ExpressLanes to open on 110 freeway on Nov. 10

Here’s the news release from Metro:

Metro ExpressLanes, an innovative project to reduce traffic congestion, will debut Los Angeles County’s first HOT (High Occupancy Toll) lanes on Saturday, Nov. 10 at 12:01 a.m., opening 11 miles of carpool lanes on the 110 Harbor Freeway to solo drivers who pay an electronic toll.

Only solo drivers using the ExpressLanes will be charged a toll. Carpools, vanpools, buses and motorcycles will be able to travel toll-free in the 110 Metro ExpressLanes, which will be located between Adams Boulevard and the 91 freeway. But all motorists will need a FasTrak® account and transponder to travel in the 110 Metro ExpressLanes when tolling begins on November 10.

“The opening of the Metro ExpressLanes demonstration project on the 110 will provide a unique opportunity to explore and evaluate a new transportation option that could potentially create faster commutes, greater capacity and better air quality throughout the region,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich.

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Metro and Clear Channel Outdoor launch 12-day countdown to Carmageddon II

Here's the news release from Metro:

LOS ANGELES – September 17, 2012 – The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and Clear Channel Outdoor today announced the launch of a digital billboard campaign to help motorists prepare and plan for the two-day closure of the I-405 freeway over the Sepulveda Pass the weekend of September 29-30. The campaign will serve as a reminder to commuters and residents to plan ahead if they will be traveling that weekend. The campaign begins today and will run each of the 12 days prior to the closure.

Angelenos and motorists throughout the State of California are advised to “Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area, or Eat, Shop and Play Locally” to avoid potentially extreme auto congestion. Clear Channel Outdoor is donating space on more than 50 of its digital billboards during the 12 days leading up to the closure to assist Metro in reaching the community so Angelenos are prepared for the traffic disruption.
“The closure will impact the nearly 500,000 motorists countywide who travel the 405 in the Sepulveda Pass during the weekend,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “With digital billboards located throughout Los Angeles and near many of the region’s major freeways, Clear Channel Outdoor is in a unique position to provide the freeway closure information in a timely and meaningful way to Angelenos and state-wide motorists who may be affected. Clear Channel Outdoor’s generous donation of billboard space is vital in helping us get the word out to these travelers and encouraging them to plan ahead and avoid potentially extreme auto congestion and multiple-hour delays.” Continue reading

How to purchase a single senior ride using a TAP card

We received a good question from a reader last week: he was returning home from the Hollywood Bowl and encountered a Metro Rail station in which the ticket machines were no longer issuing paper tickets. This was a problem for the man as the rail station he used to reach the Bowl was still issuing paper tickets and his wife didn’t have a TAP card but now wanted to purchase a senior fare.

Here’s how you do it on the TAP only ticket machines: 
1. Select button A:  “Purchase New TAP card + fare”

2. Then select button F:  “TAP($1 Fee) and Metro Pass”

3. Then select button I:  “1-Ride, Sr/D 1-Ride w/ID, 9a-3p, 7p-5a 25 cents”

The total price for the transaction is $1.25 — $1 for the TAP and 25 cents for the senior non-peak fare. The TAP card is good for three years, so the woman’s next single ride will only cost 25 cents.

It’s important to note that such purchases are not being done on the honor system. If a sheriff’s deputy checks your fare, you may need to have an ID card to prove you qualify for the senior discount.

Of course, seniors who ride Metro frequently should get a senior TAP card, so they’re eligible for the $14 monthly pass — a very good deal. Click here to learn how to apply

Utility relocation work begins on Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica for Expo Line 2

This is the stretch of Colorado in which the train will run down the middle of the street to its terminus at 4th and Colorado — steps from the Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier and beach:

Click above to see larger.

 

Reminder: Live chat with Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky about Carmageddon II this Friday

In anticipation of the planned 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway between the I-10 and U.S. 101 for demolition work on the Mulholland Bridge, Metro will hold an interactive Live Chat on Friday, September 21, 2012.

Please join our special guest LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to discuss this event. Submit questions or comments in advance before the discussion. Send question/comments to livechat@metro.net

Notes & Tips: Use “Live Chat” in the Subject line of your email. Questions submitted in advance will be answered during the chat period. Questions under 300 characters will receive priority consideration. More info here: http://www.metro.net/news/livechat/

And here's a message from Zev:

I’ve referred to this second 405 closure as “Carmageddon on steroids.”

Metro’s contractor will once again be battling time to complete the final demolition of the iconic Mulholland Bridge on Sept. 29-30, only this time there will be 30 percent more work to do in the same 53-hour period. That’s because this year, two sets of columns, as well as the bridge’s span over the I-405, must be torn down.

Carmageddon II, as it is widely known, will face the exact same challenges that created heartburn for transportation, law enforcement and other emergency responders last year. Nothing has changed.

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Transportation headlines, Monday, Sept. 17

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Crenshaw Boulevard comes to a crossroads (L.A. Times)

The latest in architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne's series on some of the region's most famous streets focuses on Crenshaw, which runs 23 miles from the edge of Hancock Park south to the top of the Rancho Palos Verdes peninsula. Hawthorne is particularly interested in the Crenshaw District and Leimert Park, the traditional heart of the African American community in South L.A. Exerpt:

Even in tough times, the Crenshaw district has maintained its status as a power base for black Los Angeles. Particularly in the residential neighborhoods in Baldwin Hills west of Crenshaw Boulevard — upscale streets with wide views of the L.A. Basin that journalist Earl Ofari Hutchinson once called “the best advertisement for black achievement that you can find in America” — you get a strong sense that this is the part of Southern California where black culture and the American Dream have come most comfortably together.

But it doesn't take much to stir up old insecurities and resentments. These days there is no subject that does so more reliably than the planned Crenshaw Line, which will run partially above ground and partially below from Exposition Boulevard south to Florence Avenue before bending west toward LAX.

Many residents and merchants are encouraged that rail service will return to the boulevard for the first time since the streetcar line was torn out in the 1950s. And the Metro board, chaired by Mayor Villaraigosa, hasn't ruled out a station in Leimert Park, calling it “optional.”

But unless construction bids for the project come in lower than expected — or Metro can find outside funding for the station — the agency will build the Crenshaw Line without it.

Hawthorne quotes Metro officials saying that ridership projections for a Leimert Park station are low and that there will be a station about a half-mile from Leimert Park at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard — which will offer key bus connections. But Hawthorne also believes that transit has the power to be transformative and that a station at Leimert Park would ultimately help the community over the long haul. The problem is the expense of it. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $1.7-billion project that is almost half underground or aerial. That's made money tight for other things, such as additional stations.

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Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference wrap-up

A bike rack in bike-friendly Long Beach. Photo by Marie Sullivan/Metro.

Just before eight on Thursday morning, a few shamed drivers walked from their cars, past a sizable bike corral and into the Long Beach Convention Center for the last of three days of the Pro Walk/Pro Bike 2012 conference organized by the Project for Public Spaces. The 800-plus “zealots” sported a decidedly more casual dress than most professional convention goers. Messenger bags replaced briefcases and bike lapel pins adorned nametags on many of the attendees.

Work group sessions included speakers from bicycle advocacy groups, bike and pedestrian coordinators from municipalities across the country, directors of Safe Routes to School programs and traffic engineers.

Long Beach's success with expanding bike infrastructure was featured prominently in the conference, in addition to the city's new general plan. The plan used decreased parking requirements to lure business downtown and increase density, at a time when density was a dirty word. It looked to cities like Vancouver and Tacoma for inspiration, and called for the first “parklets” – which are street parking spaces converted to parking spaces – south of San Francisco (Long Beach now has three).

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