Metro becomes first transit agency in U.S. to apply flywheel technology for rail energy savings

Metro officials met with representatives from the Federal Transit Administration and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory last week to review promising results of the agency’s first-of-a-kind use of flywheel technology to recycle power generated from rail cars.

Officials met at the Westlake/MacArthur Park Metro Red/Purple Line Station to see firsthand how the Wayside Energy Storage Substation works. The pilot project started in August and is now saving Metro up to 18 percent of the energy normally used to power subway trains entering and leaving the station. That, in turn, helps lower Metro’s electricity bills.

The project is managed by Metro’s Project Engineering Department and uses a state-of-the-art flywheel system built by Vycon of Cerritos. The brain of the system, which assures the precise control of the flow of power, was developed by Turner Engineering of Venice. Metro performed its installation in-house, without external contractors.

The system was therefore entirely developed and implemented with resources local to the Los Angeles County. It is estimated that Metro will eventually save approximately $100,000 per year in electricity costs because of the project.

Continue reading

Dodger Stadium Express will run from Union Station and Harbor Gateway for the playoffs

map

After thumping and humiliating the Giants last Wednesday night, the Dodgers are National League West champions and owners of the second seed in the NL. They’ll open the playoffs at home this Friday, Oct. 3, at 3:37 p.m. against the St. Louis Cardinals followed by Game 2 on Saturday night at 6:37 p.m.

Game 1 features a match of the very best pitcher in the majors, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, versus a top-five pitcher in Adam Wainwright. Should be a great game.

With huge crowds expected for the playoffs, the Dodger Stadium Express will be running to the ballpark from two locations: Union Station and Harbor Gateway Transit Center (731 W. 182nd Street, Gardena, CA) along with stops at Rosecrans Station, Harbor Freeway Station (for those transferring to/from the Green Line), Manchester Station and Slauson Station — all in the median of the 110 freeway (see above map). Those with tickets to the game ride for free. The new Harbor Gateway service is funded with revenues from the Metro ExpressLanes on the 110 freeway.

Please note that service from Harbor Gateway begins for the playoffs. For this weekend’s home games against the Colorado Rockies, Dodger Stadium Express service will only be from Union Station. 

Union Station is served by many Metro and municipal bus lines and Metro Rail’s Red, Purple and Gold lines, as well as Metrolink and Amtrak. Parking is available for $6.

131999_unionstaarea_final

Harbor Gateway Transit Center is also served by several Metro bus lines, the Metro Silver Line and Torrance Transit. Free parking is available although may be limited if the lot fills.

132001_hbrtwy_final

Dodger Stadium Express details for the playoffs:

From Union Station:

  • Board at Bus Bay 3 of the Patsaouras Bus Plaza.
  • Service leaves Union Station every 10 minutes, starting 90 minutes before game time through the 3rd inning for all home games.
  • You can exit inside Dodger Stadium at one of two stops – behind Center Field and at the Top Deck. Service will pick up at the same stops after the game.
  • Return service runs until 45 minutes after the final out.

From Harbor Gateway Transit Center:

  • Board at Bay 9.
  • Buses run every 15 minutes starting 2 hours before game time, with the last bus leaving at game time.
  • You’ll be dropped off behind Right Field. Service back to Harbor Gateway Transit Center will pick up at the same stop after the game.
  • Return service ends 45 minutes after the final out.

Game Day Tips:

  • Your Dodger ticket is good for the Dodger Stadium Express fare*; otherwise, regular Metro fares apply.
  • Arrive early; crowds are heaviest near game time.

 

Go Metro to the Festival of Philippine Arts and Culture this weekend in Grand Park

Are you walking, biking, or skating CicLAvia this Sunday? Rest your weary legs in Grand Park, home to our favorite hot pink benches, spectacular Downtown views, and this weekend–the Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture!

Presented by Grand Park and FilAM Arts, the 23rd Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture will run this Saturday, October 4 from 12 – 8 p.m., and this Sunday, October 5 from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The celebration is free to attend and features an array of Filipino and Asian cuisine, live entertainment from top Filipino American performers, shopping, story telling, and traditional dances and martial arts.

Go Metro to Grand Park by hoping aboard the Red or Purple Line, or one of many Rapid and Local buses serving Grand Avenue, Hill, 1st or Temple Streets. You’ll not only save on gas, parking, and stress, but festival attendees with valid TAP cards save 10% at participating vendors of food merchandise, and more!

Fresh, healthy and delicious – Go Metro to farmers’ markets!

farmers' market mapInstead of driving to a supermarket, reduce your carbon footprint even more by going Metro to a farmers’ market! This new interactive map makes taking transit to farmers’ markets easier than ever.

Mayor Aja Brown visits with vendors at the Blue LIine Farmers' Market.

Compton Mayor Aja Brown visits with vendors at the Blue Line Farmers’ Market.

Support local farmers and keep your kitchen stocked with fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies; see if there’s a market near you. Don’t forget, the Blue Line Farmers’ Market offers a 10% discount to those who present their TAP cards! And The WALL farmers’ market in the DTLA Fashion District offers free entrance to the Flower Market (and more) to Metro riders.

If there’s a farmers’ market you frequent via Metro that you think should be on the map, let us know in the comments.

 

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.

Continue reading

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?