Downtown buses detouring for one more president today

Run for the Valley … or be patient, make alternate travel plans and/or join the celebration. In addition to a Westside snarled by President Obama’s mid-day visit today, downtown L.A. will be a traffic mess this afternoon and evening when former President Bill Clinton and other celebs drop by Grand Park to attend Celebrate LA — last party in a series of heritage celebrations and also a farewell bash for outgoing Mayor Villaraigosa. (Anna Chen’s Go Metro Weekends has details.) The point here is that Spring Street, which runs north/south in front of City Hall, is closed. So just assume that any bus you might take through downtown L.A. will be detoured around the Grand Park/City Hall venue. The party runs 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. but the detours will be around until early tomorrow.

New video shows that L.A. River Ride this Sunday looks like fun

Here’s a video teaser for the LA River Ride this Sunday, June 9, starting at 7 a.m. It could be a great day out. Start and finish are in Griffith Park near the Autry Center. Rides range from 100 miles to a little kids’ ride (no miles). Live music, food etc. But there’s a parking alert. Due to massive construction in Griffith Park, parking will be severaly limited. Metro Local Line 96 stops a short ride from the starting line. Why fight it when you can ride it?

Obama visit tomorrow sure to snarl traffic … that means buses, too

Traffic will certainly take a hit tomorrow, as President Obama visits the Westside. Metro is advising riders traveling through the area that bus detours may be necessary but that these are subject to change — depending on traffic — and can’t be announced in advance because of security concerns for the President’s motorcade. The message is to avoid the area if possible or allow extra time.

LAPD is telling the public to avoid:
   — Centinela Avenue and West Olympic Boulevard, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
   — West Olympic Boulevard and Cloverfield Boulevard from 9:30 a.m. to
11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
   — 26th Street and San Vicente Boulevard in the Brentwood Park area,
from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Consider yourself warned.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, June 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 or RSS feed.

Grove developer wants to extend trolley beyond shopping center (L.A. Times) 

The trolley at the Grove. Photo by Prayitno, via Flickr creative commons.

The trolley at the Grove. Photo by Prayitno, via Flickr creative commons.

Rick Caruso says he wants the trolley that ferries people around the Grove to possibly run all the way to the Beverly Center, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the new movie museum being installed at Wilshire and Fairfax — where there will be a future Purple Line Extension subway station. He also says he’s willing to put some of his money behind such an effort.

Not so fast, says others. One prominent homeowner group says no way, there’s already too much traffic on local streets without streetcars and railroad tracks. And the city of Los Angeles says an environmental review would be needed.

As for Caruso, he wrongly cites the cost of the subway to the sea (his words, not ours) at $1 billion and the Times fails to bother to correct him. The cost is $6.3 billion to build nine miles to Westwood if the project is not accelerated. And he seems to suggest that putting people underground in our balmy climate is somehow inappropriate and that it would be better to move them at street level.

All that said, it is absolutely an interesting idea precisely because of the fact that the new subway station is being built and it would surely help ridership if the subway offers easy connections to businesses and homes along/near Fairfax and Beverly Boulevard (of course, the Metro Rapid 780 bus stops at both Wilshire/Fairfax and Fairfax/3rd). The current forecast is that the first segment of the Purple Line Extension will open in late 2022, so if the city of Los Angeles is serious about anything, the time to get moving is now.

Developer has big plans for Macy Plaza (L.A. Times) 

The fortress-like shopping mall along 7th Street is scheduled for a serious makeover that would open it to the street — i.e. shops would be accessible from the street, not from inside the building. The current glass roof over the atrium would also go.

The reporter also weirdly says that plans are to connect a new plaza to a “planned subway station.” What the what? The existing 7th/Metro Center station is across the street. Yikes. Not a good day for transit facts in the Los Angeles Times!

At DTLA Rising, Brigham Yen elaborates on why this is an exciting proposal — and he’s especially happy about the prospect of an underground connection between the station that serves the Red, Purple, Blue and Expo lines and the mall.

Dodgers owner says it’s trying to bring second sport to Chavez Ravine (Curbed LA, following L.A. Times)

In a court filing related to former team owner Frank McCourt’s divorce, Guggenheim Sports Management says that it’s in sensitive negotiations with a major entity over the use of the land around Dodger Stadium. The Times broke the story and Curbed does a nice job of summing it up. The major entity is likely the National Football League, which has long coveted the site over existing stadiums in the region and other potential sites (next to Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles or the City of Industry, a site that will have 25,000 parking spaces according to its developer).

Here’s what I don’t get. The owners of Dodger Stadium and its acres of parking lots certainly have the right to pursue plans for their property. But it would sure be nice to know what the people of Los Angeles want and to have that solidified in the city’s zoning code. As I’ve written many times, Dodger Stadium and Chavez Ravine are far removed from the core of downtown Los Angeles, separated by topography, the 110 and 101 freeways and the street grid. I’m unaware of anyone having plans at this time to extend rail service to the stadium, a proposition that is both very expensive and somewhat impractical given that the ballpark is only used relatively few hours out of the year.

On a related note, have fun finding the words “City of Industry” on the “Los Angeles Stadium” website.

25 ideas for transforming Los Angeles (Frying Pan News)

Occidental professor Peter Dreier has a robust list of things-to-do for the mayor-elect, including transportation. Excerpt:

Los Angeles outgrew its suburban roots years ago when the freeways became parking lots. Now Los Angeles needs to grow up around transit stops. Making public transit a real possibility for people trapped in their cars means both building up Los Angeles’ bus and rail system and building up the areas within walking distance of that system.

Los Angeles needs to grow up around transit stops.

In recent years, traffic flows have improved, and new rapid bus routes are in place. The city is now in the early stages of a large-scale expansion of public transportation, which will be the largest land-use change in the city since the build-out of the freeway system. Garcetti’s job will be to help manage land-use policies around that expansion so that they create livable, walkable neighborhoods and maximize use of the transit system, thereby reducing traffic congestion, pollution and harmful gas emissions. Such goals require that working families and core transit riders be able to live around the transit stops and do not get displaced or shut out of those areas by rising rents and home prices.

The success of Measure R in 2008, the “30-10” plan to accelerate implementation of our transit revolution and the 66 percent “yes” vote on Measure J in 2012 (just short of the two-third needed for passage) demonstrate that Los Angeles voters are ready to invest in a transportation transformation. Garcetti should build on this voter trust – and on the partnership between elected officials and labor, business, environmental and community groups – to expand our transit system into one that is robust, environmentally sustainable and financially sound, and that contributes to economic prosperity.

 

Hard to argue with that! One note: The 30/10 plan was renamed America Fast Forward a couple of years ago to help build its national appeal. Congress approved part of the plan by expanding a federal loan program known as TIFIA in the most recent multi-year federal transportation bill. Metro is currently lobbying Congress to adopt the other equally important half that would give transit agencies access to interest-free loans in exchange for tax credits for those who invest in the bonds. Here’s a more detailed explanation.

Metro survey results of those who rent bike lockers

The Metro Bike team together with Metro Research just completed an online survey of their current bike locker holders. The online survey collected data on several satisfaction indicators as well as trip type, distance, and demographics. Satisfaction feedback will help the bike team improve service, and trip data helps us see how the lockers are being used. Jeff Boberg, head of Metro Research, comments on the trip data: “I really think this is a great aspect that doesn’t always get enough attention: if we care about reducing congestion and cleaner air, we should be looking for cost effective alternatives for lowering car trips without decreasing mobility, and the bike locker program is very cost effective.”

Read on for the key findings!

The bike lockers scored well on all the key indicators, especially price and safety.

Percentage of Locker Holders Satisfied by Issuesatisfaction

Almost all of locker holders claim they would not use a rack if the lockers were not available.

If there were no lockers, would you use a rack?       Graphs for jpeg export

 Trip Type        Trip type

Continue reading


Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 5

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.

Metro Library: Changes are coming to our Transportation Headlines — same great content in a new improved format (Primary Resources) 

20130529_paperli

The Metro Transportation Library is preparing to move the daily transortation headlines from Blogger to Paper.li. Please see the post to learn more about the new format and receiving it through RSS / Feedburner or email.

Senseless (Bicycling)

The concussion rate from bike accidents in recent years has grown faster than the sport of cycling. Why? This long and excellent magazine article by Bruce Barcott seeks the answer and comes up with some interesting conclusions. Most troubling, to me, is that federal government standards for bike helmets have not changed since 1999 despite considerable research into brain injury prevention since then. Nonetheless, some companies are making progress at creating helmets that can both prevent catastrophic injury and more routine concussions. If you’re interested in cycling, please read.

LaHood: expect big announcement from Obama on transportation funding (Governing) 

The outgoing U.S. Secretary of Transportation hints that perhaps the President may have an idea to replace the federal gas tax which funds many projects but has been struggling to keep pace with demand (the tax hasn’t been raised in 20 years and is also taking a hit because cars are more fuel efficient these days). Replace the gas tax with what? Governing speculates that maybe it’s a tax based on how many miles people drive, a solution backed by many transportation experts.

Assembly wants part-time carpool lanes in Southern California (L.A. Times)

A bill that would allow single occupant vehicles to use carpool lanes on parts of the 134 and 210 freeways during non-rush hours sailed through the Assembly last Thursday. Yes, I know that was almost a week ago — but overlooked this one last week and it’s certainly newsworthy. Seems like the next big regional conversation we’ll be having in future years is over management of the HOV lanes. Should they be carpool lanes all the time? Some of the time? Or congestion pricing lanes sometimes or all times?

 

Regional Connector station community meetings planned this week

The Regional Connector project plans to hold meetings this week for residents and stakeholders near the site of planned light rail stations in Downtown Los Angeles. The  team will provide a project update and discuss night-time construction activities. Here’s the meeting notices for Monday through Wednesday.

2nd_Broadway Community Meeting 2nd_Pl_Hope Financial_District_Community_Meeting