Amtrak will host the sixth annual National Train Day this Saturday at L.A. Union Station from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The family friendly event is free to the public.
Drop by to tour luxurious historic rail cars, freight trains and more. There will be live entertainment and giveaways, plus interactive and educational exhibits for all ages.
Metrolink offers weekend service to Union Station on the Antelope Valley, Orange County and San Bernardino lines. You can also get to Union Station on the Metro Gold, Red and Purple lines, as well as a multitude of buses. Use Trip Planner for routes and connections.
This is a Metro project that the city of Los Angeles is building. The Metro Board approved the 7.7 miles of peak hour bus lanes on parts of Wilshire within the city of L.A. back in May 2011. The first part to be built will be the easternmost section, shown above in pink between South Park View and Western.
Here’s the news release from Metro:
A comprehensive plan to shorten bus trips between downtown and Santa Monica on one of the busiest traffic corridors in Los Angeles County starts Monday, May 13 as the first phase of work begins on new, bus lanes along Wilshire Boulevard from MacArthur Park to Western Avenue.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus lanes have been initially designated for a 1.8-mile stretch in both directions along Wilshire. Contractors will remove lane striping next week, mark and install long-line striping May 20-24, mark pavement with “Bus Only” messages and install “Bus Lane” signs May 29-June 1.
The new bus lanes become effective 7 a.m. Wednesday, June 5. Only transit buses will be permitted to use the lanes during peak hours of 7-9 a.m. and 4-7 p.m. weekdays. Drivers of cars and trucks are subject to a citation if driving in BRT lanes during those hours. All vehicles are permitted to use bus lanes during off-peak hours and on weekends. To acquaint motorists with the new lanes, a short period will be observed when warnings may be issued.
When the entire Wilshire Boulevard BRT project is completed in late 2014, it is designed to cut bus commute times by 15 minutes on 12.5 miles between downtown and Centinela Avenue in Santa Monica. Street improvements and selective street widening will be made along 9.9 miles of Wilshire Boulevard with BRT lanes on 7.7 miles.
BRT bus lanes are used in New York, Chicago and Boston to improve travel times and service reliability, encourage automobile drivers to shift to public transit and improve air quality.
During peak hours, Metro operates buses every two minutes on Wilshire Boulevard west of downtown. There are 53,000 daily boardings with 44 percent of those during rush hours.
The Wilshire Boulevard BRT is funded by a $23.3 federal grant combined with an $8.2 million local match from the city of Los Angeles.
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.
Delays, costs build up for 405 project (L.A. Times)
A good look at the various issues that have delayed completion of the project that is adding a northbound carpool lane to the 405 between the 10 and 101 as well as widening bridges and rebuilding the on- and off-ramps to/from Wilshire Boulevard. Excerpt:
The 405 project is being built under a speedier-than-typical process. State lawmakers fast-tracked the construction by choosing the so-called “design-build” method over the more traditional “design-bid-build.”
Design-build puts a single contractor in charge of final design and construction, in theory enabling projects to run more smoothly and to be completed at lower cost.
Shaving years off the project “saves hundreds of millions of dollars in construction impacts, costs and travel delays for the public,” said Dave Sotero, a Metro spokesman.
But there can be downsides to this approach.
Some tasks that normally would be completed before the bulldozers and pile drivers move in — such as relocating utility lines — must be completed while construction is underway. Nasty surprises can derail plans.
In addition to the utility relocations, other problems have involved retaining walls and securing a property easement to build ramps from Getty Center Drive. The project is scheduled to be completed by mid-2014 with some parts of it opening prior. That’s a year behind the original schedule but seven years ahead of the 2021 completion date if design-build had not been used.
Crenshaw Subway Coalition gets ready for Leimert Park station showdown (Los Angeles Wave)
An update on a recent community meeting by the group fighting to add a Leimert Park station to the Crenshaw/LAX Line and have the segment between 48th and 59th streets put underground (as approved it will be built at street level). The article also included the Coalition’s update on what the Los Angeles mayoral candidates have written to the Coalition. Excerpt:
“As soon as possible upon taking office as mayor [I commit to directing] staff to review the design options in the [Environmental Impact Report/Statement] as well as funding opportunities for underground portions of Crenshaw Blvd between 48th and 59th streets,” Greuel wrote.
Meanwhile, Garceti declared: “As mayor, I will continue to aggressively fight for the rail stop in Leimert Park to improve safety, create jobs, boost local businesses and provide better access to a transportation option that will help South L.A. residents get where they need to go without a car, which will reduce congestion and pollution for us all.”
Bids to build the project are scheduled to be released soon by Metro, as well as a Metro staff recommendation for who should be awarded the contract. At this point, the earliest the Board would consider that contract is in late June; Garcetti or Greuel will take office on July 1. The Board has already approved adding a Leimert Park station if it could be built within the project’s budget. Putting the segment south of 48th Street underground is a bigger deal because that’s not the project approved that was approved by the Board or put out to bid, nor was it the project approved by the Federal Transit Administration in late 2011. Stay tuned!
The 153-acre facility in Wilmington would allow more cargo containers to be transfered from trucks to Burlington Northern Santa Fe trains closer to the ports. Proponents say it would vastly reduce truck trips on the nearby 710 freeway and that it will be the greenest facility of its kind. Opponents counter that the yard will spew more pollution into the area and have threatened to sue. Looming over the entire issue is the widening of the Panama Canal, which may or may not (depending on who is doing the predicting) inspire the largest cargo ships from Asia to bypass the West Coast and instead unload at harbors along the Gulf of Mexico and the East Coast.
Has high-speed rail been derailed? (Governing)
A good, balanced article on federal funding of President Obama’s initiative to build high-speed rail lines around the U.S. As the article notes, the $42 billion needed from the feds to build a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles line seems unlikely to come from the current Congress given recent budget cuts. But proponents point to smaller projects around the country that are speeding up existing Amtrak lines and say high-speed rail is much like the interstate highway system — it will be done in increments.
Explore L.A. in a car free way with Discover Los Angeles. They’ve put together itineraries that feature walking, biking or riding Metro to destinations that tourists and locals can both enjoy. On Sunday, May 19, Discover L.A. is arranging a photo tour for those who want to try the L.A. Music itinerary.
Meet up with the group at Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located in front of the TCL Chinese Theatre and next to the Red Line Hollywood/Highland Station. The photo tour will start at 9:30 a.m. and last until approximately 2 p.m., ending at Amoeba Music. Make sure to wear comfy walking shoes and load up your TAP card in advance.
The tour is free and open to all, so sign up today. If you’re posting the photos to Twitter, tag @metrolosangeles and some of your pics may end up on Twitter Tuesday!
Metro has a few great events coming up for Bike Week L.A., but the Orange County Transportion Authority has some plans of their own. Commuters in Orange County are invited to join OCTA for a bike rally on May 16, Bike to Work Day.
OCTA will be hosting a bike rally from 7:30 to 9:00 a.m. Participants will meet at the Metrolink Orange Depot at 7:30 a.m. and join more than 50 cyclists for a 3-mile ride to OCTA Headquarters. In addition, Metrolink will be offering free train rides on May 16 to Southern California commuters who bring their bicycles on board Metrolink trains.
“Biking is an inexpensive and healthy alternative to driving and with more than 1,000 miles of bikeways and 700 more planned, Orange County is an ideal environment for biking,” said OCTA Chairman Greg Winterbottom. “We encourage the public to grab their helmets and join the bike movement.”
The I-5/SR-170 connector opened this morning and it’s looking pretty good.