Go Metro Weekends, Oct 17 – 19

Fresh fruits, veggies and more at this weekend’s Los Angeles Farmers Market!

Friday

Run for your life this Friday at Haunted Hollywood Sports at the Hollywood Sports Park in Bellflower. From 8 p.m. to midnight, you’ll get a chance to escape from the creepiest ghouls and goblins in Southern California. $30 admission will get you into three interactive mazes, a pop-up nightclub and two scare zones. For those who get away, a $10 ticket is the reward–and you can use it to pay for the privilege of shooting zombies with a paintball gun. The ticket box opens at 7:30 p.m. Gate open at 8 p.m. Don’t miss out on the spooky adventure! (Metro Bus 266 to Lakewood/Somerset or Metro Bus 127 to Somerset/Touchwood.)

Witness the rhythmic sounds of tap in a live performance from the Los Angeles based touring company, Rhapsody In Taps. The annual children’s show is free to the public and will be held at the Aratani Theatre from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Watch nine tap dancers and the six jazz musicians who accompany them showcase the rich heritage of jazz and choreographed performance. The show is designed for 4th through 8th grade students. Seats must be reserved prior to attending. (Metro Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.)

Saturday

Enjoy your Saturday morning with the family picking fresh fruit and veggies at The Wall – Food, Flowers, & Farmers Market located at 755 Wall Street in the Fashion District at 10:30 a.m. The event provides inexpensive food grown from some of California’s smaller farms. Show your valid TAP card and receive free admission to the Original LA Flower Market and a rose from a farmer. (Metro Red or Purple Line to Pershing Square Station and walk 4 blocks toward 7th Street, or Metro Bus 68 to 6th/Los Angeles.)

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Graphic: what it took to build track for the Foothill Extension

From our friends at the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the 11.5-mile line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border:

Click above to see larger version.

Click above to see larger version.

Track work for the project will be completed on Saturday at a ceremony open to the public at 10 a.m. in Azusa. Click here for a recent Source post with great video on the track work and information about the event.

 

Transportation headlines, Thursday, October 16

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! 

Why the 405 isn’t any faster with more lanes (KPCC Take Two)

An economist says expanding a road — 405 over the Sepulveda Pass included — will probably mean an increase in the number of vehicles that use the road. His answer to quickening commutes: congestion pricing, a la the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeway that help discourage everyone from driving at the same peak hours.

Labor dispute kills Kinkisharyo’s AV plant (San Fernando Valley Business Journal)

The rail car manufacturer under contract by Metro to produce new light rail vehicles has decided not to build a $50 million, 400,000-square-foot facility in Palmdale. The firm had said it would build the new facility as part of its contract with Metro. But a labor-supported residents group — specifically the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 11 — tried to hold up a needed zoning change unless Kinkisharyo agreed to be a “card check” facility. “Card check is a process by which a workplace can unionize if 50 percent or more of workers sign cards stating they want to be represented for collective bargaining,” reports the Business Journal.

Excerpt:

Agency spokesman Marc Littman said he was disappointed by the company’s decision but added it would not affect the delivery of Metro’s cars.

“This is a real loss,” Littman said. “We wanted them here to help the local economy but we cannot require Kinkisharyo do (manufacturing) here.”

IBEW Local 11 was in the news in 2013 when it got heavily involved in the campaign for mayor of Los Angeles. It didn’t work. Eric Garcetti, now the chair of the Metro Board of Directors, easily won the election without the union’s support.

Metro moving forward with flawed ‘Complete Streets’ policy (Streetsblog L.A.)

Joe Linton takes a look at the Complete Streets policy being considered this month by the Metro Board of Directors. While parts of it are commendable, he opines, other parts are vague with no assurance that the policies will be enforced to encourage roads where walking and biking are safe and desirable. While street design is usually up to local cities (or the county in unincorporated areas), Metro may have the ability to influence street design in rail corridors or with projects that involve Metro funding.

California high-speed rail wins big round in state Supreme Court (Sacramento Bee)

The California Supreme Court turns away a lawsuit challenging the issuance of state bonds needed to help pay for construction of the first segment of the high-speed rail line that is eventually planned to run between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s good news for the project but there are other remaining legal challenges that assert the project doesn’t live up to what was promised voters in Prop 1A in 2008.

The self-driving Tesla may make us love urban sprawl again (Slate)

The key graph — and something I’ve pondered in this space before:

As driving becomes less onerous and computer-controlled systems reduce traffic, some experts worry that will eliminate a powerful incentive—commuting sucks—for living near cities, where urban density makes for more efficient sharing of resources. In other words, autonomous vehicles could lead to urban sprawl.

In other words, if you can sit in your own car and not have to drive or pay much attention to the road, would your commute seem less onerous? Yes, there still could be a lot of traffic with self-driving cars. But perhaps the door-to-door attractiveness of a car coupled with technology (i.e. playing PacMan, Asteroids or Missile Command) on your tablet will trump the yuckyness of traffic.

 

Sneak peek into fabrication for artwork at future Expo/Sepulveda Station

Susan Logoreci inspecting color in ceramic tile sections at artwork fabricator's shop. Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

Artist Susan Logoreci inspecting color in ceramic tile sections at artwork fabricator’s shop. Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

Detail of artwork rendered in ceramic tile pieces.  Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

Detail of artwork rendered in ceramic tile pieces. Photo: Mosaika Art & Design

This is the third in a series of Source posts providing a behind-the-scenes look at the artwork fabrication process for each of the seven new Metro Rail stations under construction along the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica.

The artworks will create a welcoming environment for future riders and connect the stations to surrounding neighborhoods. Commissioned artists include Constance Mallinson, Shizu Saldamando, Abel Alejandre, Susan Logoreci, Nzuji de Magalhães, Carmen Argote, and Judithe Hernandez.

This post introduces the artwork of artist Susan Logoreci, which will be featured at Expo/Sepulveda Station. Logoreci’s original artwork, Right Above The Right-Of-Way, uses colored pencil drawings to express the area’s urban form and housing. The original drawings were translated into hand-cut ceramic tile pieces that were kiln fired. The eight hand-glazed, hand-cut ceramic mosaic panels will be installed in overhead structures at Expo/Sepulveda Station entries and throughout the platform, highly visible to transit customers and the general public.

Logoreci is integrally involved in the process to ensure that the ceramic tile artwork matches the color and hue of her original drawings.

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Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Oct. 15

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! 

The many reasons millennials are shunning driving (Washington Post)

New research from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group dives deeper into a phenomenon that has been well-documented to date: the generation known as millennials are driving much less than any generation since World War II. Among some of the reasons why:

•Millennials are marrying later and starting families later, meaning they’re also waiting longer before moving to homes and the ‘burbs (if they do).

•Gas prices are high and millennials don’t know the concept of cheap gas.

•Technology has made car sharing, bike sharing and ride sharing far easier — and the advent of the internet and smart phones and tablets makes taking transit more appealing.

•Millennials don’t see cars as valuable as previous generations — they would rather spend money on technology or experiences.

Interesting stuff. None earth-shaking news perhaps. However, the Post doesn’t get into another reason that I think is worth mentioning: a lot of metro areas across the U.S., including our area, have made considerable investments in new transit in the past 25 years. While the new transit may have come along too late to get 40somethings and later out of their cars, millennials are a generation that is growing up with transit.

What remains to be seen is whether millennials flex their political muscles when it comes time for ballot measures and other elections around the country that determine how transportation gets spent. Thoughts, readers?

The Molina Station naming mess (Downtown News)

The DN’s editorial board takes the Metro Board of Directors to task for their vote earlier this month to name the East Los Angeles Civic Center Station after Board Member Gloria Molina and the NoHo Red Line Station after Zev Yaroslavsky. Their main issue: Supervisor Molina has announced her intent to run for the Los Angeles City Council and a station with new signage is not appropriate during an election, the Downtown News argues.

Why Minneapolis’ bike freeways are totally the best (Grist) 

Great post on the new network of bike and pedestrian paths around the Twin Cities. Explanation:

How did this happen? Minneapolis is unusual, as cities go, because it has a funny-shaped park system called the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway that encircles most of the city like a ring road. The Grand Rounds had a network of entirely separate paths for cars and pedestrians that dated back to the WPA era, but in the mid ’90s, Minneapolis began to lay down new paths for cyclists, too. These paths were mostly recreational until, in the last decade, Minneapolis began to draw lines between different points on that circle by converting old railroad infrastructure, like the Midtown Greenway, for pedestrians and cyclists, and connecting them to the city itself.

Cities like New York and San Francisco have added bike routes to the grid of regular street traffic, but if you look at the map of what Minneapolis is doing, it becomes clear that something entirely different is happening: Minneapolis is building a freeway system for bikes. But a nice one — a freeway where you can bike past flocks of geese rising off the lake in the morning and never have to breathe truck exhaust.

 

Of course, there is that little thing called “the weather” that Twin Cities denizens must contend with. Then again, when not icicling, they can listen to one of our favorite radio stations, The Current, whose great music is available online. WNKU in Northern Kentucky is also great if you’re out and about on transit and want to try a new station. Of course, our own KCRW’s music programming gets major hugs, too :)

How not to measure traffic congestion (Planetizen)

Todd Littman performs a well-reasoned takedown of data and conclusions from a new report by the firm Inrix that predicts a significant rise in congestion and related costs in the next 20 years. Excerpt from Todd’s blog post:

Such very large numbers are virtually meaningless. For economic analysis it is usually best to convert impacts into annual costs per capita – let’s see what that means for these congestion impacts. According to the graph on study’s page 40,average annual hours of delay for an average automobile commuter are projected to increase from a current 22.0 up to 23.4 in 2030, a gain of 1.4 hours per year or 42 seconds per day for 200 commute days. Since adults devote about 90 daily minutes to travel, current 22 annual hours of congestion delays add about 4% to total travel time, and the projected increases this to 4.5%. These impacts are tiny overall.

The INRIX report makes several other basic errors. It describes traffic congestion as “gridlock,” a greatly abused term. Gridlock refers to a specific situation in which vehicles in a network are totally stuck due to clogged intersections. It almost never occurs. In fact, congestion tends to maintain equilibrium: it increases to the point that some potential peak-period automobile trips shift to other times, modes or routes, so threats of “gridlock” based on extrapolating past trends are almost always exaggerations.

 

Smart piece. I’m not wild about apocalyptic predictions of future traffic, although I do think trying to understand its impacts has some merit (smog, cultural, etc.). I tend to think the whole subject can be easily summed up in one sentence: “If we don’t do anything, traffic may get worse and there won’t be enough alternatives to sitting in it.”

And today’s closing photo…looks like I transferred to the wrong bus….

Rail is a thing of the past in Cincinnati, where transit means "Go Metro." Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Rail is a thing of the past in Cincinnati, where transit means “Go Metro” on the bus. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

 

 

New Metro video: just click and go, says Galactic Flo

One of our enduring pet peeves at The Source is the misbegotten idea that government should be boring, dry, complicated, bureaucratic, technical and always play it ultra-safe when communicating with the public.

In that spirit, Metro’s marketing team recently put their collective heads together to produce a trio of new videos that certainly aren’t boring and/or bureaucratic. Rather, the videos are intended as a fun way to help folks learn to ride the system and remind everyone that taking transit can be fun and interesting.

The first of the new videos features hip hop duo Galactic Flo planning a transit trip and is posted above. We’ll post the other two in the next few days. Please feel free to share/comment/review on social media using the hashtag #metrorocks. Metro is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

One other note: the musicians who appear in the videos (and the firm that made them) are entirely local. If you’re a musician and would like to share your song about local transit, you can email us here.

The Metro Trip Planner is on the metro.net homepage. If you prefer, Google Maps can also be used to plan transit trips.

Here’s a taste of the Taste of Soul this Saturday

Grab your TAP card and your appetite and head over to the Taste of Soul festival this Saturday. You’ll be joining more than 300,000 others so go early and eat often. And for a truly enjoyable experience you absolutely must take Metro. (Think about the traffic 300,000 diners will generate.)

For a taste of the Taste of Soul, check out the video above that drops by three participating restaurants: delicious Harold and Belle’s, Mel’s (melt in your mouth!) Fish Shack and lovely Chef Marilyn’s Soul Food. And hear how the Taste of Soul began, from founder Danny Bakewell Sr.

So hop on the Expo Line to the Expo/Crenshaw Station and walk and eat your way south. You’ll be happy for the exercise.