Transportation headlines, Monday, April 21

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! 

Editor’s note: I’m blogging this week (again) from Cincinnati, where I’m attending to some unexpected family business. I hope to soon be back in L.A. assuming I don’t tumble into a giant pothole or drown in a four-way. 

Mayor calls delayed 710 report a significant setback (Pasadena Now) 

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard says that he believes that a tunnel to close the 710 gap is still under consideration despite the announcement last week that the draft environmental study for the project will be delayed to accommodate new computer modeling. The mayor has in the past said that he’s against a tunnel. Other alternatives under consideration include light rail, bus rapid transit, intersection and traffic signal improvements and no build.

11 simple ways to speed up your city’s buses (Streetsblog USA)

The headline could have easily been 11 common sense things to do to speed up buses. Among the suggestions: moving stops to the far sides of intersections (so buses don’t stop twice — once for passengers and again for a red light), consolidating stops, streamlining routes, using more bus lanes and using more traffic signal priority. It’s a smart post and I hope that it’s read by the many cities that are served by Metro and muni buses in Los Angeles County — as they have a big say in this.

Train nearly takes out elected official at press event promoting train safety (San Francisco Examiner) 

Bottom line: don’t stand on the yellow line at the edge of the platform, even if you’re deemed an important person.

How to travel the West on $10,000 per day (High Country News) 

One idea: the “Earthroamer” a 10-ton RV complete with its own array of solar panels that probably don’t help prevent it from being a greenhouse gas machine.

Cincinnati streetcar foes have a new target: bus lanes (Streetsblog USA)

An attempt to stop the city’s streetcar project failed. The new enemy of the public: a proposed bike lane in downtown on Central Parkway, which could rob businesses of free employee parking, so says Cincinnati’s mayor. Semi-irony: Spending money on the bike lane was previously approved and underneath Central Parkway is a subway that was partially built in the 1920s but never completed. Construction of a streetcar along the Parkway was halted and almost suspended last winter but work has resumed. Hey Cincy: try finishing what you started!

Not really related but for those who didn’t understand the above reference, below is what a “four-way” plate of Cincy chili looks like. Four way as in cheese on top of chili, onions and spaghetti. Chili John’s on Burbank Boulevard and Keystone in Burbank serves a very similar and tasty dish and Metro’s 154 bus stops right in front for the culinarily curious and adventurous.

photo (5)

 

 

Metro Board to consider extending ExpressLanes on 10 and 110 freeways beyond January 2015

One key issue that the Metro Board of Directors are scheduled to consider at their meeting on Thursday: whether to continue tolling as part of the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways beyond January 15 of next year.

Some quick background: Metro received a $210.6-million federal grant in 2008 to use on transportation improvements in the 10 and 110 corridors. That included trying theExpressLanes for a year-long pilot period to determine if there might be a better way to manage traffic on both freeways. The lanes have proven to be popular with more than 253,000 transponders issued — far more than Metro originally anticipated. (Here is the ExpressLanes home page, including information on how to get a transponder).

The Metro staff report on the issue is above (pdf here). The report also includes a technical memo from the Federal Highway Administration that offers a preliminary analysis of the ExpressLanes, as well as some statistics. Excerpt:

Although preliminary, the results described in this report suggest that the LACRD projects are accomplishing many of their goals and objectives. Consistent with other new HOV/HOT conversion projects,the congestion data analysis shows degradation in travel times and travel speeds performance during the initial deployment period on some portions of the I-10 and I-110.

However, consistent with other sites, the same facilities are showing an upward trend in travel time reductions and increases in speed in the later portions of the pilot period. The tolling analysis findings indicate that the number of trips on the ExpressLanes (by all groups) continued to increase over the course of the demonstration period, partially demonstrated by the increase in gross revenue from toll-paying vehicles.

The many incentive programs proved to be successful with almost $13,000 in toll credits issued to Transit Rewards Program account holders and over $100,000 in toll transponder credits issued to over 4,000 LA County households enrolled in the Equity Plan. In addition, the ExpressLanes program surpassed several of its goals including enrolling over 100 new Metro-registered vanpools and issuing over 253,000 transponders by the end of the demonstration period.

Transit analysis findings indicate that Silver Line ridership increased largely due to CRD-funded service. The entire line (bothI-110 and 1-10) showed a 27 percent increase in monthly boardings after the new service was added with an additional 15 percent increase post-tolling. When surveyed, a third of new riders said they drove alone prior to the increased services and 48 percent of riders agreed that tolling has improved their travel. Additionally, the surveys showed an overall good level of customer satisfaction with transit services.

 

One other point worth considering from the Metro staff report: a more thorough analysis of the ExpressLanes is also being done and Metro intends to use the information to make any improvements necessary to make the ExpressLanes work better.

As a related item, the Metro Board is also scheduled to consider a motion by Metro Board Member Gloria Molina that would permanently waive the $3 account maintenance fee for infrequent users and instead substitute a $1 monthly fee on all accounts.

 

Northbound I-405 closure in Sepulveda Pass between Getty Center Drive and Greenleaf planned night of April 22

Here’s the press release from Metro:

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is planning to close the northbound I-405 in the Sepulveda Pass from Getty Center Drive to Greenleaf the night of April 22 to remove and install overhead signs. Closure information is as follows:

  • The night of Tuesday, April 22 from midnight to 5 a.m. on Wednesday, April 23

Ramps will be closed as early as 7 p.m., and lanes will begin to close at 10 p.m. each night.

Ramp Closures:

  • Eastbound/Westbound Northbound Sunset on-ramp
  • Moraga on/off ramps
  • Northbound Getty on-ramp
  • Northbound Skirball on-ramp
  • Northbound 405/101 connector

Detour:

  • Take northbound Getty off, north on Sepulveda, west on Ventura to northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf

What to expect:

Short term freeway, street closures planned for Downtown Los Angeles area Tuesday, April 22

The California Highway Patrol (CHP), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Caltrans, and Metro are warning motorists to avoid the northbound US-101 freeway around DTLA on Tuesday, April 22. This is in anticipation of a significant number of attendees for the funeral services and subsequent procession to the interment location for LAPD Officer Christopher Cortijo.

CHP and LAPD, in partnership with Caltrans, will close the northbound 101 between I-110 and Barham Boulevard from 10:30 a.m. to noon. In addition, the I-110 northbound and southbound transition lanes to the 101 northbound lanes will be closed to motorists. Numerous city streets surrounding the Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, at 555 W. Temple Street, will also be closed off to motorists earlier in the morning.

CHP advises motorists to plan ahead by leaving early for your destination if you must travel to the DTLA area, or avoid the area altogether.

Metro provides numerous transit alternatives in DTLA for motorists who want to avoid freeway impacts. Key services include the Metro Red/Purple Line, as well as Metro Local and Rapid Bus lines. Use Trip Planner to plan your transit trip. Please note: buses that travel through DTLA will likely experience detours and traffic delays until after the procession. For real-time service info, check the Metro homepage or follow Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metroLAalerts.

Alternately, motorists with transponders on their vehicles are encouraged to use Expresslanes on the I-110 in efforts to shorten vehicle travel times. Motorists are also encouraged to monitor downtown traffic conditions in real-time by visiting Go511.com and basing their route choices on current traffic conditions.

The CHP, Metro and Caltrans jointly express their heartfelt sympathy to the family of Officer Cortijo, the LAPD for the loss of a brother, and the City of Los Angeles for the loss of a fine officer. All agencies extend their thanks to the community and allied agencies for the support and cooperation on this day of mourning.

A Better Blue Line: Blue Line to run every 40 minutes between DTLA and Willowbrook tonight

Essential track maintenance will continue on a key crossover of the Metro Blue Line tonight. After 8 p.m., trains will again run every 40 minutes between 7th Street/Metro Center and Willowbrook Station, and will serve the remainder of the Blue Line, between Willowbrook and Long Beach, every 20 minutes.

This means every other northbound train will turn around at Willowbrook Station, and its destination sign departing Downtown Long Beach will read either “Willowbrook” or “Imperial.” Customers should expect all trains to arrive on the Downtown L.A.-bound track between Vernon and Willowbrook stations. Expo Line will be unaffected by the track work and will follow a regular Friday evening schedule, departing every 10 minutes.

Continue reading

Construction notice: week-long closure of intersection of Lincoln & Colorado in Santa Monica begins Monday for Expo Line track work

Lincoln1

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The good news is that construction of the second phase of the Expo Line continues to chug along at a speedy pace. The not-quite-as-good-news: the busy intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica needs to be closed for a week to accommodate construction of the tracks along Colorado Ave.

Please help spread the word. The official notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority — the agency building the project — is posted above.

The second phase of the Expo Line is funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. It is one of three rail projects receiving Measure R funding that are currently under construction (along with the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension) with construction of two other projects expected to begin later this year (Regional Connector and Purple Line Extension). Metro has also begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

Go Metro Weekends, April 18 – 20

Hello again! Here are some events over Easter weekend that should keep your pockets and weekends full!

Friday

For all of you “old school” music lovers out there, hit up the Art Laboe Block Party at The Forum! Join the likes of Evelyn “Champagne” King, ZAPP and Sugar Hill Gang. Doors open at 7:30 p.m and tickets are still on sale. Prices vary. (Metro Bus 115 or 212 to Manchester/Prairie)

Saturday

If you have a pet that you really care about, bring him or her to the Blessing of the Animals at Pueblo De Los Angeles. It’s free, with ceremonies starting at noon. Reminder: pets are only allowed to board Metro in a secured carrier. (Metro Red, Purple or Gold Line to Union Station, several Metro buses to Union Station including lines 40, 704, 733 and Metro Silver Line)

If you missed out on Coachella, use the money saved for Brokechella! Created specifically for those on a slimmer budget, this DTLA music and art showcase features some of the hottest up and coming artists in Los Angeles and beyond. Gates open at 3 p.m., with tickets ranging from $20 – $25. (Metro Bus 18 to 6th/Mateo then walk north along 6th Street to Santa Fe, or Metro Bus 60 to 7th/Santa Fe)

Sunday

Have any Easter plans? Join the Aquarium of the Pacific for a special Easter Breakfest at 8:30 a.m. Ticket prices vary. If you’d like to visit the rest of the aquarium afterwards or on any other day, use your TAP card to get a discount on admission!  (Metro Blue Line to Downtown Long Beach Station, then use free Passport bus to Aquarium entrance)

Afterwards, head to Duff’s Cakemix for some Easter cupcake decorating! Bring the kids along for some family fun. The event starts at 3 p.m., tickets are $25. (Metro Bus 217 to Fairfax/Melrose then walk 1/2 mile west along Melrose Avenue)

All Weekend

Enjoy some night shopping at the K-TOWN Night Market this weekend! The event takes place at the RFK Community Schools and starts Friday from 4 p.m to midnight and Saturday from 2 p.m. to midnight. Admission is free. Don’t forget to get your FREE drink when you show you TAP card. (Metro Red/Purple Line to Wilshire/Vermont Station, Metro Purple Line to Wilshire/Normandie Station)