Trees to be removed for Crenshaw/LAX Line along Crenshaw Boulevard

Crenshaw_lax_tree_removal_factsheet FINAL 032614 Crenshaw2

We posted last week about plans to remove about 135 trees along Wilshire Boulevard to accommodate the first phase of the Purple Line Extension. This week we are posting about similar tree removal plans for the Crensaw/LAX Line, a subject tackled in a story published Monday in the L.A. Times.

The above flier provides a good overview of the work. The highlights:

•The removals will be done in three stages, as shown in the map in the above flier.

Phase 1 from Exposition Boulevard to 48th Street: 98 trees are being removed. Of those, the arborist has identified 11 trees that may potentially be relocatedThe final decision on the number of trees to be relocated will to made by the city of Los Angeles. Two trees will be planted for each tree that is being removed.

Phase 2 from 48th to 67th streets: the arborist report for this area is still in draft phase but it is estimated that 53 trees will be removed with two trees planted for each that is removed. The actual number of trees to be removed may vary.

Phase 3: the arborist report is still under development and the number of trees to be removed is still to be determined.

•The plan is to keep the present trees as long as possible until construction is imminent. The plan calls for planting two trees for every non-native tree that is removed.

•Perhaps the most controversial of the tree removals is in Park Mesa Heights, where mature Canary Island Pines are in the median of Crenshaw Boulevard. These are trees, as their name implies, are native to the Canary Islands located off the northwest coast of Africa and are known for being drought-tolerant.

The median and the trees will eventually being removed to accommodate the train tracks that will run down the middle of the street.

Here are a couple of views:

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 1.57.02 PM

This is the view looking south on Crenshaw Boulevard between 51st and 52nd Streets. Photo: Google Maps.

The Endeavour moving north through Park Mesa Heights in 2012. The light rail line will run along the median at right, where the trees are located. Photo by Steve Hymon.

A view of the trees looking north on Crenshaw Boulevard from 54th Street. The train will run down the middle of the street and north and south traffic and parking lanes will be on either side of the tracks. Photo by Steve Hymon.

The Canary Pines were considered for relocation, but it was determined they didn’t have a good chance of surviving for a variety of reasons including their extensive root systems, previous damage from vehicles on Crenshaw Boulevard and from signs being posted to them in the past.

•The size of the replacement trees will vary depending on the species. The trees will initially be raised in nurseries and some may be nine- to 10-feet tall when first planted along the Crenshaw/LAX Line alignment.

•Plans still need to be finalized for the palm trees along the rail right-of-way on the north side of Florence Avenue. The project’s environmental studies indicated that most would remain and Metro is required to preserve 90 percent of the palms in the right-of-way in the city of Inglewood.

•The city of Los Angeles Planning Department is in the midst of developing a streetscape plan for the Crenshaw Boulevard area that is being funded with a grant from Metro. The agency has commented on the plan — but it’s important to recognize the plan is not part of the Crenshaw/LAX Line project.

•On a similar note, some trees in the project area were previously removed for the move of the Endeavour from LAX to the California Science Center. The museum has a plan to replace those trees. That plan is separate from the Crenshaw/LAX Line project.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 2

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

A tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass? It might be yours for 25 cents a day (L.A. Times) 

Kerry Cavanaugh looks at the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project through the prism of a possible transportation sales tax increase that Metro is exploring for 2016. Measure R dedicates about a billion dollars for the project, but some of the early options for the project — including both a road/toll tunnel and rail tunnel — would require a public-private partnership, cost billions more and probably require some public money. Excerpt:

Yet the possibility of easing the most congested corridor in the nation is so tantalizing that Los Angeles voters might just be willing to tax themselves again to build it, right? That’s what transportation advocacy group Move LA is certainly hoping. Last week during a conference focused on developing a new half-cent sales tax increase proposal, Move LA organizers made the Sepulveda Pass tunnel a key focus of the discussion.

Move LA is pitching the sales tax measure for the November 2016 ballot, with a eye toward raising $90 billion over 45 years. The group estimates that it would cost the average county resident about 25 to 30 cents a day. This would be on on top of the existing Measure R half-cent tax increase for transportation.

After the loss of Measure J (a 30-year extension of the Measure R tax, which voters narrowly rejected) in 2012, Move LA and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are approaching the ballot measure cautiously. They’re trying to build more county-wide consensus on needed transportation projects, with the incoming Metro board president, Mayor Eric Garcetti, promising a more “humble Los Angeles city” as he courts the San Gabriel Valley and South Bay cities that rejected Measure J.

As Kerry writes, the prospect of a good transit project across the Sepulveda Pass has always seemed to be a “distant dream.” So true. If there is a ballot measure in a couple of years, it will be very interesting to see what, if any, role this project plays in it. On a related note, here’s a study from 2012 that shows some of the different concepts initially explored for the Sepulveda Pass project.

L.A. could clash with L.A. County on transit tax measures (L.A. Times) 

Reporters Laura Nelson and David Zahniser ask a good question: if the city of Los Angeles pursues a sales tax increase this November to pay for street repair, how will city voters respond if Metro (a county agency) pursues the aforementioned ballot measure in 2016? It’s especially tricky considering the city of of L.A. is, of course, by far the largest city in the county and no county measure would likely pass without major support from city voters. The few people willing to talk on the record say that pursuing sales tax increases in both 2014 and ’16 is a poor idea but elected officials from the city of L.A. declined comment.

Koreatown to become next luxury market (GlobeSt.com)

The real estate site’s article is bullish on the prospects for K-town, saying there will be more multi-family housing and one of the big attractions for the area is its quick transit connections to downtown L.A. and Hollywood. The words “cosmopolitan” and “luxury” are tossed around in the article; the word “affordable” does not make an appearance.

L.A.’s interchanges are beautiful — if you’re not stuck in traffic (Southland-Gizmodo)

Nice photo spread on some of our bowl-of-spaghetti freeway interchanges, with a couple of sweet aerial shots of the four-level 110-10 junction in downtown.

Study ranks metro areas by sprawl (Governing) 

If there’s anything new here, it’s the assertion that more compact and connected metro areas offer more economic mobility. Makes sense. Not entirely sure why it required a study. About to send your child to graduate school? My three cents: perhaps a plant identification guide, map of the Pacific Crest Trail and a good lightweight backpack would be a better investment — if, that is, enlightenment is the goal.

America’s zippy new trains still lag behind those in Europe (Wired) 

A short and depressing reminder that train travel in the United States — the same country known for its big, wide open spaces — will mostly remain a 79 mile per hour or under affair with a few exceptions.

April Metro Service Council Meetings

The first Service Council agendas for the spring season are now set for this month’s five meetings, though changes may be made prior to the meeting dates.

All April Council meetings include a report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer, providing monthly and year to date statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service. This month, all meetings will also include presentations on the Five-Year Transit Service and Capital Improvement Plan (TSCIP).

Other topics for Service Council meetings this month include:

San Fernando Valley (6:30 pm, Wednesday, 4/2) – Presentation on Metro’s “On The Move Riders Club” Program; Update on Motion 79 concerning Rail Connectivity

Westside/Central (5 pm, Wednesday, 4/9) – Swearing in of new Westside/Central Service Council Representative David Feinberg, Transit Government Relations Officer for Santa Monica Big Blue Bus; Presentation on Proposed Expo Line Station Name Changes; Presentation on Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project Interface with Expo Line

Gateway Cities (2 pm, Thursday, 4/10) – Update on ExpressLanes Public Hearings; Presentation on the Bus Stop Usability Study

South Bay (9:30 am, Friday, 4/11) – Update on LAX Green Line Buses Transfer Policy, Los Angeles World Airport.

San Gabriel Valley (5 pm, Monday, 4/14) - Presentation on the Bus Stop Usability Study

For a listing of the dates, times and locations of all five Service Council meetings, click here. For more information about each service council, click on the name of the service council listed above.

All service councils welcome and encourage public participation. If you would like to comment at any of the meetings, please fill out a speaker card when you arrive, noting the specific item you are there to address.  General comments on issues that aren’t on the agenda are taken as a part of the “public comment” section of the agenda.  If you would like to provide input to a Council but cannot attend a meeting, you can submit your comments in writing through the Service Council web page or send them to servicecouncils@metro.net.  If your comments are for a specific council, please make sure to indicate which one you are addressing.

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday

You know the drill: To get our attention, tweet us at @MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.


[View the story "The week in tweets! " on Storify]

(sorry folks — can’t get it to embed as usual — hit the above link to read!)

Reminder: Independent Citizens’ Advisory and Oversight Committee holds public hearing Friday

The Committee oversees the half-cent sales tax increases that Los Angeles County voters approved in 1980 (Prop A) and 1990 (Prop C), respectively. Here is the meeting notice and agenda:
INDEPENDENT CITIZENS’ ADVISORY AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETINGPUBLIC HEARING

Metro Headquarters

3rd Floor – Board Room

One Gateway Plaza

Los Angeles

Friday, April 4, 2014 – 11:00 A.M.

PROPOSITIONS A & C AUDIT – FY 2013

Emina Darakjy, Chair

Brian Russell, Vice Chair

1. Remarks by Hearing Officer, Emina Darakjy.

2. Statement by the Board Secretary’s Office

concerning publication of notices and

dissemination of public information.

3. Public Comment.

4. Motion to Close Hearing.

The Chair will determine order of appearance before the Board.

Speakers will be limited to three minutes. If available, a written

copy of testimony should be presented to Secretary.

Union Station: A grand opening

Click on a photo to see a larger version or click on the first version to begin a slideshow-type display. Photos courtesy of the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation Collection.

This is the first of a series of posts on the history of Union Station that will run on Tuesdays and Fridays throughout April. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3.  

The Los Angeles Union Passenger Terminal finally opened to the public on May 3, 1939 and it was celebrated with a massive parade down Alameda Street. The theme was the history of transportation and the parade included covered wagons, stagecoaches, Pony Express riders and several massive steam-powered locomotives.

The station’s grand opening was a huge deal for what was still in many ways an unsophisticated western town, albeit one whose population mushroomed since 1920 to about 1.5 million people in 1939. The city finally had a central passenger terminal. The L.A. Times reported that people hung from trees to get a better look at the festivities. Some fainted from the heat.

The parade was followed by tours of the station and a 45-minute production called “Romance of the Rails.” The free show along the tracks inside Union Station was subtitled “California’s Story of Transportation,” and the program notes that it was adapted and directed by John Ross Reed. No one now seems to know who John Ross Reed was. Was he a famous Hollywood director of the time?

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, March 32

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

Some awesomeness from the Toronto Transit Commission from last April 1.

Why raise Metro fares when giving away free parking? (LA Streetsblog) 

Joe Linton argues that according to his back-of-the-napkin calculations Metro is squandering $3.5 million in a year in potential revenues if it charged $3 for parking at its lots. As he notes, most parking at Metro lots is currently free. Of course, $3.5 million doesn’t cover the projected budget shortfalls that Metro is projecting and using to justify the fare increases (the shortfalls begin at $36 million in FY 2016 and then rise).

Still, revenue is revenue. There are certainly Metro lots where parking is tight and I think one key public policy question is whether free parking is an incentive to get people out of their cars and onto transit. That said, another important piece of context: most lots were built and opened at a time when gas was far cheaper than now. Thoughts, readers?

Cobalts were seen as lemons from the start (New York Times) 

The evidence grows that General Motors knew there were serious — and potentially deadly — problems with the Cobalt as far back as 2005 when consumers were demanding their money back. The company has already linked an ignition issue with 13 deaths. The chief of General Motors will tell Congress today that she doesn’t know why the carmaker didn’t publicly announce the safety defect with the cars until recently. The answer is pretty obvious: there must have been an internal culture at G.M. in which telling the truth and delivering bad news to customers was seen as less important than covering one’s own backside. There’s nothing on the GM home page, btw, except for some boasting of the craftmanship of the Escalade SUV. The two-wheel drive version of that SUV gets 17 mpg in case you’re interested.

Panel’s warning on climate risk: worst is yet to come (New York Times) 

The latest report from the U.N. is perhaps its bleakest yet. Excerpt:

The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group that periodically summarizes climate science, concluded that ice caps are melting, sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, water supplies are coming under stress, heat waves and heavy rains are intensifying, coral reefs are dying, and fish and many other creatures are migrating toward the poles or in some cases going extinct.

The oceans are rising at a pace that threatens coastal communities and are becoming more acidic as they absorb some of the carbon dioxide given off by cars and power plants, which is killing some creatures or stunting their growth, the report found.

Organic matter frozen in Arctic soils since before civilization began is now melting, allowing it to decay into greenhouse gases that will cause further warming, the scientists said. And the worst is yet to come, the scientists said in the second of three reports that are expected to carry considerable weight next year as nations try to agree on a new global climate treaty.

The report focuses in particular on resource shortages — especially food and water — that may accompany climate change. Such shortages, says the UN, will likely exacerbate political instability in places where millions could go hungry or thirsty.

Although transit is certainly not a panacea for climate change, studies have found that transit is a more efficient way of moving people around when it comes to using electricity and fossil fuels — especially when compared to driving alone.