Century Crunch, update #5

Good morning!

Demolition work overnight went according to plan and traffic to and from the airport is flowing well. The intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards remains closed and is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Monday.

Work today will include demolition of the bridge’s abutment walls, removal of the final rubble from the bridge demolition, picking up steel plates, installing K-rails and re-striping the roadway.

By all accounts, people heeded the warning about the closure on Saturday and traffic moved well for most of the day. Everyone would like to see a repeat of that today. Avoid driving in the area, use Sepulveda Boulevard if driving, take the LAX FlyAway bus or use transit. Again, a lot of helpful info in this earlier post about getting to and from LAX this weekend.

If headed to LAX, check for traffic updates on the airport’s main Twitter feed with the hashtag #centurycrunch. We’ll also be updating the Source over the weekend as well as Metro’s general Twitter feed.

 

 

Full closure of the ‘Carmageddon’ Bridge tonight

The Mulholland Bridge over the I-405 — made infamous by Carmageddon I and II — will be fully closed tonight (7/25) so that the deck can be resealed to coat some non-structural cracks that were discovered during routine inspection. The resealing will help ensure the long life of the surface.

Tonight’s closure will begin at 10 p.m. and last until approximately 8 a.m. Saturday. It will be followed by four nights of lane reductions — but not fully closures — Saturday (10 p.m. to 8 a.m.) through Tuesday nights (10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday).


Update: Red and Purple Lines resume normal service

7:32 a.m. Red and Purple Lines resume normal service with some residual delays through 8:30 a.m. Metro thanks you for your patience and understanding.

The Red and Purple Lines are experiencing major service delays due to a track power issue near Vermont/Beverly station. Trains are currently sharing one track between Westlake/MacArthur Park and Vermont/Santa Monica (Red Line) and Wilshire/Normandie (Purple Line) stations. Expect major thru travel delays.

Please consider using alternate routes listed here for your rush hour commute.

For up to the minute updates, follow us on our general twitter account @metrolosangeles or our service alerts account @metroLAalerts.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 24

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. County Sheriff’s Department not meeting Metro’s policing goals (L.A. Times)

More coverage of the recent — and critical — audit of Metro and the LASD, which is under contract by Metro to patrol buses, trains, stations and other facilities. In response, both Metro and LASD said that improvements in policing have been made this year. Metro officials have noted that serious crimes are below four incidents per million boardings.

MTA approves study to convert Orange Line to light rail (Daily News)

Metro plan would link light rail systems in San Fernando, San Gabriel valleys (CBS)

Metro Board expected to discuss Orange Line improvements (Post Periodical)

Metro Board to decide light rail plan (San Fernando Valley Business Journal) 

The headlines are a little misleading. The Metro Board today did direct Metro staff to do a preliminary study of potential Orange Line upgrades, including conversion to rail and an extension to the Gold Line in Pasadena. At this point, neither a conversion of the Orange Line to rail or an extension are in Metro’s long-range plan. Nor is such a project funded.

Here’s the big plan to make Union Station finally accessible to walkers and bikers (Curbed LA) 

Coverage of the US Connect plan to build a series of esplanades and other sidewalks and bike lanes that would connect Union Station and the Regional Connector’s 1st/Central Station to neighborhoods such as Boyle Heights, Chinatown, the Civic Center, Little Tokyo and the Arts District.

Gatto and Englander stump state legislation for hit-and-run alert system (Streetsblog L.A.)

Assemblyman Mike Gatto and L.A. Councilman Mitch Englander support a bill written by Gatto that would use electronic sign boards on freeways and other roads to quickly alert motorists when a hit-and-run has occurred, the idea being that it may lead to earlier arrest of suspects. Excerpt:

Assemblymember Mike Gatto enumerated the gruesome hit-and-run statistics: 20,000 hit-and-run collisions take place in L.A. County each year; 4,000 of these result in death or serious bodily injury; only 20 percent of fatal hit-and-run perpetrators are arrested. Gatto relayed the story of a similar alert system in Colorado which resulted in the city of Denver increasing their apprehension rate from 20 percent to 75 percent.

Hard to argue with that. Here’s the bill. It passed the Assembly and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. A companion bill by Gatto would suspend the license of hit-and-run perpetrators.

The forgotten history of L.A.’s failed freeway revolt (CityLab)

Nice reminder that many Boyle Heights residents weren’t exactly standing and cheering as a variety of freeways sliced and diced across their community in the 1950s and ’60s.

 

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 23

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! 

Metro opens command center for Century Crunch (KPCC) 

The $1.2-million command center — which resembles a big RV painted black — will be parked near the intersection of Aviation and Century this weekend while the old railroad bridge is demolished. The idea is that it allows Metro and other law enforcement officials to push the latest traffic information out ASAP. More info on the Century Crunch closures is here.

Seven innovations to make L.A.’s Metro better (Neon Tommy)

Suggestions include a comprehensible intercom system, maps that show riders where the trains are located at present time, the ability to use a credit card or cell phone as a TAP card, better sealing off train tracks to prevent suicides, underground cell phone and wi-fi service (the cell phone service is on its way but no firm date when it will be completed) and more secure turnstiles.

LA’s new Olympic bid team, many rivers to cross (3 Wire Sports) 

Looks like businessman Casey Wasserman, 40, is heading up the Los Angeles bid attempt at the 2024 Summer Olympics. As the article notes, there are challenges. The first is that the U.S. Olympic Committee hasn’t decided yet to bid on the 2024 Games — they’re waiting to see how some Olympic reform attempts play out.

The other challenge is that Boston, San Francisco and Washington D.C. may be competing with L.A. for the right to be the American representative in the international competition. Los Angeles, of course, has already twice hosted the Games while the others would be rookies. I don’t see D.C. as being realistic — fair or not, the city is too intertwined with American politics to be appealing. But I can see Beantown and San Francisco being strong competitors. Boston has pretty good infrastructure and sports facilities at the many colleges in the region while San Francisco is, well, San Francisco. One knock on them: the nicest arena in the area is in San Jose, whereas L.A. has Staples Center, the Honda Center and other smaller areans that could easily host events (Galen Center, Pauley Pavilion, Sports Arena).

I mention all this because infrastructure always is discussed as part of bid efforts. On that front, Los Angeles is at the center of a Metro Rail and Metrolink system that did not exist in 1984 and will be growing considerably between now and 2024, with the second phase of the Expo Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension scheduled to open in 2016, the Crenshaw/LAX Line in 2019, the Regional Connector in 2020 and the first phase of the Purple Line Extension in 2023.

Just in Olympic terms, think about what that means. The Crenshaw/LAX Line gets Metro Rail closer to LAX and will include a transfer to the airport people mover that LAX is going to build. The Expo Line connects downtown Los Angeles and the USC campus to downtown Santa Monica and the Westside (where there are many hotels), the Gold Line Foothill Extension will stop next to Azusa Pacific University and Citrus College and better connect the San Gabriel Valley to the Metro Rail system, the Regional Connector makes travel on the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines faster throughout the region without as many transfers and the Purple Line Extension brings the subway to the Miracle Mile, one of the cultural centers of our region.

The above is on the current Measure R schedule and doesn’t include the possibility of project acceleration if Metro pursues another ballot measure in 2016 (the agency is contemplating it).

Some bumps in the road on the way to a bike-friendly L.A. (L.A. Times) 

The editorial builds off the recent flap over bike lanes on Figueroa in northeast L.A. and Highland Park.

Excerpt:

Unless some demonstrable miscalculation was made in the bike plan, or unless there’s a real safety issue, individual City Council members should not be tinkering with the plan, which was designed carefully with the whole city in mind. Currently, Los Angeles has 337.62 miles of dedicated bike lanes. Cedillo is looking at alternatives to the Figueroa corridor, but the city planners chose these designated routes for specific reasons; nearby streets, they say, won’t work. The idea is to create a seamless network of bike lanes that allow cyclists to travel continuously from one point to another.

No one said it would be easy to make legions of drivers in car-obsessed Los Angeles relinquish a fraction of their lanes to bicycles. No driver wants to be slowed down by even 47 seconds. And it’s understandable that drivers are frustrated when they see congested roads and empty bike lanes.

But the more the city continues to implement its bike plan, the more extensive the network of bike lanes becomes. The hope is that over time, those lanes will begin to fill up — and maybe some drivers will get out of their cars and onto bikes.

That neatly distills what’s happening. I think you could say the same thing about the transit network. Networks are more powerful than individual lines. There are some other challenges when it comes to bikes but hopefully more people will use the lanes and the backlash will die down.

 

Bill could allow bike share users to pay with pre-tax dollars (New York Post)

A Congressman from Queens is introducing a bill that would allow bike share users to have the cost of bike sharing deducted from their paychecks on a pre-tax basis, just as is currently allowed for transit passes. The Post sounds a tad skeptical, but that is to be expected.

The Transit Tourist: Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minn.

The Transit Tourist takes a look at other transit systems across the globe from the first person perspective of a visitor. What can Metro learn from how these other systems treat the uninitiated – and often bumbling – tourist?

A Green Line train arriving at a station in downtown Saint Paul.

A train arrives at the 10th Street Station in downtown St. Paul. (Photo: Joseph Lemon/Metro)

In previous installments of the Transit Tourist, The Source visited Chicago, Portland, New York City and London. For the latest iteration of the series, I spent some time during a recent vacation checking out the transit offerings in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. The visit occurred just two weeks after the opening of the the region’s second light rail line, the long-awaited METRO Green Line, which runs between the downtown centers of the two neighboring cities.

Now arriving…The Transit Tourist: Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minn. 

Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro
Population: 3,348,859 Transit Agency: Metro Transit Miles of Rail Track: 21.8
Density: 546 people/sq. mi. Light Rail Lines: 2 Bus Routes: 126
Area Served: 907 sq. mi. Light Rail Stations: 37 Op. Budget: $325 mil.

Source: US Census Bureau, Metro Transit (metrotransit.org) and Metropolitan Council (metrocouncil.org). 

Airport Connection

The METRO Blue Line provides light rail service to both terminals at Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport. Trains between the two terminals are free and run 24 hours a day.

I arrived at Terminal 1 – Lindbergh, where a tram (or automated people mover) connects the terminal to the underground light rail station. Using it was fairly straightforward: the ride was free and lasted about 30 seconds. In total, it took a little less than five minutes to get from the terminal to the train station. Visitors that arrive at Terminal 2 – Humphrey can access its station with a short walk via skyway.

The Lindbergh Terminal 1 station on the METRO Blue Line. (Photo: Joseph Lemon / Metro)

The Terminal 1 Lindbergh Station on the Blue Line. (Photo: Joseph Lemon/Metro)

From the airport, the METRO Blue Line takes passengers north to downtown Minneapolis in just under 25 minutes where it shares five stations with the METRO Green Line. Going south, the Blue Line connects passengers to the Mall of America and terminates at the METRO Red Line, a bus rapid transit line extending to the southern suburbs of the Twin Cities.

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 22

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! 

Reward to be offered in fatal beating at Blue Line station (L.A. Times)

TEMPLATE Board

The Board of Supervisors has approved a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of two women who assaulted artist John Whitmore at the Blue Line’s Willowbrook station early in the afternoon of Friday, June 13. Whitmore, 65, died one week later of his injuries. Anyone with information regarding the slaying is asked to call detectives at (323) 890-5500.

Funding feud means end of the line for four Metrolink trains between L.A. and San Bernardino (Mass Transit) 

After the San Bernardino Assn. of Governments refused to provide the full funding request from Metrolink, the commuter rail agency has cut four trains between Union Station and San Bernardino. They’re all off-peak hours and include the 11 p.m. train from L.A. Metrolink says they targeted low-ridership trains. Each of the five counties served by Metrolink — Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura — contribute funds to the agency each year.

Metro Committee OKs dismal walk/bike plan now, funding report later (StreetsblogLA)

I missed this post last week, when it was first published. The Metro Board’s Planning Committee moved a draft of the agency’s short-range transportation plan (which covers the next decade) to the full Board for its consideration on Thursday. Advocates for active transportation — i.e. walking and biking — partially filled the Board room and protested that the short-range plan lacks a dedicated funding stream specifically for active transportation.

Members of the committee were sympathetic and Mike Bonin introduced a motion calling for Metro to develop an active transportation funding strategy by Jan. 2015. The issue here is that Metro does supply funding for pedestrian and bike projects — but this is mostly done on a discretionary basis. For example, 15 percent of Measure R receipts are returned to local cities for use on transportation-related projects, which may include active transportation. It’s obviously an important issue, given that Metro recently released a first-mile/last-mile strategy that places emphasis on better connecting transit stations to surrounding neighborhoods.

Uber takes credit for drop in drunk driving, but police are skeptical (KPCC)

Interesting story. The ride-sharing service cherrypicks some statistics — including the number of times patrons vomited in their cars — to argue that drunk driving has been cut as Uber has grown more popular. The police say that’s a very hard thing to prove and some of the drops in DUIs in places such as Seattle may be attributed more to concerted crackdowns by law enforcement. Excerpt:

In Los Angeles, KPCC found DUI citations over the last five years issued by the California Highway Patrol peaked the year before Uber arrived and have fallen both years the company has been on the roads here. (Uber started operating in Los Angeles in April 2012. The low-cost UberX expanded here a year after that, along with competitor Lyft.)

Interesting, but anecdotal. The drop roughly coincides with Metro also offering more light night rail service on weekends — but I don’t think you can draw any firm conclusions from that. I suspect some of this also involves the fact that young people are driving less, according to numerous studies and statistics.

Perhaps what matters most is that there are viable options — taxis, ride-sharing and transit — for those who are too tipsy to drive. Metro Rail and the Orange Line operates until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights; timetables are here.