Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Sept. 12

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.

The cables on Half Dome in Yosemite National Park -- one of the more ways to get from Point A to Point B -- have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Photo: Frank Kehren, Flickr creative commons.

 

Santa Monica bike share program snags big grant (Santa Monica Patch)

The $500,000 from the South Coast Air Quality District will allow the program — set to launch in 2013 — to expand to 350 bikes available at 35 rental stations, including five outside Santa Monica. A $1.5-million grant from Metro is also part of the funding for the project, which will include rental stations at each of Santa Monica's three Expo Line stations.

A photo essay of bus stops that aren't really bus stops (New Yorker)

A haunting collection of five photos of bus stops on the grounds of nursing homes in Germany. Patients suffering from dementia are taken to the stops, where they spend time sitting and waiting for buses that never come.

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@metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, Sept. 11 edition

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, our roundup of the latest Metro related tweets. To get our attention, add the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.

If having trouble reading this post on your browser, please see part one and part two on the Storify website.

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Metrolink expands connectivity with bus partnership to Palm Desert

Here's the news release from Metrolink and the timetable is after the jump:

SunLine Transit Agency to implement Commuter Link 220 on September 10

LOS ANGELES – In its continued effort to expand connectivity throughout Southern California, Metrolink is partnering with SunLine Transit Agency, which will operate a new express bus service between Palm Desert and downtown Riverside beginning Sept. 10.

Metrolink passengers who want to travel between the Riverside-Downtown Metrolink Station and Palm Desert will be able to do so via four total trips; two heading westbound during the morning commute and two heading eastbound during the afternoon.

The weekday service will run from Palm Desert's Westfield Shopping Center and Rancho Mirage to the Riverside-Downtown Metrolink Station, the Riverside Downtown bus-transit center and UC Riverside, with stops along the way at the Morongo Casino, Resort & Spa, Beaumont, Banning and Moreno Valley.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Sept. 11

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.

The memorial plaza for United Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA. Photo: National Park Service.

Boosting ridership by replacing buses with trains (The Atlantic Cities)

Here's a response of sorts to our post last week looking at ridership in corridors where Metro built rail. Writer Nate Berg has a couple thoughts — rail doesn't always mean geographic equity and population growth may be a factor in the ridership surge.

Amtrak in the crosshairs (Associated Press)

Even as the Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, take aim at privatizing Amtrak, the railroad continues to set ridership records. Democrats are more protective of the railroad and the federal subsidies it requires to operate.

Transit goes hybrid in San Francisco (HybridCars)

Looks like San Francisco Muni is going to purchase 45 of the diesel-electric hybrids that are manufactured in St. Cloud, Minn. Since buses are often stopped to pick up passengers or at traffic signals, this seems to me a particular good use of hybrid technology.

 


New program aims to cut down on citations to juveniles aboard Metro

 

Below is the news release from Metro, which held a media event this morning (see video above):

On Monday, September 10, 2012 at 10 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles School Police held a press conference to launch the new Transit Juvenile Diversion Program.

This new program targets student behavior and student safety on public transit. The goal of the program is to keep juvenile students who ride the Metro buses and trains out of the criminal justice system in the event they are cited for minor infractions and keep them in school. “We want to keep students, who may commit minor infractions, out of the courtroom and in the classroom,” said Superintendent John Deasy. “This program allows us to better achieve that goal, while enhancing student safety at the same time.”

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Transportation headlines, Monday, Sept. 10

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.

A very nice video from New York artist Sophie Blackall, partly about her love of transit in New York. Hat tip to our friends at the Buzzer Blog in Vancouver for the link plus another good story — this one about a New York city bus driver who provides live opera performances for his passengers. I'm not an opera fan, but I've heard worse music on buses for sure.

Four years later, survivors of Metrolink crash still hurting (L.A. Times)

This Wednesday is the fourth anniversary of the crash that killed 25 people and injured 135 when a Metrolink train slammed head-on into a freight train; the Metrolink engineer was later found to have missed a red signal because he was texting. Many victims say their lives and livelihoods have been forever altered due to their injuries and that money from a legal settlement with Metrolink may not be enough to cover their care and other expenses. A federal law caps legal awards at $200 million per rail accident, although a Los Angeles judge said that an award would likely have been $320 million to $350 million if the case had gone to trial.

What's on TAP? Confusion, for some (ZevWeb)

The ongoing conversion at Metro's ticket machines from paper tickets to TAP cards is leaving some tourists and seniors confused. The most common complaint, acknowledged by Metro, is that the machines can be daunting for first-time visitors, especially those who want a simple transaction and don't understand why they need a TAP card and why the system is changing.

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More progress on Foothil Extension's big bridge in Arcadia — falsework going bye-bye!

Photos: Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

Progress continues on the bridge that will carry the tracks for the Gold Line Foothill Extension over the eastbound 210 freeway in Arcadia. Here’s the latest update on the Measure R project by Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian:

It’s hard to believe that the Gold Line Bridge is only a few months away from an on-time, on-budget hand-off to the Alignment contractor that is responsible for completing the stations, track and systems for the project. As you can see – WOW; the falsework is being removed to reveal the many architectural elements designed into the superstructure by artist Andrew Leicester. It will take several more weeks of consecutive night closures to complete the removal process.

The falsework removal is only one of numerous activities currently underway at the project site. In the freeway’s center median, heavy machinery is demolishing the remaining portions of the previous retaining wall. Specialists are out sandblasting the superstructure’s exterior; part of the finishing activities I have described in previous emails. And crews are encasing the last of the post-tensioning ducts on the eastern abutment. The locations of these activities are shown below.

Finally, off-site, work continues on fabrication of the baskets that will soon sit atop the bridge’s main columns.

Be advised that eastbound closures of the I-210 will start again late Sunday night, and continue through next Friday morning. Closures start around 9 p.m. each night with nearby on-ramp closing first, then individual lanes begin to close around 10 p.m. Full closure of the eastbound freeway starts at Midnight, and all lanes reopen by 5:00 a.m. the following morning.

Transportation headlines, Friday, Sept. 7

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.

Photo: AP/Austin Statesman.

Texas commission approves 85 mph speed limit for toll road (Austin Statesman)

The state Transportation Commission, appointed by Gov. Rick Perry, approved an 85 mph speed limit for a new toll road opening this fall between Austin and San Antonio that is intended to be an alternative to crowded I-35. Some critics say that based on prior studies, the change will likely lead to more accidents and deaths on the road. The change also means that the state of Texas will receive a larger share of toll revenues — potentially $33 million more than if the speed limit was 80 or below — per the deal with the contractor that will operate the road.

Waxman on the Westside Subway Extension (Beverly Hills Patch)

In an interview, Rep. Henry Waxman — who has been in Congress since 1975 — answers questions about his views on the Westside Subway Extension and the prospect of tunneling under parts of the Beverly Hills High School campus, which is in his district. Excerpt:

Patch: Do you support or oppose plans to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School as part of the Westside Subway Extension?

Waxman: I wrote the Metropolitan Transportation Authority a letter about Beverly Hills High School and I said that they have to take safety as their No. 1 concern. [The MTA] reported back that they see the risks in tunneling under Beverly Hills High School but they saw greater risks taking an alternative route.

I’ve looked to the experts, again, on the technology and at the MTA. They had a very difficult choice and they made the choice to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School. This will be tested further, the safety questions, in the courts. I want that question exhaustively studied.

I support the system and I’ll continue to fight for funds for the system, but where the system goes is up to the MTA, not Congress.

After 60 years, 710 fight goes on (Pasadena Star News)

Although the SR 710 study has eliminated seven of 12 alternatives for a project to improve traffic in the area around the 710 gap, some longtime freeway opponents say the fight is not over — especially if the project becomes a tunnel. There’s almost nothing in the story about other alternatives still under study, including light rail, bus rapid transit, traffic signal improvements and the no-build option.