Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 31

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.

An uphill climb for downtown L.A. Streetcar (KCET)

D.J. Waldie wonders aloud whether downtown property owners along the proposed alignment will vote to tax themselves to pay for the project. Bottom line: without such as tax, the project will be very short of funding. Waldie primarily has questions about the route and whether it will appeal to enough of downtown L.A. to make the project worthwhile.

Touchdown pass or lost yardage — what will be AEG? (L.A. Streetsblog)

The op-ed written by a pair of environmental health advocates says that the proposed downtown football stadium could impair air quality because of increased traffic to games, increase noise in surrounding neighborhoods and displace residents of nearby neighborhoods. Read it for yourself and decide if a football stadium, on the site of part of the current convention center and next to a heavily-trafficked freeway, could really do that much harm to the area. The stadium is really going to be louder than the freeway? I doubt it.

Long Beach staff says 405 plan would cause bottleneck (Long Beach Business Journal)

A plan to widen the 405 freeway in northern Orange County has Long Beach officials fearful that they will get the brunt of the traffic caused by a wide freeway meeting a narrower one at the boundary between O.C. and L.A. counties. Seems like a legitimate concern; on the other hand, part of the O.C.’s plan may include a toll lane to help speed up traffic for some. Tough one, people.

And we're back…again

Hi folks. As I tweeted earlier, The Source had some bad clams — i.e. a software update — that didn’t set well, resulting in the blog going topsy-turvy on Monday and parts of day.

But looks like we’re back and regular posting will resume…now. I hope.

In the meantime, I was a guest on Warren Olney’s “Which Way L.A.?” for a short segment that aired Monday on Metro’s new weekend late night service. If you would like to listen, here it is.


Transportation headlines, Friday, July 27

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 PUC orders re-hearing on parts of Expo Phase 2 environmental document (L.A. Streetsblog)

The hearing, requested by Neighbors for Smart Rail, will deal with some procedural matters as well as whether the Expo Line’s environmental document needed to better describe an undercrossing of the 405 freeway and a pedestrian bridge in Palms. I know. I’m sure that you, like me, believes that state environmental law should concern itself with the impacts of a light rail line on a freeway undercrossing. Parents: sign your kids up for environmental law school sooner, not later.

LaHood: major increase in TIFIA funding (Welcome to the Fast Lane)

As a result of the part of America Fast Forward that was approved as part of the recent transportation bill in Congress, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $1.7 billion in federal TIFIA loans is now available for critical infrastructure projects. By offering federal backing of loans, that money be leveraged into $50 billion overall in public and private funds. Local agencies will be applying for the loans.

California Incline to be rebuilt beginning in 2013 (Santa Monica Mirror)

The ramp that connects bluff-top downtown Santa Monica to PCH has long-needed a seismic overhaul and will get it beginning in the fall of 2013 and lasting a year or more. The closure of the heavily-trafficked incline is expected to hinder the area’s already bad traffic. The new incline, however, is touted as being safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

Why we should pay people to bike to work (Boston Magazine)

Office and retail space in the Kendall Square area of Cambridge has increased 40 percent in recent years while auto trips in the area declined 13 percent. What the what?! As it turns out, a law required employers to provide employees a subsidy they could use toward parking or transit. Many, it seems, have opted for using the extra money on transit or biking because they can pocket they money they don’t use.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 26

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.

80 Years Ago This Week: L.A. welcomed and transported the world to the Summer Olympics (Metro Transportation Library Primary Resources Blog) 

As we ready to watch and be moved by the Olympics in London, it’s a great time to take a look back at L.A.’s Olympic experiences. L.A. is among the few cities to host the games more than once, most recently in 1984. Thanks to the Metro library, these photos highlight the transportation challenge that the 1932 Olympics brought and give us a glimpse into what the games looked like during the Depression.

Bicycle studies pick up steam in academia (Pacific Standard) 

Los Angeles has wrapped up its third CicLAvia, New York City is launching its massive bike-share system this summer and Portland is aiming at 25 percent of trips by bicycle in 2030. As this is happening, universities and think tanks are starting to notice.

Mayor Villaraigosa talks transit (StreetsBlog LA)

Mayor Villaraigosa talks with StreetsBlog about L.A. transportation and his drive to make us mobile on trains, on buses … in any way that will help.


Leahy proposes free system-wide rides on Metro during Carmageddon II

One early highlight from today’s Metro Board meeting:

Metro CEO Art Leahy said that he plans to ask the Board at their next meeting — on Aug. 6 — to approve free system-wide rides on Carmageddon II weekend, Saturday, Sept. 29, and Sunday, Sept. 30. He also said that there will be an accommodation for passholders who already will have paid for that service.

During the first Carmageddon, free rides were offered on parts of the Metro system that mostly served the San Fernando Valley and Westside.

 

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.