Transportation headlines, Friday, May 18

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

 

If you're in the Big Bear or Antelope Valley today, check out the Amgen Tour of California. Tomorrow's stage runs from Ontario to Mt. Baldy before the Beverly Hills to downtown L.A. final stage on Sunday.

Beverly Hills threatens legal action over Westside Subway Extension (L.A. Times)

The library’s blog has the long list of coverage of Thursday’s hearing requested by Beverly Hills on the route the subway will take in Beverly Hills and Century City. This story does a good job of covering the basics of the dispute for those without advanced degrees in geology.

There is also good coverage of a few particular exchanges during the hearing at Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky’s blog. There is also a good roundup of different views at L.A. Streetsblog.

El Sereno residents review 710 gap closure concepts (EGP News)

Coverage of the recent community meeting in El Sereno to review concepts being discussed to improve traffic in the area near the gap in the 710 between Pasadena and Alhambra. Among the options are extending the freeway or light rail. We’ll be putting the presentation online soon.

Members of Congress urge Metro to fund Gold Line to Claremont with Measure R extension (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

The letter was written by Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte), Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-Norwalk) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena). As we posted yesterday, Metro CEO Art Leahy said that the original Measure R was ambiguous about whether the Foothill Extension project was defined as going to Azusa — the segment now being built — or all the way to Claremont, as is being planned by the Foothill Extension Construction Authority. Leahy said a decision about the funding of the Claremont segment by a Measure R extension (if that even occurs) will ultimately be made by the Board of Directors.

A new choice in personal mobility? The seated scooter (Grist)

How do you steer it? With your rear end, apparently. Grist has some fun with this device from Honda, suggesting it’s for those too lazy to ride a Segway.

What's happening at other transit agencies?

BART's board has voted to approve a contract to replace its aging rail fleet. Photo by flickr user skew-t.

BART's board has voted to approve a contract to replace its aging rail fleet. Photo by flickr user skew-t.

BART board approves $896-million contract for new rail fleet

The latest in the ongoing saga of BART’s efforts to replace its aging fleet of custom railcars: BART’s Board of Directors has approved a nearly $900-million contract with Canadian train (and jet) manufacturer Bombardier. The San Francisco Appeal online newspaper notes that the contract’s schedule would have the first batch of 410 new rail cars available by 2017, with an option for an additional 366 cars in 2023 – right around when the oldest rail cars in BART’s fleet would be reaching their half-century mark.

Federal Transit Administration announces $5.1 mil to enhance Reno bus rapid transit service

The FTA has awarded Reno a nice chunk of money to improve service on one of its BRT lines that connects popular destinations, like downtown and the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Fox Reno reports that the funding will support the purchase of new hybrid buses and a the construction of a new bus fueling depot. The grant comes on the heals of a nearly $7-million grant from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program for the construction of stations on the BRT line.

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Transportation headlines, Thursday, May 17

Photo by Christopher Chan via 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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

This weekend could be test case for traffic near proposed NFL stadium (Orange County Register)

The jam-packed schedule of events in and around Staples Center on Saturday and Sunday will present a test case on whether the proposed site for Farmers Field will be able to handle NFL-sized crowds, especially on dates when NFL games coincide with other major events, said Los Angeles city councilwoman Jan Perry. Good point and another reminder to leave the car at home and go Metro Expo or Blue.

How far can mass transit carry you 30 minutes? (Atlantic Cities)

It’s an amusing exercise that reveals something of the length and expanse of the systems. How far can you travel in 30 minutes with a bus pass on transit in New York, London, L.A.? Surprisingly far, as it turns out. But not so in Miami.

BART Wi-Fi still lags after 3 years (San Francisco Chronicle)

Love the concept but at least on BART where, after three years, Wi-Fi is described as “spotty” and “unreliable,” it may not be worth the cash. At the moment. The problem for the Bay Area carrier has to do with technology, short money in an ailing economy and priorities. Among the thoughts: What’s more important, new seats or Wi-Fi? (We’re thinking.) The reported cost is $100,000 a mile.

Feeling tired, run down and don’t know who to blame? Maybe it’s your commute (StreetsBlog DC)

A study of Dallas residents found that commute distance correlated with larger waistlines, poorer cardiovascular health and a greater risk for high blood pressure.


Transportation headlines, Wednesday, May 16

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

California bullet train chief seeks environmental exemptions (Los Angeles Times)

California High-Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan Richard is hoping to obtain exemptions from the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and other state environmental laws that could further delay the project’s construction. Some Central Valley growers are among those gearing up for a legal battle against the Authority. In the past, the Chairman has said the Authority would not seek an outright exemption from state or federal environmental laws.

All aboard for NoHo Depot restoration (Los Angeles Daily News)

The Daily News reports on the progress of Metro’s work restoring the century-old Lankershim train station in North Hollywood. With 100-plus years of lead-based paint and asbestos shingles that need to be removed, Metro is working to preserve as much of the original structure as possible. The environmental cleanup phase is expected to be completed by the end of May.

An electrifying freight solution on the 710? Siemens working on it (Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles is considering a new electric freight trucking system that uses overhead electrical wires to power the vehicles. The system known as eHighway operates like modern-day streetcars and some electric buses. With freight trucks a leading source of vehicle emissions, the technology might help Los Angeles reduce emissions on its major trucking routes. Siemens is working to implement a pilot project along the 710, a major route for moving freight between the ports of Long Beach and L.A. and inland destinations.

 


LAPD and LASD writing tickets for traffic violations near the Orange Line Extension

Photo via Metro Transportation Library and Archive

Metro has just issued a press release warning motorists to be careful near the soon-to-open Orange Line Extension or risk being ticketed. Safety education is the goal but LAPD and LASD are carefully monitoring the area and will issue tickets to violators.

LAPD and LASD Strictly Enforcing Traffic Laws Along the New Four-Mile Metro Orange Line Extension, Opening This Summer

Motorists and pedestrians take note: During pre-revenue testing along the Metro Orange Line Extension the Los Angeles Police and County Sheriffs departments are strictly enforcing traffic laws and will continue to do so after the four-mile busway opens this summer.

To stress caution and careful behavior, Metro also is reaching out through newspaper and web advertising and public safety messages to schools, homes, community centers and businesses near theSan Fernando Valley busway extension.

The Extension is an addition to the popular Orange Line that currently runs from the Metro Red Line Station in North Hollywood to Warner Center in Woodland Hills. It will expand the line north from the existing Canoga Station to the Chatsworth Metrolink Station, linking Ventura County with the L.A. County Metro system.

As with any new mass transit line, the public needs to develop behavior patterns that will help keep it safe. The police and sheriffs presence, combined with Metro outreach, is aimed at promoting driving, walking and biking safely along the line between Canoga Station at 6610 Canoga Ave. and the Chatsworth Metrolink Station at10047 Old Depot Plaza Road.

Safety training began in March at K through 12 schools within a 1.5 mile radius of the line, at public libraries, senior centers and recreation and community centers. More than 10,000 safety notices are being distributed to homes and businesses throughout the area and community education will continue after the summer opening.

During on-going testing, buses are running intermittently along the busway. As testing continues, as well as when the line opens, the public is advised to be safe around the bus path and to:

– Obey ALL warning signs and traffic signals when crossing the busway intersections.

– Be alert at all times when near the busway.

– Watch for buses from both directions.

– NEVER walk, run, ride bicycles or drive on the busway.

– Remember to push the pedestrian crossing button to activate the “Walk” signal.

– Use the crosswalks. Never jaywalk across the busway or use the busway as a shortcut.

– Always look both ways before crossing the street. 

When the Orange Line opened in 2005, 7,000 to 8,000 boardings a day were predicted. Now there are more than 25,000 daily boardings. For more information on the Metro Orange Line go to metro.net/projects/orangeline.

Blessing of Bikes 2012 draws cyclists from near and far

The annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, now in its ninth year, is a popular event during Bike Week L.A. Group photo includes Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Andy Leeka, center, in bicycle shirt, and L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, far left. Photos: Dave Sotero
The annual Blessing of the Bicycles at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, now in its ninth year, is a popular event during Bike Week L.A. Group photo includes Good Samaritan Hospital CEO Andy Leeka, center, in bicycle shirt, and L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge, far left. Photos: Dave Sotero
Car-free cyclist Nate Baird, an LADOT bike program planner, wears his blessings at Good Samaritan Hospital bike week event.

Car-free cyclist Nate Baird, an LADOT bike program planner, wears his blessings at Good Samaritan Hospital bike week event.

Avid cyclist Andy Leeka, CEO of Good Samaritan Hospital, rides to his job in downtown Los Angeles most days of the week. He was there on cue to welcome scores of cyclists this morning arriving en masse for an interfaith blessing, breakfast and a bike check.

The interfaith ceremony bestowed blessings from a Catholic priest, an Episcopalian priest, an Iman, a rabbi, and a Buddhist monk on groups of bicycle clubs and cyclists from nearby and as far way as Ventura and the Channel Islands.

Metro responds to third report by Beverly Hills on Westside Subway Extension seismic and tunneling issues

Metro officials and consultants issued a response Tuesday to a study commissioned by the Beverly Hills Unified School District, with Metro again standing by its conclusion that there is no place safe to build a subway tunnel and station for the Westside Subway Extension along Santa Monica Boulevard in the Century City area due to the presence of active earthquake faults.

The Beverly Hills Unified School District commissioned Leighton Consultants, Inc., to perform seismic research on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. Metro has also previously responded to two studies commissioned by the city of Beverly Hills, with the agency re-affirming its previous findings that tunneling under Santa Monica Boulevard should be avoided.

Leighton dug trenches on the campus property and performed other tests. Metro combined the Leighton data with data that the agency collected across the Century Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood areas and concluded that the data supports the agency’s original conclusion that two active faults — the Santa Monica Fault and the West Beverly Hills Lineament — converge under Santa Monica Boulevard.

Metro also disagrees with Leighton’s statement that the West Beverly Hills Lineament is not present under the school campus, saying that Leighton did not collect enough data to support that conclusion.

Metro staff have proposed tunneling under part of the campus to reach a subway station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars in Century City — a location south of active faulting along Santa Monica Boulevard and also closer to more jobs in the area.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 15

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Disney’s transportation system of tomorrow (Primary Resource)

The Metro Library has a great post on a 15-minute Disney television program from 1958 that previewed the transportation world of the future. Much of it has never happened even if elements have shown up in research and movies. Check out the video and pics.

L.A. City Council asks Legislature to release high-speed rail bonds (California High-Speed Rail Blog)

The Council last week approved a resolution asking Sacramento to release state money to sell bonds to fund the first segment of the project and to help secure federal matching funds. The Blog also criticizes the media for ignoring the second-largest city in the country supporting the project while focusing on the bullet train’s many critics.

Getting urban sports development right in D.C. (Streetsblog)

Using public funds to build or support sports stadiums for privately-held sports teams is often criticized as a poor investment. But data from Washington D.C. indicates that the Nationals new ballpark has encouraged development in the southeastern part of town and has given the area the lift it needed.

 

Bike Week L.A. to spotlight new Expo Line with Expo/Mid-City Ride May 16

Expo/Mid-City Bike Ride Flyer

As Bike Week L.A. continues this week, there will be a rare occasion tomorrow morning, Wednesday, May 16 to experience the connection between the Expo Line, L.A.’s newest rail line and L.A.’s newest bike lanes.

The Expo/Mid-City Ride, sponsored by Metro and LADOT, and led by C.I.C.L.E. Executive Director Dan Dabek, will provide a golden opportunity to discover the rail line’s route with fellow bicyclists as it travels through L.A., Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills and Culver City. Adjacent on-street lanes accompany the line starting from Expo/Vermont Station all the way to La Cienega/Jefferson Station, near the entrance to the Ballona Creek Bike Path that then travels to Marina Del Rey.

Cyclists should meet beginning at 8 a.m. at the Expo Park/USC Station, with the ride departing at 8:30 a.m. The the ride will last approximately 45 minutes.  Cyclists can return via bike lanes or take the Expo Line back to Exposition Park.

Here’s your chance to see Metro’s newest mult-modal transit corridor in a group ride!  Don’t miss it.

 

 

Transportation headlines, Monday, May 14

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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

 

Lincoln Boulevard: looks pretty good when you can't see it! Photo by sevensixfive, via Flickr creative commons.

Bringing back the boulevards (L.A. Times)

Architecture and planning critic Christopher Hawthorne begins a new series on the region’s boulevards and their potential for revival. Part one looks at Atlantic Boulevard and includes this introduction to the series:

The boulevard, in fact, is where the Los Angeles of the immediate future is taking shape. No longer a mere corridor to move cars, it is where L.A. is trying on a fully post-suburban identity for the first time, building denser residential neighborhoods and adding new amenities for cyclists and pedestrians.

In the process, the city is beginning to shed its reputation as a place where the automobile is king — or at least where its reign goes unchallenged. Cities across the U.S. followed L.A.’s car-crazy lead in the postwar era. This time around we might provide a more enlightened example: how to retrofit a massive region for a future that is less auto-centric.

Especially among younger Angelenos, including foreign-born immigrants and transplants from other American cities, there is a hunger for better-designed roadways and new ways of getting around. And L.A.’s political leadership is finally responding.

The biggest single change is the appearance of new transit lines. Flush with cash from the Measure R sales-tax increase, which is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is extending subway, light-rail and bus networks across L.A. County, including the new $930-million Expo Line.

 

It’s a great idea for a series and, of course, it would be a wonderful thing to see the region improve the form and function of its big streets, many of which are complete eyesores. As a former Westsider, I nominate Lincoln Boulevard between the Santa Monica Freeway and Marina del Rey as one of the boulevards most in need of severe intervention.

U.S. DOT to California: use high-speed rail money or lose it! (Politico)

If the state doesn’t approve selling $2.7 billion in bonds for the first part of the high-speed rail project by mid-June, the feds could yank their commitment to $3.3 billion in matching federal funds for the project. This L.A. Times story raises questions about whether it’s even possible to get the first segment built by 2017 as promised. On a related note, the news over the weekend that California’s budget deficit for next year has ballooned to $16 billion is one more reason that lawmakers may not want to take on more debt.

Metrolink proposes fare hikes (Daily News)

A brief look at the five- to nine-percent increases proposed by Metrolink staff to cover, in part, increased fuel costs. The agency’s Board of Directors is scheduled to consider the increases at its May 30 meeting.