Reminder: Patsaouras Plaza closed this weekend for renovations

 

The Patsaouras Transit Plaza and undergound parking structure at the East Portal entrance to Union Station is closed to pedestrians and all vehicles during the daytime hours of Saturday, Dec. 29, for maintenance.

The Patsaouras Transit Plaza and the East Portal entrance to Union Station will be closed to pedestrians and all vehicles from 9 p.m. Friday, April 11, through 4 a.m. Monday, April 14

Patsaouras Transit Plaza will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from 9 p.m. Friday, April 11, through 4 a.m. Monday, April 14, for landscaping renovations. Work being done will address water damage to the plaza and structures underneath and replace waterproofing, landscaping, electrical and irrigation systems.

No vehicles or pedestrians will be able to enter the plaza while work is being done. Buses that normally enter the plaza will stop at Cesar Chavez/Alameda to both board and drop off customers. This includes the Festival of Books shuttle.

Flyaway and Megabus.com will utilize the Amtrak bus pick-up/drop-off location on the west side of Union Station during the plaza closure.

Follow Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metroLAalerts to stay up-to-date on transit news and service advisories. To see what other improvements are taking place around Union Station, check out this previous post.

Metro finds concrete cracks on Metro Gold Line Bridge abutment

During a routine investigation of Metro Gold Line bridge structures on Wednesday, March 26, Metro Operations discovered cracks in the concrete on a bridge abutment between Union Station and Little Tokyo/Arts District Station. The inspection occurred prior to the 5.1 earthquake on March 28.

Metro’s Engineering & Construction and Facilities Maintenance departments performed a preliminary investigation, analyzed the scope of the cracking and determined that the cracking does not pose a risk to public safety. A speed restriction of 8 mph has been implemented for trains crossing the bridge as a precaution. Metro will monitor the situation on a daily basis.

The cause of the cracking is still under investigation. In an abundance of caution, Metro will conduct a thorough assessment of transit aerial structures. Metro is arranging for its contractor to make needed repairs immediately.

“Inspire Your Fire” at the Festival of Books and save 10% on official merchandise with Metro

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From 2013 Festival of Books. Photo: Anna Chen/Metro

The L.A. Times Festival of Books takes over USC this weekend with music, food, films, books, books and more books! The event is free to attend; hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Getting to the Festival of Books without driving is a snap. Metro has three rail stations that serve the USC area off the Expo Line: Jefferson/USC, Expo Park/USC and Expo/Vermont. Both the Blue and Expo lines will see enhanced service during event hours to accommodate attendees. The Metro Silver Line also drops off at 37th/USC, and another option for those starting their trips from DTLA is the DASH F.

Due to the Patsaouras Plaza closure this weekend, the free Festival Shuttle Bus will be picking up passengers from Union Station at Cesar Chavez/Alameda. Connect with the shuttle via the Gold, Purple or Red Line. Signage will be placed around Union Station directing festival attendees to the shuttle stop.

As an added bonus, those who go Metro can save 10% on official FOB merchandise! Show your valid TAP card wherever festival merchandise is sold and save on your total purchase.

Some new Expo Line Phase 2 construction pics

Progress continues on the second phase of the Measure R-funded Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica. The folks at the Expo Line Construction Authority sent over the above photos, all taken in recent days.

Both Expo Line Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill Extension are more than 50 percent complete and aiming toward forecast openings in early 2016.

Meanwhile, the Crenshaw/LAX Line broke ground earlier this year — we’ll have more soon about upcoming construction activities. Utility relocation continues for the Regional Connector and Purple Line Extension with the Metro Board expected to soon consider construction contracts for both projects.

Transportation headlines, Monday, April 7

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: Looking north to the San Gabriel Mountains from the bridge that will carry the Gold Line Foothill Extension over Foothill Boulevard in Azusa. Awesome photo by Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

ART OF TRANSIT: Looking north to the San Gabriel Mountains from the bridge that will carry the Gold Line Foothill Extension over Foothill Boulevard in Azusa. Awesome photo by Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

Move LA’s Measure R 2 proposal, including their rail fantasy map (Streetsblog L.A.) 

A look at the activist group’s “strawman proposal” for a half-cent sales tax increase they would like to see on the Nov. 2016 ballot; please note that Metro hasn’t decided to pursue such a tax yet although is surveying cities about their own desired projects. In any case, Move LA wants to see a 45-year sales tax increase with 30 percent of the funds dedicated to new rail and bus rapid transit projects — which they say would raise $27 billion over the life of the tax.

As Streetsblog notes, Move LA says their proposal is intended only to spur discussion and they include some projects for potential funding. Some are projects receiving seed money from the present Measure R (Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor, South Bay Green Line Extension) while others are new such as converting the Orange Line to a rail line, extending the Green Line to a junction with Metrolink in Norwalk, extending the Gold Line to San Bernardino County, extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line to Wilshire Boulevard, extending the Purple Line to Santa Monica from its future terminus at the West LA VA Hospital and extending the Eastside Gold Line Extension to both South El Monte and Whittier instead of just one of those.

If such a tax goes forward it will certainly be interesting to see how much is allocated to paying for new transit projects and which projects. As Move LA’s list shows, there are certainly some worthy candidates out there that would travel through many different parts of the county. And there are certainly parts of the transit network with holes in it. Stay tuned!

The real reason that mass transit fares are rising across the U.S. (The Atlantic Cities) 

Writer Eric Jaffe points out that several large agencies in the U.S. are currently pursuing fare increases (including Metro). And that’s not surprising: using data from a new federal report, Jaffe says that most agencies have seen the cost of providing bus and rail service rise substantially since 2000 while allowing fares to lag behind — often for good reasons (affordability, mobility, etc.). A lot of the cost appears not to come from employee salaries but rather the cost of employee benefits, which I’m guessing really means health care. It’s a national problem, Jaffe writes, and there doesn’t appear to be a neat solution on the near horizon outside of fare increases.

Dan Walters: bullet train faces withering set of issues (Sacramento Bee)

The political columnist concludes his column by asking whether construction should even begin on a project this year that may never have the funds to complete a link between L.A. and San Francisco or even the San Joaquin Valley. He also neatly lays out some of the current issues on the table, many involving legal challenges as to whether the project fulfills requirements in a 2008 bill that allowed the bond measure to go to state voters. Obviously this bears watching with one interesting but little publicized side issue: if the bullet train project hits more obstacles what happens to the part of the state bonds to help local projects connect with the bullet train? Both L.A. and San Francisco are using some of that money to fund local projects (the Regional Connector, to be specific).

What the Internet thinks of the world’s subways (Mashable) 

Fun pros and cons of 10 big subway systems around the globe (Los Angeles’ is not included) as gleamed from online reviews. Warning: the language used is not always delicate.

A few photos from yesterday’s CicLAvia on Wilshire Boulevard

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

No surprise: another big crowd for CicLAvia on Sunday, with cyclists, walkers and others taking over Wilshire Boulevard between downtown Los Angeles and the Miracle Mile. Here are a few pics.

https://twitter.com/MargaretTwitty8/status/451420458899214336/photo/1

Above photo is by Andy Sternberg, via Flickr creative commons. 

 

Metro Freeway Service Patrol Big Rig reaches 10,000 motorist assists on 91 freeway

A Metro FSP Big Rig truck. Photo: Metro FSP

A Metro FSP Big Rig truck. Photo: Metro FSP

The Metro Freeway Service Patrol (FSP) Big Rig Tow Truck Program is a congestion mitigation program that specifically targets large disabled trucks and semi-tractor trailers. FSP Big Rig currently serves both the 91 and 710 freeways in Los Angeles County.

With $1.5 million in financial support from the Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC), Metro’s FSP Big Rig operations on SR-91 have recently hit a milestone of 10,000 motorist assists as of March 2014. This falls in line with the MSRC’s goals of reducing air pollution from motor vehicles, as well as Metro FSP’s goals of keeping traffic lanes moving by quickly clearing incidents — including those involving big rigs — from Los Angeles’ freeways.

For every vehicle-hour of traffic delay about 1.7 gallons of fuel are unnecessarily consumed and about 33.8 pounds of additional carbon dioxide are released into the air along with other harmful emissions, exacerbating the region’s often poor air quality. By quickly and efficiently aiding disabled vehicles, the FSP Big Rig program has been able to help keep traffic flowing and reduce congestion related air pollution. Metro’s FSP Big Rig program has been estimated to save motorists over 500,000 vehicle-hours of delay every year.

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