Transportation headlines, Monday, July 8

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Photo by Pedro Szekely/Flickr

Santa Clarita Summer Beach Bus is back (SantaClaritaTransit.com)

As we approach another set of 100-degree days the timing is perfect for the City of Santa Clarita weekend Summer Beach Bus to Santa Monica, which is back again this year and will run through Sept. 1. It’s a great price ($3 each way) and an excellent way to avoid that tiresome beach traffic and parking place hunt.

Mayor Garcetti rode the bus to work … and other first week adventures  (KPCC)

Riding the bus is important for him to do frequently, he said, as a member of the Metro board.

Ex-rail minister in China gets a suspended death sentence (New York Times)

A court in Beijing on Monday gave former Chinese minister of railways, Liu Zhijun, a suspended death sentence after finding him guilty of taking bribes and abusing his powers. Liu was minister of railways from 2003 until 2011, and under him the ministry championed a high-speed train rollout. A train crash that killed 40 people in July 2011, five months after he was fired from office, fanned criticism that the high-speed expansion had been hasty and ill managed.

Want cleaner air? Repave the streets (Los Angeles Times)

Scientists from the Netherlands have developed what they say is smog-eating pavement that can cut air pollution in half. But there’s still that other half to consider so no excuse for a return to gas-hog cars.

Burbank will get $4.4 million bike trail connecting to Metrolink (Curbed LA)

Burbank is preparing to build a bike lane connecting the Lake/Alameda bike patch with the downtown Burbank Metrolink station.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 3

Los Angeles Traffic. Photo by Jeff Turner/Flickr

Los Angeles Traffic. Photo by Jeff Turner/Flickr

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

California highways among worst in nation (San Jose Mercury News) California’s highways continue to rank among the worst in the nation — a  distinction we’ve held for more than a decade. The system is ranked 47th out of  50 in overall highway performance and efficiency. North Dakota, Kansas and Wyoming have the best. So why is it that states with huge temperature fluctuations — so hard on roadways — are doing well? It may have something to do with traffic. (We have the most.) And a massive highway system. (We have the largest.) Is there hope?

New Flyaway service from Expo LaBrea Station begins … just in time for holiday travel  (LAWA)

Headed to the airport? New FlyAway bus service linking the Metro Expo Line La Brea Station and LAX started Monday. To encourage ridership there’s a special introductory one-way fare of $6 in effect through Dec. 31. (On Jan. 1 it will increase to $7.) Also on Monday, the one-way fare between LAX and the Van Nuys FlyAway increased $1 to $8.

Mike Bonin new transportation committee chair (LA Streetsblog)

Council Member Mike Bonin will replace Bill Rosendahl as Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee. The Westside’s Council District 11, which Bonin represents, is home to two of the largest infrastructure projects in the region, the 405 Widening through the Sepulveda Pass and Phase II of the Expo Line.

Slightly fewer of us will travel this Fourth of July weekend (Daily News)

The Automobile Club predicts that fewer of us will travel this year over the Fourth of July weekend because the holiday falls on a Thursday, rather than on a Wednesday as it did last year. What that means is a very slight decrease of half of one percentage point to about 2.32 million of us on the roads. This will be enough to make getting out of town this afternoon a challenge, of course.

 

Summer Metro Motion celebrates the season with a bus and then a bike ride along the beautiful Pacific

Metro Motion — Metro’s popular quarterly cable TV show — has just been released. The newest edition celebrates summer with a breathtaking ride along the beautiful Pacific. All we need to do is take the Metro Rapid 720 to Santa Monica, hop on a bike and pedal the South Bay Beach Trail all the way to Redondo Beach. It’s a great bike path — partially funded by Metro — and the perfect highway for a gorgeous sea-side excursion.

Another Metro Motion piece takes us on a day trip to explore a few fascinating offerings in Metro’s Destination Discounts program. It’s a reminder that Metro riders with valid TAP cards can get special offers for great shopping and dining, museums, sporting events and more. Tag along and sample a couple of participating locations along the Gold Line in Chinatown. There might just be an experience in it for you.

In another story we explore Metro’s growing highway program and answer the questions: Are freeways free? Have they ever been free? Find out how highways are evolving and HOT lanes are helping Metro relieve traffic and may one day even speed up construction projects.

Finally, take a walk through Metro’s new gate-latching system and see how easy it is. And watch a demonstration of Metro’s innovative new hands-free system for unlatching the gates so that people in wheelchairs don’t need to do it themselves.

Metro Motion runs quarterly on cable stations throughout Los Angeles County.

Diane DuBois becomes new chair of Metro Board of Directors

New Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois

Diane DuBois

As many of you know, the position of Chair of the Metro Board rotates between directors each year to enhance representation of all L.A. County geographic areas. Today Diane DuBois, from Lakewood in the Gateway Cities, becomes chair for fiscal year 2013-14. Here’s the release:

City of Lakewood Councilmember Diane DuBois has taken over as chair of Metro’s Board of Directors, effective July 1. She replaces outgoing Board Chairman Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

“I look forward to a successful year as Chair of the MTA,” DuBois said. “We will concentrate on continuing to design and implement Measure R projects and grow the transportation opportunities in Los Angeles County for accessibility to all corners of the region.”

A Councilmember for the City of Lakewood, DuBois was elected to the Metro Board of Directors in 2009, where she represents the 28 cities of southeast Los Angeles County collectively known as the Gateway Cities Council of Governments.  She also serves on Metro’s Executive Management and Audit Committee, as well as the Planning and Programming Committee.

DuBois became involved in local government through her appointment to the City of Lakewood Planning and Environment Commission, where she served for 28 years before being elected to the Lakewood City Council in 2005. She served as Mayor in 2008 and 2012.

In addition to her city responsibilities, DuBois has a long history of civic service. She has been a board member and volunteer of Lakewood Meals On Wheels, a board member of Lakewood Regional Medical Center, a member and past president of Soroptimist International of Lakewood/Long Beach and Board Chair of Pathways Volunteer Hospice. She was appointed Community Outreach chair by the Board of Trustees for the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House and served on the founding Board of Directors.

Metro is the third largest public transportation agency in the United States. It has a $5 billion annual budget and more than 9,000 employees. It operates approximately 191 bus routes serving 1,433 square miles of service area and six subway and light-rail lines.

Transportation headlines, Monday, July 1

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access viaemail subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

BART photo by Peter Ehrlich/Flickr

BART strike: Commuters find creative ways to get to work (Los Angeles Times)

In Oakland, news helicopters began rumbling overhead by 4 a.m. today, assessing the mounting congestion on the tangle of freeways that feed the Bay Bridge because of the BART strike … the first of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system in 16 years.

Here’s an amazing redesign of the L.A. freeway map (Curbed L.A.)

Admittedly, we’re more into bus and rail maps than highways but we have to admit that this is pretty cool. Boston-based designer Peter Dunn decided to try his hand at creating a new map of LA’s highway system to include 31 freeways, 75 interchanges and more than 850 exits. (Who knew we had that many?)

Big Blue Bus to operate Sunday schedule July 4 (Santa Monica Mirror)

Heads up, beach lovers. Our good friend the Big Blue Bus will still be available for transport to the ocean on the Fourth (along with a variety of Metro buses, including 720 Rapid down Wilshire Blvd.) but make sure you check the schedule before leaving home. In fact, check all transit schedules, since some others may be running on holiday/Sunday times … as Metro is.

Don’t text and walk: Pedestrians step in front of trains (USA Today)

It’s happening with increasing frequency around the nation: Someone distracted by his or her cellphone. “What we are seeing in subway environments are people preoccupied, distracted with their electronic devices, coming too close and in some cases falling off subway platforms,” says Greg Hull, vice president for public safety, operations and technical services at the American Public Transportation Association. In addition, he says, “people are putting themselves at risk as pedestrians when they cross at grade crossings, be it light rail or commuter rail.” Please don’t.

A quick note from Source editor

First, thank you to everyone for reading the blog — we appreciate your eyeball time and your interest in local government and transportation.

Second, I’ll be away from the blog until mid-July. My colleagues will put some posts up while I’m gone and then I’ll jump back into the blog in time for the July round of Board meetings, featuring four new Board members, including Los Angeles Mayor-Elect Eric Garcetti.

Have a great and safe Fourth of July week and catch everyone soon,

Steve


Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 27

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Transportation Headlines online newspaper, which you can also access via email subscription (visit the newspaper site) or RSS feed.

Casden agrees to downsize West L.A. development (L.A. Times)

The number of residential units at the Expo Line-adjacent (Expo Phase 2, that is) at Pico and Sepulveda drops from 638 to 595 and the Target store and supermarket are eliminated from the project. Neighbors are relieved because the number of car trips in and out of the development will decrease without the stores. One transportation advocate, however, says it's too bad that the transit-oriented development won't have amenities that residents of the new buildings will need. Hmm. I think there's a Vons over at Santa Monica Boulevard and Sawtelle and a supermarket at Pico and Beverwil, which is conveniently located on the other side of Century City from the new Casden development. Super easy drive!!!

L.A. bike sharing program hits a snag (L.A. Times)

Bike Nation's plans to install the rental bikes has a problem: it can't sell advertising on its bike kiosks because of city contracts with two other firms that sell outdoor advertising. So Bike Nation has to reconfigure its business model, meaning that bike sharing won't start until 2014 at the earliest in L.A. My three cents: maybe it's better, giving the city more time to install more bike lanes that will attract bike renters.

Three-foot passing bill moves to State Senate floor (LADOT Bike Blog)

Similar bills haven't made into the law before but the latest iteration — requiring motorists to give cyclists at least three feet when passing — has had a rather smooth sail.