Ribbon-cutting opens the Metro ExpressLanes Walk-in Customer Center

LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas and Metro Board member/Duarte Mayor John Fasana with their transponders. Photos by Juan Ocampo.

LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas and Metro Board member/Duarte Mayor John Fasana with their transponders. Photos by Juan Ocampo.

Metro and Caltrans offcials who today announced the opening of the Metro ExpressLanes Customer Walk-in Center in Gardena where the public can open a FasTrak® account and receive a FasTrak® transponder to enable them to enter the Metro ExpressLanes.

The new Metro ExpressLanes walk-in center is located at 500 W. 190th Street in Gardena, a facility that also houses the Metro ExpressLanes customer processing center, responsible for the distribution of FastTrak® transponders. The walk in center is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. The center is closed on Sunday.

Mark Ridley-Thomas, LA County Supervisor and Metro Board member, leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony July 25 to open the Metro ExpressLanes Customer Service Center. Included among the officials are John Fasana, Duarte Mayor & Metro Board member; Pam O’Connor, Santa Monica City Councilmember, Metro Board member & SCAG Board member; Michael Miles, Caltrans District 7 Executive Director; Art Leahy, Metro CEO; Stephanie Wiggins, Metro EO, Congestion Reduction Initiative Program; Kathleen Daly, Program Manger, AAA Discounts;Jim Thomas, Thomas Properties Group and former Metro Director and Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke.

Mark Ridley-Thomas, LA County Supervisor and Metro Board member, leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony July 25 to open the Metro ExpressLanes Customer Service Center. Included among the officials are John Fasana, Duarte Mayor & Metro Board member; Pam O’Connor, Santa Monica City Councilmember, Metro Board member & SCAG Board member; Michael Miles, Caltrans District 7 Executive Director; Art Leahy, Metro CEO; Stephanie Wiggins, Metro EO, Congestion Reduction Initiative Program; Kathleen Daly, Program Manger, AAA Discounts; Jim Thomas, Thomas Properties Group and former Metro Director and Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke.

See previous post: Metro ExpressLanes Customer Walk-in Center news release

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 25

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 fail: Taps for a TAP card (Blogging Los Angeles)

Blogger Will Campbell’s TAP card, purchased in 2009, expires with a balance on it. To say the least, he’s not happy about the fact that the cards expire after three years. Adult language for those easily offended.

Balancing past and present on the 6th Street Bridge (L.A. Streetsblog)

A look at the design advisory committee for the new bridge that will replace the ailing current structure that many consider iconic. My two cents: A handsome new bridge would be nice, but it really doesn’t mean much unless the area around and under looks so disheveled (to say it charitably). On a related note, here’s part one and part two of a good interview Streetblog editor Damien Newton did with L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Member Antonio Villaraigosa.

San Gabriel Valley officials vote to back Measure R extension (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments voted 19 to 4 last week to back a Measure R extension should it land on the November ballot. They also voted to back a motion by Metro Board Member John Fasana — a Duarte City Councilman — that would allow Measure R highway funds to be more easily transferred to transit projects within a subregion such as the San Gabriel Valley. The Metro Board is expected to consider that motion at a special meeting in early August. In 2008, San Gabriel Valley officials opposed Measure R, although local voters weren’t swayed. Measure R is funding the Gold Line extension to Azusa as well as a future extension of the Gold Line from East Los Angeles to either South El Monte or Whittier.

 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 24

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 above document was created by city of Boston planners when discussing the effectiveness of different kind of bus lanes. Metro, of course, has several potential bus lane projects in the works — the Wilshire peak lanes and the possibility of bus lanes on several north-south streets in the San Fernando Valley. The Wilshire lanes, by the way, are against the curb.

There’s hope for the planet (New York Times)

Thirteen of the warmest years on record for the planet have occurred since 1998. The “hope” in this opinion piece stems from the fact that many economies have responded with massive investments in clean energy. However, the support of the federal government for clean technologies in the form of tax breaks and subsidies is falling — from $44 billion in 2009 to $16 billion this year and $11 billion in 2014. Hmm. As I’ve said before, one way to combat climate change is take mass transit.

With transit investments, a surge of dividends across America (Welcome to the Fast Lane)

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reviews some of the State of Good Repair grants the Federal Transit Administration made last week. The gist of it: a lot of old buses are coming off the road to be replaced by newer, cleaner ones. Metro received $10 million to purchase new 40-foot buses powered by compressed natural gas; the agency no longer has diesel buses in its fleet.

New York MTA to sell ad space on fare cards (New York Times)

Everything but the black magnetic stripe on the cards is fare game in a move to raise revenue for the (always) financially-challenged agency. In this article, an artist muses about some of the firms that might be interested in selling their wares to transit patrons. Check it out — it’s a good for a laugh.

Transportation headlines, Monday, July 23

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.

MTA unveils digital art at Bleeker Street station (New York 1)

Check it out — there’s a video (sorry, couldn’t embed here). Interesting.

Seeing the train as a mobile office (The Atlantic Cities)

The article summarizes a new academic study that finds — no surprise here — that commuter and long-distance trains are a good place to get some work done, especially when there’s an Internet connection available. The bigger point this post strives to make is that while travel time is important, the ability to have high-quality time to travel and work simultaneously is something we should invest in.

Newton: Getting L.A. growing again (L.A. Times)

The paper’s editorial editor interviews a number of elected officials and influential people in the private sector and asks them how to give the local economy a jolt. One common answer: invest in infrastructure (namely transportation and rebuilding LAX) to create jobs, increase mobility and maybe take a bite out of some traffic.

Culver City opens its first bike corral (Culver City Bike Coalition)

Gone is a single parking space at Washington and Jean and in its place is enough parking to accommodate 10 bikes. I like these corrals — also saw them recently on Main Street in Santa Monica, where there is often a shortage of places to lock up a bike.

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.net/metromotion. 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.”

Continue reading


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.