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

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.

Option2

As I dearly hope that you’ve heard by now, Metro is proposing a fare increase and changes in order to keep pace with rising costs. A public hearing will be held this Saturday, March 29, at 9:30 a.m. in the Board room at Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station.

The two options proposed by Metro staff are above for those who have not yet seen them. The Metro Board is scheduled to vote on the fare changes at its meeting on May 22; the Metro Board may ask for changes to the fare proposals before voting on them. There is also more information about the changes on metro.net.

The following are comments from riders gleamed from various websites, including this blog. I think this is a good chance to see what people are saying while highlighting the agency’s response, as well as my own thoughts. Here goes:

ON OPTION 2 — OFF-PEAK VERSUS PEAK HOUR FARES

Sheriff Bart at Curbed LA: “Charging more for “rush hour” commuting is one way to help keep people in their cars….what a stupid idea. Eliminating transfer fees within a 90-min window is an idea way past due.”

The idea behind the second option was too look at a fare system that would encourage customers with more flexible schedules to ride outside of the rush hour, when seats are in the most demand and often completely filled on many buses and trains.

I’m certainly aware the second option has been criticized by others who also say the increases are too steep. Again, please keep in mind that the Metro Board of Directors has the discretion to choose either option and to make changes to those options before voting to approve one of the two options.

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New artist opportunities in Metro’s expanding transit system

Artwork at Soto Station by Nobuho Nagasawa

Detail of artwork at Soto Station by Nobuho Nagasawa

Metro invites visual artists to submit qualifications for upcoming opportunities throughout the expanding Los Angeles Metro system. For more information and details on what to submit, please download the Call to Artists. Questions and answers regarding the Call are posted on the Metro Art page under the “Artist Opportunities” tab.

The application deadline is Monday, April 7, 2014.

If you’d like to sign up for the email list to get information about upcoming opportunities for artists, call 213.922.4ART or visit the Metro Art page and look under “Artist Opportunities.”

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, March 26

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: Bach outside the Civic Center/Grand Park station last Friday. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: Bach outside the Civic Center/Grand Park station last Friday. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

NTSB: CTA operator dozed off, didn’t wake up until crash at O’Hare (CBS Chicago) 

The operator of the train that crashed into a platform and escalator early Monday admitted to falling asleep and that in February she had fallen asleep, resulting in her train missing a stop. Video has also surfaced from the crash, apparently from a security camera at the station. Scary.

City leaders shepherding MyFigueroa stakeholders toward consensus (L.A. Streetsblog) 

Opposition to installing protected bikeways along Figueroa between downtown L.A. and Exposition Park is beginning to melt away. That’s great news for cyclists and for Metro; the Expo Line parallels the (hopefully) future bike lanes and connecting transit and high quality bike lanes would be super awesomeness, correct?

Muni bus turned shower for the homeless to hit the road in May (SFist) 

The group Lava Mae — dedicated to providing showers and toilets for the homeless in San Francisco — has purchased for old buses in San Francisco and converted them to vehicles with showers and restrooms that homeless can use. Above is the group’s video.

Skepticism dogs Santa Ana streetcar plan (Railway Age) 

Someone should create a template for articles on streetcar projects that begins with the headline “Skepticism dogs XXXX streetcar plan” as streetcars and skepticism go hand-in-hand! In this case, OCTA Board Members are asking if there’s a fundamental difference between a bus and a streetcar besides the $238-million price tag attached to this project. Streetcar supporters usually argue that putting tracks in the road lets everyone know this is a dedicated transit route and that, in turn, encourages development and/or redevelopment.

NJ Senator wants to legalize marijuana to pay for roads (Fox) 

Excerpt: “State Sen. Nicholas Scutari announced his plan Monday, acknowledging that opposition from Gov. Chris Christie could seriously hinder it but pointing out, “He’s not going to be governor forever.” Enough said.

Speaking of roads in New Jersey, today’s musical interlude (NSFW if your boss is a Springsteen non-believer).

 

 

City of Azusa held ribbon cutting for 210 Freeway landscaping improvements

Photos: Martin Quiroz/City of Azusa

The City of Azusa held a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday for the 210 Freeway Landscaping Project. The project, which covered the on and off ramps of the 210 and underpass on Azusa Avenue, was funded $669,000 through the 2009 Call for Projects.

Improvements completed include a pedestrian pathway with decorative sidewalks, wayfinding and bus stop improvements, bike improvements and signs with a few segments that include high-visibility safety bicycle lane striping, lighting and landscaping.

Metro looking for riders, non-riders and other stakeholders to take online surveys

Have an opinion about Metro service? Here is a chance to be heard! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Have an opinion about Metro service? Here is a chance to be heard! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

I know that many readers of this blog have strong opinions about Metro and the agency’s transit service and highway programs. That’s great. It’s your taxes and fares that keep Metro rolling.

With that in mind, I wanted to give everybody a heads up that Metro’s Research department is in the midst of creating a group of riders, stakeholders and non-riders who would be willing to take occasional online surveys about specific issues facing the agency (fare changes, route changes, TAP, projects in the works, etc).

If you’re interested, please click here. The survey is also available in Spanish. And, if at any time, you want to leave Metro’s survey panel, simply send an email to research@metro.net with “Remove from Survey Panel” in the email’s subject line.

I think this is a very good opportunity to have your voices heard. Leaving comments here is great, too — and I regularly pass along comments to Metro staff. But the blog comment board is hardly scientific and the new online surveys also hold the promise of being easier to conduct than expensive, time-consuming surveys done over the phone.

Please check it out if you’re interested. As far as I’m concerned, the more public participation the better.

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, March 25

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! 

An update on our unofficial Source bracket -- now ranked as 9.5 millionth best at ESPN. We'll do even better next weekend! (Go Bruins).

An update on our unofficial Source bracket — now ranked as 9.5 millionth best at ESPN. We’ll do even better next weekend! (Go Bruins).

General Motors misled grieving families on a lethal flaw (New York Times) 

The auto manufacturer in February issued a recall for 1.6 million Cobalts and other small vehicles, five years after it apparently knew about a flaw involving an ignition switch that could cause vehicles to suddenly lose power and the ability to deploy airbags, reports the Times. There have been 23 accidents involving 26 fatalities since 2009 involving those vehicles, with some of those accidents possibly tied to the faulty switch. G.M. does not directly dispute the NYT but says that it has evidence of 12 deaths tied to the switch problem, with the accidents all occurring in 2009 or earlier.

The most damning parts of the story include anecdotes about G.M. pressuring families to drop lawsuit – and, in fact, G.M.’s 2009 bankruptcy filing in court shielded it from liabilities before July 2009. Here’s the devastating kicker to the story:

In recent weeks, the parents of Benjamin Hair, the 20-year-old from Virginia killed in December 2009, received a postcard from G.M. announcing the recall. It was one of dozens of letters about their son’s car that the company has sent since the crash.

“How many times do I have to tell them?” his mother said. “We don’t have the car, and we don’t have our son.”

Focus in CTA crash focuses on operator fatigue, braking system (Chicago Tribune) 

The operator of a train that failed to stop at the end-of-the-line at O’Hare may have fallen asleep before the train jumped across the platform and climbed escalator stairs early Monday, according to officials. More than 30 were hurt in the crash, although none were life-threatening injuries. In the meantime, the airport’s rail station remains closed and passengers are taking a bus shuttle between the airport and the second-to-last stop on the CTA’s Blue Line.

City staff asks for permission to begin work on closure of Santa Monica Airport (Santa Monica NEXT) 

Staff are seeking the OK from the City Council to perform the kind of work that would accompany a closure of the airport in 2015– i.e. how to zone the land, studying what kind of environmental cleanup may be needed. Keep in mind that the city HAS NOT made a decision to close the airport and resistance from pilots, plane owners and the FAA would almost certainly follow. Nonetheless, interesting to see the city may soon begin mulling what other uses may be possible on the land, which is a little more than a mile south of the future Expo Line station at Exposition and Bundy.

Battle of the bike paths: L.A. River versus Ballona Creek (LA Weekly)

The Weekly gives the edge to Ballona Creek based on scenery, safety, destinations and other factors. I’ve ridden the path between the Expo Line’s La Cienega Station and Marina del Rey. It’s interesting, that’s for sure — and it’s very isolated from street life or anything else around it until you reach the Marina. The L.A. River path is interesting through the Glendale Narrows although it’s often freeway adjacent and it doesn’t directly connect to DTLA at its southern end. My three cents: both bike paths could use some work.

Preparing for the end of the world? Buy a bike (SF Weekly) 

A recent study partially funded by NASA made news for predicting the collapse of civilization in a resource-depleted world. That leads the Weekly to conclude that getting a bike will greatly help your personal mobility when we’ve run out of fuel and electricity to power cars. Bikes are also relatively easy to repair and may help you quickly escape roving bands of other humans that want to kill you.

Caltrans: state roads generally in good shape (Mercury News) 

The agency’s annual “state of the pavement” report finds that 84 percent of the roads it manages in the state are in healthy condition while 16 percent are in “poor” condition. In the Los Angeles region, 35 percent of freeway lanes are in poor condition.

90-day closure of southbound I-5 Western Avenue on-ramp to start April 6

From Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will close the southbound I-5 Western Avenue on-ramp from Sunday, April 6 to Sunday, July 6 to widen the freeway overcrossing above Western Avenue.

Caltrans reminds motorists to Slow For The Cone Zone and Move Over. It’s the law.

About the Project

This project is building a high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane in each direction along the Golden State Freeway (I-5) between the Ventura Freeway (SR-134) and Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank, a total distance of 5.4 miles (2.7 miles in each direction). It is also constructing sound walls and retaining walls.

Funding for this $57.8 million project is provided by Proposition C.  The contractor is Security Paving of Sun Valley, California.  Work began in March 2011 and is expected to be completed in late 2014.

Caltrans thanks motorists for their patience and understanding during construction.