Above: the Kings practice in September at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, adjacent to the Green Line's Mariposa station. The above drill is harder than it looks. Trust me.
In two hours or so, the Dodgers kick off their National League divisional series at Atlanta while the Kings start their season against the Minnesota Wild.
Both teams come home at the start of next week. The Dodgers host the Braves for Game 3 on Sunday at 5 p.m. at Chavez Ravine with Game 4 on Monday (the time hasn't been announced yet). The Kings' home opener against the New York Rangers is Monday night at 7:30 p.m.
Both games are transit accessible. The Dodger Stadium Express provides free bus service for ticket holders between Los Angeles Union Station and Dodgers Stadium. And Staples Center is easy to reach via the Blue and Expo Lines' Pico station as well as the Silver Line bus.
Google Glass. Photo by Antonio Zugaldia, via Flickr creative commons.
In recent months, I’ve been reading with increasing curiosity about Google Glass, the glasses developed by Google which allow users to view the internet and take photos and videos. They are not on the market yet, but Google has been providing them to some members of the public for test runs.
Here’s a fun story in last week’s New Yorker about one of those testers and his experiences. As the story explains, having the functions of a smartphone sitting on your face (for lack of a better term) is very different animal than having the functions of a smartphone in your hand or pocket.
As the article also notes, some establishments have already banned Google Glass because they don’t want users surreptitiously taking photos through glasses either for legal reasons (an art gallery may not own the rights to the art it displays) or for the sake of their clientele (patrons at a bar, for example).
If Google Glass becomes popular, I’m curious about how transit riders view the devices. Are they just another cool gadget building on the advances of smartphones? Or do you think they’re overly obtrusive and a violation of whatever privacy you have left when riding public transport?
Take the poll and feel free to comment please; one comment per customer please.
This update from Metro's government relations staff neatly summarizes the current state of Congress:
U.S. Senate Votes to Clear Way for Consideration of Transportation Spending Bill
Today, the U.S. Senate voted, by a margin of 73 to 26, to invoke cloture on S. 1243, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill for Fiscal Year 2014. The cloture vote clears the path for the bill to be considered by the full Senate. The Senate’s transportation bill, consistent with President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget, would fully fund the New Starts program. This funding would permit the Federal Transit Administration to fully fund our agency’s two New Starts projects (Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector). As currently drafted, the House transportation spending bill would offer no federal funding for these same projects. The Senate bill would also, if adopted, provide $550 million for the popular TIGER grant program, while the House transportation bill would eliminate funding for the TIGER program. Our government relations staff will continue to monitor the Fiscal Year 2014 appropriations process to ensure that our Board-approved priorities are advanced.
If you want to have your say in the renaming of the Blue Line Transit Mall Station to the Downtown Long Beach Station, attend the service council meeting this Thursday or write in to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s the press release from Metro with more information:
The Metro Gateway Cities Service Council will receive a presentation, and accept public comment, on the potential renaming of the Blue Line ‘Transit Mall’ Station to the ‘Downtown Long Beach Station.’ The Service Council meeting will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, July 11 at Salt Lake Park Community Center, located at 3401 East Florence Avenue in Huntington Park.
The City of Long Beach has requested the new station name following a community survey they conducted. Metro’s station naming policy includes a procedure for seeking community input on station names, and requires that any changes to an existing station name be authorized by a two-thirds vote of Metro’s Board of Directors. Metro’s Board will be presented with this request for information purposes only later this month. They could act on the request as soon as their September meeting.
Jon Hillmer, Director of Metro’s Regional Service Councils, is hopeful that the public will attend and participate in this meeting. “We are always appreciative of the public’s comments on Metro service and programs. The Service Councils present an excellent opportunity for the public to share their thoughts and ideas about Metro, and we welcome the public’s involvement and thoughts about the proposed new station name. If anyone cannot attend this meeting, but would like to comment on the proposed station name, they are welcome to submit comments in writing by e-mailing to email@example.com.”
The Metro Gateway Cities Service Council is one of five Metro Service Councils representing different regions of Los Angeles County. The other four Service Councils represent the regions of: San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay, and Westside/Central.
Metro Service Councils review and take action on staff recommendations for service modifications, receive public input on Metro bus and rail service, conduct public hearings, evaluate Metro bus programs, and make policy recommendations to the Metro Board about service in the area they represent. For more information about Metro’s Service Councils, visit their website http://www.metro.net/about/local-service-councils/.
The meeting is ongoing. I'll have a post later on the Crenshaw/LAX Line project contract, project acceleration and associated financial issues.
•The Board approved Metro's contribution of $52.7 million toward Metrolink operations for the 2013-14 fiscal year in addition to funds for a variety of other Metrolink projects. Metrolink is funded with contributions from five county transportation agencies — Metro in Los Angeles County as well as Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.
•The Board approved a motion by Richard Katz to have Metro CEO Art Leahy and Metro staff to study, hold hearings and determine whether the state Congestion Management Plan is still an “appropriate, useful and consistent tool aligned with our state and regional objectives.”
The motion means that the Congestion Management Fee studied and proposed by Metro staff on new developments in the county likely won't be considered by the Board until next year. The fee has been discussed for a decade.
•The Board approved a 10-year lease for a Purple Line Extension customer service center in 2,469-feet of retail space at 3183 Wilshire Boulevard.
•The Board approved a motion asking Metro staff to report on how Metro may be able to contribute up to $2 million each year to CicLAvia-type events throughout L.A. County. The motion cites the success of the events in the city of L.A. over the past couple of years.
The Board, led by Supervisor Gloria Molina, has taken the last few minutes to recognize outgoing Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, crediting him — rightly, I think — for pushing forward an ambitious transportation agenda over his past eight years as mayor and Metro Board member.
“Much of what has been accomplished and much of what will be accomplished in the years ahead is because of your vision,” said County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. “This is your legacy, among many other things. You've gotten the blame for things that have gone wrong and you should also get credit for things that have gone right.”
“I may have had the vision for where things need to go but the detail and the focus to get it done was done by a lot of people,” responded Villaraigosa, who said that he is pleased to see the region beginning to change the way it plans and gets around.
“People are going to live closer to public transportation, they are going to work, shop, live and play along transportation corridors,” the mayor said. “And I think you will see it in a way that will be transformative.”
•The Board approved a $33.2-million, five-year contract with the California Vanpool Authority, Enterprise Rent-a-Car Company of Los Angeles and VPSI, Inc., to provide vanpool services to Metro. Metro staff report
•The Board voted to accept $26.1 million from the state of California’s Prop 1B to help fund the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. Metro staff report
•The Board did not take a position of support of state bills that would lower the threshold needed for voters to pass a transportation sales tax from two-thirds to 55 percent. Although there were not seven votes (a majority) against supporting the bills, a motion to move the item to next month failed, meaning that a Board Member would likely need to make a motion to bring it back.
The yes votes came from Board Members Richard Katz, Ara Najarian, Pam O’Connor, Mel Wilson and Zev Yaroslavsky. The no votes came from Michael D. Antonovich, Diane DuBois John Fasana and Don Knabe. Absent for the vote were Jose Huizar, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Antonio Villaraigosa and Gloria Molina.
Metro staff had recommended supporting the bills as a possible way to help accelerate transit projects in the future; several Board members had issues ranging from lack of public input to an unwillingness to seek a change because of the narrow loss of Measure J last fall. Metro staff report
•The Board approved a revenue-generating contract with InSite Wireless to install equipment in the Red and Purple Line subway and other underground portions of the Metro Rail system to provide cell phone service and, eventually, wi-fi service for Metro riders. Metro staff report and recent Source post
The Metro Board approved on a 7 to 2 vote a contract modification worth about $30.5 million dollars for Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc., to provide preliminary engineering services and other work on the first and second phases of the Westside/Purple Line Extension, as well as final design services for modifications to the Division 20 subway rail car maintenance yard.
The modification brings the contract total for Parsons Brinckherhoff, Inc. to $120.6 million. The first phase of the project will extend the subway from Wilshire/Western to Wilshire/La Cienega and the second phase to Constellation and Avenue of the Stars in Century City.
Board Members Don Knabe and John Fasana voted against the modification, saying that spending money on the subway extension's second phase at this point was not consistent with construction timelines listed in Metro's long-range plan.