Transportation headlines, Monday, September 29

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! 

No, Carmageddon is not inevitable (Zocalo Public Square)

In advance of tonight’s panel discussion at the Petersen Automotive Museum on “How to Speed Up Traffic in L.A.?”, Zocalo Public Square asks several experts for their advice. Congestion pricing (i.e. tolling freeways and roads at peak hours to spread out demand), concentrating more housing and jobs near transit, charging non-residents more for parking than residents (encouraging more residents to shop locally perhaps) and making the ‘burbs more friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and transit are among the suggestions. In other words, a lot of ideas that have been widely discussed for many years — but never really fully implemented either because of local opposition, lack of political will, lack of money or a combination of all the above.

BTW, sounds like there are still a few spots open for anyone interested in attending tonight’s forum — Metro CEO Art Leahy is one of the panelists. Click here for more info. Metro’s 720 Rapid Bus and 20 Local Bus on Wilshire Boulevard stop at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax next to the museum. For those coming via Fairfax Avenue, the 780 Rapid Bus and the 217 Local Bus also stop at Wilshire/Fairfax.

No! Wrong way! U.S. carbon emissions rising again (KCET)

Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States rose about 2.7 percent in the first half of 2014 compared to the same time period in 2013. Experts blame the rise on last winter’s polar vortex that prompted many a Midwesterner and East Coaster to try to keep their homes warm — in those parts of the country, a significant portion of electricity is created by burning coal. One of the nice things about California is that our milder weather means less heating in the winter and the state is less dependent on coal than other regions. Of course, we find other ways to make up for it (in a bad way) — such as sprawling into the desert and sitting alone in idling cars in traffic. One easy solution there: try taking transit every so often, walking or biking or some combination of all three.

Guest post: planning to sprawl (The Last Word on Nothing)

Nice post by Erica Schoenberger on how to explain to students that while individual choices matter when it comes to things that impact the environment (such as traffic), it’s equally important to explain the collective decisions that influence the way individuals act.

Excerpt:

Here’s what I’m trying to help the kids understand.  We’ve been making messes for a very long while and we have known pretty much all along that we were doing so.  The histories of our mess-making really matter.  Getting at the details lets you see how a trajectory was constructed piece by piece, opening up some possibilities and forclosing others.  Further: We may have very good intentions as individuals, but the options we have available to choose among are structured by larger, impersonal forces.  Huge collective investments have supported and promoted all those unfortunate individual decisions and have made it hard for people to make good choices.  To me, this suggests that huge collective investments in support of good decisions are needed.  If a capitalist system must grow to survive, let’s grow toward, not away from, the world we want.   

This is why I hope everyone watches closely as plans evolve for various Metro projects and a potential ballot measure in 2016. These kind of big projects and/or plans will influence the decisions that people make transportation-wise for many decades to come, not to mention the scarce public funds that will be used on them. If you don’t like the choices facing you as an individual, please pay attention to these group decisions — one very much has to do with the other, as Erica writes.

Seattle’s Alaskan Way Viaduct: king of the boondoggles (Streetsblog Network)

A less than optimistic view of the project that involves tearing down an elevated highway and putting it in a tunnel underground. Rising construction costs, a tunnel boring machine (named Bertha) that got stuck and falling toll projections are among the problems thus encountered. That said, the tunnel machine’s Twitter feed is entertaining/informative as these things go although Bertha’s taste in football teams is questionable at best.

“Bike to the Bowl” for the Pixies, Cat Power, and Gogol Bordello Sunday, Sept. 28

This Sunday, September 28, Metro, the Hollywood Bowl, and LA County Bicycle Coalition have teamed up to make it easy to “Bike to the Bowl” to see The Pixies, Cat Power, and Gogol Bordello!

Tickets are still available for the show, which begins at 7:30 p.m. with Cat Power. LACBC will be on hand at the Bowl’s Museum Patio to offer free, secure valet bike parking to those arriving on two wheels. The valet will be open from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.

There are a few different ways to “Bike to the Bowl.” If you don’t want to make the entire trip by bike, connect to the Hollywood Bowl Shuttle (the ride is free with valid TAP card), or hop aboard the Metro Red Line, exit at Hollywood/Highland Station, and ride the rest of the way.

As a reward for your efforts, show your TAP card or bike valet ticket at the Museum Patio and receive a free scoop of ice cream, compliments of Peddler’s Creamery! Can you say sweet deal?

To find out more about LA County bike paths, lanes, routes, and racks, check out the Metro Bike Map.

Your Friday send-off: Fall Out Boy – the song with the super long title (Light ‘Em Up)

Judge my youth (and current musical choices) if you’re so inclined, but Fall Out Boy! The song below is My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ‘Em Up) because of course it is. There’s also a pretty awesome mashup of Light ‘Em Up with Radioactive by Imagine Dragons that’s worth listening to. You’ll have to find that one on your own though.

If enjoying music on bus or train, please remember to use your headphones. And if you have transit playlist song recs, leave them in the comments or tweet them at us @metrolosangeles! Awesome tracks (as deemed by yours truly) will be shared in future posts.

Bonus track after the jump: ONE OK ROCK – The Beginning. The new Rurouni Kenshin movies are out but I can’t watch them yet, so I’ll have to settle for rewatching the first one.

Continue reading

A Better Blue Line: more photos, work update

Work on the Blue Line in downtown Long Beach is progressing on schedule. Here are some more photos of what’s been taking place.

For those taking transit to Long Beach Comic-Con or other Long Beach events this weekend: the four downtown Long Beach Blue Line stations are closed for repair and other work. Transfer from the Blue Line at Anaheim Street Station to a free shuttle bus serving the downtown Long Beach rail stations.

Blue Line closure alert poster

Related Posts

Service Advisory: 30-day closure of four Blue Line stations
30-day Closure of Four Blue Line Stations
A Better Blue Line
Test Demonstration of Track Work

Transportation headlines, Friday, September 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! 

ART OF TRANSIT: Panelists speak at the Social Media Week forum hosted by Metro earlier this week on the agency's use of social media and other rider issues. Click above to listen to the panel!

ART OF TRANSIT: Panelists speak at the Social Media Week forum hosted by Metro earlier this week on the agency’s use of social media and other rider issues. Click above to listen to the panel!

The Valley deserves to be part of L.A.’s transit revolution (L.A. Times) 

In this opinion piece, Matthew Fleischer says that it makes sense to upgrade the Orange Line to rail — as an increasing number of people say is necessary. But it would be expensive, he notes, and that it may make more sense to simply run express buses similar to the express subway trains in New York (and elsewhere).

Excerpt:

Buses, unlike trains, have the maneuverability to pass one another easily. To hop on at Chatsworth and take the bus all the way to North Hollywood means making 16 time-consuming stops. An express route could potentially save huge amounts of time for riders at the tail end of every route. An express bus from North Hollywood, for instance, could potentially skip right to Reseda, while another local bus leaving at the same time could service the stations it passed over. If the express bus catches a local bus in front of it, it can simply pass by and continue on its direct route — unlike a train.

Los Angeles is in the midst of a public transportation revolution. Rail projects like the Expo Line and the “subway to the sea” may one day reinvent the way Angelenos interact with their city. The San Fernando Valley absolutely deserves to be part of this revolution.

The Metro Board this summer approved a motion asking Metro staff to explore a number of improvements, including a potential rail conversion. Metro staff responded with this preliminary report outlining some short- and long-term fixes that should be studied further. Not on the list: express buses.

The short-term fixes, not surprisingly, largely involve trying to get more green lights for the Orange Line, which often finds itself having to stop at station platforms and most cross north-south cross streets. If you’re interested in this issue, see the staff report at the above link. Pretty interesting discussion and it will be intriguing to see if the issue of express buses is raised by others.

Sepulveda Pass and LAX transit (Let’s Go LA)

Intriguing post about a potential transit tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass and the many possible future transit and/or light rail lines that it may serve. A lot of what is shown on the map are project that aren’t in Metro’s long-range plan — meaning there’s no funding or planning in the works — but it’s still fun to contemplate. The blog post certainly hits the nail on the head by saying that a Sepulveda Pass transit tunnel would only get chance to get it right, meaning it really needs to be able to accommodate whatever the future holds, transit wise.

As many of you know, the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor is a project set to receive about $1 billion from Measure R. But it’s also a project not scheduled to be completed until the late 2030s and vastly more funding would be needed to build a tunnel, if that option is pursued. Metro has done some preliminary studies of possible concepts and is looking at a public-private partnership to fund the project, although nothing is for certain at this point.

Continue reading

Monday’s Zocalo forum will ask: Is traffic L.A.’s destiny? (We certainly hope not!)

Metro photo

Metro photo

What could speed up traffic? We all have opinions, of course. But at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Petersen Automotive Museum some pretty good minds will tackle the subject as part of a Zocalo Public Square forum. The forum is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended.

Here’s how the Zocalo website describes it:

When people say that death and taxes are the only certain things in life, they are forgetting about Southern California traffic. Despite freeway widening and highway construction and newly synchronized streetlights, there’s still not enough room on the roads. We now get accident reports in real time and can change our routes to avoid jams, but Angelenos still spend more time in traffic than other Americans. However, there is more change still to come. The region is in the early stages of a 30-year transit transformation that began with the passage of Measure R in 2008, a sales tax increase that is funding a wide range of transportation projects. Will express lanes, fewer potholes, and improved interchanges speed drivers along? And will new rail lines, improved bus service, and bike lanes finally get millions of people out of their cars? L.A. Business Council president Mary Leslie, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies director Brian D. Taylor, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic executive director Hilary Norton, and Metro CEO Art Leahy visit Zócalo to ask whether traffic is forever L.A.’s destiny. KCRW traffic reporter Kajon Cermak will moderate.

What could speed up traffic? Taking Metro bus 720 or 20 down Wilshire or the 217 down Fairfax to the Monday night forum could help. Find out more at the forum.

Zocalo is an L.A. based not-for-profit group that blends live events with written and broadcast journalism. Metro and Zocalo are co-presenting the event.

Go Metro Weekends, Sept 26 – 28

Feast of San Gennaro!

Feast of San Gennaro is happening this weekend, don’t miss the cheesy, tomato sauced goodness! Photo: Feast of LA Official Facebook

Friday

From the mystical land of Shaolin…or rather Staten Island, New York, come the Wu Tang Clan. They’ll be performing their first show in the newly renovated Forum! They’re also bringing a few special guests along with them. Show starts at 7:30 p.m. with tickets still on sale starting at $36. (Metro Bus 115 or 212 to Manchester/Prairie)

Saturday

Famed British artist D* Face will be unveiling his newest project, Scars and Stripes, at PMM Art Projects. The exhibit touches on the American Dream and its connection to artists we have lost such as Kurt Cobain and Jimi Hendrix. The free showing starts at 6:30 p.m. (Metro Bus 14 to Beverly/Robertson or 16 to 3rd/Sherbourne)

The Long Beach Folk Revival takes place at Rainbow Lagoon Park in Long Beach this Saturday. See this previous post for event, Blue Line construction and discount info!

Sunday

Former Watts Tower Art Center director Mark Steven Greenfield brings together some of his most cherished work from the last four decades with the “Lookin’ Back in Front of Me: Selected Works from Mark Steven Greenfield” exhibit at the California African American Museum. Exhibit starts at 2 p.m and is free to attend. (Metro Expo Line to Expo Park/USC Station)

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Cine Sin Frontreas at the Ray Stark located at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. See highlights from the esteemed Moriella International Festival and enjoy a Q&A with Yolanda Cruz. Admission is free but you’ll still need a ticket. The festival takes place from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Metro Expo Line to Expo Park/USC Station)

All Weekend

Circus Vargas will be in town starting this weekend! They’ll be here until October 20 so don’t miss your chance to save $10 off bleacher or arena tickets. (Performance locations vary so it’s best to use Trip Planner to find routes and connections)

The 13th Annual Galbani Cheese Italian Feast of San Gennaro LA takes over Hollywood once again. Try some amazing Italian food, enjoy great music and great family fun. The fest runs Friday from 5 p.m to midnight, Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Be sure to show your TAP card to save $1 on admission. (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland Station)