Actions taken today by the Metro Board of Directors

A gastropub is coming to the Fred Harvey Room at Union Station thanks to a lease approved today by the Metro Board of Directors. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

A gastropub is coming to the Fred Harvey Room at Union Station thanks to a lease approved today by the Metro Board of Directors. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

A few highlights from the meeting (agenda here) of the Metro Board of Directors on Oct. 2, 2014:

•Item 7: The Board approved a lease with Eric Needleman and Cedd Moses for a new gastropub for the Fred Harvey Room at Union Station. Staff report and earlier Source post.

•Items 5 and 6: The Board also approved leases for two kiosks in Union Station’s East Portal. One will serve bento boxes and the other kiosk will offer coffee.

•Item 23: The Board approved moving ahead with the design and environmental review of a new portal and pedestrian passageway between 7th/Metro Center Station and the shopping center across 7th Street now known as The Bloc. In plain English, this project will add an entrance to the busy 7th/Metro Center from the south side of 7th Street. Staff report

•Item 20: The Board approved a budget of $1.4 million to add approximately 200 parking spaces at the Red Line’s North Hollywood Station using “temporary parking surface material” in order to lower the cost and make the project more feasible. Staff report

•Item 77: The Board approved calling the new 788 Rapid Bus between the San Fernando Valley and Westwood the “Valley Westside Express” — the bus will use the HOV lanes on the 405 freeway to get across the Sepulveda Pass. Please see this earlier Source post for a map of the service, which begins Dec. 15.

•Items 74 and 75: The Board approved motions by Members Ara Najarian and Pam O’Connor calling for Metro to incorporate the names of two Board Members — Zev Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina — into the names of the North Hollywood and East Los Angeles Civic Center stations, respectively. Item 74, Item 75 and earlier Source post.

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New 2.75-mile section of San Fernando Road Bike Path opens

City and county officials this morning unveiled a brand new 2.75-mile section of San Fernando Road Bike Path between Wolfskill Street and Branford streets in Pacoima.

The new bike path segment includes safety fencing, lighting, landscaping and other amenities for local cyclists seeking to ride parallel to the Metro-owned railroad right-of-way now used by Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line and Union Pacific freight trains.

The new section is an addition to the existing bike path on San Fernando Road between Roxford Street and Wolfskill Street. The existing path is located both in the city of San Fernando and the city of Los Angeles.

Approximately 80 percent of the project cost was funded through Metro’s Call for Projects, a competitive grant process for different types of transportation projects in Los Angeles County. The Call for Projects also helped fund the original segment of the bike path and will also allow the city of L.A. and Burbank to continue building the bike path along San Fernando Road south to connect to the downtown Burbank Metrolink station.

Other project elements included the construction of a bridge over Pacoima Wash and major traffic and railroad signal modifications at Osborne Street, Pierce Street, Paxton Street and Van Nuys Boulevard completed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. The path also has bicyclist-activated pedestrian push buttons, paved bus stop waiting areas and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) required handicap ramps.

Transportation headlines, Thursday, October 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! 

Metro shouldn’t play the name game (L.A. Times)

The Times’ editorial board says that it’s unseemly for the Metro Board of Directors to name transit stations after members of the Board. “Is it really necessary to name stations after sitting board members? That has the appearance of legacy-building on the public dime,” writes the editorial board.

The Board today as part of the consent calendar approved motions by Board Members Pam O’Connor and Ara Najarian to rename the North Hollywood Station the North Hollywood/Zev Yaroslavsky Station and to rename the East L.A. Civic Center Station the East L.A. Civic Center/Gloria Molina Station. The motions ask Metro staff to report back in January on how the changes will be implemented.

Here is an earlier Source post about the renaming motions.

When transit agencies run short on cash, should they sell alcohol ads to get it? (Washington Post) 

A look at the pros and cons of allowing alcohol ads on public transit — something a few large agencies have embraces. The upside: much needed revenue. The downside: unlike other forms of ads, these type of ads can be hard to tune out for a captive audience, meaning young riders are exposed to them for longer periods of time.

Metro, by the way, prohibits advertising for alcohol and tobacco products. Read Metro’s advertising guidelines here.

World’s first bullet train turns 50 (Washington Post)

The first high-speed train rolled between Tokyo and Osaka 50 years ago — and a little more than 19 years after the end of World War II. Eight other countries today have bullet trains. The United States isn’t one of them.

Intermountain states seek to keep hope alive for high-speed rail (Salt Lake City Tribune)

Officials from several Western states gathered in Salt Lake to discuss the best way to stay in the high-speed rail game. Their verdict: support California’s bullet train efforts because if things go well here, high-speed rail could spread to surrounding states. Time travel oriented readers should set their DeLoreans for the year 2114 to see if the L.A.-Las Vegas-Salt Lake line has been built along Interstate 15 along with a leg along Interstate 80 connecting to Denver. Such a train would be a great way to reach some good skiing…if, in fact, there’s still skiing to be had in a potentially far warmer world.

Marty McFly should check the status of high-speed rail in 2114.

Curious minds want Marty McFly and Professor Emmett Brown to check the status of high-speed rail in 2114.

Helsinki has plans to get people to stop owning cars (Smithsonian)

Excerpt:

The Finnish city has committed to a concept called “mobility on demand,” in which a wide range of transportation options from buses to driverless cars to bikes would be meshed together into one system that a person could use to order any trip on a smartphone. The passenger would need to enter just an origin and a destination, and the mobile app at the heart of the program would do the rest, selecting the most appropriate modes of transportation and mapping the best route based on real-time traffic data.

Everything would be covered through one payment plan, either through a monthly charge, like the taxi service Uber, or a pay-as-you-go option. Users would be able to monitor their costs and adjust how they use different means of getting around.

The plan offers door-to-door service that would eliminate the first-mile and last-mile complications of getting to and from public transit.

Now that’s thinking big! Will it work? Depends, I suppose, on how willing people are to give up their cars — something that likely depends on how convenient other options are. Please read the entire article that goes on to explain the success of a small bus that people can order on demand and use to customize their transit trips.

405 construction heck already paying off in time saved on freeway (LA Weekly) 

UPDATE: I included this story at the top of an earlier version of the headlines, not realizing that the story was originally published in June 2013. Instead of deleting, I moved the item to the bottom of the headlines. 

The data comes from Inrix, a firm that measures traffic congestion comparing May 2012 to May 2013. Excerpt:

Measuring traffic from Imperial Highway to Getty Center Drive, the company found that drive times have been reduced by 20 minutes at 3 p.m., 9 minutes at 4 p.m. and 5 minutes at 5 p.m. INRIX is comparing May, 2012 to May 2013 here. Not bad.

As you likely know, the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project, added a northbound HOV lane to the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways. The lane opened this spring and most work on the project is now complete.

Inrix also found that traffic has worsened 11 percent in the L.A. area and that the commute on the eastbound Santa Monica Freeway has significantly taken a turn for the worse. Does that echo your experiences, readers?

 

 

Sneak peek into fabrication process for artwork at future 26th St/Bergamot Station

Artist Contance Mallinson in her studio, with one of her artworks in the background.

Artist Constance Mallinson in her studio, with one of her artworks in the background.

We invite you to the first in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.

First up is the work of Los Angeles-based artist Constance Mallinson, which will be featured at 26th St/Bergamot Station. The station is adjacent to Bergamot Station, home to art galleries and the Santa Monica Museum of Art.

Mallinson’s mixed media work, Local Color, consists of 24 large scale overhead panels and is being translated into porcelain enamel steel.

Porcelain enamel steel is a highly durable material often used in transit environments as well as national parks and other outdoor locations. Because of its durable properties, the material was used in ancient Egypt on pottery, stone and jewelry, and in modern times is used on on everyday objects like cookware, dishwashers and washing machines.

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Agenda for today’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors

Good morning, Metro riders and stakeholders!

The gavel will soon drop on the Metro Board of Director’s meeting, scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. The agenda is above; click here for the html version.

If not in attendance, you can listen to the meeting online by going to this link once the meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. or shortly thereafter. You can also listen over the phone by dialing 213-922-6045.

I know there’s a lot of public interest in the station renaming motions — Nos. 74 and 75 on the agenda — by Board Members Pam O’Connor and Ara Najarian. Those items are currently on the consent part of the agenda, meaning the Board will vote on the items along with the other consent items unless there is a request from a Board Member(s) to publicly discuss them and vote on them individually.

Of course, there are plenty of other items on the agenda, too. Please take a look — even if you don’t link to the accompanying staff reports, the agendas provide a good overview of the many different programs and projects at Metro, as well as the contracts awarded by the agency.

What do you do on your way to work? If you rideshare, the answer is…

…a lot! Because instead of driving, you can use the time to check email, sleep, read, connect with your neighborhood and more.

And don’t forget, during California Rideshare Week, Oct. 6 through 10, Metro will be issuing Get Out of Traffic Licenses to commuters who qualify* at four Metro stations and at the Civic Center Clean Air/Rideshare Fair. To receive a Get Out of Traffic License, be ready to take a photo at any of the following locations:

  • Monday, Oct. 6 from 8 – 10 a.m. at Union Station East Portal
  • Tuesday, Oct. 7 from 8 -9 a.m. at Culver City Station
  • Wednesday, Oct. 8 from 8 – 9 a.m. at North Hollywood Station
  • Thursday, Oct. 9 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Civic Center Clean Air/Rideshare Fair at Los Angeles Grand Park
  • Friday, Oct. 10 from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. at El Monte Station

*You qualify if you have tried/will try carpooling, vanpooling, taking transit, walking or bicycling to work!

During Rideshare Week, commuters also will have a chance to win great prizes by pledging to share the ride online at metro.net/rideshareweek. Pledging to rideshare even just one day out of the week will enter you in the raffle. Keep reading after the jump to see what some of the prizes are.

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What to expect from Metro Bus and Rail during CicLAvia this Sunday

CicLAvia - October 5, 2014

CicLAvia, presented by Metro, returns this Sunday with more streets to explore sans vehicular traffic. Heart of LA will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and feature brand new hubs in Echo Park, the Broadway Theatre district, Boyle Heights and East L.A.!

Though some of the route is new this time around, it’s as easy as ever to Go Metro to CicLAvia. The event is accessible via–count em’–11 Metro Rail stations, and bikes/skateboards/rollerblades/etc. are welcome, provided some rules are observed (more on that to follow).

What can customers expect of bus and rail service during CicLAvia? Metro Rail will follow the regular Sunday schedule on October 5, but with longer, rush hour-length trains during the event and through the evening to accommodate extra bikes, boards, and people.

On the bus side, street closures will impact Metro Bus routes beginning at 6 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. the day of the event. Though the Heart of LA course has numerous crossing points for vehicular traffic, Metro customers should expect bus detours and delays, including temporary bus stop relocations along the route. Impacted Metro Bus lines include: 2, 4, 10, 16, 18, 20, 28, 30, 40, 45, 51, 53, 55, 60, 62, 66, 68, 70, 71, 76, 78, 83, 92, 96, 460, 487, 720, 733, 745 and Metro Silver Line.

For more information about detours on specific lines, visit Metro’s CicLAvia Service Advisory page and scroll to the bottom.

By the way, if you have your valid TAP card, receive 15% off official CicLAvia shirts at the East LA Civic Center hub!

Also, please remember that bike etiquette in the station and on the train is even more important during a crowded event like CicLAvia. Cyclists planning to go Metro to the route, please review and observe the following rules:

  • When boarding, use entire platform length for more seating and bike space availability. Large groups should separate and enter through different doors to reduce crowding and delays.
  • Board with bikes using doors marked with yellow decals.
  • Always walk your bike within Metro stations or on trains.
  • For everyone’s safety, do not bring bikes on escalators; use the stairs or elevators instead.
  • Elevator priority will be given to passengers with disabilities.
  • Do not use emergency exit gates at turnstiles except during emergencies or unless directed by law enforcement or Metro personnel.
  • Observe all Bikes on Metro guidelines.

Like Metro, CicLAvia offers an alternative way to connect with our wonderful city and each other. To all who attend, have a fun and safe time–if you snap any good bikes-on-transit photos this Sunday, tweet us @metrolosangeles or tag us on Instagram @metrolosangeles! And for those who arrive via our buses and trains: thanks for going Metro.