Public hearings for proposed changes to Metro bus service begin tonight at 5 p.m. in the Metro Board Room. There will be a total of six meetings during February that the public is invited to attend to provide public comment. If you cannot attend a meeting, please submit your comments via email@example.com, U.S. mail or fax only in order for your comments to be considered during the Public Hearing process. Comments submitted in a different manner will not be considered part of the public record.
At the beginning of January, Steve Hymon posted a discussion with Metro CEO Art Leahy that described fiscal and operational context for the changes. The post received an outpouring of comments on The Source. However, in order for the full weight of your voices to be heard, it is important that readers of The Source attend a meeting or submit a public comment in the manner described above.
The six meeting dates, times and locations are as follows:
February 1, 2011 – (5 p.m.) Metro Board Room, One Gateway Plaza, 3rd Floor, Los Angeles.
February 2, 2011 – (6:30 p.m.) Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys
February 9, 2011 – (5 p.m.) La Cienega Tennis Center, 325 South La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.
February 10, 2011 – (2 p.m.) Salt Lake Park-Community Center, 3401 East Florence Ave., Huntington Park.
February 14, 2011 – (5 p.m.) El Monte City Hall East/Council Chambers, 11333 Valley Blvd., El Monte.
February 17, 2011 – (6 p.m.) Carson Community Center, 801 East Carson Street, Carson.
Boston-based travel writer Necee Regis takes a rather uncommon approach to her L.A. getaway: she rides the bus. And she likes it. Her story is a tale of a sprawling, traffic choked city that is rather easy – albeit a bit slow – to get around on the wheels of a bus. During her three day public transit tour she visits tourist hot spots like The Getty, LACMA (and the gourmet food trucks parked near it), the Farmers Market, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Venice Beach. Her bus experience was overwhelmingly positive – agency websites made figuring out routes easy, drivers were friendly and riders were welcoming.
After hiring an experienced public works lobbyist the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) has deciding to tone down comments about potential litigation against Metro over the proposed subway route that would tunnel under Beverly Hills High School. Board members are opting for a more diplomatic approach on the recommendation of the lobbyist, who helped officials negotiate an agreement with Metro to do seismic testing at the high school.
Joel Epstein gives reluctant Brentwood residents a primer in going Metro by relaying his family’s positive experience on transit in L.A. He notes that, unfortunately, many people must experience “teachable moments” to get them on transit – like his own wife, who switched modes after a car accident. The alternative to risking life and limb, Joel says, is the chance to read and listen to music as someone else does the driving.
Smogtastic View of LASHP from the Chinatown Gold Line Station.
Last month for the first piece in my series on Metro-accessible hikes, I checked out Temescal Canyon, an old family favorite in my neck of woods on the Westside. This week, I decided to venture eastward to Los Angeles State Historic Park, located just steps from the Chinatown Gold Line Station.
My journey began on a Monday afternoon with a 0.9-mile stroll from my apartment in Santa Monica to catch the Big Blue Bus #10. The express bus to downtown L.A. whisked me onto the 10 Freeway, exited at Olive Street and then dropped me at the 7th Street/Metro Center Station. From there I transferred to the Red Line and again to the Gold Line at Union Station. All told, the trip took a little over an hour. (Note: Can’t wait for the Expo Line to reach Santa Monica in 2015 and the Regional Connector to hopefully open a few years after!).
From my perch on the elevated station platform in Chinatown (see above), L.A. State Historic Park appeared to be a much-needed oasis of green space in the heart of the city. And it’s just one stop from Union Station, the transit hub for Southern California. Continue reading →
According to a study out of De Paul University in Chicago, the number of intercity travelers who chose buses increased by 6% in the last year, the largest increase of any intercity mode in the nation over that time period. The biggest gains – with nearly a 25% increase – went to intercity buses that picked up passengers at curb-side locations in city centers, as opposed to those that operated out of established transit hubs. The study’s authors found that passengers were particularly drawn to bus companies’ very low fares and wireless internet.
On a recent trip to Los Angeles, a travel writer for the Washington Post decided to Go Metro and share her story. In this extensive piece, she recounts her experience using the bus system to navigate several of the city’s tourist destinations, including Venice Beach, the Getty Museum, and LACMA. The key to her success: embracing a sense of “zen-like flexibility.”
For the first time in 20 years, typically tax-averse Texas is considering raising its 20 cent gas tax to cover $11.9 billion worth of highway construction bonds that the state has issued since 2003. Despite the great need to invest America’s transportation infrastructure, national politicians have lately called raising the federal gasoline tax “a third rail.” Regular readers of The Source will recall that the federal gas tax has been stuck at 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. Over the years, inflation and more fuel efficient cars have slowly eaten away at that key revenue source for transportation investment.
A million or so boardings on an average weekday translates to a lot of people whose other car is a Metro bus. Maybe that’s why Los Angeles Times auto critic David Undercoffler wanted to take the newest member of Metro’s clean-air fleet for a test drive.
“I’ve driven $250,000 luxury sedans around racetracks, one-off prototype vehicles that won’t hit the market for years and ultra-rare carbon-fiber-bodied sports cars. But nothing matches the experience of driving a 16-ton bus around a training course and then slamming on the brakes, turning the instructor standing behind your seat from a patient, brave man to a human-shaped projectile wearing a sweater vest,” says Undercoffler in a featured review published online today in the Business Section at latimes.com.
The very nicely produced video by Tim French and Jeff Amlotte is just as good as being there. Enjoy the ride.
The veteran developer Jerry Snyder says that he intends to build a pair of high-rise apartment buildings at the intersection of Wilshire and Vermont that would have a total of 464 units in two buildings — one 25 stories, the other 30. It’s certainly a good location — with the subway headed from Wilshire/Vermont directly to downtown L.A., Hollywood and (one day!) Westwood.
Check out the graphic on this post — seriously you have to see it, to believe it. The map shows how much parking there is along Figueroa between downtown L.A. and the USC campus. How much? Try 545 acres within one kilometer (about .6 miles) of Figueroa. There is an effort underwawy to remake the corridor between South Park and USC, which would be great because Figueroa in that stretch often devolves into a suburban-like commercial strip and the Expo Line will soon be running one block over on Flower Street.
The House of Representatives’ transportation committee held a field hearing in Grand Central Station in New York on Thursday and some members said the Boston-to-Washington corridor should be the national priority for bullet trains. It’s already Amtrak’s busiest corridor in the U.S., but some elected officials believe that Amtrak isn’t capable of turning it into a true high-speed line and that efforts to put bullet trains in less dense parts of the U.S. are taking money from the northeast.
Sean Martin is an L.A. cyclist and blogger who wants to normalize cycling in the city. His observations from behind the handle bars paint the city as a place ruled by cars but he concludes that, despite the challenges, L.A. is also a cycling city.
Big city mayors from across the state met in Sacramento with Gov. Jerry Brown – and let him know they’re not keen on his budget cutting plan that includes axing redevelopment agencies. The governor says that voters are on his side and that since cuts have to be made, it’s better to cut redevelopment than public safety or education. Some mayors pointed out that some of Brown’s previous accomplishments were redevelopment projects – and that his current residence is also the product of redevelopment.
Grist notes that despite Obama’s inspiring words about American high-speed rail in his State of the Union address, there’s a disconnect between the rhetoric and the reality of funding the project. The article then goes on to quote the words of historian Tony Judt who believed rail is one of the aspects of modern life that is truly timeless – but it requires a public investment to survive.
The first meeting of the full Board of Directors of Metro is Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at Metro headquarters, which is conveniently adjacent to Union Station. The meeting, as always, is open to the public and will take place in the Board room on the third floor.
Here’s the agenda, which includes links to Metro staff reports on a variety of issues. It looks to be a fairly routine gathering, but as Chris Berman likes to say on ESPN, that’s why they play the game — there’s always the chance interestingness could occur!
We’ll have coverage of the meeting tomorrow on The Source.
The Journal notes that Obama’s infrastructure plans — discussed in his State of the Union speech Tuesday — will be challenged by the fact money for highway projects is already scarce and neither Democrats or Republicans have shown any appetite for boosting funds by raising the federal gas tax. More details on where the money may come from are expected in the President’s next budget, to be released in February.
It looks like there will be more computer screens in cars in the future and that has raised questions about the impact of motorists glancing away from the road more often. In the old days, it was possible to reach for the air conditioning or radio knob. In some cars it will involve tapping a screen. U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood recently visited Detroit to talk about districted driving — which results in about 5,000 deaths in the U.S. annually — but it’s not yet known whether the feds will crack down on infotainment devices in private vehicles.
Facing community opposition to bullet train routes along existing rail corridors or surface streets, the state agency planning the high-speed rail line is investigating an aerial structure that would carry the train as much as 75 feet above the 10 freeway. This is for the planned connection between L.A. and San Diego — a segment, it should be noted, that would be built and funded after the Anaheim to San Francisco leg. So it’s a ways away from happening.
In case you missed the news: two American government agencies say that 2010 was tied for the warmest year on record while the British say it was the second warmest. The news comes on the heel of cold snaps in the U.S. and Europe while the Arctic is experiencing much warmer than usual temperatures. Of course, many people believe global warming is the culprit; the weather may be crazy but the climate is trending warmer. By the way, taking transit is usually a good way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.