Expo Line: temporary service disruption

Riders: This service alert was just issued a few minutes ago. If you are planning on using the Expo Line early Friday, the best place to get up-to-date information is Metro’s Twitter feed featuring service alerts or Metro’s Facebook page.

Temporary Service Suspension btwn Jefferson/USC-7th/Metro

Affected Line: Metro Expo Line
Effective Dates: Thursday, April 4, 2013 — Friday, April 5, 2013
Station: 23rd St, Pico, 7th/Metro

Description

As of 11:30pm Thursday, Metro Expo Line has been suspended between Jefferson/USC and 7th St/Metro Ctr due to major damage to an overhead power pole caused by an unrelated auto accident.  This disruption is expected to continue into Friday due to the extent of the damage.  Initial reports are the car sheared the pole foundation bolts and crews may not be able to put a pole up in time for Friday morning service due to the foundation not being salvageable.

  • Due to limited railcars available west of the incident location, Expo Line btwn Culver City and Jefferson/USC will run approx every 20 min with 2-car trains until further notice
  • Bus shuttles will then serve Jefferson/USC, 23rd St and Pico
  • Please expect delays up to 40 min and consider using alternate bus lines to complete your trip
  • Updates will be provided here at the top of the page

Transportation headlines, Thursday, April 4

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.

Photo: city of Phoenix.

Photo: city of Phoenix.

New people mover set to debut at Phoenix airport (Arizona Daily Star) 

Dubbed the “Sky Train,” the automated system connects the airport’s busiest terminal to airport parking and a nearby light rail station. A people mover is among the alternatives being studied by Metro and Los Angeles World Airports as a way to connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line and/or a light rail extension to the LAX terminals (here’s the Metro Airport Connector home page). According to this fact sheet, the 1.7-mile first phase of the project cost $644 million and will take five minutes to travel between the light rail station and Terminal 4. The city plans to extend the system to connect with other terminals and the airport’s rental car center.

Reaching high in Hollywood (L.A. Times) 

The Times’ editorial board comes out in favor of the proposed Millenium Hollywood project, which proposes two skyscrapers near the Capital Records Building; the actual heights of the buildings has yet to be defined. The Times’ reasoning: the buildings substantially conform with the Hollywood zoning plan adopted by the City Council last year. The buildings have been controversial and Councilman Eric Garcetti even wrote the city’s Planning Commission last week saying the towers were out-of-scale with the surrounding area and they have yet to earn enough community support.

Of course, there are the usual complaints about the project generating traffic. Well, the Millennium project would be a stone’s throw from the popular Hollywood/Vine Red Line station — only 19 minutes to downtown L.A.!

I don’t live in Hollywood, but my three cents anyway: I think the Times’ editorial nails the issue. At some point, the city needs to stick with its zoning plans instead of negotiating each project individually, the result being visual chaos and the scattershot city you see everyday. Also this: if traffic is always the criteria for new development, how is it possible to build anything? And how does a city keep its economy afloat if it shuns erecting new buildings or redevelopment of existing ones? Beats me, but I’m only a lowly government blogger.

In semi-related news, ground was broken on the Transitbay Transit Tower in San Francisco last week. The 60-story, 1,070-foot tower will host a train and bus station and looks to be one of the more spectacular transit hubs in the nation; it will probably help the Bay Area’s economy and overall livability, concepts I would think other cities may want to embrace or consider. See the renderings here.

SEPTA unveils free virtual library (Metro Magazine)

Cool and creative idea: to celebrate National Library Week, the transit agency that serves the Greater Philadelphia area will host a free virtual library at one of its stations that allows station-goers to get free downloads of some books and podcasts using QR codes.

Invite Metro to your school career day

Members of the Metro Speakers Bureau are available this spring to talk with children and young people at school career days about future employment at Metro. Grade school is not too early to start.

Metro employs more than 9,000 full-time staff, including bus and train operators, mechanics and maintenance people, clerks, bus and rail transportation and maintenance supervisors and security guards. Topics could include training necessary to become bus and train operators, mechanics and maintenance experts, transit planners, security personnel and even artists and marketing and media relations professionals.

If you have questions or would like to request a speaker for your school, email: mediarelations@metro.net and type CAREER DAY in the subject field. Speakers are available on a first come, first served basis.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 3

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.

L.A. 2050 — some of the best ideas for the city’s livability (L.A. Streetsblog) 

The GOOD and the Goldhirsh Foundation are awarding 10 grants of $100,000 apiece to people, organizations and nonprofits that have an idea to make Los Angeles a better place. And there are a lot of ideas out there — 279 applications were received. Damien Newton looks briefly at some of his favorite suggestions. The two that caught my eye were creating bike-friendly business districts and a plan to install electronic signs that count how many cyclists are using particular streets/bike lanes.

As for the bike district idea, I think it’s great. I live in Pasadena where existing bike routes are pretty lame and completely break down when you get to either Old Town or the South Lake business districts. I see a lot of cyclists riding on sidewalks on Lake because the sharrows (a good way for making it look like you’re doing something when you’re doing nothing) are roundly ignored by motorists and it’s not a pleasant street to ride on.

I also love the bike counter idea, but good luck: I’m not sure any city wants to publicly advertise the effectiveness of its bike lanes. Don’t get me wrong. I love bike lanes — but they have to be done right to succeed. And by ‘done right’ I mean they need to offer some type of separation from car traffic and they need to be plugged into a bigger network instead of just ending and dumping the cyclist into vehicular traffic. (See: Cordova Avenue, Pasadena, California).

Quick question to no one in particular: where the heck is the media on this? If the region was building miles of new roads or transit lines, the media would likely be doing stories. Yet there are miles upon miles of bike lanes being installed across our region with little media scrutiny of their design and ability to serve those they intend to help — cyclists!

Okay, got that out of my system….

Cincy proposes eliminating parking requirements to save buildings and neighborhoods (Cincinnati Post) 

My hometown is as car-centric as most places in the Midwest. Yet there’s a proposal now in some parts of town get rid of parking requirements that mandate how many parking spaces each residential building must have. The problem is that many buildings in downtown’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood were constructed in the later half of the 1800s and have no parking spaces. That means that some building owners either have to find parking for tenants, demolish the building or let it languish because redevelopment is too expensive. I’m guessing many residents of old buildings will want cars anyway — there’s certainly no shortage of downtown garages or parking lots where they can store them, just like car owners do in other large cities.

The great Red Car conspiracy of Los Angeles — is it real? (KPCC/99% Invisible)

This podcast takes a look at the alleged conspiracy that car interests dismantled the old streetcar lines in order to force people into cars. Sorry, but the reporters here don’t buy it, nor do I. What happened? A lot of things. Low fares kept streetcars unprofitable and poorly maintained, streetcars were slow and unable to serve the sprawl they helped create and many people enjoyed the newfound freedom of having a car.

A streetcar on Brand Boulevard in Glendale in the mid 1950s. Photo by Alan Weeks via Metro Transportation Library and Archive's Flickr collection.

A streetcar on Brand Boulevard in Glendale in the mid 1950s. Photo by Alan Weeks via Metro Transportation Library and Archive’s Flickr collection.

Crosswalks in New York are not havens, study finds (New York Times) 

The new study looks at injuries suffered by pedestrians and cyclists brought to Bellevue Hospital Center. The major findings: of those pedestrians struck by cars, most were in the crosswalk and had the crossing signal in their favor and cyclists tend to be disproportionately injured by taxis. The study also found that many of those injured were using electronic devices. Overall traffic-related deaths in New York have plummeted in recent years and officials hope that the new data may help with future safety initiatives.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 2

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.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Gold Line train descends from the bridge over the 101 freeway in downtown L.A. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Gold Line train descends from the bridge over the 101 freeway in downtown L.A. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Julian Burke dies at 85; former MTA chief (L.A. Times)

Mr. Burke was widely credited with stabilizing the young agency that was facing a consent decree over its bus service, construction issues with its subway and bad publicity on several fronts. Excerpt:

In 1997, the MTA was in turmoil, with a deficit of at least $29 million and a vacancy in the chief executive’s office for several months. One chief had been fired and another had resigned.
Riordan asked Burke to assist with a task force on the agency’s finances and soon, Riordan recalled, “he came back to say it was just about in bankruptcy.”
A short time later, Riordan asked him to step in as interim chief. “I got snagged into this job,” Burke told The Times in 2000. “I thought I was here for four to six months.”
As chief executive, he put more buses on the streets, and by the end of his second year, he had closed the agency’s considerable budget gap, Lipsky said.
He also won the respect of labor leaders at the height of the 2000 walkout, which left 450,000 riders stranded. Originally paid $180,000 a year, he had taken a voluntary pay cut in 1998, when the agency was eliminating some jobs.

To fight gridlock, a city synchronizes every light (New York Times)

The NYT parachutes in on the news earlier this year that Los Angeles completed its three decade effort of putting every traffic light in the city on the same computerized synchronization program. But will it solve traffic? Nope but it will likely increase the capacity of roads and speed travel times.

Garcetti comes out against LAX runway plan (L.A. Times)

The L.A. mayoral race takes a turn into transportation policy. Councilman Eric Garcetti says he’s against moving the northern runway 260 feet to the north, which would put it closer to Westchester homes. Controller Wendy Greuel has yet to take a specific position for or against.

The runway move is part of a series of projects that LAX wants to build, saying it will be safer and make the airport better able to handle larger planes such as the Airbus A-380. Other airport projects include a people mover and consolidated rental car facility. The runway issue doesn’t involve Metro, but it is highly contentious. The agency is obviously watching the people mover issue as the agency is currently studying a project to determine the best way to hook up the Crenshaw/LAX Line with the airport terminals.

Councilman favors lane change on Colorado Boulevard in Eagle Rock (The Eastsider)

L.A. Councilman and Metro Board Member Jose Huizar says he would be in favor of replacing a traffic lane with a bike lane on busy Colorado, which would reduce the number of car lanes from three to two in each direction. Makes sense to me; there’s no need for Colorado to be so wide as it parallels the 134 freeway. My issue with the proposal: the bike lane would be between the car lanes and the car parking lane. How about swapping them so the bike lane is next to the curb and protected by the parking lane?


Westside Subway Extension gets a new official name: Purple Line Extension


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The re-branding has been in the works for a while and the project has, at times, been referred to by both names. The project extends the subway from its current terminus at Wilshire and Western to a station at the VA Hospital in Westwood.

Why wasn’t it just called “Purple Line Extension” from the get-go? The short answer: the project wasn’t officially a subway until the environmental studies were complete.

Here are the new addresses:

Web: metro.net/purplelineext
E-mail: purplelineext@metro.net
Twitter: @purplelineext
Facebook: facebook.com/purplelineext


Transportation headlines, Monday, April 1

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.

Dan Turner dies at 49; Times editorial writer (L.A. Times)

Very sad news over the weekend with the passing of Dan, 49, who wrote about transportation for the Times’ editorial board, among many other subjects. He was a great writer who asked the tough questions of Metro and others while weaving national story lines into the local news. Metro offers its condolences to Dan’s family and colleagues at the newspaper.

Here’s a graph from a blog post that Dan wrote about the Expo Line after taking a media ride in 2012; I think it neatly sums up his talent and interest in transit:

Yes, you could drive that far on the parallel Santa Monica Freeway in less than half the time it takes on the Expo Line, assuming there was no traffic. You could also flap your arms and fly to the moon, assuming your arms were equipped with retro rockets. The 10 is one of the busiest freeways in the United States, and it’s only going to get worse. The train goes to USC, Staples Center and Exposition Park, and it connects to rail lines running to Long Beach, Pasadena or North Hollywood. Its completion makes L.A.’s rail network start to feel almost, well, functional.

Public transportation does relieve traffic congestion, just not everywhere (The Atlantic Cities) 

Transit advocates and opponents have long quarreled over whether building transit can fix traffic. Many people feel it can’t because demand is so high on area roads; I know I generally like to say transit is built as an alternative to traffic. That said, new research shows that during the 35-day transit strike at Metro in 2003, average delays increased across the board with the largest impact on roads that paralleled major transit lines.

I don’t think this is new of the shocking variety. Without buses and trains, many people are left to drive and there’s only so much room on roads.

Minority of L.A. County voters quashed Measure J (L.A. Times) 

Putting aside the headline, the Times’ interactive map of the final results shows the same thing we found in our look at the preliminary ballot count: there was enough falloff in support from Measure R in 2008 to Measure J in 2012 to cause J to lose with 66.1 percent of the vote. Some of the biggest drops came in some of the wealthiest parts of the county: Malibu, unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains, the South Bay and Beverly Hills, where 59 percent of voters still voted for J, which would have accelerated the arrival of the Purple Line extension to their town.

Mother of the Movement: ‘The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks,’ by Jeanne Theoharis (New York Times)

A very interesting review of a new biography of Rosa Parks, who in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955 was arrested after famously refusing to surrender her seat on a bus and stand in order to accommodate white passengers. That sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and gave momentum to the civil rights movement that swept the nation in the years to come. The Times calls the book the first comprehensive biography of Rosa Parks’ life and credits the author for pointing out that Parks’ heroics were hardly arbitrary; she had quietly been involved in the civil rights movement and political activism before that fateful day on the bus.