Why You Ride: Bicycle Edition – Nick Rosenblum, has only been riding his bicycle for 6 months, but is officially converted!

We are collecting nominations for the Year-Round Golden Pedal Awards, Metro’s competition for great stories about bicycling. We’re featuring these stories in a monthly Why You Ride series – because for many Angelenos, Bike Week never ends!

  • Name: Nick Rosenblum
  • Start: Palms Boulevard at National Blvd. (Los Angeles Westside)
  • End: Venice Boulevard at Beethoven Street. (Los Angeles Westside)
  • Distance: Medium and Long Commute (1 to 5 miles and 5 miles or more)
  • Commuting Features: Traffic-congested commute via bike lanes.

 

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Nick standing by his commuter bicycle!

We received Nick’s nomination from Diana Ruzova, someone who knows him very well. Diana told us that Nick didn’t always ride his bike around the city, but after several skateboarding injuries he decided to give biking a try. We congratulate Nick for his perseverance and encourage him to continue bicycling.

Now Nick barely drives. He bikes a few miles to his job as an assistant sound editor at an animation production/post production company. Nick takes the Venice Boulevard bike lane and has to deal with nearby traffic going to and from the freeway. He also bikes to Hollywood, Manhattan Beach and other parts of the region.

With help from our generous Bike Week sponsors, Nick will receive a Bike Week LA bag with a Nathan safety vest, patch kits, bike blinkers, bike maps, and “Every Lane is a Bike Lane” bumper stickers.

Don Knabe and state leaders launch new anti-child sex trafficking awareness Metro and billboard campaign

Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Don Knabe joined California State Senators Ted Lieu and Bob Huff on Friday to reiterate their collective efforts to crack down on the demand-side of the illicit child sex trafficking industry and announce the launch of a new county-wide Metro and billboard awareness campaign.

You may remember a previous campaign by Metro, also led by Supervisor Knabe, to combat the heinous crime of child sex trafficking. The new campaign began as a public service campaign originating as ProtectOaklandKids, a collaborative effort of the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, MISSSEY, Clear Channel Outdoor and the original design team of Suzanne Boutilier, Genice Jacobs and Jed Davis. It will appear at Metro train stations and bus stops, rail cars and buses in English and Spanish. The information will also appear on Metro’s website.

“Metro is proud to support Supervisor Don Knabe in the campaign to fight child sex trafficking, and we encourage our many riders to be vigilant of suspicious activity on our buses, trains and in our stations,” Metro CEO Art Leahy said. “If you ‘See Something, Say Something’ to Sheriff’s deputies or Metro employees–if could save the life of a young victim.”

Thanks to a generous donation by Clear Channel Outdoor, digital displays and traditional billboards will broadcast the message across Los Angeles County.

“This campaign is a critical step in raising awareness of child sex trafficking and changing the public’s mentality that prostitution is a life choice,” Supervisor Knabe said. “No child grows up wanting to be bought and sold for sex in the streets of their community–they are victims–often forced into this life by brutal violence and threats. The true criminals are the scumbags that buy and sell young boys and girls for money and get off with a slap on the wrist.”

The campaign comes on the heels of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voting unanimously to support a state-sponsored “War on Child Sex Trafficking” legislative package that will add sex trafficking to the list of gang activity felonies and allow wiretapping in suspected trafficking cases.

© 2014 Alameda County District Attorney’s Office

Union Station: A man worthy of respect

This is the fourth of a series of posts on the history of Union Station that we are running this month. The station celebrates its 75th anniversary on May 3. 

Amtrak conductor Irv Hirsch

Amtrak conductor Irv Hirsch. Photo by Kim Upton/Metro

He’s an Amtrak conductor based at Union Station and has been since 1974. But among his fondest memories is his time as a porter on the trains between L.A. and Chicago.

“I still have my old card that says I’m a member of the Brotherhood of Railroad Sleeping Car Porters – the historic Black union,” he recalled. “If you were a Pullman sleeping car porter you were a man worthy of respect.”

As a porter, Irv Hirsch was in charge of one car. Each cubicle was a seating room during the day. It was converted by the porters to sleeping berths at night. A porter in those days was bellman, maid, upstairs waiter and concierge to the travelers in his car, in Hirsch’s case, on the Amtrak Southwest Chief’s 43-hour trip between Los Angeles and Chicago. The African American porters were men of distinction, Hirsch said, who would have thrived in any career. They were proud of their positions and he was proud to be among the few white porters at the time.

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Southbound I-405 closure in West L.A. between Getty Center Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard planned Nights of April 12, 13

Weekend closures on the I-405:

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project contractor is planning to close the southbound I-405 in West Los Angeles from Getty Center Drive to Santa Monica Boulevard to facilitate roadway pouring at the freeway median, installation of an overhead sign and restriping of lanes westerly on Saturday and Sunday nights, April 12 and 13. Closure information is as follows:

  • The night of Saturday, April 12, from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday
  • The night of Sunday, April 13, from midnight to 6 a.m. Monday

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

Ramp Closures:

o   Southbound Getty on-ramp

o   Southbound/Eastbound Sunset on-ramp

o   Southbound/Westbound Sunset on-ramp

o   Southbound Sunset off-ramp

o   Southbound Eastbound/Westbound Wilshire off-ramp

o   Southbound Santa Monica off-ramp

Detour:

o   Southbound Getty off-ramp, south on Sepulveda Boulevard, east on Santa Monica Boulevard to Southbound Santa Monica on-ramp.

What to expect:

Transportation headlines, Friday, April 11

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! 

Garcetti offers back to the basics in first State of the City speech (L.A. Times) 

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the new carpool lane on the northbound 405 over the Sepulveda Pass would open next month (Metro said there’s no date set yet), reiterated a pledge to build a rail connection to LAX (the project is still in the study phase) and offered more details on the city’s Great Streets Initiative, saying Reseda Boulevard, Gaffey Street and Crenshaw Boulevard would be among those on the list. Of course, work just started earlier this year on the Crenshaw/LAX Line that will run both along and under parts of Crenshaw between Exposition Boulevard and 67th Street.

Some thoughts on near roadway pollution and L.A.’s future (Streetsblog L.A.) 

Interesting post based on a forum held this week about pollution from roads that spills over into neighborhoods and cities. Streetsblog’s Joe Linton:

As I was listening to all this, I felt like there was too much emphasis on dealing with our car-centric system as a given. Car-choked freeways are just part of the way god made our cities. We, health professionals, are just doing our best to adjust to the system we find ourselves stuck in. The discussion was all about how to keep people out of the way of pollution, but not to look at reducing or eliminating that pollution at its source. It’s as if health professionals looking at the tobacco problem just assumed that smoking happens everywhere, and then spent a lot of effort studying gas-masks for non-smokers. Taking on tobacco is a great public health success – because health professionals were able to ban tobacco from many places, and to stigmatize tobacco based on its threat to health.

(I also think that an overly narrow focus on near-roadway-air-pollution makes us miss other huge health risks associated with cars. Every year, driving kills 30,000+ people in the U.S.1.5 million worldwide. There are greenhouse gases, water pollution, noise pollution, obesity, and plenty more issues.)

I was glad to hear Occidental College’s Mark Vallianatos, commenting from the floor microphone, suggest an important alternative. Instead of moving people away from roads, let’s change our roads to be safe for people. If we have schools, playgrounds, housing, etc. adjacent to a road, then, for the sake of health, let’s design and regulate that road to limit vehicle emissions to safe levels. Let’s traffic-calm and road diet our arterials, downgrade our freeways, hopefully get rid of, at least, some of them.

 

Good post, tough issue.

Have U.S. light rail lines been worth the investment? (The Atlantic Cities)

The reporter, Yonah Freemark, says the overall answer is ‘yes.’ But he also offers sobering news about five light rail systems built in the 1980s in five different cities, four of which are on the West Coast — San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, Portland and Buffalo.

The bottom line: none of the systems increased transit use in their regions, although they have shifted more people from buses to trains. In addition, only San Jose saw a slight growth in its central city population. What to make of this?

Even this relatively positive outcome doesn’t compensate for the fact that regions that invested in light rail in the 1980s largely failed to increase the share of workers commuting by transit, or to increase the vitality of their center cities with respect to the surrounding regions. Does this mean we should cease investment in new light rail lines? Certainly not; in many cases, rail has provided the essential boost to reinvigorate communities, and in some cases it has also resulted in higher ridership than before: just look at Rosslyn-Ballston in the D.C. region or Kendall Square in the Boston region.

But spending on new lines is not enough. Increases in transit use are only possible when the low costs of driving and parking are addressed, and when government and private partners work together to develop more densely near transit stations. None of the cities that built new light rail lines in the 1980s understood this reality sufficiently. Each region also built free highways during the period (I-990 in Buffalo, I-205 in Portland, US 50 in Sacramento, CA 54 in San Diego, and CA 237 in San Jose), and each continued to sprawl (including Portland, despite its urban growth boundary). These conflicting policies had as much to do with light rail’s mediocre outcomes as the trains themselves — if not more.

Paid parking fees coming to Rancho Cucamonga Metrolink lots (Daily Bulletin) 

The city wants to impose a $4.50 daily fee or monthly charge of $25 to $30 to off-set maintenance costs for the two lots. The San Bernardino Association of Governments isn’t thrilled — it worries that the move may drive people away from transit — but approved the city’s request. Others are concerned that riders will instead drive to nearby Upland and park in the free lots there.

 

Go Metro Weekends, April 11 − 13

Folks heading towards Festival of Books

The Expo Line is going to see a lot of action this weekend – make sure to load your TAP card before starting your trip to avoid long lines at the TAP vending machines!

Another week done, another exciting addition of Go Metro Weekends awaits! But before we get to it, just another reminder that Patsaouras Plaza will be closed this weekend, so plan ahead if you’re making connections at Union Station–buses will be picking up at Cesar Chavez/Alameda. And a second reminder: due to many popular, Metro-accessible events taking place this weekend, we recommend you load your TAP card with cash fare/passes before starting your trip!

Friday

Reward yourself for getting through the week with the best comfort food there is: a big bowl of ramen from any of Little Tokyo’s many great noodle joints. Then amble over to the nearby Blue Whale Live Jazz + Art Space on 2nd/Los Angeles, where you can further relax with a live jazz performance. Tonight’s show starts at 9 p.m. and features jazz trio The North. Tickets are $15 at the door, must be 21+. (Metro Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station.)

Saturday

If you’re attending the free K-Pop Festival at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum today, there’s no question: Metro Expo Line is the way to go. (Metro Expo Line to Expo/Vermont or Expo Park/USC stations.)

Also off the Metro Expo Line: L.A. sports! It’s a double header at the Staples Center this Saturday. The Clippers take on the Sacramento Kings at 12:30 p.m., and our own L.A. Kings face the Ducks at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices vary. As always, score 10% off official merch at the Clippers and Kings team stores with valid TAP card. (Metro Blue/Expo Line to Pico Station.)

Composer and producer Karsh Kale presents Classical Science Fiction, a new groundbreaking work of classical Indian fusion and electronica at the Luckman Fine Arts Complex at 8 p.m. Metro riders save 20% on tickets. Pre-discount prices are $30-40 for adults, and $20 for students with ID. (Metro Silver Line to Cal State LA.)

Sunday

Catch two Angel City Derby Girls matinee games starting at 1 p.m. at the Culver City Veterans Auditorium, and get $5 off your ticket by showing your TAP card. (Metro Expo Line to Culver City Station and then walk west on Culver Blvd, or catch any Culver Blvd or Venice Blvd bus west to Overland Ave.)

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Go Metro to the Long Beach Grand Prix!

This weekend, head to Downtown Long Beach for the 40th Annual Long Beach Grand Prix! See some of your favorite celebrities and Indy car racers compete in this weekend long event. Take the Blue Line to Downtown Long Beach and walk south down Pine Avenue to access the race and festivities.

Ticket prices vary. The event is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday.

For other great event ideas for the weekend, check out our Go Metro Weekends post every Friday! And don’t forget, for more route and system information call 323.GO.METRO or use Trip Planner.