Transportation headlines, Thursday, July 12

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 orRSS feed.

Internet sales tax could help solve transportation issues (Boston Globe)

Here’s a well thought out opinion piece from the Boston Globe suggesting that Massachusetts urge Congress to approve national legislation enabling internet sales tax collection and then earmark the revenue for infrastructure spending … including transportation. It’s a great idea and California should consider joining in since, like Massachusetts, we have an internet tax that applies only to online sellers with a connection to our state. As the piece says, “this creates a tax advantage for online and other out-of-state vendors and penalizes local businesses, especially retailers, who not only face price competition from online giants, but also have to charge their customers sales taxes.”

L.A. light-rail junction poses risk (Los Angeles Times)

Today’s L.A Times says, incorrectly and without substantiation, that ongoing work on the junction where the Blue and Expo lines meet is presenting a risk of train derailment. Metro is assuring riders that this is not the case, that there is no derailment issue and that trains are traveling at less than 10 mph through the juncture to ensure that travel is safe.  Metro is concerned about long-term maintenance issues, specifically excessive wear on its vehicles through the sharp curve. The track section in question has been modified to combat wear. Metro and the California Public Utilities Commission, which oversees certain rail operations in the state, are closely monitoring the track and also checking rail cars for excessive wear. Neither Metro nor the CPUC would allow trains to operate in an unsafe manner.

New operator takes over Van Nuys FlyAway (San Fernando Valley Business Journal)

A new operator is running the FlyAway shuttle between Van Nuys and LAX. Bauer Transportation Inc. began service July 11 between Van Nuys and LAX. Bauer will operate 117 trips per day and provide an additional 30 trips during holidays and other peak travel times. Why should travelers care? Bauer says it plans to introduce new buses that run on a biodiesel fuel mix and have amenities such as free Wi-Fi, cable TV, power outlets and leatherette seating. No date for the new buses has been set.

Roscoe Station artwork installed!

20 foot-long art panel installed at Roscoe Station. There are three art panels at this station.

The Orange Line Extension opened last month. Here are a few photos of the 27-foot-long ellipses and 20-foot-long art panels designed by Sam Erenberg for Roscoe Station that we didn’t get posted before the opening. More information about the artwork is available here.

See images from the installations at Sherman Way, Canoga, Nordhoff and Chatsworth Stations.

Art panel being installed

Art panel being installed

Thousands of tiny pieces of hand-cut mosaics are installed at one of the new platforms at Roscoe Station

Detail of twenty-seven foot long mosaic artwork being installed at Roscoe Station

Blue Line delays this morning

UPDATE, 10:25 A.M. Repairs are complete and normal service has resumed. If you were delayed by the Blue Line this morning and need verification for work or school, please call Metro Customer Relations at  213.922.6235 / Fax 213.922.6988.

Good morning, Blue Line riders. It looks like some delays will continue through this morning while repairs are made to a damaged pole and overhead wire between the Willow station and the Blue Line maintenance yard.

Trains are running every 10 minutes between 7th/Metro and Willowbrook and every 20 minutes between Willowbrook and Long Beach while single-tracking between Wardlow and Artesia.

The best way to get service alerts is to subscribe to Metro’s Twitter feed, check the metro.net homepage or install the Metro app on your smartphone.

 

On Transportation Column: July 11 back-from-vacation-catch-up edition

The Orange Line Extension in Chatsworth. Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

I decided to flee town for a week of vacation because I didn’t believe much would be happening in early July, especially with Independence Day falling on a Wednesday. And — surprise!! — I was only 110 percent wrong. Whoopsydoodle.

I knew in advance I would miss the Orange Line Extension’s debut, which was scheduled after I had already planned my vacation. That was strike one.

Second, after two-plus years of partisan bickering, Congress surprisingly (read: amazingly/unbelievably) got its act together enough to pass a two-year transportation spending bill including provisions of the America Fast Forward program advocated by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the Metro Board of Directors. Strike two.

Third, the Federal Transit Administration finished its lengthy review of the Regional Connector’s final environmental study and issued a “record of decision,” the bureaucratic term that means not only are the commas in the right place, the project is now also eligible to receive federal dollars. Strike three.

Fourth, the State Legislature voted to sell enough bonds to allow for construction of the first segment of the state’s high-speed rail project, a vote that was — not surprisingly — squeaky close. That one was like falling down the dugout stairs after striking out.

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Wolfpack Hustle: 2012 Midnight Drag Race

From state-champions to local big shots, there are tons of super fast cyclists that claim to be fastest of the fast. However, there’s only one way to settle who’s fit to be throned with the title as the fastest cyclist amongst the chatter of the cycling community, and that readers is through this year’s upcoming Wolfpack Hustle’s Midnight Drag Race.

Wolfpack Hustle, the very same local bike group that raced one of JetBlue’s planes to come out victorious during last year’s Carmageddon, and held one of the biggest underground races in the West Coast of the United States by crashing the L.A. Marathon Course last March, is back in action to thrill the cycling community once more this year.

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Transportation headlines, Wednesday, July 11

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.

Are state and local mass transit projects really job creators? (L.A. Observed)

The post is mostly a transcript of a segment on KPCC featuring L.A. Observed business editor Mark Lacter, who asks and attempts to answer a good question: how many jobs do big infrastructure projects really generate? As Lacter puts it, the total number of jobs is often open to different interpretations and the number of people working on a project at any given time is usually a different (read: lesser) number than the estimates.

What high-speed rail means for So Cal in the next decade (L.A. Streetsblog)

Damien Newton rightly points out that the Legislature’s approval of bond money for the project also includes dollars for local projects in the Bay Area and Southern California that help tie the bullet train tracks into local transit systems. In our area, that could mean money for some double tracking of Metrolink lines and station upgrades for Palmdale and Anaheim.

Is California’s high-speed rail project on track or off the rails (L.A. Times)

Columnist Patt Morrison doesn’t really answer the question in this opinion piece, but tries to draw parallels to other big, ambitious projects that cost a lot of money and may also have done some good. And she includes this good kicker, which I think neatly summarizes the moral quandary facing the state over the project:

High-speed rail could wind up as a techno-evolutionary dead end, or it could be a model for the nation, one for which future Californians will bless us.

That’s why government undertakes big, important, useful things: because no one else can, or will.

As for high-speed rail, in a way, there’s no wrong vote on it, and no right vote, either, except through the rear-view mirror of history, when people either will be lionized or reviled for their decisions. And there are perfectly sound reasons for legislators to vote either way. But none of those reasons should be a timidity of ambition or narrowness of vision.

 

 

dineLA with Metro!

Traxx restaurant at Union Station. Photo by Anna Chen/Metro

dineLA takes place from July 16 – 27 for its first ever summer run, and many of the participating restaurants can be easily reached by Metro.

For those who aren’t familiar with dineLA, it’s 12 days of foodie heaven. Restaurants put together special three-course menus at fixed prices ranging from $15 – $25 for lunches and $25 – $45 for dinners. (Prices do not include drinks, tax or gratuity.) The menus often include the restaurant’s most popular dishes or the chef’s latest creations, and it’s a great way to sample a variety of dishes at reasonable prices.

Here’s a list of just some of the participating dineLA restaurants that are near a Metro stop:

  • Lukshon –Culver City Station, Expo Line; Culver City Bus 1 to Washinton/Helms
  • Mo-chica – 7th St/Metro Station, Expo/Blue/Red/Purple Line; Metro Bus 51 to 7th/Grand
  • Brunello Trattoria –Culver City Station, Expo Line; Culver City Bus 1 to Washington/La Cienega
  • Maison Akira –LakeStation, Gold Line; Metro Bus 180 to Colorado/Oak Knoll
  • Sushi Roku – Memorial Park Station, Gold Line; Metro Bus 180 to Colorado/De Lacey
  • Haven Gastropub – Memorial Park Station, Gold Line; Metro Bus 180 to Colorado/De Lacey
  • Parkway Grill – Fillmore Station or Del Mar Station, Gold Line; Metro Bus 177 or 256 to Arroyo/Bellvue
  • Aburiya Toranoko – Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, Gold Line
  • Wolfgang Puck L.A. Bistro –Universal City Station, Red Line
  • Rolling Stone Los Angeles – Hollywood/Highland Station, Red Line; Metro Bus 212 to Hollywood/Highland
  • Papilles – Hollywood/Vine Station, Red Line; Metro Bus 222 to Yucca/Vine
  • Rivera – Pico Station, Expo/Blue Line; Metro Bus 81 to Flower/11th
  • Corkbar – Pico Station, Expo/Blue Line; Metro Bus 14 to Olive/12th
  • The Sky Room –1st Street Station, Blue Line; Long Beach Passport Bus A, B or D to Ocean/Breakers
  • Water Grill –Pershing Square Station, Red/Purple Line; Metro Bus 60 to Grand/6th
  • Traxx – Union Station, Red/Purple/Gold Line

Make sure to visit dineLA’s website for a complete list of participating restaurants. And as always, there is more than one route to get you to all this great food, so use Trip Planner. Happy eating!