Gold Line resuming normal service with residual delays through rush hour

UPDATE 6:15pm

The Metro Gold Line is beginning to resume normal service, with residual minor delays through the end of rush hour. Trains are once again running between East LA Civic Center and Atlantic Station, and the signal issue at Sierra Madre Villa Station has been resolved.

Thank you to all Gold Line customers for your patience this evening, and have a safe and happy Independence Day Weekend.

UPDATE 5:30pm

Delays on the Metro Gold Line are now major due to ongoing signal issues at Sierra Madre Villa Station and a train-auto incident at Atlantic Station.

Service is currently suspended between East LA Civic Center and Atlantic Station as crews work to clear the tracks of debris. Shuttle buses have been requested for alternate service between the two stations. All trains traveling toward East LA will turn back to Union Station at East LA Civic Center.

The Metro Gold Line is currently experiencing delays of 20 minutes due to signal issues at Sierra Madre Villa Station.

The signal issues have been affecting the line for about an hour, but the problem has recently been isolated to one platform. This means trains are sharing a single platform for arrivals and departures at Sierra Madre Villa, and that some north-bound trains are turning back to Union Station/East LA at Allen station to relieve congestion on the line. Trains traveling northbound to Pasadena may be required to hold for a few minutes, due to train traffic ahead.

Metro would like to thank all Gold Line customers for their patience, as we work to resolve the problem as soon as possible.

For up-to-the-minute status updates, follow Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metroLAalerts

Go Metro on the Fourth of July! Here are the service hours and some events easy to reach via Metro

Fireworks over the Queen Mary and Long Beach in 2011. Photo by Marjorie, via Flickr creative commons.

Fireworks over the Queen Mary and Long Beach in 2011. Photo by Marjorie, via Flickr creative commons.

Planning on going Metro this Friday, July 4? We hope so! From Grand Park to the Coliseum to the Queen Mary, there are plenty of Fourth of July festivities easily accessible via Metro Bus or Rail. Just keep in mind that due to the holiday, Metro will make the following modifications to service:

In anticipation of increased ridership, all Metro Rail Lines will follow a Saturday schedule this Friday, July 4. This means trains will run until around 2 a.m. with full-platform-length trains on many lines. As many of you are already aware, fare is $1.50 per line or $5 for a Day Pass, which expires at 3 a.m. the day after the purchase date. TAP cards cannot be shared–everyone needs to purchase, load, and TAP their own card. To avoid long lines at the TAP vending machines on your way home, load return fare in advance of your initial trip.

On the bus side, Metro Orange and Silver Line will also operate on a Saturday schedule with service until 2 a.m. on July 4. All other Metro buses will follow their respective Sunday/Holiday schedules, which means certain bus lines will not run at all this Friday.

Here are just a few Fourth of July events easily accessible by Metro – if you’re heading to one not on the list, let us know in the comments! Please refer to individual timetables for exact schedules and days of operation for Metro Bus and Rail lines.

One note: there is NO shuttle operating from Old Pasadena to the Rose Bowl for the Americafest fireworks display. The Rose Bowl is about a 1.5-mile to 2.0-mile walk from the Gold Line’s Memorial Park station depending on your route — and not quite as far if you’re watching from vantage points along the Arroyo Seco.

Grand Park 4th of July Block Party

The doors open at 1 p.m. at Grand Park! The free party will feature live performances starting at 4 p.m. and on-site food vendors. You can also dine at nearby DTLA restaurants and save on your bill with your TAP card! Rooftop fireworks go off at 9 p.m. Make sure to load your TAP card with cash fare or a Day Pass in advance to avoid long lines at the TAP vending machines when heading home. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station, exit on 1st Street–Temple Street exit will only be open for ADA/elevator access)

4th of July at Exposition Park

The KJLH Fireworks Extravaganza at Expo Park is a free event for the whole family. The music festival takes place from 2 to 8 p.m. on the lawn in front of the Coliseum and there will be fireworks at 9 p.m. Food vendors will also be on-site. (Metro Expo Line to Expo Park/USC Station, Metro Bus 40, 204 or Rapid 754 to MLK/Vermont)

July 4th Late Night and BBQ at the Aquarium of the Pacific

The Aquarium of The Pacific will be extending their hours to 10 p.m. so you can enjoy the aquarium at night and get a fish-eye view of the city of Long Beach fireworks display. Admission is $14.95 if you enter after 5 p.m. If you’re heading there earlier, show your TAP card to get a discount on regular admission! The aquarium will also be serving a special BBQ menu that evening from 6 to 8 p.m. Adult tickets to the meal cost $48 and include aquarium admission. (Metro Blue Line to Downtown Long Beach Station then walk south on Pine Avenue, or transfer to free Passport Shuttle)

Soccer and Fireworks: LA Galaxy vs. Portland Timbers

Can’t get enough soccer action? Head to a game and take in some fireworks at the StubHub Center. The LA Galaxy take on the Portland Timbers at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $30. (Metro Bus 130, 51 or 52 to Victoria/Avalon)

Click above to see larger version.

Click above to see larger version.

–Jon Ross Alexander and Lily Allen

Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 3

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! 

Why we need to raise the gas tax — and then get rid of it (Washington Post) 

An interview with Rep. Earl Blumenauer about the looming insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, the need to raise the federal gas tax in the short-term to patch up the fund and then eventually replace it with a vehicle mile tax. Good interview with a lot of information about the history of the gas tax and how a VMT could work.

Five lessons U.S. transit systems should learn from London (Citylab)

On the list are annual fare increases to keep pace with operating costs, service upgrades corresponding with fare hikes, technology upgrades and both leasing and developing agency property. That last one is something I know many of our readers have said that Metro should be doing given there seems to be available space at some transit stations.

New Sixth Street viaduct will have climbable 60-foot arches (Curbed LA)

The new bridge over the Los Angeles River is still being designed but it looks like a pair of the arches will have stairs to the top to provide views of the river and downtown Los Angeles. Sounds like a good sunrise/sunset photo spot!

Garcetti website getting good (LAObserved) 

Bill Boyarsky likes the improvements to the DataLA website, which he says pulls together the kind of data from a variety of sources that allows people to come to conclusions about the performance of city government and the local economy. I think all government agencies should take a look — as most agencies, including Metro, are sitting on a pile of performance data that often resides in many different places. Consolidating that data and making it presentable and easy to navigate is a ton of work, of course. It’s also good for democracy.

How to photograph fireworks (Ken Rockwell) 

A very helpful guide for those planning on shooting some pics tomorrow night. And, of course, our PSA: You can Go Metro to many of the fireworks displays around our region from Long Beach to downtown L.A. to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. We’ll have a post up soon.

Leg update: Highway Trust Fund still going broke but three-position bike racks bill in good shape

Two pieces of legislative news below from Metro CEO Art Leahy and the agency’s government relations team.

The first is bad news. Due to Congress’ inability to pass a long-range transportation funding bill, the Highway Trust Fund is going broke and states on average could lose 28 percent of federal funding if nothing is done. Blah. If this keeps up, we’ll have more soon on potential impacts to Metro.

In case you’re wondering about a solution: Congress needs to either raise the federal gas tax (it hasn’t been increased in two decades) or find other revenues to keep the Highway Trust Fund in the black.

The second is good news: state legislation that would allow bike racks that could hold three bikes on 40-foot buses is moving along nicely.

The update:

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Planned Cuts In Highway Trust Fund Payments

As shared in a Legislative Alert yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office is estimating that it will take over $8 billion in additional revenues to keep the federal Highway Trust Fund solvent through December 31, 2014.

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx issued letters to major transportation stakeholders around the nation outlining how the U.S. Department of Transportation anticipates Highway Trust Fund payments will be distributed if Congress does not act to make the fund solvent in the coming weeks.

Secretary Foxx stated that the Federal Highway Administration will begin implementing cash management procedures starting August 1, 2014. No specific date has yet been set to implement cash management procedures for the Mass Transit Account.

States will receive their first notice of available funds on August 11, 2014 and thereafter every two weeks as the federal gas tax receipts are deposited into the Highway Trust Fund.

According to Secretary Foxx, “on average, states will see a 28 percent drop in federal transportation dollars. Depending on how they manage the funds, each state will feel the effects differently, but everyone will feel the impact sooner or later.”

To read the correspondence from Secretary Foxx on the federal Highway Trust Fund please click here. We are currently compiling a document that will be shared with all Board members, that includes an assessment of what a slowdown in federal transportation funds would mean for our agency.
State Legislative Update

AB 2707 (Chau) – Three Position Bike Racks
Yesterday the Assembly approved AB 2707, Metro’s sponsored bill, which would allow three position bike racks to be installed on our 40’ buses, passed the Senate floor unanimously 36 to 0. The bill now heads back to the Assembly floor for concurrence vote.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 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! 

Photo: Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Photo: Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Garcetti’s anniversary spin (on Metro) includes World Cup stop (L.A. Times) 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recognized his first anniversary in office by tooling around L.A. on Metro Rail on Tuesday, including a stop at Buffalo Wild Wings in the Crenshaw District to watch the USA-Belgium match. Excerpt:

On the trip, Garcetti lamented getting “stuck in City Hall,” saying quick, unplanned encounters with people help him gauge people’s concerns and can build trust with residents, particularly in his early years as mayor. “Most people don’t want a half-hour meeting with the mayor,” he said.

The mayor will also serve as the Chair of the Metro Board for the next year (the Board Members take turns). It will be interesting to see what kind of agenda he pushes at Metro — and think a good starting place is to talk to folks who ride the system and pay the bills here. Semi-related: a great way to gauge people’s concerns about Metro is to also read our general Twitter feed, including tweets from riders.

Metro commits to deal ensuring subway won’t hurt Disney Hall acoustics (L.A. Times) 

The agency and Disney Hall agree to several mitigations to ensure that the Regional Connector — running 135 deep underground and adjacent the concert venue — won’t cause vibrations that could impact acoustics. Tests last year established the ambient noise in Disney Hall and Metro has agreed to limit vibrations to well under those standards.

Burbank-Palmdale segment added to bullet train timetable (L.A. Times) 

In response to criticism and doubts from state lawmakers, the California High-Speed Rail Authority wants to accelerate construction of a Burbank to Palmdale segment of the bullet train project. Such a segment could reduce travel time for trains from more than an hour to 14 to 16 minutes.

That said, there remains considerable challenges. The first is finding the funding — the L.A. to Palmdale segment is estimated to cost more than $13 billion and that could rise if a more direct tunnel to the Antelope Valley is built under the San Gabriel Mountains. The segment would presumably later connect to Union Station and Bakersfield and the segment being planned between there and Madera.

My three cents: I think there are plenty of reasons to remain skeptical about the ability to build a $68-billion project between San Francisco and Los Angeles with the major funding source a $10-billion voter-approved bond. That said, if funding is limited, it sure would be great to see commuter rail get a boost in populated and taxpayer-heavy Southern California, an area where commuters are already riding trains on a daily basis.

Contractor for 405 sues MTA over cost overruns, delays (Daily News) 

Kiewet filed the lawsuit in May, seeking $400 million in costs, according to the Daily News. Excerpt:

In a statement, Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said that “Metro does not believe this claim complies with those contract requirements. However, Metro continues to negotiate in good faith with Kiewit to resolve specific outstanding claims under terms of its contract.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who represents this portion of Los Angeles and has publicly blamed Kiewit for the project’s delays, declined to comment Tuesday.

 

Jenna Hornstock shares refinements to Union Station’s Master Plan (The Planning Report) 

Jenna is heading up Metro’s team of planners working on the Union Station Master Plan. In this interview, she talks about the many details of the emerging plan that were released last month (Here’s a Source post about the plans).

The Planning Report saved perhaps one of the juiciest questions for last, asking Jenna how the Master Plan would be funded and if there could be money available from a potential Measure R 2 sales tax. As Jenna wisely pointed out, the key word with Measure R 2 is “potential” and that it’s impossible at this time to say what will or will not be funded by it. As if often the case at Metro, projects are planned before all the funding is secured — the agency often needs to have firm plans in in order to get money to build them.

Donald Shoup, parking guru, on how L.A. should manage its meters (L.A. Times) 

Interesting interview with the UCLA professor who literally wrote the book on big cities and parking policies (a book highly critical of big cities, that is). There’s nothing fantastically new in the interview but it’s always fun to revisit the question of whether developers should be required to build parking or not (they almost always are for both residential or commercial properties). Parking is very expensive to build and maintain and folks such as Shoup believe it results in a lot of expensive, free and unnecessary parking that consumes a lot of space that could be better used for other purposes.

In other words, if someone in a city wants a car badly enough, they’ll find a parking place and the money to pay for it. Agree or disagree, Angelenos?

 

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, July 1 edition

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.