Give walking — or bicycling — to school a try this Walktober

Councilmember Price walking with students

Los Angeles City Councilmember Curren Price joins John Adams Middle School students at their Walk to School event.

Being stuck in traffic while trying to get to school is no fun for parent or child. So instead of driving, how about walking — like kids did for generations? Walking — or bicycling — is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and being able to start the day with a little physical activity benefits children in more ways than one.

Walktober, a month-long celebration of walking, is a great time to look into walking to school. If you’re interested in encouraging safe walking and biking to your school, there are resources available to help you learn about safety and organize Safe Routes to Schools activities.

Metro’s Safe Routes to School pilot program helps organize Walk to School and Bike to School events for 10 pilot schools and works to create a safer experience for students who already walk to school. The events provide opportunities for kids to learn about pedestrian, bicycle and public transit safety. Online resources for schools or parents to start their own Safe Routes to School programs are also available.

Schools located in the city of Los Angeles can find resources for holding their own Walk to School event at Walk to School Day LA, and all schools in Los Angeles County can find resources and information at Walk Bike to School.

Ultimately, these programs hope to create an environment where children can get active while getting to school safely. In addition, encouraging kids to walk or bike to school can help reduce congestion related to school travel, which will also benefit traffic and air quality in local neighborhoods.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Oct. 14

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! 

Art of Transit, sort of: Fall colors earlier this month along U.S. 395 near Conway Summit. Photo by Fred Moore, via Flickr creative commons.

Art of Transit, sort of: Fall colors earlier this month along U.S. 395 near Conway Summit. Photo by Fred Moore, via Flickr creative commons.

Metro bus driver quarantined after passenger yells ‘I have Ebola’ (L.A. Times)

Non-hysterical and straight-up coverage of yesterday’s very unusual incident in which a bus passenger wearing a mask said he had ebola and then exited the bus. “Los Angeles County Department of Public Health officials don’t believe the rider has Ebola and believe the incident was a hoax, spokeswoman Sarah Kissell Garrett said,” reports the Times.

The only verified cases of Ebola virus in the U.S. have involved either healthcare workers who had been in Western Africa and were brought back to the United States for treatment and the patient who died in Dallas last week and one of his nurses. From the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.

Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.

The CDC has plenty of information on Ebola on its website. Obviously it is not a disease to be taken lightly but it’s also important to understand the facts.

What would L.A. look like if 100-year-old transit plans come true? (KPCC CityCast)

A brief article and podcast covers some well-trod but interesting ground: the many transit plans that burped forth in our region over the year, some of which were permanently shelved and some of which eventually were built and are busy today — i.e, the Red Line, Blue Line and Orange Line. My three cents: when you hear about a transit project, a good first question usually is: “and how will you pay for it?” If there isn’t a solid answer, be leery.

Hopes rise again for abandoned Philly rail line (Next City)

Interesting story about possible plans for a rail tunnel abandoned in the early 1990s that runs under Broad Street in downtown Philadelphia. Several bus rapid transit alternatives are under study.

Seattle bike share kicks off (Post-Intelligencer) 

Bike sharing kicks off with about 50 stations across the Emerald City. “The Seattle program is the first in the U.S. that includes helmet use as part of the rental. Annual memberships for the bike share program range from $85 to $125. The first half hour of usage is free and there is a charge beyond that for use of the bike,” reports the PI.

I’ve been in Cincy for the past 10 days or so (helping the parents) and was pleasantly surprised to see bike share has also landed in the Queen City with some colorful Red bikes. Of course, Metro is working on a bike share program for Los Angeles County and is currently trying to finalize station locations for phase 1 of the program in downtown Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena and Santa Monica. See this recent Source post.

The startingly artful world of Soviet bus stops (Architizer)

Christopher Herwig used a Kickstarter campaign to fund a photography book on these unlikely bus stops. He traveled thousands of kilometers and spent 12 years assembling this impressive collection of photos.




Free Day of the Dead Metro Art tour leads to celebration in Boyle Heights Nov. 2


Celebrate the Day of the Dead and honor the lives of those who have passed on a special Día de los Muertos themed art tour on Sunday, Nov. 2. The free, one-night-only tour will explore artworks along the Metro Gold Line through the lens of artist Consuelo Flores.

The tour will depart at 4:30 p.m. from the Metro Gold Line East LA Civic Center Station and end at 6 p.m. at Self Help Graphics’ 41st Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration in Boyle Heights near Pico/Aliso Station. TAP card holders will be able to save 10% on artwork at the event. [NOTE: Sunday is the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means clocks will be "falling" back one hour at midnight. Make sure all your clocks are updated...wouldn't want to show up for the tour an hour early!]

The tour is approximately 90% walking. There are elevators and escalators in all of the stations, and only Mariachi Station is underground.

Consuelo Flores is an established poet, writer, mixed media, installation and performance artist. She is respected for her understanding and promotion of the true celebration of the Day of the Dead (DOD). She is a lecturer, narrative writer and visual artist of DOD-themed work including, academic presentations, prose, poetry, fashions and site-specific Ofrendas/Altares. Her dedicated work contributes to the cultural awareness of the Day of the Dead as well as a personal means to commemorate her dead in a meaningful and joyous celebration of life.

Metro & the Digital Future event Nov. 7 to focus on improving rider experience


Click above to visit a web page with more information on the event.

One topic that is frequently raised at Metro Board meetings: technology, the rider experience and which tech tools Metro should be pursuing. And, as regular readers of The Source know, this is a topic discussed and debated (and debated some more!) on our comment board.

In that spirit, Metro is convening a one-day technology roundtable “Metro and the Digital Future” on Friday, Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Metro headquarters. The event will feature industry leaders who will discuss how technology can improve the customer experience on Metro.

Qualified entrepreneurs and firms can also make a pitch to Metro with their ideas. Click here for the pitch form.

Metro and the Digital Future is a unique pitch-style event that tackles some of Metro’s toughest customer experience challenges by eliciting insight from top-tier solution providers and combining it with constructive critique by a variety of subject matter experts from throughout North America,” says Dave Edwards, Metro’s Chief Information Officer.

Among the topics to be discussed:

•Trip planning

•Next-generation fare payments

•Wi-fi on transit

•Virtual agents/kiosks

•Car sharing

•Bike sharing

•driverless vehicles

•Concierge services

•Gamification/loyalty programs

Participants will include those from firms specializing in these topics as well as transit chief information officers, academics, private sector representatives and Metro staff. The event will also be open to the general public, but space is limited and registration is required.

For more information, please click here.

Transportation headlines, Monday, Oct. 13

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! 

The past, present and future of Metro Rail (KPCC AirTalk)

Host Larry Mantle has a segment that includes Metro CEO Art Leahy and Ethan Elkind, the UC professor whose new book is “Railtown: The Fight for the Los Angeles Metro Rail and the Future of the City.” Good conversation includes the topic of how rail corridors are selected in our region. Larry’s first question for Art: is rail worth the expense? Listen for the answer! Listeners also get to throw some questions at the guests — including the “is it safe to ride” question. Another listener gives a Darth Vader-type hug (read: the kind of hug you don’t want).

Transit project’s cover was a bit of a trip (L.A. Times)

Reporter Laura Nelson gets to the bottom of the original, colorful and now-replaced cover page of the High Desert Corridor’s draft environmental document. She also reveals Brad the Tortoise’s true identity and scores this gem of a quote: “I feel like I know the tortoise intimately.” You don’t hear that everyday in transportation journalism.

In Texas, traffic deaths climb amid fracking boom (Houston Public Media & Houston Chronicle)


The Texas Department of Transportation says that between 2009 and 2013, the state’s traffic fatalities rose by eight percent, even as those in most other states continued to fall. And deaths linked to commercial vehicle crashes, like trucks, soared by more than 50 percent over the same period.

The boom has triggered a huge demand for both tractor-trailers and drivers.

“People who’ve never been in the seat of a truck before go to school for two weeks, and they graduate, and now they’re a truck driver, you know,” says Larry Busby, the long-time sheriff of Live Oak County in the Eagle Ford shale region of South Texas. “Well, they’re not a truck driver yet. They’ve just passed the school.”

The Texas Trucking Association, an industry trade group, says the rising death toll has more to do with drivers sharing the road with trucks than with the truckers themselves.

Smart series of article that expounds on a public safety issue that is probably not obvious to many people. This is probably a Pulitzer candidate.

Meet the man who has met ‘about 500′ women on the subway (New York Post) 

In a story that perhaps is better suited to April 1 or the Stone Ages, the Post interviews a “railway Romeo” who claims to have dated 500 or so women he has met on the New York Subway in the past 15 years. He says he’s written a book about it, thus triggering the Post’s interest. The article’s kicker is my favorite part in which we get this stale/creep advice: once a phone number is secured, never call for at least 60 hours. Reminds me of “Swingers.” Perhaps Gawker’s take on the Post article is more accurate (warning: adult language).

I include the article here as a teachable moment. Look, we’re all for people being friendly when they take mass transit and, yes, we even held a speed dating event on Valentine’s Day when willing riders could meet other willing riders. Outside of such events, we encourage riders to respect other riders’ privacy and private space and remember ‘no’ means ‘no’ — not ‘mabye’ or ‘I’m thinking about it.’ Bottom line: please do not stare, leer or pester folks who want to be left alone.

New Park Avenue Tower: the tallest, if not the fairest, of them all (New York Times)

A pretty ordinary looking kitchen at 432 Park Avenue if you ask me. Photo: 432 Park Avenue website.

A pretty ordinary looking kitchen at 432 Park Avenue if you ask me. Photo: 432 Park Avenue website.

Talk about densifying….construction is underway on a 1,396-foot skyscraper that will be the tallest skyscraper in New York (excluding the spire of the One World Trade Center). Here’s what is amazing: it’s a condo building, not an office building and there will be 104 residential units spread out on its 96 floors with the penthouse listed at $95 million and the cheapest unit costing $7 million. If there are any of the ‘have nots’ left in Manhattan, please raise your hand!

Closing tweet:

Metro Presents: upcoming events at Union Station

Get ready for music and dancing at Union Station and put these upcoming Metro Presents events on your calendar:

  • Friday, October 24 – Neptune Winds of the Colburn Conservatory of Music will perform classical, contemporary and popular music in the Union Station Waiting Room at 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, October 29 – Invisible Cities will perform an acoustic concert performance in the Union Station Historic Ticketing Hall. Doors open at 7 p.m. and seating is first come, first served. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, November 5 – Dancing Classrooms Los Angeles will present the Fall 2014 Colors of the Rainbow team match competition in the Union Station Historic Ticketing Hall. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and seating is first come, first served. The performance begins at 5 p.m.

Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner for routes and connections. Car and bicycle parking are also available on site.

Find out about Metro job opportunities at these upcoming veterans’ job fairs

Since Metro’s Veterans Hiring Initiative started in 2012, Metro has hired 166 veterans and is engaged in several outreach efforts in order to encourage military veterans and their spouses to apply for jobs at Metro.  The transportation industry has opportunities in many varied career paths from bus and rail operator, mechanical and technical positions to typical office environment-type jobs such as IT, Accounting/Finance, contract management, facilities management and many others.

Metro will be participating in the following job fairs for veterans. If you are a veteran, active duty military member, guard/reserve member or military spouse, drop by our table and say hi! Please check the linked sites for more information.

For more general information on Metro employment opportunities, visit