Historic Lankershim Depot gets extreme makeover

Metro today announced that it has completed a $3.6-million restoration of the historic Lankershim Depot near the Metro Orange and Red Lines in North Hollywood.

The train depot, originally built in 1896 and historically known as Toluca Southern Pacific Train Depot, has undergone a major transformation. About 70 percent of the original structure has been completely rehabilitated, with contractors completing a new building foundation and roof, electric and plumbing systems, platforms, signage and seismic upgrades. Metro contractors have also restored sidings, eaves, windows and doors.

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The depot in 1950.

The three-room depot and outside platform area now has its original paint colors of mustard yellow and brown, and features a sign on the roof that reads “Southern Pacific-Pacific Electric Station” that harkens back to the early and mid 20th century when the depot primarily served as a passenger and freight rail stop.

The depot will remain unoccupied until Metro determines the best use for the property and finds a future tenant. The chosen tenant will then make its required renovations to the interior, as well as plant landscaping around the depot’s perimeter. Additional work upon occupancy will include the restoration of an adjacent park and rebuilding railroad tracks next to the station to provide the proper context for the building.

Initial concepts for the re-use of the property include a bike hub, museum, coffee shop, restaurant or combination of those elements that provide the greatest public benefit.

When the depot becomes available for occupancy is dependent upon the construction schedule for Metro’s North Hollywood Station Underpass Project that will provide a safe, convenient underground connection between Metro’s Red Line and Orange Line stations — eliminating the need for riders to cross busy Lankershim Boulevard. Construction activities are now underway and the project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

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Photos from last night’s Invisible Cities’ performance

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There was a huge crowd on hand for Wednesday night’s “Invisible Cities” performance in Los Angeles Union Station’s historic ticketing hall brought to you by the Metro Presents series. Thank you very much to The Industry for their hard work putting on the concert and for everyone who attended!

Transportation headlines, Thursday, October 30

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.  

ART OF TRANSIT: The Dodger Stadium Express will hitting the gym this winter to prepare for some heavy lifting in April -- particularly the 27th through the 29th. Let's hope for a Bumgarner versus Kershaw game.

ART OF TRANSIT: The Dodger Stadium Express will hitting the gym this winter to prepare for some heavy lifting in April — particularly the 27th through the 29th. Let’s hope for a Bumgarner versus Kershaw game.

Bullet train just a blur in California’s governor’s race (L.A. Times)

The high-speed rail line planned to eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco (and one day San Diego) has been mentioned scarcely in the race between incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown and Republican opponent Neel Kashkari. That surprises some observers, given that the bullet train is widely considered to be the nation’s largest infrastructure project and one that needs political attention.

The noise near Santa Monica’s airport is getting louder (New York Times)

Nice overview story about the ballot measures in Santa Monica that will decide who controls the airport’s future — residents or elected officials. Well, sort of control — the Federal Aviation Administration which continues to contend that the city of Santa Monica must operate the airport for the benefit of the public.

Of course, there’s another big question if the airport (described as like an aircraft carrier in a sea of homes) should ever close: what does the 227-acre site become? Whatever happens, the second phase of the Expo Line will be about a mile away — but on the other side of the Santa Monica Freeway.

BART’s Oakland Airport Connector on track for holiday debut (Chronicle) 

Which holiday — Thanksgiving or Christmas — is still in question. But officials say the people mover that will run for 8.5 minutes between the BART regional rail line and the airport is almost ready to go and just needs approval from the California Public Utilities Commission.

Attentive Source readers know, of course, that LAX is planning to build a people mover system to connect the airport’s terminals to a station at Aviation and 96th Street along the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Please see this Source post from June for much, much, much more about that.

 

Reminder: free Day of the Dead Metro Art Tour this Sunday

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Don’t miss the special Día de los Muertos themed art tour this Sunday, Nov. 2. The free tour will explore artworks along the Metro Gold Line through the lens of artist Consuelo Flores. Participants are encouraged to dress in Calavera attire!

The tour will depart at 4:30 p.m. from the Metro Gold Line East L.A. Civic Center Station and end at 6 p.m. at Self Help Graphics’ 41st Annual Día de los Muertos Celebration in Boyle Heights near Pico/Aliso Station. TAP card holders will be able to save 10 percent on artwork at the event. [NOTE: Sunday is the end of Daylight Saving Time, which means clocks will be "falling" back one hour at 2 a.m. Make sure all your clocks are updated...wouldn't want to show up for the tour an hour early!]

The tour is approximately 90 percent walking. There are elevators and escalators in all of the stations and only Mariachi Station is underground.

Zocalo Public Square event Monday: are trains the future of L.A.?

Our friends at Zocalo Public Square have been all over transportation issues this year. That trend continues Monday night at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles (317 S. Broadway). Here’s the description from Zocalo:

For a century, the hearts of Angelenos have belonged to cars and to flying machines, not trains–even though we never would have become a city without the railroad, and couldn’t survive as a global trade center without the rail links to our seaports. But today, in a potentially historic shift, Southern California governments are betting billions that trains can win us over. Five rail lines are under construction right now in L.A., part of a 30-year wave of projects that could give Southern California the most highly developed rail system in the country, save New York. But will we go along for the ride? Only a small percentage of us use the Metro rail regularly, and California’s high-speed rail project is unpopular in L.A. Will we change our ways and depend on trains daily–and embrace development around rail networks? What is it about rail that captures people’s hearts–and why has L.A. remained immune to this almost universally beloved mode of transport? Journalist and Chapman University English scholar Tom Zoellner, author of Train, and UCLA and UC Berkeley legal, business, and environmental scholar Ethan Elkind, author of Railtown, visit Zócalo to discuss the past and future of trains here, and whether Los Angeles will finally fall for rail.

 

Sounds intriguing. BTW, I’ll be recording a podcast with Ethan Elkind that we’ll have on the Source soon talking about transit past, present and future in our region.

More info on registering to attend the event at the Zocalo website. Grand Central Market is a short walk from the Red/Purple Line’s Pershing Square Station and numerous Metro Bus lines, as shown on the map below. All Metro maps and timetables are here.

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.

City of La Cañada Flintridge held sound wall dedication ceremony

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The City of La Cañada Flintridge held a sound wall dedication ceremony yesterday to celebrate the completion of three sound wall segments in the Arroyo Verdugo subregion along the I-210 freeway. The project cost $4.813 million and 95 percent of the funding was provided by Measure R. The sound walls will provide noise mitigation to nearby residents along the I-210.

The three sound wall segments are located:

  • South of I-210 – Foothill Boulevard eastbound on-ramp to Berkshire Place eastbound off-ramp
  • North of I-210 — Berkshire Place westbound on-ramp to Foothill Boulevard westbound off-ramp
  • Between Indiana Avenue and Union Street along the south side of Curran Street

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, October 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.  

Zombies attack

This begs the question: do the walking dead need to TAP? (Photo: Dan Cooke)

Don’t Believe the Headlines: Bike Boom Has Been Fantastic for Bike Safety (Streetsblog USA)

This article is in response to the Governors Highway Safety Assn. (GHSA) study released on Monday that showed bicycling fatalities on the rise within the past two years.  Among the issues the authors had with the study was its lack of perspective and resulting sensationalism, considering bike trips in the country have tripled since 1975, yet bicycling deaths — despite increasing the past few years — are still much lower than they were then.

Put those figures together, and what’s actually happening is that for an infinitesimal fraction of the cost of the nation’s transportation system, Americans are enjoying billions more bike trips every year than they were a generation ago. And because the sheer number of bikes on the street is teaching drivers to keep an eye out for bikes, every single bike trip is far, far safer than it was.

It’s worth adding that maintaining awareness of your surroundings, defensive bicycling and following simple safety precautions (like those from Metro’s Bike page) never hurt either.

L.A. area has many freeways that stayed on the drawing board (L.A. Times)

A look at the history behind Los Angeles’ freeway system and why some of those that were planned were never built. Two of the major causes of this, the author says citing UCLA urban planning professor Brian Taylor, were lack of funds, community opposition and rising costs due to the space required to build modern freeways. But 60 years ago, building highways was easy.

Initially, money for freeway building flowed. California gasoline taxes were raised in 1947 and 1953, and Congress passed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Seizing homes for freeways was astonishingly easy after World War II; Taylor writes it took less than three weeks for the state to begin tearing down homes along the 110 Freeway route south of downtown after asking a court for permission.

The last freeway project in L.A. County, the 105 Freeway, needed nearly 20 years to do the same.

Taking a look at the supplemental map of the “forgotten freeways,” I can’t help but think we’re far better off with most of those proposed highways never being built. After all, we were able to sprawl just fine without them. It might have also taken longer to realize freeways and cars were unsustainable long-term at the expense of many more communities.

Mapping London’s “Tube Tongues” (CityLab)

A researcher at the University College London made this interactive map of the London Tube based on census data that shows which languages other than English are most spoken near each station.

The map is great. Knowing very little about London, I was able to get a sense of the geography and diversity of London’s neighborhoods in one quick look. Any takers on creating a similar map for L.A.?

29 vintage photos from 110 years of the New York subway (Time Out)

Some old-timey photos of the New York subway from the past century…