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

Beverly Hills City Council action may delay Metro vote on subway study (Beverly Hills Patch)

Metro officials received a letter late Thursday from the Beverly Hills City Attorney informing Metro that the Beverly Hills City Council will hold a special meeting on Sunday night. The meeting’s purpose is to vote on whether to request a special hearing from Metro on the location of the Westside Subway Extension in Beverly Hills.

The Beverly Hills City Attorney says that such hearings can be requested under the state Public Utilities Code and that such a hearing — if requested — would preclude the Metro Board of Directors from voting next Thursday on whether to approve the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the subway project. The FEIS/R must be approved by both the Metro Board and the Federal Transit Administration before final design and construction of the subway project can begin.

The city of Beverly Hills opposes the Metro staff recommendation for a subway alignment that would tunnel under parts of the Beverly Hills High School campus in order to reach a Century City station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.

Metro officials say they will respond if a request for a hearing is received from the city of Beverly Hills and Metro will comply with the law.

Still L.A.’s transportation mayor (L.A. Times)

The editorial praises Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for staying focused on transportation during his time in office. But the editorial doesn’t — at least not at this early stage — praise the Mayor’s plan to ask voters to extend the Measure R sales tax increase to accelerate the building of transit projects. The big question, asks the newspaper, is whether such a plan would create too much debt.

Red car trolley begins testing at Disney’s California Adventure (Disney Parks blog)

Check out the pics in the post — the trolley, fashioned after the old Pacific Electric cars looks pretty authentic. It is set to open June 15.

San Francisco MTA releases post earthquake photos (SFMTA Photo Archives)

Interesting set of 43 photos detailing some of the damage the massive 1906 earthquake inflicted on streetcar facilities around San Francisco.

 

 

What's happening at other transit agencies?

Nostalgic New Yorkers enjoy a special ride on a

This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.

Ride to ballgame on vintage train transports fans to another era

The New York subway trains above enjoyed their heyday from the 1920s to the 1960s, but they’re always a popular attraction when New York City Transit rolls them out on special runs. The New York Times recounts a recent run to Yankee Stadium by a four-car “Lo-V” train — short for “low voltage” — that attracted transit riders hoping to recapture an experience that one might have had decades ago en route to see Ruth, Gerhig and Mantle. While it’s nice to connect with history, I’ve got to imagine that on a day-to-day basis, most New Yorkers would pick a modern train’s convenience (read: air conditioning), especially in the dog days of August.

Alameda–Contra Costa Transit begins fueling buses with hydrogen made from solar electricity and water

The nexus of public transit and energy is a huge one. Transit agency energy bills run in the millions annually, and transit vehicles can play an important role in improving air quality — assuming, that is, that the buses and trains run on clean energy sources, as L.A. County Metro’s entire fleet now does. The East Bay’s Alameda–Contra Costa Transit is going for a double-whammy: developing a system that allows the agency to use a clean fuel (hydrogen) generated from a clean system (solar power). Marketwatch (via PR Newswire) has the details on the agency’s new hydrogen-generating system, which will fuel AC Transit’s “twelve 40-foot hybrid-electric, zero-emission fuel cell buses.” The hydrogen generator and dispenser allows AC Transit to refuel its fuel cell buses just as quickly as it would a diesel bus — important for keeping buses on the road and serving customers. And thanks to a grant from the California Air Resources Board, one of these hydrogen fueling stations will be made available to the general public.

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Metro Orange Line Extension testing to begin Monday, April 23

In preparation for the grand opening of the Metro Orange Line Extension this June, Metro is preparing to start systems testing beginning Monday, April 23, for approximately three weeks.

During this testing period, buses will intermittently run along the busway for testing purposes only. The testing will take place from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Metro’s right-of-way east of Canoga Avenue between Vanowen Street and the Chatsworth Station.

The public is advised to be safe around buses:

  • Obey ALL warning signs and traffic signals when crossing the busway intersections.
  • Be alert at all times when near the busway.
  • Watch for buses from both directions.
  • NEVER walk, run, ride bicycles, or drive on the busway.
  • Remember to push the pedestrian crossing button to activate the “Walk” signal.
  • Use the crosswalks. Never jaywalk across the busway or use the busway as a shortcut.
  • Always look both ways before crossing the street.

Overall construction work will continue during the testing period. The construction work hours are approximately 6:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, weather permitting.

 

 

 

Transportation headlines, Thursday, April 19; the Mayor proposes Measure R extension to accelerate construction of transit projects

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.

Villaraigosa’s legacy focuses on transportation plan (L.A. Times)

L.A. Mayor Antonio focuses on transportation in State of the City speech (Daily News)

In his State of the City speech on Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair proposed a ballot measure that would ask Los Angeles County voters to indefinitely extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax that they approved in 2008 in order to build the 12 Measure R transit projects in the next decade. The original Measure R was for 30 years and expires July 1, 2039.

Stories in the Times and Daily News both ponder whether voters would be in the mood to vote for an extension and the Times, in particular, pokes around the issue of whether Metro could afford the debt that would be created by borrowing against future sales tax revenues — agency officials say they can. The counter-argument, of course, is that building projects now instead of in the 2030s would result in a considerable cost savings, not to mention the added benefit in mobility for the region.

Of the 12 Measure R transit projects, the following are scheduled to be done in the late 2020s or the mid-2030s: Westside Subway Extension to Century City and Westwood, Metro Connector to LAX, West Santa Ana Branch Corridor project, the Green Line Extension to the South Bay, the Eastside Gold Line Extension to Whittier or South El Monte and the Sepulveda Pass transit corridor project.

It remains to be seen whether the Metro Board of Directors will pursue a Measure R extension. If so, the Board will also need the Legislature to approve and the Governor to sign a state bill — AB 1446 — that would allow the Board to put a ballot measure to voters as soon as this November’s ballot, which should inspire high turnout because of the presidential election.

Here is a post on a Metro staff report looking at funding scenarios for a Measure R extension — as staff proposes it’s a straight-up acceleration of transit projects, not an expansion of budgets for the project. The original Measure R expenditure plan is here. The Mayor’s prepared remarks are posted after the jump.

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Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 18; Villaraigosa to propose extending Measure R

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.

Mayor proposes extension of Measure R sales tax (L.A. Times)

Mayor to urge Measure R extension (Daily News)

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa will propose asking L.A. County voters to extend the Measure R sales tax to accelerate the construction of transit projects in his State of the City speech this afternoon. The original Measure R half-cent sales tax was approved by county voters in 2008, went into effect in mid-2009 and expires in mid-2039.

The idea is to borrow against future Measure R revenues in order to build the transit projects in the next decade and create more jobs. It is important to note that the Metro Board of Directors has yet to discuss whether to put an extension to voters, nor has the Board made a decision to do so. Some Measure R projects are already scheduled to be built in the next decade while others — such as the Metro Connector to LAX, the second and third phase of the Westside Subway Extension (to Century City and Westwood, respectively) and the Sepulveda Pass transit project — have much longer timelines.

Metro staff will be discussing funding scenarios for project acceleration — including a Measure R extension — with Board committees this week. Here’s the presentation that they will give. And here is the original Measure R expenditure plan with all the project timelines.

Passage of a state bill will also be required in order to get an extension onto the ballot in November. Here’s a recent post about the bill, AB 1446 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), clearing its first committee in the state Assembly earlier this month.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 17

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.

Beijing subway — while Congress bickers, China builds to meet its transportation needs (Photo by Joel Epstein/Metro)

Keeping L.A.’s 30/10 plan on track (Los Angeles Times)

In an op ed in the Los Angeles Times, USC professor Lisa Schweitzer considers the future of the 30/10 Initiative now that Congress has kicked tough decisions about federal transportation spending down the road another 90 days. Schweitzer’s piece explores three funding options that do not depend on Washington:

1) chopping 30/10 up, prioritizing its most critical projects like the subway extension and the regional connnector and pitching the projects to the AAA-rated California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank,

2) looking to the European Investment Bank which has as its mission fostering infrastructure projects that support EU goals, among them slowing global warming (as transit projects do), and

3) seeking loans from the private global capital markets. Measure R which produced a half-cent transportation sales tax is viewed as the sort of low risk revenue stream the capital markets require.

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Free rides on new Expo light-rail line during opening weekend celebration, April 28-29

As part of the celebration, Metro will offer free rides on Expo the weekend it opens, Saturday and Sunday, April 28-29. Just a reminder that Expo is the only Metro rail line that will be free.

Here’s the release, just issued. Note that it includes limited hours for opening weekend, and that two stations — Farmdale and Culver City — will not open until this summer and, therefore, that trains will not be stopping there to pick up or drop off passengers.

      To kick off the opening of the new Metro Expo light-rail line, Metro will offer free rides on the Expo Line during opening weekend Saturday and Sunday, April 28 and 29.

      The free rides will be limited to only the new Expo Line that will operate on a limited schedule during the opening weekend from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, April 28/29. Patrons using other Metro operated trains (Red/Purple, Gold, Green & Blue lines) and Metro buses will pay regular fares.

      The opening of the new Metro Expo Line expands the Metro Rail system to nearly 90 miles. Stations opening April 28 include two existing stations served by the Metro Blue Line (7th Street Metro Center Station and Pico Station) as well as new stations that will include 23rd Street, Jefferson/USC, Expo Park/USC, Expo/Vermont, Expo/Western, Expo/Crenshaw, Expo/La Brea and La Ciengea/Jefferson stations.

      Due to on-going construction activities, both the Farmdale Station adjacent to Dorsey High School and the Culver City Station will not open until this summer. Metro Expo trains will stop at the Farmdale station but patrons will not be allowed on or off at that location. Trains will travel as far as the La Cienega/Jefferson Station only.

      In addition to the free ride on the Metro Expo Line, several community events are planned for Saturday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Those community events will be held at the 7th Street Metro Center Station in downtownLos Angeles, Expo Park/USC Station, Expo/Crenshaw Station and the La Cienega/Jefferson Station. No community events are planned for Sunday, April 29.

      Fares for the new Metro Expo Line following the free weekend rides will be the same as all Metro-operated bus and trains costing just $1.50 one-way (cash) or patrons can purchase a Metro Day Pass for $5. Regular Metro monthly passes also are available for $75 good for unlimited travel on all Metro buses and trains. For more information visit metro.net/expo.

Transportation headlines, Monday, April 16

CicLAvia image by E.R. Trinidad, 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.

CicLAvia draws some 100,000 cyclists, skaters, pedestrians (Los Angeles Times)

Are you sick of CicLAvia? Me neither. What a great celebration. The car-free event that closed 10 miles of streets in downtown L.A. and beyond, lured people off of their couches and into the outdoors to experience our city streets and spirit. And, as reported in The Source yesterday, Metro Board Chair Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced a $16 million bike sharing program for downtown L.A., Hollywood, Playa Del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach. Good for the soul and good for the body.

Americans do not walk the walk and that’s a growing problem (NPR)

And speaking of the American physique, we are not in good shape and we know it. And here’s one reason why. Americans now walk the least of any industrialized nation in the world. No wonder we have health problems. And yes, walking to a subway station or bus stop counts and it’s a healthy way to start and end the day.

CicLAvia Redux (Neon Tommy)

This morning’s news seems to be bike obsessed but maybe that’s okay for an active change of pace. Neon Tommy, the USC Annenberg Digital News Site, has some nice shots of CicLAvia. It’s great to see so many different styles of folks out riding and walking, including some very sweet dogs.

How to enjoy L.A. arts and culture without a car (LA Weekly)

L.A. Weekly has an interesting review of a new book “Car-Free Los Angeles and Southern California” by Nathan Landau, calling it a door-to-door guidebook to seeing Los Angeles without getting behind the wheel. “From how to get to the airport (FlyAway!) to planning your route (Metro Trip Planner!) to riding the bus to the Getty (without parking, admission is free!) to getting to Disneyland by transit (it’s possible!), the detailed transit directions for hundreds of Southern California destinations makes a car-less visit feel possible. And, dare I say, enjoyable.” Check out the review and/or check out the book. It sounds like a good read for transit riders and those who would like to be. And by the way, the Disneyland express bus is the Metro 460 from downtown L.A. or the Green Line Norwalk Station.

Photos from the Saddle: CicLAvia delivers again

Freedom from the Car at Last: Cyclists ride CicLAvia

No matter how many times you ride CicLAvia through Downtown L.A. streets, the sense of amazement and revelry is as powerful as the very first time.  Nothing beats the exhilaration of riding L.A. streets with tens of thousands other Angelinos enjoying a picture-perfect day, cool temperatures and the simple pleasure of rotating wheels under the shade of L.A. skyscrapers. What a day to ride a bike in L.A.!

Here’s some photos taken from the day-long event along 10 miles of downtown area streets.

Cyclists speed through closed intersections in Downtown L.A.

Cyclists ride on newly painted bike lane

Cyclists ride along MacArthur Park

CicLAvia Kicks Off, Mayor Announces L.A. Bike Share Program

Mayor Villaraigosa Announces Major Bike Sharing Program for Los Angeles.

11 a.m. — CicLavia just started an hour ago and already there has been a major announcement from L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa: a private bike sharing company will soon be coming to L.A. with 4,000 bikes and 400 stations.

At a 9:30 a.m. press conference near Olvera Street, the mayor unveiled plans by Bike Nation, a local bike sharing company, for a $16 million bike sharing program over the next two years in downtown L.A., Hollywood, Playa Del Rey, Westwood and Venice Beach.

“Whether your destination is work, a train, a bus or your local restaurant, these bikes will get you there.  Bike Nation’s new venture reflects a sea-change in our city,” the mayor said.

Cyclists get ready to begin CicLAvia Route on Main Street.