Transportation headlines, Thursday, August 9

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.

State Supreme Court will hear Expo Line case (L.A. Streetsblog)

The case involves the second phase of the project and a lawsuit brought by the group Neighbors for Smart Rail against the Expo Line Construction Authority. Two lower courts have already ruled in favor of the Construction Authority. The legal issue involves whether the Authority could use future traffic projections in determining how at-grade crossings would impact traffic. The Neighbors for Smart Rail group mostly consists of homeowners in the Cheviot Hills area who don’t believe the train should be built at street level in that area — with a particular focus on the crossing of Overland Avenue. In the meantime, construction of phase 2 has been underway since last year.

Worry at both ends of the Long Beach Freeway (NBC L.A.)

A quick overview of two Metro project studies underway on the 710 freeway. In the south, Metro is studying the possibility of widening the freeway to include truck-only lanes to handle traffic coming from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. In the north, Metro is studying a number of possible projects to help improve traffic created the gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and the 210 freeway in Pasadena. That includes everything from a freeway tunnel to a north-south transit project — or some combination. Here’s a recent post looking at the possibilities.

What will L.A.’s future Union Station look like? (KPCC)

A brief look at the master plan process underway for Metro-owned Union Station. Passengers say they want public address announcements that they can actually understand and point to wayfinding issues. Another concern: how to handle the 1,000 passengers or so that may jump off a high-speed rail train arriving at the station — leaving questions about where to put those platforms and how to get all those people through the station.

 

 

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Aug. 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 Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

After a few blissful days in the Sierra backcountry — see above — I'm back at the helm of The Source. And, as has seemingly become custom, I managed to miss a lot going on in the past few days. I'll try to catch up with everything ASAP. In the meantime, geographically-attuned readers should feel free to guess the name of the above lakes in the comments section. The color of the water is a hint.

Board of Supervisors approves putting Measure R extension on ballot (L.A. Times)

The Board voted 3 to 1 to put the 30-year extension of the Measure R half-cent sales tax on the November ballot. Supervisor Don Knabe, who is against the extension, said the Board was told by county attorneys that it was legally bound to send the issue to voters and could only vote against for technical violations. There are still hurdles to clear: A bill still must be approved by the state Legislature and signed by Gov. Brown in order for the issue to reach voters this fall.

Number of pedestrian deaths climbs in 2010 (NHTSA)

There were 4,280 pedestrians killed by vehicles in 2010 in the United States, a four percent increase from the 4,109 who perished in 2009. The new report from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration lists only numbers — not causes. The overall trend is better, as the number of deaths has dropped in the past decade. The obvious question is whether increased distractions to motorists — i.e. smartphones, weather, etc. — has anything to do with it.

Customers taking to wi-fi in New York subway (Associated Press)

The wi-fi is available in a handful of subway stations in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, along with cell phone service for AT&T and Sprint customers. The lure for the company providing the wi-fi is the potential to advertise to smartphone users. Metro, by the way, is still working on providing wi-fi and cell phone service in the subway system here.

 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Aug. 7

Photo by Anouralus 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.

A month into all-door boarding, Muni reports faster lines (S.F.StreetsBlog)

As pointed out by our astute former colleague Carter Rubin, this story from San Francisco has meaning to the Southland. As transit agencies try out systems to keep buses moving faster, offer more service and keep fares low, San Francisco Muni is experimenting with all-door boarding and finding that it seems to be speeding up the passenger boarding process, at least on a couple of lines. Worth noting is that the bulk of the cost of running a bus line is paying the driver so anything that speeds up buses also can save the agency money — and, of course, time for commuters. But will fare evasion be effected?

L.A. ports cut emissions half or more since 2005 (Green Car Reports)

The cuts are the result of a multi-pronged Clean Air Action Plan that survived several court battles. According to the Journal of Commerce, the program imposes new requirements on shippers, freight haulers and the port’s own operations. It appears to be working big time.

Public transit moving smoothly at Olympics (Treehugger) 

Before the Olympics started there was anticipatory hysteria over whether the aging subway system could handle all the tourists to the Olympic sites, as well as commuters to work. So far the system has performed magnificently, albeit with a few glitches.

Hottest neighborhoods in Los Angeles (Fix and Flip)

One of the best things about Culver City, the story says, is that it’s becoming, and will surely be, a major hub for public transportation in Los Angeles. The Expo Line opened its Culver City station in June and already boardings are more than 16,000 on weekdays.


I-710 Corridor Project draft EIR/EIS statement released

CALTRANS has just released the Draft EIR/EIS 710 Corridor project for public review, including a schedule of related hearing times and locations. (Note that the first hearing is tomorrow.) The project is studying the I-710 Freeway between the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles and the Pomona Freeway, looking for ways to ease traffic and improve air quality along the busy corridor.

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG), the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and the Interstate 5 Joint Powers Authority have released the Draft EIR/EIS on the I-710 Corridor Project for a 60-day public review.

The environmental review is looking at proposals that would improve Interstate 710 (I-710) in Los Angeles County between Ocean Boulevard and State Route 60 (SR-60).

Major elements addressed in the Draft EIR/EIS include widening the I-710 freeway up to ten general purpose lanes (five lanes in each direction); modernizing and reconfiguring the I-405, SR-91 and a portion of the I-5 interchanges with the I-710; modernizing and reconfiguring most local arterial interchanges along the I-710; and looking at a provision of a separate four-lane freight corridor to be used by conventional or zero-emission trucks.

Caltrans and Metro will hold a series of public hearings in August to update the public on the Draft EIR/EIS and the potential effects this project may have on the environment. Those hearing dates are:

·        August 7, 2012 (6 – 9 p.m.) – Progress Park, 15500 Downey Ave., Paramount, Calif.

·        August 8, 2012, (6 – 9 p.m.) – Silverado Park Community Center, 1545 W. 31st Street, Long Beach, Calif.

·        August 9, 2012 (4 – 8 p.m.)  – Rosewood Park, 5600 Harbor Street, Commerce, Calif.

Electronic versions of the Draft EIR/EIS on compact disc also are available for review at public libraries throughout the I-710 corridor. The Draft EIR/EIS may also be viewed here.

In addition, copies of the Draft EIR/EIS are available for review at Caltrans District 7 Office, 100 South Main Street, in downtown Los Angeles; at Metro’s Dorothy Grey Transportation Library, One Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles; at Gateway Cities Council of Governments, 16401 Paramount Blvd., Paramount; at the City of Commerce Public Library, Bristow Park Branch, 1466 S. McDonnell Ave., Commerce; County of Los Angeles Public Library, 12000 South Garfield Ave., South Gate; the East Rancho Dominguez Library at 4205 East Compton Blvd, Compton; the Main Long Beach Public Library at 101 Pacific Ave, in Long Beach; and the Bret Harte Library at 1595 West Willow Street in Long Beach.

The public is encouraged to review the Draft EIR/EIR over the next 60 days and plan on attending the upcoming public hearings in August. The public is asked to assess whether or not the potential impacts have been addressed and provide any information that should be included in the final document. The public can submit written comments until August 29, 2012 to Ronald Kosinki, Caltrans District 7, Division of Environmental Planning, 100 South Main Street, MS 16A, Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Transportation headlines, Monday, Aug. 6

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 orRSS feed.

Special Metro Board meeting discussing Measure R amendment (StreetsBlog LA)

The Metro Board meeting is currently underway. Under discussion today is a Measure R amendment that could allow a highway/transit funding swap. 

Slow road to Pasadena? (Daily News)

Caltrans wants to reduce the speed limit on the Pasadena Freeway from 55 to 45 mph. The goal is to make it safer and to “green up” the surrounding areas. Are safety and environmental concerns good enough reasons to slow us down a bit? What do you think? 

New late-night service gets a gold star from customers (Whittier Daily News)

A couple of comments on Metro’s new 2 a.m. late-night weekend service that went into effect July 27: “I’m ecstatic. This will make a huge difference. I’ll take the train a lot more.”  “It will help Old Pasadena for sure. It will entice a lot more people to stay later.” And “This one move I guarantee will cut the number of DUIs in half.” Wouldn’t that be great. 

Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe draws thousands to Coliseum (L.A. Times)

Tens of thousands gathered at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum yesterday to honor the symbol of the Catholic Church in what organizers called “the largest celebration of the Virgin Mary in a generation.” And many took the new Metro Expo Line, which stops nearby.

Metro Board meeting, adjourned from July 26, gets underway

Good morning, Metro riders and interested parties.

The regular Board Meeting of July 26, 2012, adjourned to Monday, August 6, is now underway here at Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.

Up for discussion is the proposed amendment to the Measure R Traffic Relief and Rail Expansion Ordinance.

You can listen in by phoning 213-922-6045.

Here’s the agenda.

Source report: Review of July 26 Board meeting

Transportation headlines, Friday, Aug 2

Carmageddon II is coming! Will you take on the challenge of staying out of your car for a weekend? Photo by Juan Ocampo

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 orRSS feed.

The Best Days to Commute in Metro Areas (Governing)

Research firm Inrix reports that the best day for Angelenos to drive to work is Monday. The average commute time on Monday is shortened by three minutes each way, and though that doesn’t seem like much, every minute not spent sitting in traffic is a good minute, right? The worst day for Los Angeles commuters? Thursday. So for those who want to get around the worst of rush hour traffic, perhaps try carpooling or taking public transit on Thursdays.

Learning to Love Congestion (Planetizen)

While on the topic of traffic, Planetizen has an interesting piece on why congestion may actually be a good thing, at least in urban areas. The right kind of congestion can bring prosperity and happiness to downtown centers. The article cites Boston’s Newbury Street as an example of a heavily trafficked and successful area. Which streets in Los Angeles also fit the bill? Downtown’s Spring Street is looking pretty good.

Carmageddon sequel gets a positive spin (Los Angeles Times)

Though apocalyptic traffic might not happen this September, officials gathered yesterday to ask Los Angeles County residents not to get complacent about Carmageddon II. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky led the charge in challenging Angelenos to stay local and stay car-free during the I-405 closure taking place Sept. 29-30.

 DASH Downtown Route D to be Extended (LADOT)

Come Monday, DASH Route D riders will be able to easily transfer to the Metro Expo Line. Two new stops have been added at 23rd Street and Flower Street in each direction, right by the Expo Line 23rd Street Station. This brings even more connectivity and transit options for those who live and work in downtown Los Angeles.

USC and Metro a great combo for getting to games at the Coliseum

Metro has just released details on enhanced service for getting to USC games this fall. These new enhancements are added to others, including late-night weekend service for sports fans traveling to Staples Center and the popular Dodger Stadium Express that transports fans from Union Station to Dodger games. Here’s the release:

This fall for the first time, Metro and the University of Southern California will team up to make getting to USC home games fast, inexpensive and easier than driving.

With the first home game just around the corner on Saturday, Sept. 1, Metro’s new Expo Line is the perfect vehicle for the more than 80,000 fans who crowd USC games at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. And Metro is enhancing service to make it easy for fans to avoid traffic and parking hassles and take Expo to the games.

“In our effort to develop a regional transit system connecting all of our County residents to the places that they really want to go, sports fans now have the option of using Metro, Metrolink, Amtrak and the Dodger Stadium Express to games at the Coliseum, Staples Center and Dodger Stadium,” said MTA Chairman and L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

“We think the teaming up of Metro with USC home games will be a welcome change for Trojan fans,” said Metro CEO and USC graduate Art Leahy. “On game days you can bring picnic baskets and blankets and have the whole day experience.  And you don’t need to anticipate what is for some a very long drive home because Metro can now take you to within a short walk of the games and then carry you home again. Or for those who live far away, Metro can take you to Metrolink and Amtrak at Union Station.”

USC passengers will arrive at the game and then depart it at two convenient locations: Expo/Vermont and Expo Park/USC stations.

Frequent service will make it easy. Before and after the games, additional trains will be added to the Expo Line, as well as to the Red, Purple and Gold lines to make transfer connections efficient system-wide.

After the game, passengers will board trains at either Expo/Vermont or Expo Park/USC stations. Additional trains will remain in service to accommodate increased passenger loads.

Additional service also will be provided on the Silver Line for 20 minutes after each game in both directions from the 37th Street/USC Station. The Silver Line is Metro’s limited-stop service connecting the South Bay and San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles. It runs between Artesia Transit Center and El Monte Station via the Harbor Transitway on the Harbor Freeway and the El Monte busway on the San Bernardino Freeway.

Passengers traveling to the games should purchase $5 Metro Day Passes at the station where they are starting out … and that is all they will need for the day. Those starting on the Expo Line should purchase a one-way fare. When they arrive at either Vermont or Expo Park, they should purchase a return trip fare, to avoid having to stand in line after the game.

For more information on USC Trojan games go to http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/usc-m-footbl-sched.html. For more information on the easiest ways to get there via Metro go to the trip planner at metro.net.

ULI report presents a strategy for developing a Union Station District

ULI Advisory Panel: Flanked on the east by the potential of the Los Angeles River, Union Station and its environs are ripe with development opportunity.

ULI Advisory Panel: Flanked on the east by the potential of the Los Angeles River, Union Station and its environs are ripe with development opportunity, but successful revitalization will require a detailed strategy and indentificaiton of the types of development most appropriate for the area. Click on image to view in full.

  • Aerial photos by Gary Leonard

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel visited Los Angeles in December, sponsored by Metro and the City of Los Angeles planning department, to examine the Union Station study area and to advise the city on what land use and infrastructure investments the city should pursue given the pending master plan for Union Station.

The ULI report is precursor to the development of the Union Station Master Plan. On June 28, the Metro Board of Directors approved Gruen/Grimshaw as the consultant team to develop the master plan, which will be completed in 24 months.

Although the Union Station Master Plan will deal strictly with the actual 40+-acre Union Station site purchased by Metro in April 2011, the ULI report provides a useful inventory of existing conditions and strategic options that will inform Metro’s planning process.

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Transportation headlines, Thursday, Aug. 1

Photo by Joits 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 orRSS feed.

Make it urban (Architect’s Newspaper)

An editorial in Architect’s Newspaper argues that as Los Angeles makes major strides in redeveloping its core, the urban pattern must be preserved, meaning density served by public transit, yes; suburban looking businesses with huge parking lots, probably no.

City abandons plans to take Brentwood sidewalk space for bus only lanes (StreetsBlog LA)

Everyone says they love the speed and convenience of bus lanes but no one wants to give up space/parking/anything to make room for them. There are lots of reasons not to, of course, and here’s another.

Tunnel visions (New York Times)

A piece on the subway now under construction below Second  Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has echoes of L.A.’s struggle to tunnel from downtown to the sea. “Geology defines the way you drive the tunnel,” says Amitabha Mukherjee, an engineering manager with the firm supervising construction, suggesting that geology should have a vote on the selected route. And yes, he is referring to the path the Second Avenue subway will take — a path “New York City has been postponing, restarting, debating, financing, definancing and otherwise meaning to get in the ground since 1929.” Sound familiar?