Los Angeles Transportation Headlines, Monday, June 24

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.

ART OF TRANSIT: I accepted my own Metro Full Moon Challenge and came up with this un-good shot taken at the Gold Line's Fillmore station in Pasadena last night. The Source gladly accepts photos of the full moon over Metro buses, trains or other facilities.

ART OF TRANSIT: I accepted my own Metro Full Moon Challenge and came up with this un-good shot taken at the Gold Line’s Fillmore station in Pasadena last night. The Source gladly accepts photos of the full moon over Metro buses, trains or other facilities.

L.A. County cities fight over Metro plans for new trains (San Gabriel Valley Tribune) 

The Measure R project acceleration plan to be considered by the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday has received mixed support from cities in Los Angeles County. The Gateway Cities have voted against it while cities in the San Gabriel Valley are mixed. The southern ones want to see the Eastside Gold Line Extension accelerated while the northern ones are fighting to get a $1-billion Gold Line segment from Azusa to Claremont funded and built as part of the plan. Such parochial fights have been ongoing for years and years and years and it’s rare to see officials quoted in such articles acknowledge the importance of building a viable rail network connecting the county’s major job centers.

Leader editorial: station will brighten Bob Hope Airport’s future (Burbank Leader) 

The Leader is pleased that a platform to serve the Bob Hope Airport will be built to serve Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line; currently only the Ventura County Line has an airport station. The editorial hopes the new station is part of the airport’s revival as passenger loads have slipped in recent years due to a wheezy economy, the loss of American Airlines service and a decline in flights by Jet Blue. Here’s our post about Friday’s ceremony. The platform is forecast to open in 2015.

When Santa Monica was still Oshkosh-By-The-Sea (Zocalo Public Square) 

Fun and informative piece by the organizer Ernie Powell who spent many years living in Santa Monica — years when it was a lot scruffier than now. The article does a good job explaining the mindset of a place. Excerpt:

Maybe you think of Santa Monica as a place of sea breezes and ocean beaches, of suntans and surf. But for me the core of Santa Monica is the apartment. Over 60 percent of the residents are renters, and many are combatants in a miniature class war that never stops. They are haunted by one question: Will someone try and take my apartment away? If you understand that simple fact, you’ll appreciate a lot of what makes the town tick.

I lived near Main Street in Santa Monica between 1996 and 2003 — a time when the town didn’t seem to change much. I go back now and am surprised at the amount of new development, not to mention construction on the Expo Line, something I quite frankly never thought would happen. Ever. The growing wealth of the area is hard to ignore but I’m pleasantly surprised, too, that there’s still scruff to be found.

A video to get you excited about CicLAvia

Freewaves.org and out-the-window.org posted this on vimeo. Nice.

Need more info about getting to CicLAvia on Metro? Here’s our earlier post.

Go Metro to CicLAvia on Wilshire Boulevard — and check out Metro’s mock subway car

Subway_Mockup_Car (1)

Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

I’m guessing most of you are already fully aware that CicLAvia is coming to Wilshire Boulevard on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. between downtown L.A. and Fairfax Avenue along the Miracle Mile. Wilshire will be closed to car traffic and turned over to cyclists and pedestrians. I’m guessing there will be many, many thousands of them!

If you’re at the event, please swing by Metro’s booth — look for it near the La Brea Tar Pits. There will be plenty of information about Metro’s current bus and rail offerings as well as the Purple Line Extension project which will take the subway from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western for 3.9 miles to Wilshire/La Cienega Boulevard. The CicLAvia route conveniently covers a healthy chunkage of the subway’s route. Woot woot! (Tons more information on the CicLAvia website, too).

Speaking of Metro Rail and the subway, it’s a pretty good way to reach CicLAvia — there are four Red or Purple Line subway stations along or very close to Wilshire (7th/Metro Center, Westlake/MacArthur Park, Wilshire/Normandie, Wilshire Western) and both the Blue Line and Expo Line also serve 7th/Metro Center.

Here’s the Metro Rail and Metrolink map:

metro_metrolink_map

And here’s the CicLAvia map:

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More information about the event is after the jump, including bus detours and more information about Metro Rail schedules on Sunday.

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Friday, June 21

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.

ART OF TRANSIT: It's a full moon on Sunday night, meaning it's time for another Metro Full Moon Photo Challenge.  Get the full moon in a photo with a Metro bus or train and we'll feature it in this space, earning you great amounts of fame on the World Wide Web. Booya! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro, taken in February from the Lake Avenue bridge over the Gold Line and the 210 freeway.

ART OF TRANSIT: It’s a full moon on Sunday night, meaning it’s time for another Metro Full Moon Photo Challenge. Get the full moon in a photo with a Metro bus or train and we’ll feature it in this space, earning you great amounts of fame on the World Wide Web. Booya! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro, taken in February from the Lake Avenue bridge over the Gold Line and the 210 freeway.

Ten minutes with tunnel boring machines that tweet (Engineering News-Record)

There are several projects (including subway projects) around the U.S. using tunnel boring machines at the moment and many of the TBMs have their own Twitter streams. Excerpt:

@MackenzieTBM: I don’t get too wrapped up in follower counts. All I know is I have rock in front of me, concrete behind me, and I’ll be followed by 60 million gallons of stormwater and sewage when my job’s done. You don’t text and drive, do you? Neither can I.

@BerthaDigsSR99: I’m a huge fan of the Mars Curiosity Rover, but I recognize she has more important things to do than follow me. I can only imagine what Martian soil tastes like.    

@BigAlmatheTBM: I have about 300 followers, and Mom Chung has 350. I’d be absolutely thrilled to tweet with Mike Rowe, the star of my favorite TV show, “Dirty Jobs.” I’m a huge fan and really respect his work. Plus I think he’d really “get” me.

Metro will hopefully have some TBMs joining the fray soon as tunneling will be needed on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Regional Conector and Purple Line Extension.

Here’s a cool video from the Central Subway project team in San Francisco that shows the assembly of the Mom Chung TBM:

Ontario air traffic declines for sixth straight year (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

The main airport serving the Inland Empire is operating at about 25 percent capacity and is on track to handle fewer than four million passengers in 2013. There have been declines at Bob Hope Airport and Long Beach, too, while passenger loads have increased at John Wayne Airport in Orange County and LAX. An aviation consultant blames Ontario’s woes on Los Angeles World Airports, which owns and operates the Ontario facility and says LAWA hasn’t redistributed air traffic as promised.

Sweeping protests in Brazil over array of grievances — among them, fare hikes (New York Times) 

Protests in Divinopolis, Brazil, on Wednesday. Photo by Fernando H. C. Oliveira, via Flickr creative commons.

Protests in Divinopolis, Brazil, on Wednesday. Photo by Fernando H. C. Oliveira, via Flickr creative commons.

Protests that started over a proposed increase in transit fares have escalated to much larger protests across Brazil over a long list of citizen complaints — costly stadiums, corrupt politicians, high taxes and shoddy schools. Officials have made concessions on the fare hikes, but protestors have not been placated.

Editorial: Metro should seek Gold Line funds (San Gabriel Valley Tribune) 

The editorial says that Metro should fulfill the promise of Measure R by seeking more than $900 million in federal funds needed to extend the Gold Line from Azusa to Claremont. Although the editorial doesn’t explain it, this is part of an effort by cities in the San Gabriel Valley to have a Measure R project acceleration plan amended to show the entire cost of extending the Gold Line from Pasadena to Claremont. Excerpt:

Construction is proceeding in a timely manner from Pasadena to Azusa. But the Gold Line Construction Authority also has, unlike virtually any other project in Los Angeles or on the Westside being promoted by Metro, ownership of the right of way and an approved Environmental Impact Report all the way to Claremont. After that, it would be just a short and logical hop to Montclair and then the proposed Ontario Airport Extension that makes all the transit sense in the world.

A couple of notes here.

•Metro has completed the environmental studies for the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension. All three are scheduled to be under construction within two years.  In the mean time, they’re proceeding with securing contractors, relocating utilities and other activities to get ready for construction.

•Measure R is funding the extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border and an extension of the Eastside Gold Line to either South El Monte or Whittier in the San Gabriel Valley. Whether or not the full Metro Board amends the acceleration plan to show the cost of going to Claremont, the fact remains that not every Measure R project is fully funded by Measure R, the reason the subway isn’t making it to the sea, the Connector isn’t stopping at 5th/Flower and the Crenshaw/LAX Line isn’t going north of Exposition Boulevard. As for the bit about the Ontario Airport, perhaps the Los Angeles Newspaper Group’s editorial board should read the story it just published in one of its newspapers about declining use of the facility. See the above story.

 

LYFE expectancy — Looking for vegetarian food near Metro

Beets and farro salad

Beets and farro salad

Question of the day: Where can we find good vegetarian food near Metro?

One possible answer is LYFE Kitchen in Culver City. (If you have other suggestions, please email us at sourcemetro@gmail.com.)

Admittedly, LYFE is a 15-minute walk from the Culver City Expo Station but hey, walking is healthy. And it’s easy to grab Metro Local 33 bus down Venice Boulevard from the Expo Line Culver City Station to the Cardiff Avenue stop. A short walk and you’re there.

What we find on Culver and Washington avenues is a strip of restaurants too delicious to ignore. Among them is LYFE Kitchen, the latest in a chain of vegetarian fast food restaurants that are becoming the darlings of Millennials, as well as Boomers concerned about the health of their aging bodies. In fact, Advertising Age reports that McDonald’s — a Boomers fav — doesn’t even rank in the top 10 fast food favorites of Millennials, as many as 80 million people, ages 18 to 32.

Ad Age also says that particularly with food, Millennials are trending toward fresh and organic and value companies that are proactive with sustainable farming practices and are environmentally conscious. That might spell vegetarian or meatless, which is what the fast-food industry — and LYFE — seem to be responding to.

On its website LYFE elaborates: “Great food can do amazing things. It can make you feel better. It can support local farms. Promote sustainability. Reward environmentally sound businesses. Give back to the community. And, best of all, it will make you savor every single bite.”

Kabocha squash risotto

Kabocha squash risotto

LYFE certainly reflects those tastes, as does nearby Tender Greens at 9523 Culver Blvd. Two dishes tasted and enjoyed at LYFE are Kabocha Squash Risotto and the Beets and Farro salad. But the menu includes grilled barramundi white fish with soba noodles, a few Gardein (plant-based chicken or beef substitute) dishes and a classic burger of 100 percent grass-fed beef.

These entrees run in the $9 to $13 range. Add a drink and you can probably count on $15. But seated on the patio on a balmy summer day, the price seems worth it … even though just across the street is Honey’s Kettle yummy greasy fried chicken with biscuits and honey (9537 Culver Blvd. 90232). Being a vegetarian can have its challenges.

Send your suggestions for good vegetarian near Metro (put Dine & Ride in the subject field) to sourcemetro@gmail.com and we’ll post them and put them on our Ride & Dine map.

LYFE Kitchen, 9540 Washington Blvd., Culver City 90232


Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 20

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.

One legislative note worth making although I don't believe it received much news coverage: the state Assembly last week approved Assembly Constitutional Amendment 8 (by Bob Blumenfield) that would lower the threshold for transportation sales taxes from two-thirds to 55 percent. However, the amendment awaits action in the State Senate and that doesn't appear imminent in this legislative year. Blumenfield has been elected to the L.A. City Council and will be sworn in on July 1.

Doing away with rail honor system is common sense (L.A. Times)

The author of this opinion piece is pleased to see the gates latched at the entrances to the subway at Union Station, saying it's a sign that the county's rail system is growing up.

House GOP gets its knives out (D.C. Streetsblog)

The transportation subcommittee of the House's Appropriations Committee proposes 15 percent cuts to transportation funding in the next fiscal year, including a ban on funding high-speed rail in California and a two percent chop to the New Starts program that funds big transportation projects. Will this make it into law? Probably not, but always interesting to see the House's priorities, or lack thereof.

After Hollywood outcry, Spring Street bike lane to lose some paint (L.A. Times)

About 80 to 90 percent of the bright green paint on the 1.5-mile lane in downtown L.A. will be removed and replaced with dark green pain inside the lane's boundaries. The film industry says it will make it easier to film on Spring Street, a popular place to shoot.

On a completely unrelated note, I watched “The Dark Knight Rises” on cable the other night and realized that Bane's kangaroo court — with the Scarecrow as presiding judge — was filmed in Union Station's old ticket room. Very cool. Partially related to my unrelated note: is “Man of Steel” worth my $13 or did director Zack Snyder screw it up?

 


Today is Dump the Pump Day — the perfect time to try public transit or share the ride

Metro and transit agencies across the country are celebrating Dump the Pump Day to encourage all of us to leave our cars at home and try out transit and ride sharing to save money, improve mobility and help our environment. Here’s the release from Metro:

This year to celebrate National Dump the Pump Day today, June 20, Metro is working hard to develop a 21st Century transit system so that the people of Los Angeles County can dump the pump with increasing ease.

“To save money on gas, reduce congestion and improve air quality, Los AngelesCounty residents are invited to try public transportation or carpool today,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “And tomorrow we’re breaking ground on a new Metrolink station, linking our commuter rail service from the AntelopeValley to BobHopeAirport.”

With increasing options, it’s easier than ever to abandon our cars. During the past 20 years Metro opened nearly 88 miles of rail. It has three rail projects now in the works and scheduled to open over the next couple of years. Together those projects will add 26 more miles of rail. (Two additional rail projects will be under construction soon.) Last fall Metro opened the state-of-the-art El Monte Station, the largest bus station west of Chicago. Metro is buying more than 500 new buses and next week the Metro Board will consider purchasing its first zero-emission buses.

“Our goal is to build a transit system that can carry us into the next century,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “We want a region where Dump the Pump Day is no longer necessary to inspire people to try out transit because most people are riding transit. We’re building so that our children can easily live without a car. I think we’re well on our way to doing just that.”

The first National Dump the Pump Day was organized in June, 2006 after gas reached $3 a gallon — a price considered astonishingly high. Public transit systems and other organizations across the country participate in National Dump the Pump Day to encourage the public to try out public transit — if only for a day — to help our environment and our world.