Summer Metro Motion celebrates the Orange Line Extension and takes a trip to the golden age of film and food, Culver City style

In the newest edition of Metro Motion, now running on television and the web, Los Angeles continues its 2012 transit celebration with scenes from the Orange Line Extension opening in the San Fernando Valley and an awesome bike ride along the Metro Orange Line – the longest transit-adjacent bikeway in Los Angeles County.

Metro Motion also celebrates the opening of the Culver City and Farmdale stations of Expo light-rail Phase 1 and takes viewers along for a sampling of some of the best places to eat in Culver City. In yet another segment, we step into Culver City history where some of the best movies of the golden age of film were shot. (Think “Gone With the Wind,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Singin’ In the Rain,” as well as the Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang films.)

Also in the show, Metro’s new board chair Michael D. Antonovich talks about his plans for the coming year as board chair.  

For these stories and more, go to Metro Motion runs quarterly on cable stations throughout Los Angeles County.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 19

Photo by Christopher Chan/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.

High-speed rail and a changing Union Station (KCRW “Which Way LA?”)

At Union Station yesterday Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill authorizing billions of dollars for the state’s high-speed rail system. Metro has plans to make Union Station a hub for high-speed rail and other transit systems, but its plans go well beyond Union Station itself. Metro CEO Art Leahy discusses some of the possibilities for the beautiful, iconic structure and adjacent area with KCRW. Just listen.

It’s not just a bus line. Streetsblog explores Orange Line Extension art pieces (Streetsblog)

Metro commissioned twenty five pieces of art at four new Orange Line Extension stations and the new platform at Canoga Station. Streetsblog takes a look and likes what it sees. (It also shares photos.)

Anaheim to launch first city bicycle sharing program in California (KCET)

Bicycle sharing has been talked about so much in the last few years that you would think there are systems up and running all over the place. While there are a handful of programs in California, they mostly are found on college campuses or in hybrid forms. But this week Anaheim will become the first city in the state with a bike sharing system.

Copenhagen commuters pedal to work on their very own superhighway (New York Times)

Picture 11 miles of smoothly paved bike path meandering through the countryside. Largely uninterrupted by roads or intersections, it passes fields, backyards, chirping birds, a lake, some ducks and, at every mile, an air pump. For some Danes this is the morning commute.

Carmageddon II announced for Sept. 29-30

Rubble on the 405 freeway being cleaned up during Carmageddon I in July, 2011. Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

Here’s the news release:

LOS ANGELES (July 19, 2012): The second 10-mile closure of both directions of the I-405 over the Sepulveda Pass, popularly known as “Carmageddon,” has now been scheduled for Sept. 29-30, 2012 when contractors will demolish the remaining side of the Mulholland Bridge.  Motorists throughout the State of California are advised to “Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area, or Eat, Shop and Play Locally” to avoid generating extreme auto congestion in the project area and throughout the greater Los Angeles region.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), Metrolink, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles Department of Transportation and Los Angeles Fire Department are giving the public advance notice to enable everyone to make all necessary advance travel arrangements to avoid the closure area that weekend.

The I-405 is the nation’s busiest freeway and will be closed in both directions for 53 consecutive hours between the I-10 and U.S. 101.  Half a million motorists drive this portion of the I-405 over a typical weekend.

“This closure will surely impact the nearly 250,000 motorists from all over the county that travel the Sepulveda Pass each day on the weekend,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.  “Law enforcement, transportation and emergency response agencies strongly advise that county residents make plans in advance to use an alternate route or transit.”

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Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 18

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 of the climate (it’s hot) — June Analysis (NOAA)

You’ve probably heard by now that the the past 12 months in the United States (through June) were the warmest on average since records have been maintained. Here’s an excellent map from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showing the latest climate news. Worried about global warming? Take public transit — on average, it emits fewer greenhouse gases per mile than cars with single occupants.

Expo Line ridership up 50 percent (Curbed L.A.)

The Culver City station didn’t open until June 20 but average weekday ridership last month was 16,659, a big increase from the about 11,000 per day in May.

What New York City can learn from Los Angeles about the transit biz (New York Capital)

The big suggestions: get politicians behind transit as they are here, improve marketing and outreach and build coalitions with those who should also support transit such as developers, unions and museums. Of course, the Big Apple and L.A. are in very different situations, as the writer points out — L.A. is in expansion mode and New York is mostly in maintenance mode. Smart post.


Metro Library milestone: 2 million Flickr views & more rarely seen photographs

This past weekend, the Metro Transportation Library & Archive logged its 2,000,000th view of its online Flickr photo collection.

Since launching less than four years ago, the Library has become a national leader in the early adoption of social media, including resource sharing such as Flickr.

The collection now numbers more than 8,000 and spans all of Metro’s predecessor agencies dating back to the 1870s.

This post explains the value of providing digital access to our transportation legacy and highlights some of the more recent additions to the collection, many of which have never been seen before.

They include early 20th century views of the Mount Lowe Railway, renderings from early Metro Rail planning (anyone for overhead rail lines through Hollywood?), Los Angeles’ 1970′s exploration of People Mover personal rapid transit, opening day for the Cahuenga Pass Freeway in 1940, and much more.

The entire story and links to the images can be found at the Library’s Primary Resources blog.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 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.

A tool to disrupt loud talkers on transit? (Atlantic Cities)

A Japanese invention records called the “SpeechJammer” records loud talkers and then plays their talking back to them a millisecond later, thereby disrupting their loud talking. Atlantic Cities says this could be a useful tool on the subway. I can see their point, but I’m not sure law enforcement officials will appreciate riders pointing these things at other passengers.

Ride review: the Orange Line Extension bike path (L.A. Streetsblog)

Editor Damien Newton gives the new four-mile bike path a B+. It’s smooth and safe, he writes, but the waits for green lights to cross signalized intersections can be excruciating. In fact, it took Damien 27 minutes to go four miles because of those waits — and he’s not a slow cyclist.

High-speed rail funds to speed improvements for local transit (KPCC)

Among items that will be paid for by high-speed rail funds are projects that improve access to Union Station in Los Angeles station — such as the Regional Connector and fly-through tracks to remedy the current set-up in which all trains have to enter and leave Union Station going the same way. Other upgrades will include some grade separations on Metrolink tracks throughout Southern California, including some on sections of track to be shared by the bullet train.

210 soundwall project completed (Pasadena Star News)

About two miles of soundwalls along the 210 freeway between Santa Anita Avenue and California Avenue in Arcadia and Monrovia were officially greeted by Metro and city officials on Monday. The project was paid for with Measure R sales tax funds. Some Arcadia residents say the soundwall needs to be extended further west, a project that the Metro Board of Directors may accelerate.

Transportation headlines, Monday, July 16

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.

Nice video on eating along the Expo Line from Willy Blackmore, the L.A. editor for Tasting Table.

Subway line meets an obstruction: Beverly Hills High School (New York Times)

The dispute between Metro, the city of Beverly Hills and the BHUSD gets front-page treatment in the print edition of the NYT although the story is simply a ‘he-said, she-said’ account. The reporter doesn’t make any attempt to verify what sources say. If you are interested in reading about the subway or the many associated reports, please spend some time at

In related subway internet news, here’s a Huffington Post opinion piece in which a junior-to-be at Beverly Hills High argues for dropping the lawsuits against Metro. And in this piece in the Beverly Hills Patch, a Beverly Hills elected official requires only 2,368 words to argue that he’s civil.

San Fernando Valley commuters flock to Expo Line (Daily News)

Reporter Dakota Smith rides the Expo Line and finds more than a few Valley commuters who are using the Red Line subway from NoHo or Universal City to connect with the Expo Line to travel west or south to jobs and other attractions. Metro doesn’t have any hard numbers to show how many Expo riders have trips originating in the Valley, but there is anecdotal evidence that a lot of people are transferring from the Red Line to the Expo Line at 7th/Metro Center.

Jim Newton: Villaraigosa’s tarnished transit triumph (L.A. Times)

Newton credits Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for pushing his America Fast Forward idea to Congress but faults the mayor because it falls short of the goals he set it — i.e. a Measure R extension is still needed to accelerate all of the Measure R transit projects. I understand his point that the AFF ultimately approved doesn’t quite match some of the rhetoric (which came from all quarters). But the big picture remains this: Here we are in July 2012 with a chance to accelerate the Measure R projects, none of which had any funding whatsoever before Measure R was approved in 2008.

Transportation headlines, Friday, July 13

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.

Happy 100th, Woody.

California bullet train gets its own folk song (Curbed L.A.)

Check out the accompanying video. Well edited with some great train footage. It’s also the kind of great p.r. that beats the tar out of most of what the pros have thus far produced.

Desperately seeking shelter (bus shelter, that is) in South L.A. (L.A. Streetsblog)

Great post and accompanying photographs by Sahra Sulaiman on the dearth of shade at many bus stops in South Los Angeles. Sahra also helps explain which stops get shelters and why they get them.

While we’re on the subjects of shelter and music, here’s an appropriate tune from another old-timey band. Happy 50th, Rolling Stones!

UCLA study of Japan’s bullet train raises questions about California project (L.A. Times)

The Times takes another swing at the pinata that is the bullet train. The study says the Japanese bullet train didn’t spur that much economic growth whereas the California High-Speed Rail Authority says 400,000 jobs will be created by the project here. The Authority stands by its numbers.


Photo: New York MTA.

Metro North railroad to test smartphone ticketing this summer (New York MTA)

The new system would allow riders to buy and display tickets on their smartphones. It’s a way for passengers to avoid ticket machines and fumbling with cash on the train when purchasing tickets from customers. Metro North runs commuter trains between Manhattan and New York’s northern suburbs.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 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 orRSS feed.

Internet sales tax could help solve transportation issues (Boston Globe)

Here’s a well thought out opinion piece from the Boston Globe suggesting that Massachusetts urge Congress to approve national legislation enabling internet sales tax collection and then earmark the revenue for infrastructure spending … including transportation. It’s a great idea and California should consider joining in since, like Massachusetts, we have an internet tax that applies only to online sellers with a connection to our state. As the piece says, “this creates a tax advantage for online and other out-of-state vendors and penalizes local businesses, especially retailers, who not only face price competition from online giants, but also have to charge their customers sales taxes.”

L.A. light-rail junction poses risk (Los Angeles Times)

Today’s L.A Times says, incorrectly and without substantiation, that ongoing work on the junction where the Blue and Expo lines meet is presenting a risk of train derailment. Metro is assuring riders that this is not the case, that there is no derailment issue and that trains are traveling at less than 10 mph through the juncture to ensure that travel is safe.  Metro is concerned about long-term maintenance issues, specifically excessive wear on its vehicles through the sharp curve. The track section in question has been modified to combat wear. Metro and the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees certain rail operations in the state, are closely monitoring the track and also checking rail cars for excessive wear. Neither Metro nor the CPUC would allow trains to operate in an unsafe manner.

New operator takes over Van Nuys FlyAway (San Fernando Valley Business Journal)

A new operator is running the FlyAway shuttle between Van Nuys and LAX. Bauer Transportation Inc. began service July 11 between Van Nuys and LAX. Bauer will operate 117 trips per day and provide an additional 30 trips during holidays and other peak travel times. Why should travelers care? Bauer says it plans to introduce new buses that run on a biodiesel fuel mix and have amenities such as free Wi-Fi, cable TV, power outlets and leatherette seating. No date for the new buses has been set.

On Transportation Column: July 11 back-from-vacation-catch-up edition

The Orange Line Extension in Chatsworth. Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

I decided to flee town for a week of vacation because I didn’t believe much would be happening in early July, especially with Independence Day falling on a Wednesday. And — surprise!! — I was only 110 percent wrong. Whoopsydoodle.

I knew in advance I would miss the Orange Line Extension’s debut, which was scheduled after I had already planned my vacation. That was strike one.

Second, after two-plus years of partisan bickering, Congress surprisingly (read: amazingly/unbelievably) got its act together enough to pass a two-year transportation spending bill including provisions of the America Fast Forward program advocated by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Metro Board of Directors. Strike two.

Third, the Federal Transit Administration finished its lengthy review of the Regional Connector’s final environmental study and issued a “record of decision,” the bureaucratic term that means not only are the commas in the right place, the project is now also eligible to receive federal dollars. Strike three.

Fourth, the State Legislature voted to sell enough bonds to allow for construction of the first segment of the state’s high-speed rail project, a vote that was — not surprisingly — squeaky close. That one was like falling down the dugout stairs after striking out.

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