Metro explores new green energy options: placing a wind turbine in a subway tunnel

Photos: Evan Rosenberg/Metro

You’re standing on a subway station platform, waiting for the train. Suddenly, the wind picks up. You know this means the train is coming. Many of you may also know why there’s wind: it’s displaced air being pushed through the tunnel by the fast moving train. And some of you — including Tom Kefalas, Metro Environmental Compliance and Services Manager — may have wondered if there was a way all that generated wind could be utilized as a renewable energy source.

Thanks to Tom Kefalas and Cris Liban, Director of Metro Environmental Compliance Services, we now know the answer is yes. From August through September 2013, Metro conducted a one-month pilot program to see if wind energy could safely and effectively be captured and used. The project involved working with engineers from WWT Tunnel, LLC, a subcontractor to Arcadis U.S., to create and install a unique 10-foot multi-blade mass airflow collection equipment (MACE) in the Red Line tunnel. To our knowledge, this is the first time a transit agency has tested the effect of having a wind turbine in a subway tunnel.

The MACE was installed between the North Hollywood and Universal City stations, a segment of the tunnel that sees trains reaching speeds of up to 70 mph. Each time a train left the station, the MACE fan blades would start spinning, thus capturing energy up to a minute before the train actually passed by. The blades would continue to spin up to 2 minutes after the train passed, and exceeded 1,070 revolutions per minute (RPM). The amount of electricity produced by these train initiated events was nearly double the amount that had originally been anticipated.

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Patsaouras Plaza closed April 11 to 14 for landscaping renovations

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.

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.

Hearing on fare changes adjourns after 165 or so public speakers

Click on a photo to see larger. Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro

The hearing adjourned about 2:15 p.m. after more than four hours that included a brief staff presentation on the fares, about 165 public speakers and a brief disruption near the end of the meeting that resulted in two arrests for disturbing the peace. One of the people arrested may also face a charge of assaulting a peace officer. CLICK HERE TO SEE THE TWO FARE CHANGE OPTIONS.

Order was quickly restored at the urging of both Metro Board Members and members of the public who wanted the chance to testify before the Board. A vote on the fare changes is scheduled for the Board’s May 22 meeting — and before the meeting ended many Board Members indicated they will have plenty of questions  between now and then about the fare proposal and Metro’s finances.

Metro staff explained the fare changes, which are designed to prevent Metro from facing future deficits and to prevent service cuts. As staff explained, the changes would raise the base Metro fare but include transfers for 90 minutes — presently passengers must pay a full fare to transfer, even for a short ride.

As for the public testimony, it’s hard to summarize the views of 165 different people. While the Bus Riders Union was certainly present at the meeting, others appeared to be everyday riders who had something to say about the fare change proposal.

A few things I heard from speakers more than once:

•Bus service in some parts of Los Angeles County is not frequent enough or good enough to warrant a fare increase. Trips involving multiple bus legs, a few speakers said, can take several hours.

•There was no support for the second fare option which would have different fares for peak and off-peak hours.

•Several people complained fares should not be raised until the agency clamps down on fare evasion; during their presentation, agency staff said that work on reducing fare evasion is already underway.

•The most common complaint: affordability — many people said they make too little money to spend any extra on transit. “Some of you are lucky enough to have gotten an education. Think about the people you representing,” said one woman.

RELATED POSTS:

Some audio and video from today’s fare proposal hearing

Pictorial part 2: the public speaks at today’s fare change hearing

Pictorial part 1: the public speaks at today’s fare change hearing

Public hearing on Metro’s proposed fare changes is underway

A look at what some riders and readers are saying about Metro’s fare proposals

 

Some audio and video from today’s public hearing on fare changes

The public hearing on fare changes saw many Metro riders and community leaders turn out to let the Metro Board know what they think.

Video featuring a few of today’s public speakers:

And here’s audio-only from some speakers earlier in the morning:


Reminder: public comments will be accepted through 5 p.m. today at PublicHearing@metro.net.

Pictorial, part 2: the public speaks at fare increase hearing

Click on photo to see larger

Here is another set of photos of Metro riders who took the time to travel to Metro this morning to testify to the Metro Board of Directors at the public hearing over proposed fare changes. Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro.

More photos and text later.

RELATED POSTS:

Pictorial, part 1: the public testifies at fare changes hearing

Public hearing is underway

Pictorial, part 1: riders speak at public hearing over proposed Metro fare changes

Click on photo to see larger

Some of Metro’s riders who took the time to travel to Metro this morning to testify to the Metro Board of Directors at the public hearing over proposed fare changes. Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro.

More photos and text later.

RELATED POSTS:

Public hearing is underway

Public hearing on Metro’s proposed fare increases is now underway

option1

option2

Good morning, Metro riders and stakeholders!

Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois just dropped the gavel on the public hearing over Metro’s proposed fare changes; the two options by Metro staff are shown above. DuBois emphasized that no decision is being made today and that the Metro Board of Directors — the 13-member Board that oversees the agency — is scheduled to vote on the changes at their May 22 meeting.

Metro CEO Art Leahy in comments to the Board and public said that the decision over fare changes ultimately comes down to a decision between raising fares or cutting service.

Much more information on the fare changes can be found at this page on metro.net.

Metro staff will give a brief presentation on the fare changes and then public testimony will be taken. At this time, the Metro Board room is full; Metro has prepared space in overflow rooms where other members of the public can listen to the meeting.

Written comments are being accepted through the close of business today. How to submit comments:

Mail your comments:
Metro
One Gateway Plaza, MS 99-3-1
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Attn: Michele Jackson

All comments must be postmarked by March 29, 2014.

Email your comments:
publichearing@metro.net

All email comments must be received by 5pm, March 29, 2014

 

I’ll provide some updates and photos from the hearing throughout the day. You can also listen to the meeting by phoning 213-922-6045.