues with public urination and defecation at several of the rail stations as well as inside many of the station elevators,” the report said, adding that “other areas of public urination include the top side of subway station entrances such as Pershing Square, where loitering is common.”

But the agency pointed to the complexities of opening new restrooms with a cautionary tale of what happened when The W Hotel, located above the Hollywood and Vine Red Line station, agreed to provide a street-level public toilet as part of their contract with Metro.

According to Metro, the facility “became a magnet for the area’s homeless population which impacted the use by Metro’s customers. While open, the hotel developer was expending an average of $250 per day on paper products and had to replace three sinks, three mirrors and five toilet seats due to damage.” The restroom was labeled a public nuisance and was shuttered less than 4 months after its opening.

And here is the staff report for those who want to learn more about the issue. The gist of it: it’s up to the Metro Board of Directors to decide if they want to invest in public restrooms on the system.

AEG: NFL stadium still a first-string idea (Daily News) 

AEG, the entertainment company, says it still wants to build a football stadium next to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The city’s approval of the plans expires in October but AEG wouldn’t commit but others say the company is likely to seek extra time to reach a deal with the National Football League. Good luck with that.

A tough wake-up call for an L.A. bike commuter (L.A. Times)

LAT data analyst Ben Poston writes a first-person account of moving to L.A. from the Midwest and his four-months of commuting to work by bike from Los Feliz. It ended badly, with Ben getting right-hooked at an intersection in Hollywood and suffering a concussion and other injuries — he was wearing a reflective vest but the lights on his bike were out.

Here’s the excerpt that has already inspired a lot of chatter on social media;

I can’t count the number of people who have told me that they used to commute by bike until they were either (A) struck by a car or (B) got in some terrible accident by encountering a giant pothole or running into an open car door.

Now that I’m among the two-thirds of commuters in the city who drive solo to work, I experience Los Angeles differently from before. I can crank up “Morning Becomes Eclectic” on KCRW, roll the windows down and let the warm breeze dry my hair. I can sip a coffee and arrive at work clean — without having to change out of sweaty bike clothes.

And while I’m in favor of more bike lanes in the city, I must confess I’m annoyed when I see traffic lanes turned over to cyclists. North Virgil Avenue in East Hollywood recently lost half its vehicle lanes, and now my evening commute is five to 10 minutes slower.

In just over a year, I’ve become the opportunistic, lane-hopping L.A. driver I once joked about. Making it through on a yellow light is expected. Speeding 50 mph on surface streets has become the norm. I despise sitting in traffic, so I take shortcuts that I think are mine alone — I call them the “Bat Cave” routes.

My official response is to tell everyone that the Red Line is an option if he doesn’t mind riding from Los Feliz to Hollywood. My unofficial response is I commend Ben for writing a brutally honest piece although I’m personally happy to see street space being handed over to bikes and transit.

NYC’s touchscreen subway maps are finally here — and they’re amazing (Gizmodo)

New touchscreen maps in the New York subway get raves from Gizmodo — and could be on the way in Los Angeles. The photo below shows a prototype that Metro web staff are testing. Staff are planning this spring to ask the Board of Directors to issue a request for proposals, the first step in identifying a contractor to supply the devices. Which, btw, are pretty cool and could be helpful for those who find the static bus and train maps at rail stations to be daunting.

DSC_0705

Go Metro Weekends, Feb 14 − 16

This weekend, so much is happening around Los Angeles that the question really isn’t “What to do this weekend?” but “How to do it all?” or, more realistically, “What to leave OFF the list?”

Japan's remote Koi-Yamagata station, recently redesigned in the name of love

Japan’s remote Koi-Yamagata station, recently redesigned in the name of love

Some questions you won’t have to ask: “How am I getting there?” and “How much time will I spend driving around in circles looking for parking until I completely lose it?” If you’re going to any of the following events, Metro’s got you covered. No circling. We promise.

Friday

Grand Park’s Gotta Funky Sole: Lover’s Edition. Friday from 8 p.m. – 1 a.m. Saturday, FREE. Whether out on a date or out with friends, dancing is a great bet for a happy Valentine’s Day. Enjoy live and DJed funk and soul music, and bring some cash for food trucks, flowers, sweets, or drinks. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station, or Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.)

Casablanca at the Egyptian Theatre. Movie starts 7:30 p.m., tickets $7-11. Catch this oft-quoted, classic film that speaks to the lovestruck and lovelorn alike on the big screen. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland Station, Metro Rapid 780 or Bus 156/656 to Hollywood/Highland, or Bus 212/312, 217, or 222 to Hollywood/Las Palmas.)

David Leibman, John Beasley, Dave Robaire, and Jonathan Pinson at the Blue Whale live jazz + art space. Music starts 9 p.m., $20. This quartet of contemporary jazz masters in the Blue Whale’s intimate bar/lounge will give you that tingle down your spine only great jazz can produce. Tickets are first come first served, and doors open at 8 p.m., so arrive early to ensure a spot–especially given this Friday is Valentine’s Day! (Metro Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.)

Valentine’s Day Special at NerdMelt Showroom, Meltdown Comics. Event begins 7:45 p.m., $8 in advance, $10 at door. This outrageous storytelling show will feature tales by Andy Dick, Guy Branum, Alice Wetterlund, Lauren Ashley Bishop, Bryan Cook, and Ian Karmel. Free drinks and Valentine’s Day mixer after event. Plus, your TAP card saves you 10% on store purchases! (Metro Bus 2/302 to Sunset/Gardner, or walk approximately 20 minutes from Metro Red Line Hollywood/Highland Station.)

Saturday

“Ride for Love” with the East Side Riders Bike Club, supported by Metro and C.I.C.L.E. Ride meets 9:30 a.m., FREE. Meet at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee center (10950 S. Central Avenue, Los Angeles); the ride will leave promptly at 10 a.m. (Metro Blue Line to 103rd Street/Watts Towers Station, Metro Green Line to Avalon Station, or Metro Bus 53, 55, 117, 120, 202, 355, or Dash Watts.)

Sunday

L.A. Zine Fest 2014 at Helms Bakery. Event from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., FREE. Get a free Zine when you show your TAP card at the information table while supplies last. (Metro Expo Line to Culver City Station, then walk approximately seven minutes east on Venice Blvd.)

Tom Zoellner signs and discusses Train: Riding the Rails That Created the Modern World–From the Trans-Siberian to the Southwest Chief at Book Soup. Event begins 4 p.m., FREE. “From the frigid trans-Siberian railroad to the antiquated Indian Railways to the futuristic MagLev trains, Train presents both an entertaining history of railway travel around the world while offering a serious and impassioned case for the future of train travel.”–Yup, we like! (Metro Bus 2/302, 30/330, or 105 to San Vicente/Sunset, or Metro Bus 4 to Santa Monica/Hancock, then walk approximately eight minutes north on Hancock and three minutes west on Holloway Drive to Sunset Blvd.)

Harlem Globetrotters “Fans Rule” Tour at the Staples Center. Performances at 12:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. Show your valid TAP card or use promo code METRO when purchasing tickets online and save $5. (Metro Blue/Expo Line to Pico Station.)

All Weekend

Thomas Woodruff “Legends of the Mysterious Rocks” at Mark Moore Gallery. Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. both days, FREE. This Friday and Saturday are the last days to see new paintings by this amazing New York-based artist known for his scientific precision and fantastical storytelling. Woodruff’s website gives a taste of his exquisite style and magical subject matter, but don’t miss it in person! (Metro Expo Line to La Cienega/Jefferson Station, then walk approximately 12 minutes north on Fairfax to W. Washington Blvd.)

Pasadena International Film Festival. If you’re planning on attending the festival this weekend, why not Go Metro and save on parking? For information about films, venues, and tickets check out the festival website. (Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park Station.)

Big Screen Olympic coverage at the Paley Center for Media. Do the Sochi games currently have you glued to the T.V.? Watch the 2104 Winter Olympics larger than life at the Paley Center for Media. Coverage starts at 12 p.m. on various days through Sun, Feb. 23. Free with general admission ticket. (Metro Rapid 704, Metro Bus 4 or 14/37 to Santa Monica/Canon, Metro Bus 16/316 to S. Santa Monica/Canon, or Metro Rapid 720 to Wilshire/Beverly and walk northwest about 8 minutes to destination.)

“James Brown: Get on the Good Foot, a Celebration in Dance” at the L.A. Music Center. Shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday – Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Show your valid TAP card and save 20% on select seats. You can also purchase your tickets online and use promo code 23713. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station.)

First of 18 new traction power substations delivered today

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A noteworthy construction milestone was reached today when the first of 18 new power traction substations was delivered to the Gold Line Foothill Extension and the Expo Line projects.

The first of the substations — which transfer electricity to the overhead wires — was delivered to the Foothill Extension in Duarte near the interchange of the 210 and 605 freeways, as shown in the above photos.

Both projects are now more than 50 percent complete, construction on the Crenshaw/LAX Line is now underway and utility relocation and other prep work is ongoing for the Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector projects. All the projects are receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Southbound I-405 closure between Getty Center Drive and Wilshire Boulevard taking place tonight

On the eve of Jamzilla, one more southbound I-405 closure:

On the night of Thursday, February 13 through the morning of Friday, February 14, 2014, the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements contractor is scheduled to conduct a full southbound I-405 closure from Getty Center Drive to Wilshire Boulevard from midnight to 5 a.m.

The closure will accommodate shifting lanes westerly and restriping to make room for widening work at the freeway median.

Additional Closures

  • Ramps begin closing at 7 p.m.
  • Lanes begin closing at 10 p.m.
  • Southbound I-405 Getty Center Drive on-ramp
  • Southbound I-405 Sunset Boulevard on-ramp

Detour:

  • From southbound I-405: exit at Getty Center Drive, turn left onto southbound Sepulveda Boulevard, turn right onto westbound Wilshire Boulevard, turn right onto the southbound I-405 Wilshire Boulevard on-ramp.

What to expect:

  • Work is dependent on favorable weather conditions.
  • Emergency access will be maintained at all times.

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.

Extra tasty new aerial photos of Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension construction as project surpasses 50 percent complete milestone!

The 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension is now 50 percent complete, according to the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is building the Pasadena-to-Azusa/Glendora border project.

Below are an awesome collection of aerial photos taken in recent days by the Construction Authority. The news release — with a lot of good info — follows the photographs.

We’ll go from west to east with the pics, starting in eastern Pasadena — click on any of the photos to see them larger:

210_Freeway_-_Tie-In_Area_Near_Sierra_Madre_Villa_Stations

Photos: Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

Above is the work being done to extend the Gold Line’s tracks beyond the current terminus at Sierra Madre Villa in Pasadena.

Aerial_Shot_looking_east_from_Gold_Line_Bridge

A view looking east and south of the Gold Line’s right-of-way leaving the median of the 210 freeway and headed toward downtown Arcadia via the new Basket Bridge over the 210′s eastbound lanes.

Santa_Anita_Bridge_-_aerial

The new bridge carrying the Gold Line tracks over busy Santa Anita Avenue. The old tracks were at street level.

Arcadia_Station,_Parking_and_Transit_Plaza_-_aerial

The Arcadia station and parking lot taking shape. The station is right behind the popular REI store with the rest of downtown Arcadia a short walk south on First Street, which runs along the bottom of this photo.

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