LASD announces arrest of assault suspect

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LASD Transit Policing Division Chief Ronene Anda announces arrest of assault suspect at Metro Headquarters.

Ronene Anda, chief of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Transit Policing Division, announced today the arrest of the suspect wanted in connection with multiple assaults on board Metro buses. The suspect was taken into custody without incident about 11:45 a.m. in Huntington Park. LASD will continue the investigation.

Metro would like to ask all customers to “See Something, Say Something” if they spot suspicious activities or persons on board Metro. You can report incidents via the Transit Watch LA app, available for both iPhone and Android, or call the Sheriff’s hotline at 1.888.950.SAFE or 323.563.5000.

Southbound 405 closures between Getty Center Drive and Wilshire Boulevard planned nights of June 27-July 2

Here’s the press release from Metro:

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is scheduled to conduct consecutive nighttime freeway closures on the southbound I-405 between Getty Center Drive and Wilshire Boulevard beginning on the night of Friday, June 27 through the morning of Wednesday, July 2, 2014. The contractor will conduct freeway striping.

Closure information is as follows:

  • Midnight, Friday, June 27, to 6 a.m., Saturday,  June 28
  • Midnight, Saturday, June 28, to 6 a.m., Sunday, June 29
  • Midnight, Sunday, June 29, to 5 a.m., Monday, June 30
  • Midnight, Monday, June 30 to 5 a.m., Tuesday, July 1
  • Midnight, Tuesday, July 1 to 5 a.m., Wednesday, July 2

On weekends ramps will begin to close at 7 p.m. and lanes will begin to close at 11 p.m.

On weekdays ramps will begin at 7 p.m. and lanes will begin at 10 p.m.

Ramp Closures:

  • Southbound on-ramp from Getty Center Drive
  • Southbound on-ramp from westbound Sunset Boulevard
  • Southbound on-ramp from eastbound Sunset Boulevard

Detour:

Exit southbound Getty Center off-ramp, head southbound on Sepulveda Boulevard, make a right going west on Wilshire Boulevard to the westbound Wilshire on-ramp to the southbound I-405.

What to expect:

Go Metro Weekends, June 27 − 29

Friday

This Friday, Grand Performances presents Movie Music Magic at 8 p.m. in beautiful California Plaza. From Sound of Music to Skyfall, this free concert features memorable songs from the silver screen performed by husband-wife classical duo Alan Chapman and Karen Benjamin. Go Metro and save on dinner at the Omni’s Noé Restaurant & Bar or Johnnie’s New York Pizzeria. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Civic Center/Grand Park Station, or various Metro and municipal buses serving Grand Avenue, Olive Street or Hill Street.)

Saturday

Explore Little Tokyo and its rich history with the Japanese American National Museum’s Little Tokyo Walking Tour this Saturday morning. The tour lasts from 10:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., weather permitting, and is $9 for members, $14 for non-members (price includes admission to the museum). Present your valid TAP card and receive $2 off adult admission and 10% off at the Chado Tea Room. (Metro Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, Metro Bus 30/330 or 40 to Judge John Aiso/Temple, or DASH A to 1st/Central.)

El Pueblo de Los Angeles becomes Tacolandia this Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m.! Forty of L.A. and Mexico’s best taco vendors will face off for titles such as “Best Non-Traditional Taco,” “Best in Show,” and “Tacolandia Hall of Fame.” Take in the competition while enjoying drinks, live music, and of course, lots and lots of tacos. The event is free to attend, but you must be 21+. (Metro Gold, Red/Purple, or Silver Line to Union Station, or various Metro buses serving Union Station.)

Sunday

DUN DA DUN DUN, DUN DA DUN–the Indiana Jones Triple Feature at the Egyptian Theatre takes place this Sunday! See Raiders of the Lost Ark at 5 p.m., Temple of Doom at 7:35 p.m., The Last Crusade at 9:45 p.m., or any combination of the three–one ticket gets you in to all showings! General admission is $11, students $9. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland Station, Metro Rapid 780 or Bus 156/656 to Hollywood/Highland, or Bus 212/312, 217, or 222 to Hollywood/Las Palmas.)

From Indie to Indie rock, drop by The Echo for “The Grand Ole Echo” this Sunday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. This free event features different Americana and country/roots musicians every week. Dance and mingle to live and DJed sets, grab a drink, and enjoy some homemade BBQ. (Metro Rapid 704 or Metro Bus 4, 200, or 2/302 to Echo Park/Sunset or Bus 92 to Glendale/Park.)

All Weekend

It’s an especially exciting weekend at the Hollywood Bowl, with Mariachi USA returning this Saturday at 6 p.m. and Robyn + Royksopp on Sunday at 7 p.m. The L.A. County Bicycle Coalition is partnering with Metro and the Hollywood Bowl to provide complimentary valet bike parking at this Sunday’s concert. Show your valid TAP card or bike valet ticket at the Hollywood Bowl Museum Patio before the show and receive a free scoop of Peddler’s Creamery ice cream. Sweet!

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Other actions taken by Metro Board of Directors today — station names, L.A. River in-channel bike path, promoting discounted fares

Three other actions taken by the Metro Board of Directors at their meeting today that might be of interest:

•The Board approved the following official name changes to Metro Rail stations, although signage will often continue to reflect shorter names:

–The Blue Line’s Grand Station becomes the ‘Grand/Los Angeles Trade-Technical College Station.’

–The Expo Line’s 23rd Street Station becomes the “Los Angeles Trade-Technical College/Orthopaedic Institute for Children Station.”

–The Expo Line’s La Brea station becomes the “Expo/La Brea/Ethel Bradley Station.”

Metro staff were also instructed to implement the changes at minimal cost without using operating funds.

•The Board approved a motion by Board Members Mike Bonin and Gloria Molina instructing Metro to launch a multi-lingual ad campaign to promote fare subsidy programs prior to the fare increase scheduled to take effect Sept. 1 or after.

More information on reduced fares for seniors, disabled/Medicare passengers, K-12 students and college/vocational students and applications in nine languages can be found by clicking here.

•The Board approved a motion by Board Members Mike Bonin, Eric Garcetti and Gloria Molina to take steps needed to launch a study on building a bike path within the Los Angeles River channel between Taylor Yard (just north of downtown Los Angeles) and the city of Maywood, along with bike/pedestrian linkages to roads and sidewalks near the river. Motion

Metro projects helping improve commuter rail service in San Fernando Valley

There has been a nice variety of commuter rail projects in the San Fernando Valley on Metro Board agendas in recent months, including one that was approved today to add a new pedestrian bridge for the Metrolink station at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

To help provide a bigger view of projects that Metro is helping plan, fund and coordinate, here is a quick list:

•A pedestrian bridge between Bob Hope Airport and the existing Metrolink station along Empire Avenue. The bridge will also connect to the airport’s new Regional Intermodal Transportation Center, that will include bus stops and a rental car facility. Metro staff report

•A new station to serve Bob Hope Airport along Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line. This will allow both Metrolink lines in the San Fernando Valley — the Antelope Valley Line and the Ventura County Line — to provide service to and from Bob Hope Airport. Earlier Source post

•A second track  for 6.5 miles approximately from Woodley to DeSoto streets along the Ventura County Line. This will help eliminate a long-standing bottleneck in the Valley and increase capacity of trains along the Ventura County Line. Staff report

•A new center platform between the two tracks at Van Nuys station and a pedestrian under-crossing to help passengers reach the new platform. This will provide service to both existing mainline tracks rather than the existing single track service. Staff report

There is another project in the works that will benefit all Metrolink riders: Metro is planning to eliminate a long-standing bottleneck at Union Station that requires all trains to enter and exit the station via tracks on the north side of the facility. It currently takes trains about 15 minutes of turn-around time because of the current track configuration.

Metro’s Southern California Regional Interconnector Project (known as SCRIP) would allow trains to enter and exit the station via its south side by running four tracks over the 101 freeway and connecting to the existing tracks along the Los Angeles River. In other words, trains would be able to enter and exit the station in either direction.

There are several benefits. The turnaround time of trains would be greatly reduced, increasing capacity by 40 percent to percent and allowing trains to get into and out of the station more efficiently. Also, the reduction of idling times for locomotives will decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

The SCRIP tracks would also improve train capacity at Union Station by 40 to 50 percent and, equally important, allow trains to get into and out of the station more quickly. That should benefit all Metrolink and Amtrak riders in the future.

Metro’s Regional Rail team is looking at other projects in the SFV that will better serve Metrolink customers increase safety and mobility. More projects are planned for the area such as additional double tracking and grade crossing enhancements.

 

 

Metro Board approves new station at Aviation/96th as best option to connect to LAX people mover

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The Metro Board of Directors on Thursday unanimously approved a new light rail station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street along the Crenshaw/LAX Line as the best option to serve as the “gateway” transfer point to an Automated People Mover that would take people to terminals at Los Angeles International Airport. The people mover is being planned by Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), which would build the project.

The next steps: Metro must environmentally clear the station, design it and identify the funding before anything gets built. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is currently under construction and the new station would be added to that project. That project is scheduled to be completed in 2019; the people mover could be completed as early as 2022 according to the Metro staff report and officials with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office said Thursday that the city will attempt to possibly accelerate that date.

“This is a historic day for LAX and a historic day for our city because we’re finally on the way to bringing rail to LAX,” Garcetti told the Metro Board on Thursday. “I think we’ll be able to fix a historic mistake of our past.” 

The Metro Green Line infamously came up two miles short of LAX and requires a shuttle bus ride to reach airport terminals. The new Aviation/96th station would also serve some Green Line trains; please see the conceptual operating map below.

People movers are a type of train and are used to connect to regional transit systems by large airports in the U.S. and abroad. The chief advantage of the people mover over the existing shuttle bus: the people mover would run on an elevated guideway above traffic while the shuttle bus shares roads with traffic.

The new Aviation/96th station would be about .4 miles north of the station to be built at Aviation and Century boulevards as part of the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The idea, according to Metro, is that the Aviation/96th station would be the gateway for passengers headed to LAX while the Aviation/Century station would connect riders to the many businesses along the Century Boulevard corridor.

Metro Board Members made it clear that the Aviation/96th station needs to be extraordinarily designed to serve as the airport gateway.

“The question before us is can 96th Street do what it needs to do to be a world class experience?,” asked Board Member Mike Bonin who co-authored a motion (posted after the jump) directing Metro to make the station an enclosed facility with a number of amenities including concourse areas, restrooms, LAX airline check-in and public art, among others. The motion was co-authored by Garcetti and Supervisors Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas.

LAWA is scheduled to finalize details on the people mover alignment and the number of stations near airport terminals in Dec. 2014. In a presentation to the LAWA Board in May, LAWA staff showed options that included two or four stations for the people mover within the central terminal horseshoe. Should LAWA move the people mover alignment back to 98th Street — as was previously studied — Metro would seek to make the Aviation/Century station as the primary connection point to the people mover.

Metro — in coordination with LAWA — has in the past couple of years looked at a number of options for connecting the airport terminals to the Metro Rail system. Among those was bringing light rail directly to the terminals or building a spur to a new airport transportation hub that is being planned east of LAX.

Ultimately, Metro studies found that a Metro Rail-people mover connection took about the same time and resulted in about the same ridership as having a light rail line run directly into the airport terminals. The Metro Rail-people mover connection also cost billions of dollars less and resulted in speedier train rides for Crenshaw/LAX Line passengers not heading to the airport.

In the future, it’s expected that about 57 percent of airport bound passengers would arrive by private car, 33 percent by shuttles, taxis and limos, eight percent by the Flyaway bus and one to two percent via transit buses and trains, according to the Metro staff report. About 66.6 million passengers used LAX in 2013, meaning even small percentages can add up to a lot of riders.

Metro Board Member Don Knabe raised a salient point several times in recent months: what guarantees are in place that LAWA will actually build the people mover? LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey told the Metro Board on Thursday that traffic has gotten so bad in the airport’s horseshoe — up to 200,000 vehicles a day — that the airport must build the people mover, a consolidated rental car facility and a new ground transportation hub to steer more vehicles away from the terminals.

The Airport Metro Connector is one of the dozen transit projects to receive funding from the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

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Please see the motion on the Aviation/96th Street station that is posted after the jump.

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Metro debuts new security video monitors on buses

Metro CEO Art Leahy showing the new security video screen on board a Metro bus. Photo: Paul Gonzales/Metro

Metro CEO Art Leahy showing the new security video screen on board a Metro bus. Photo: Paul Gonzales/Metro

As part of increased efforts to augment security and safety for Metro riders, video monitors are being installed on board some of the new buses that Metro has purchased and is putting into service. The monitors show live video from the buses on which they’re installed.

Two video monitors will display a live feed from already-installed security cameras. One view shows passengers boarding and the other is of the main bus compartment. Older buses may be retrofitted to include the video monitors at a later date.

MobileApp iPhone-ReportIt01Metro CEO Art Leahy, during his CEO report to the Board on Thursday, said the idea is to instill a bit of caution among passengers and potential troublemakers by reminding them that buses have security cameras.

Metro would also like to ask all customers to “See Something, Say Something” if they spot suspicious activities or persons on board Metro. You can report incidents via the Transit Watch LA app, available for both iPhone and Android, or call the Sheriff’s hotline at 1.888.950.SAFE or 323.563.5000.