Construction Notice: Overland Avenue weekend closures between National and Pico Boulevards

 

expo notice expo notice map

Here’s the construction notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the agency building the six-mile project that will extend tracks from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica with seven new stations. Full weekend closures of Overland Avenue will be taking place for roadway improvements as part of the Expo Line project.

The project is funded mostly by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. It is currently forecast to open in early 2016.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, October 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 TRANSPO: Yeah, I'm really into black-and-white lately. Pony kegs are unique to Cincy as far as I know--small corner markets that sell, well, you know. I shot this one last night during my ongoing sojourn to the Queen City (it's a help-the-parents thing). Photo by Steve Hymon.

ART OF TRANSPO: Yeah, I’m really into black-and-white lately. Pony kegs are unique to Cincy as far as I know–small corner markets that sell, well, you know. I shot this one last night during my ongoing sojourn to the Queen City (it’s a help-the-parents thing). Photo by Steve Hymon.

Request to the baseball Gods: a true blue Royals-Dodgers World Series please, following a Giants-Dodgers NLCS. I think the last time that the Dodgers-Giants met in the post-season was 1951…

Sure looks like Thomson may have missed third base to me. If you have a DeLorean, please check that out. Whatever happens this season, the Dodger Stadium Express is prepared to roll for Game Five of the Division Series on Thursday, the NLCS and the Fall Classic.

Metro to aid businesses chocked by construction (Intersection South L.A.)

Coverage of the Metro Board of Director’s vote last week to create a $10-million pilot “business interruption fund” program to reimburse small businesses harmed by construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Regional Connector and/or the first phase of the Purple Line Extension. Excerpt:

The pilot program will fund up to 60 percent of potential business revenue loss, as long as the businesses can document to Metro that construction is causing the loss. Since businesses are already suffering from the construction, many board members were ready to help out.

“It certainly is a way to add the most public good and create the least private harm,” said Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, a Metro board member. “Not a day goes by that I don’t hear from a business owner or a non-profit on the Crenshaw/LAX line about the impact that our work is having on them currently.”

Complaints have included blocked parking, accessibility and signage.

 

CicLAvia No. 10: huge, wonderful, happy, but no longer newsworthy? (Streetsblog LA)

Joe Linton looks at the lack of press coverage for Sunday’s “Heart of L.A.” CicLAvia (Metro was an event sponsor) and notes that advance coverage tends to run along the lines of “beware of closed streets!” As far as I can tell, the non-media crowd seems to love the events and treats occasional road closures as something routine and not something potentially catastrophic :)

There’s a brand new vocabulary being heard on the streets, NYC planning rock star says (UCLA news release) 

Former Gotham transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan (an Occidental grad, btw) gave a talk to a packed auditorium at UCLA the other night. She’s best known for turning parts of Broadway in New York into pedestrian plazas, greatly expanding bike lanes across the city (including protected bike lanes) and installing more BRT lanes. Excerpt:

Sadik-Khan concluded the lecture with a word of caution and advice. Recounting the ways the media reported negatively on the changes she implemented in New York City, she explained that, “when you push the status quo, it can push back.” She added: “We are simply not going to create healthier, safer, more sustainable cities with the strategies that we followed up till now, that ignore all the other ways that a street is used.”

Her recommendation to the diverse audience of planners, academics, citizens and those who work daily in city government on these problems was this: “All sorts of new options are taking hold and planners need to adapt to these new changes and understand the way people want to get around. And we’re really just starting to glimpse what this shared economy means for transportation and cities.”

I saw her speak in L.A. a couple of years ago and thought she lived up to the hype. Here’s my write-up of that talk. Obviously, I’m a fan of hers and think it would be great to have someone like her permanently working in our region — she has the rare combination of clout, political and oratory skills to get things done.

High-speed rail line takes first step toward buying trains (Sacramento Business Journal) 

It’s a very preliminary step — asking rail car manufacturers to submit letters of interest. The California High-Speed Rail Authority will eventually ask for formal bids. Whether the cars are eventually ordered likely depends on how much of the line the agency is able to fund and build.

With no new rail tunnel on the horizon, a looming transportation crisis in New York (The Transport Politic) 

Good post by Yonah Freemark on the brewing controversy in New York. Amtrak says its two rail tunnels under the Hudson were damaged by Hurricane Sandy and need to eventually be repaired. Problem is, shutting down one tunnel at a time for repairs would greatly curtail the number of Amtrak trains into and out of Manhattan — the busiest Amtrak hub. One solution is a new set of tunnels, but New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie canceled that project in 2010 citing cost concerns.

Excerpt:

But the cost of losing the rail link under the Hudson may be larger. Amtrak’s leadership of this project is an acknowledgement of the national importance of this line (is it the nation’s most important transit project?), as it is the essential rail link not only between New York City and points south, but also between all of New England, Long Island, and much of Upstate New York with points south — totaling almost 10 percent of the U.S. population. The next rail connection over the Hudson is more than 140 miles north, just south of Albany. It is also the connection that makes it possible for hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans to work in Manhattan.

Trying to think of something analogous to our region. Perhaps it’s this: imagine what would happen if two of the following — the 10, 60 or 210 — had to be entirely closed for a year?

 

Video: George Takei serving as M.C. at Regional Connector groundbreaking

We didn’t get a chance to post video last week of George Takei serving as Master of Ceremonies at the groundbreaking for the Regional Connector. Enjoy the video that Anna edited together earlier — and, yes, we know the flag was in the way.

And George — thank you very much for helping with the Metro event and promoting transit, current and future.

Why You Share the Ride: vanpooling for health

During Rideshare Week, we’ll be featuring stories submitted by real commuters talking about why they share the ride. Join the conversation and let us know why you share the ride! Tweet us @metrolosangeles using the hashtag #RideshareLA. And don’t forget to pledge online for a chance to win some awesome prizes.

The following rideshare story comes to us from Twanya Betancourt, who commutes from Long Beach to Santa Monica every day.

Twanya r

Twanya Betancourt is also a Diamond Award winner for her efforts in ridesharing!

“I share the ride in order to increase my physical health and mental well being. Sitting in traffic and driving alone every day for a total of three hours a day adds stress and wear and tear on your body in addition to your vehicle. By vanpooling, I only have to drive the commuter van one day per week, leaving the rest of the time free for me to rest, read, or chat with the vanpool group. What we have created is a commuter community through rideshare. We exchange ideas, stories, reviews on restaurants, and anything else that anyone feels the need to share. Getting a group of 6 different personalities in different fields of work in a van for three hours leads to very interesting conversations. Three hours feels more like 30 minutes. I am very passionate about sharing my story with other commuters to let them know that there are many other benefits besides saving money on gas and wear and tear on your vehicle. The increase in the quality of life is the most important benefit of ridesharing in my opinion.”

Gold Line between Pasadena-Union Station resumes normal operations

Final Update 4:00 p.m.: Repairs to the overhead power supply system at Southwest Museum Station have been completed. Metro Gold Line is resuming normal operations with residual delays to some trips through 4:30 p.m.

The Gold Line is currently experiencing major delays between Pasadena and Union Station due to an ongoing power issue near Southwest Museum Station that began at approximately 11:30 a.m. this morning. Part of the line’s overhead power supply system is damaged at the South West Museum crossover, requiring temporary suspension of Gold Line service between Highland Park and Chinatown Station.

All trains are currently returning north to Sierra Madre Villa at Highland Park Station, and south to Union Station/East LA at Chinatown. Metro is providing shuttle buses to replace Gold Line service between Chinatown and Highland Park. Delays may continue throughout evening rush hour.

The cause of the power system damage is currently under investigation. Metro will provide updates on this incident as they become available, and would like to thank Gold Line customers for their patience this afternoon.

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

TAP-TO-GO mobile pilot program introduces 7-Day Pass

TAP-TO-GO Card

This is something that even more riders may find convenient. In addition to the 30-Day pass, 7-Day passes are now available for reload via text message in the TAP-TO-GO pilot program. More riders can take advantage of the benefits: it’s fast, convenient and passes are loaded immediately onto your card without any delays.

TAP-TO-GO is a six-month trial program that began in June and will run through Dec. 1. It’s free to participate, however be sure to register for the pilot program first so you can get your special TAP card to use.

Metro Weekly and Monthly passes are also available:

•at TAP vending machines all Metro Rail and Orange Line Stations

•online at taptogo.net

•by calling 866.TAPTOGO

•at nearly one of 400 vendor locations (click here for locations)

How to sign up

1) Text TAPSIGNUP to 28950 or visit taptogo.net to sign up online.

2) If texting, mobileAxept (Metro’s contractor) will reply with a link to sign up.

3) Enter your name, mailing address and email address. Participants will be directed to the BlueFin-hosted secure payment site to submit credit/debit card information. Credit/debit cards will not be charged until you receive your card in the mail and load your first pass.

4) Once your information has been validated, mobileAxept will send a text confirming participant has successfully joined the TAP-TO-GO pilot program.

5) Participants receive a special TAP card in the mail within seven to 10 business days, with instructions on how load your first Metro 7-Day or 30-DayPass. Again, you need to use this new card — it’s not possible to sign up using an existing TAP card.

How to reload

•Text TAP7DAY to 28950 to reload your Metro 7-Day Pass. You will receive a reply text message confirming your payment has been received and your card is loaded.

•Text TAP30DAY to 28950 to reload your Metro 30-Day Pass. You will receive a reply text message confirming your payment has been received and your card is loaded.

When it’s time to reload either pass, you’ll get a reminder text so you can avoid paying single trips

For frequently asked questions, click here.

Transportation headlines, Monday, October 6

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! 

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ART OF TRAFFIC: A gas station in Hollywood in April 1942. Click above for a great new online tool from Yale University that makes it easier to view photos in the Library of Congress taken across the U.S. between 1935 and 1944 and intended to chronicle the Great Depression and life in America. Photo by Russell Lee/Library of Congress.

Editor’s note: Good morning, readers! As was the case earlier this year, I’m back in Ohio for a couple weeks to deal with some family business. I’ll be doing some posting — but if it sounds like I’m roughly 2,100 miles removed from the local scene, I am. In the meantime, here’s some advice based on an overheard conversation in the Blue Ash Starbucks: never ever begin a sentence with this phrase: “Oh my God, I was walking down Michigan Avenue with one of my bridesmaids….”

And on to the headlines….

Vice President Joe Biden to visit L.A.; road closures to jam commutes (L.A. Times) 

West L.A. is on the docket for later this afternoon and downtown Los Angeles and East Los Angeles for Tuesday morning. Please follow our Twitter account for updates on bus detours.

Metro to rename rail stations after Zev Yaroslavsky, Gloria Molina (L.A. Times) 

Coverage of yesterday’s vote by the Metro Board. A Metro spokesman says the Metro Board has the right to amend an existing station naming policy that discourages facilities from being named after living people.

The High Desert Corridor project’s environmental document was released by Caltrans earlier this week and the cover — as noted by Streetsblog LA and Times reporter Laura Nelson — is a little different than the usual EIR. The study contemplates a new 63-mile freeway between Palmdale in Los Angeles County and the town of Apple Valley in San Bernardino County, along with a possible high-speed rail line, bikeway and green energy transmission corridor. BTW, the federally-threatened desert tortoise lives in the Mojave Desert; the document explains impacts and mitigations for the tortoise.

New AQMD study finds much lower air pollution levels across L.A. County (Daily News) 

Bottom line: cancer causing toxins are down by 65 percent but the air is still often a hot mess of pollutants, with emissions from trucks, ships, trains (most of which are freight in our region) and planes largely to blame.

Bottom up climate fix (New York Times)

Former EPA official Daniel C. Esty helped negotiation the United Nations’ first climate treat in 1992. Now he’s skeptical that top-down agreements will really help lower the greenhouse gases that are triggering global warming. Excerpt:

As one of those who, as an official at the Environmental Protection Agency, negotiated that first United Nations treaty in 1992, I believe we need to shift gears and try something new. Relying on national governments alone to deliver results is not enough, as the last two decades have shown. The real action on climate change around the world is coming from governors, mayors, corporate chief executives and community leaders. They are the ones best positioned to make change happen on the ground. Accordingly, we need to move from a top-down strategy to a bottom-up approach.

Mayors in Barcelona, Melbourne and the Brazilian city of Curitiba, for instance, are trying to expand public transportation. New York City’s former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg worked with pipeline companies to increase natural gas access so residents could shift from dirty fuel oil furnaces to cheaper and cleaner natural gas ones.

British Columbia and Quebec have introduced cap-and-trade programs that put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, making it more expensive to pollute and encouraging innovation. California has done the same thing. So have nine states in the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic.

You can certainly add the Los Angeles region to the list of places trying to expand transit. Metro currently has four rail lines under construction and a fifth — the first phase of the Purple Line Extension — is soon to begin. If Metro pursues a ballot measure in 2016 to accelerate and/or expand the building of new transportation projects, it will be interesting to see if climate change is part of a political campaign. If memory serves, traffic relief and rail safety were part of the Measure R campaign.

Quasi-related sort of: Is Denver the Houston of the Rockies — again? (High Country News)

Denver has boomed in recent years and behind their 2004 transit sales tax, has been on a rail and BRT building boom. But new economic stats reveal the extent to which the ‘new economy’ in Denver is tied to the fossil fuel industry. Smart story.

New Muni-only lanes streamline bus trips (Streetsblog SF)

Check out the pics of the new lanes, which are painted red. They do stand out. The lanes aren’t very long, but are intended to help buses get through parts of town where traffic has traditionally added unnecessary minutes to bus trips.