Update: North Hollywood Red Line Station is now reopen

Final Update 4:03 p.m.: Police have finished their inquiry at North Hollywood Station, and the Metro Red Line is now resuming normal service between Universal/Studio City and North Hollywood Station. Thank you to all affected customers for your patience this afternoon.

The Metro Red Line North Hollywood Station is currently closed as police investigate a suspicious object. This means there is no service between Universal/Studio City and North Hollywood Stations, and that all North Hollywood-bound trains are returning to Union Station at Universal/Studio City.

Metro is providing supplemental shuttle bus service between the affected stations. At Universal/Studio City Station, shuttle buses are departing from the bus plaza. At North Hollywood Station, buses depart from Lankershim Blvd. Metro customers utilizing this service should anticipate delays of up to 20 minutes until further notice.

We will continue to provide updates here at The Source and on twitter @metrolosangeles and @metroLAalerts until the investigation is resolved.


Transportation headlines, Tuesday, August 26

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! 

Jimmy Kimmel wasn’t the only person attending the Emmy Awards on Monday who took Metro to the Nokia Theatre. The above photos were taken at the Pico Station shared by the Blue Line and Expo Line and located one block from Staples Center and L.A. Live. Photos by Josh Southwick/Metro.

Jimmy Kimmel takes the subway to Emmy Awards in downtown L.A. (L.A. Times)

Pretty amazing to see the social media hoo-ha that breaks out when a celeb steps onto mass transit, particularly in a city that (undeservedly, IMO) is not exactly known for its local rail system. That said, it’s a nice shot of free PR for Metro and if Jimmy Kimmel can be an urban pioneer and figure out how to get a TAP card from the ticket machines, so can many others! See our post with his tweets and some reaction from riders.

BART’s early warning earthquake system could have broader applications (San Francisco Appeal)

The system that has been in testing since 2012 provides a 10-second warning that a temblor will occur, which agency officials say is enough time to significantly slow trains to help prevent derailments. Funding a broader system could also help slow motorists, warn surgeons and give just enough time to others to make a difference, say supporters of the system. Seems to me that any kind of warning is better than none.

Reworked projects to bring 320 apartments to the Arts District (Downtown News) 

The development was actually downsized after community members protested that it was too large for the Arts District. If the project near the intersection of Santa Fe Avenue and 7th Street gets built, it’s another big boost in the number of people living in the Arts District — particularly with the large One Santa Fe development nearing completion. Reporter and transit activist Roger Rudick responded to the news on Facebook with this: “If we don’t get that subway station in the Division 20 Yards and 6th Street we’re going to be trapped back here.”

As some folks know, Metro’s subway maintenance yards are along the Los Angeles River in the Arts District — that’s where the trains go when they’re out of service at Union Station. There has been occasional talk over the years about building a platform for the subway in the yards to serve the Arts District. Nothing has happened yet but as the neighborhood grows, I’m guessing there will be more demand for subway service — it could be an easy ride through Union Station to the rest of downtown and beyond — along with some inevitable concerns about the subway bringing too many people into the neighborhood. We’ll see… :)

L.A.’s demand-based parking moving in exactly the right direction (KCET)

City of Los Angeles officials say that their ExpressPark Program in DTLA is resulting in slightly lower average prices and more parking spaces being occupied. There’s some doubt as to whether that’s because of the demand-based system that adjusts meter prices or a reflection of an improving local economy and more people driving downtown. Nonetheless, the system will soon expand to Westwood and it’s the kind of thing that academics such as UCLA’s Donald Shoup have long been advocating.

Lost in America (New York Times)

Columnist Frank Bruni riffs on recent survey results showing that Americans have record low views when it comes to the federal government. More troubling, Bruni writes, is that Americans no longer believe that their children’s generation will fare better than their own, a reversal of a long-held American dream. Excerpt:

And it suggests that this isn’t just about the economy. It’s about fear. It’s about impotence. We can’t calm the world in the way we’d like to, can’t find common ground and peace at home, can’t pass needed laws, can’t build necessary infrastructure, can’t, can’t, can’t.

In the Journal/NBC poll, 60 percent of Americans said that we were a nation in decline. How sad. Sadder still was this: Nowhere in the survey was there any indication that they saw a method or a messenger poised to arrest it.

It’s a tough one. I’m 48 and feels to me that the world has been in some type of turmoil at very regular intervals throughout my life. On the home front, feels to me that most people I know have very little interest or enthusiasm when it comes to Washington D.C.

Transportation headlines, Monday, August 25

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: The Blue Line headed south toward Compton. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: The Blue Line headed south toward Compton. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Gold Line Eastside project environmental document released (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Coverage of the release on Friday of the Eastside Gold Line Phase 2 environmental study.  As the article notes, the two light rail alternatives would extend the Eastside Gold Line from East L.A. to either South El Monte or Whittier. Metro staff at this time has not selected a preferred alternative — that will happen in November. Under Measure R, the project is not scheduled to be complete until 2035, but Metro is trying to accelerate funding for the project, including possibly through a sales tax ballot measure in 2016. Here’s our post about the study, with links to the document.

L.A. County Supervisor’s alternate bullet train route gaining traction (L.A. Times)

The California High-Speed Rail Authority seems to be considering a tunnel under the San Gabriel Mountains on equal footing with two earlier proposed routes along the 14 freeway — neither of which is very popular with communities such as Action, Agua Ducle and Santa Clarita. Bullet train officials say the tunnel-only option advocated by Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich — which would require 18 to 20 miles — of tunnels may actually prove cheaper than the 14 freeway routes, which also require extensive tunneling anyway. If you want to dream about traveling from Palmdale to Burbank in 15 minutes, read the article. The usual bullet train caveat: securing funding for the project — which aims to eventually connect L.A. and San Francisco — remains a huge hurdle.

Fault lines in L.A. over new subway construction (Breitbart News) 

The city and school district in Beverly Hills are touting a new study from their consultants that claims that there are not any earthquake faults that would prohibit a subway station under Santa Monica Boulevard. Metro is sticking by its stance that active faults make building a station under Santa Monica Boulevard unsafe and it’s better from a safety and planning viewpoint to put the Purple Line Extension station in the center of Century City, under the intersection of Avenue of the Stars and Constellation boulevard. Beverly Hills officials want the station under Santa Monica Boulevard because it would not require tunneling under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus. As you likely know, Beverly Hills has challenged the project’s environmental studies with a pair of state and federal lawsuits. The Superior Courts ruled in favor of Metro in the state case and Beverly Hills appealed. The federal suit is ongoing.

After earthquake near Napa, up to 100 homes labeled as unfit to enter (L.A. Times) 

The 6.0-magnitude temblor that struck early Sunday didn’t do much damage to major transportation infrastructure throughout the Bay Area — although there was certainly damage to homes and businesses and other key infrastructure.

Damage at the Lucero store in Napa. Photo by Matthew Keys via Flickr creative commons.

Damage at the Lucero store in Napa. Photo by Matthew Keys via Flickr creative commons.

Have Americans really fallen out of love with driving? (Fortune)

Consumer spending has risen steadily over most of the last decade — with a brief dip due to the Great Recession. But the number of miles driven by Americans has remained flat since late 2007 — even as the number of those with jobs has increased in recent years. What gives? The independent research firm Behind the Numbers suggests that driving less is a trend here to stay and is a combination of several factors including high gas prices, baby boomers growing older, millennials gaining in numbers (millennials are less interested in driving), more interest in transit and more desire by many to live in urban settings. Fortune is a little skeptical, saying that gas prices adjusted for inflation are not outrageous and millennials still don’t play much of a role in the overall economy.

My three cents: I’m certainly not a millennial (I’m 48) but I certainly don’t want to drive more or purchase more gasoline than is absolutely necessary. Nor do I like spending money on cars, which notoriously lose value very quickly. I think with good transit, biking and housing options in cities with good public spaces, driving will remain flat in America as along as it remains relatively expensive.

Here’s how easy it is to hack a traffic light with a laptop (Vox)

With permission from local authorities, hackers in Michigan were able to disrupt timing of traffic lights in an un-named city rather easily. Vox suggests that this is a security concern — and it is certainly illegal to tamper with lights. That said, in my neck of the woods (Pasadena), I’m not sure that the timing of traffic lights could be much worse, the reason other computer hacker targets inspire a little more fear.

 

Model buses now available from Metro online store!

Model_Bus_Orange_Line_Detail Model_Bus_Detail

Model buses are now available for purchase in Metro’s online store — you can chose between an Orange Line bus or Metro 40-foot buses used on local and rapid routes.

One note: we’re aware of complaints from some readers about shipping fees. This is due to an exclusive contract that Metro’s vendor has with FedEx. Those interested in more than one item in the store should purchase them at the same time to help lower the shipping fee. We appreciate the business from those who have made purchases from the store and hope to bring you additional ways to purchase Metro items in the future!

Transportation headlines, Friday, August 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! 

An eastbound Gold Line train heads toward its East L.A. terminus on a recent evening. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

An eastbound Gold Line train heads toward its East L.A. terminus on a recent evening. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Metro stays local in hiring (L.A. Register)

A nice look at Ledaya Epps, a 37-year-old Compton resident who was hired as a construction apprentice on the Crenshaw/LAX Line project because of Metro’s novel Project Labor Agreement. The policy ensures that some jobs on the project are set aside for residents of economically disadvantaged areas (it doesn’t target particular localities, which is prohibited by federal law). Click here to learn more about the PLA, including information about how to apply for a job and/or apprenticeship.

Valley has a date with CicLAvia (Zev Web)

CicLAvia comes to the San Fernando Valley in 2015, with a route likely to include Lankershim Boulevard and Ventura Boulevard. The date still needs to be finalized but one thing is for sure: the primary transit access to the route will be the NoHo stations for the Red Line and Orange Line.

New era in safety when cars can talk to one another (New York Times) 

A comprehensive study is underway on computer systems that allow vehicles to monitor the locations of other nearby vehicles — and thus trigger an automatic response (such as speeding up or slowing down) to avoid accidents. The U.S. Department of Transportation this week announced that it was beginning the process of requiring all cars to be outfitted with the technology. The technology could be used in cars piloted by people.

Los Angeles Times seeks readers’ views on smaller pages (Bloomberg)

The newspaper in a survey apparently asked about smaller page sizes — i.e. perhaps a smaller transit-friendly tabloid format. However, a spokesperson for the Times says that’s not going to happen and that the survey is simply “market research.”

Arrests for transit fare evasion in New York Subway surge in recent years (New York Daily News) 

Arrests increased 69 percent between 2008 and 2013, the Daily News reports, while the number of court summons is down 28 percent in the same time. Of the 120,000 cases that have been resolved, almost one-third resulted in jail time — meaning fare evasion is one of the top crimes that lands people behind bars in Gotham. The New York MTA says that fare evasion costs the agency about $100 million annually. The article includes graphics on arrests by gender, race and age — and also raises questions about whether prison time is doled out fairly to those of different races.

A commuter’s bane — filthy, smelly stairs at BART station stairs (San Francisco Chronicle)

Efforts to keep clean entrances and exits to the downtown Civic Center Station appear to be outpaced by those using the stairs as trash cans and restrooms. While the station is closed in the early morning hours, the stairs remain accessible 24 hours a day. Complicating matters is a significant homeless population that frequents the area.

Wolf pups and the return of wild wonder to California (High Country News)

Nice essay on the gray wolf that trotted into far northern California from Oregon and wandered parts of the state for 15 months without being seen — despite traveling 3,000 miles, crossing roads and coming within howling distance of the 5 freeway. The wolf (outfitted with a GPS collar) has since returned to Oregon and has apparently fathered pups.

Service Alert: Green Line running every 15 min due to ongoing signal issue

Final Update: 5:00 a.m.: Automated signals have been restored on the Metro Green Line, and trains will resume running on a normal schedule.

Update 7:30 p.m.: At this time Green Line signal issues remain unresolved, however, trains are currently arriving at stations across the line every 15 minutes.

The Metro Green Line is currently experiencing up to 20 minute delays due to failure of the automated signaling system between Redondo Beach and Hawthorne/Lennox stations. The signal issue began yesterday afternoon, with delays escalating from minor to major as the affected area widened. Unfortunately, we are still working to resolve the issue.

The cause of the signal failure is currently under investigation. Metro personnel have been dispatched to signal points along the Green Line to manually direct train operators through the impacted area. Green Line customers should anticipate delays of up to 20 minutes when traveling between Redondo Beach and Hawthorne/Lennox Station, or, consider alternate routes. Some trains may return to Norwalk from Aviation/LAX to ensure sufficient train capacity on the busiest portion of the line. If traveling to LAX, consider the LAX FlyAway bus from Union Station or Expo/La Brea.

Metro apologizes for the inconvenience and appreciates your patience as we work to restore the Green Line’s full signaling system as soon as possible. For minute-by-minute service updates, follow us on twitter @metrolosangeles and @metrolalaerts.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, August 21

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! 

Hello, Source readers. I was away for a few days doing the active transportation thing: backpacking into the Hoover Wilderness of the Eastern Sierra. It’s one of the great bargains in California: wilderness permits are free, as are the campsites. Okay, not entirely active transportation as getting to the trailhead requires a long, CO2-emitting drive from L.A., but such are the tradeoffs in life. Interesting factoid: California has 14.9 million acres of designated wilderness (14 percent of the state’s land area) where the only way of getting around is walking or by horse. That’s mighty cool, IMO. Quick Source contest: any Source reader who correctly identifies the lake in the photo below will be hailed as the Most Geographically Adept Source Reader of All-Time in tomorrow’s headlines and on Metro’s social media.

Hint: the lake shares the name of a former resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hint: the lake shares the name of a former resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Guest editorial: dreaming big about rail lines, grand boulevards, bus rapid transit and Measure R2 (StreetsblogLA)

The activist group MoveLA’s Denny Zane and Gloria Ohland opine in favor of a new half-cent transportation sales tax increase being put to Los Angeles County voters in 2016 to fund transportation improvements. While they say that rail expansion should be the centerpiece of any such ballot measure, they also propose that five to 10 percent of the funds be used for a grand boulevards program “to invest in reviving and reinventing several-mile, multi-community-long stretches of maybe 15-20 arterials around L.A. County as transit-oriented boulevards that promote economic development as they pass through more than one community.”

Zane and Ohland also propose that some of the grand boulevards money be used as a competitive grant program for cities that want to build housing along these streets. The idea, in short, is to bump up bus service on these streets while also adding housing and potential transit riders. Obviously not as sexy as a rail line, but an intriguing idea because it’s a way to bring better transit into more corners of the county — including neighborhoods and communities that may be beyond the reach of rail.

As regular readers know, Metro staff is exploring the possibility of a 2016 ballot measure that could possibly extend the half-cent Measure R sales tax (which expires in mid-2039) or another half-cent sales tax that would help fund new projects. Metro has also asked cities in L.A. County for a wish list of projects they would want funded by such a ballot measure. As Metro CEO Art Leahy has already said publicly, the list of projects is a long one and not everything could be funded. It will be very extremely super interesting to see how this evolves.

An underwhelming sidewalk repair day at L.A. City Hall (StreetsblogLA)

Joe Linton’s take on the sidewalk summit held at City Hall can be boiled down to one word: “yawn.” The gist of it: city staff is working to figure out how to spend $27 million in this year’s budget to fix bad sidewalks around the city of Los Angeles while also exploring long-term options for sidewalk repair.

UCLA’s Donald Shoup also penned an op-ed in the L.A. Times arguing that a point-of-sale program that requires homeowners to fix sidewalks at the time they sell their properties would be a good way to get thousands of miles of L.A. sidewalks fixed. The reason: properties tend to turn over on average once every dozen years, meaning that such a program could result in quicker gains than waiting for the city to have funding available.

Road and sidewalk repair has been an ongoing issue at L.A. City Hall for years. I recall writing a very short sidewalk repair story for the Times back seven or eight years ago that got buried even deeper in the print edition than most of my articles and I still got more readers response than most other stories. So it’s a big issue — and another item that could surface in discussions about Measure R2.

The 10 commandments of transit (transitcommandments.com)

These are great. My favorite: “thy shall keep their shoes on.” There are also helpful suggestions about giving up a seat for those in need and about the appropriate place to break bread (or some drippy mess from Carls Jr.). That place, in case you haven’t guessed, is at home and not the bus or train.

Supporters of closing Santa Monica Airport lose round in court (L.A. Times)

A Superior Court judge upheld a ballot measure that would require voter approval to close the controversial airport. But is this really a loss? I suspect a vote in Santa Monica on closing the airport would be close. I suspect that anyone who lives near the airport would rather it be gone (disclosure: I lived under the flight path for seven years and really disliked the frequent jet noise), but I also could see people voting to keep the airport out of fear that closing it would result in more commercial and/or residential development taking the airport’s place. FYI: the airport is about one mile south of the future Expo Line station at Exposition Boulevard and Bundy Drive. The Expo Line extension, funded by Measure R, is scheduled to open in early 2016.

Why your LA-to-Vegas commute just got slower (vegas seven)

A Caltrans project is underway to improve the 15-215 interchange at the base of the Cajon Pass in San Bernardino County. It includes widening the 15 and a truck bypass. But until the project is done, expect delays. Of course, some of you may have no interest in taking the 15 to Unlucky Town, but may have their sights set on other joys further up the 15, such as Zion National Park.