Transportation headlines, Friday, Aug 2

Carmageddon II is coming! Will you take on the challenge of staying out of your car for a weekend? Photo by Juan Ocampo

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.

The Best Days to Commute in Metro Areas (Governing)

Research firm Inrix reports that the best day for Angelenos to drive to work is Monday. The average commute time on Monday is shortened by three minutes each way, and though that doesn’t seem like much, every minute not spent sitting in traffic is a good minute, right? The worst day for Los Angeles commuters? Thursday. So for those who want to get around the worst of rush hour traffic, perhaps try carpooling or taking public transit on Thursdays.

Learning to Love Congestion (Planetizen)

While on the topic of traffic, Planetizen has an interesting piece on why congestion may actually be a good thing, at least in urban areas. The right kind of congestion can bring prosperity and happiness to downtown centers. The article cites Boston’s Newbury Street as an example of a heavily trafficked and successful area. Which streets in Los Angeles also fit the bill? Downtown’s Spring Street is looking pretty good.

Carmageddon sequel gets a positive spin (Los Angeles Times)

Though apocalyptic traffic might not happen this September, officials gathered yesterday to ask Los Angeles County residents not to get complacent about Carmageddon II. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky led the charge in challenging Angelenos to stay local and stay car-free during the I-405 closure taking place Sept. 29-30.

 DASH Downtown Route D to be Extended (LADOT)

Come Monday, DASH Route D riders will be able to easily transfer to the Metro Expo Line. Two new stops have been added at 23rd Street and Flower Street in each direction, right by the Expo Line 23rd Street Station. This brings even more connectivity and transit options for those who live and work in downtown Los Angeles.

USC and Metro a great combo for getting to games at the Coliseum

Metro has just released details on enhanced service for getting to USC games this fall. These new enhancements are added to others, including late-night weekend service for sports fans traveling to Staples Center and the popular Dodger Stadium Express that transports fans from Union Station to Dodger games. Here’s the release:

This fall for the first time, Metro and the University of Southern California will team up to make getting to USC home games fast, inexpensive and easier than driving.

With the first home game just around the corner on Saturday, Sept. 1, Metro’s new Expo Line is the perfect vehicle for the more than 80,000 fans who crowd USC games at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. And Metro is enhancing service to make it easy for fans to avoid traffic and parking hassles and take Expo to the games.

“In our effort to develop a regional transit system connecting all of our County residents to the places that they really want to go, sports fans now have the option of using Metro, Metrolink, Amtrak and the Dodger Stadium Express to games at the Coliseum, Staples Center and Dodger Stadium,” said MTA Chairman and L.A. County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

“We think the teaming up of Metro with USC home games will be a welcome change for Trojan fans,” said Metro CEO and USC graduate Art Leahy. “On game days you can bring picnic baskets and blankets and have the whole day experience.  And you don’t need to anticipate what is for some a very long drive home because Metro can now take you to within a short walk of the games and then carry you home again. Or for those who live far away, Metro can take you to Metrolink and Amtrak at Union Station.”

USC passengers will arrive at the game and then depart it at two convenient locations: Expo/Vermont and Expo Park/USC stations.

Frequent service will make it easy. Before and after the games, additional trains will be added to the Expo Line, as well as to the Red, Purple and Gold lines to make transfer connections efficient system-wide.

After the game, passengers will board trains at either Expo/Vermont or Expo Park/USC stations. Additional trains will remain in service to accommodate increased passenger loads.

Additional service also will be provided on the Silver Line for 20 minutes after each game in both directions from the 37th Street/USC Station. The Silver Line is Metro’s limited-stop service connecting the South Bay and San Gabriel Valley to downtown Los Angeles. It runs between Artesia Transit Center and El Monte Station via the Harbor Transitway on the Harbor Freeway and the El Monte busway on the San Bernardino Freeway.

Passengers traveling to the games should purchase $5 Metro Day Passes at the station where they are starting out … and that is all they will need for the day. Those starting on the Expo Line should purchase a one-way fare. When they arrive at either Vermont or Expo Park, they should purchase a return trip fare, to avoid having to stand in line after the game.

For more information on USC Trojan games go to http://www.usctrojans.com/sports/m-footbl/sched/usc-m-footbl-sched.html. For more information on the easiest ways to get there via Metro go to the trip planner at metro.net.

ULI report presents a strategy for developing a Union Station District

ULI Advisory Panel: Flanked on the east by the potential of the Los Angeles River, Union Station and its environs are ripe with development opportunity.

ULI Advisory Panel: Flanked on the east by the potential of the Los Angeles River, Union Station and its environs are ripe with development opportunity, but successful revitalization will require a detailed strategy and indentificaiton of the types of development most appropriate for the area. Click on image to view in full.

  • Aerial photos by Gary Leonard

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Advisory Services Panel visited Los Angeles in December, sponsored by Metro and the City of Los Angeles planning department, to examine the Union Station study area and to advise the city on what land use and infrastructure investments the city should pursue given the pending master plan for Union Station.

The ULI report is precursor to the development of the Union Station Master Plan. On June 28, the Metro Board of Directors approved Gruen/Grimshaw as the consultant team to develop the master plan, which will be completed in 24 months.

Although the Union Station Master Plan will deal strictly with the actual 40+-acre Union Station site purchased by Metro in April 2011, the ULI report provides a useful inventory of existing conditions and strategic options that will inform Metro’s planning process.

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Go Metro Weekends, Aug 3 – 5

Catch MANDRILL this Saturday at the Ford Amphitheatre. Photo from MANDRILL’s Official Facebook

Pixar in Concert rocks the Hollywood Bowl on Friday! Listen to all your favorite songs from your favorite Pixar movies (yeah right, like you can really choose just one favorite Pixar movie) performed live. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets start at $11 (plus fees). (Metro Red Line to Hollywood/Highland, transfer to free Bowl Shuttle, Metro Bus 156 to Highland/Odin, Metro Bus 222 to Odin/Fairfield)

Go to Leimert Plaza Park on Saturday for a little taste of New Orleans. The 7th Annual New Orleans Cultural Festival features dancing, soul food, Creole/Cajun cuisine, arts and crafts vendors and more. The Mardi Gras Parade is at noon, but the event starts at 11 a.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. Admission is free, and if you go Metro you will receive free Mardi Gras beads. Just show your valid TAP card at the New Orleans Cultural Festival booth. (Metro Bus 40 to Martin Luther King Jr/Sutro)

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Transportation headlines, Thursday, Aug. 1

Photo by Joits via Flickr

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.

Make it urban (Architect’s Newspaper)

An editorial in Architect’s Newspaper argues that as Los Angeles makes major strides in redeveloping its core, the urban pattern must be preserved, meaning density served by public transit, yes; suburban looking businesses with huge parking lots, probably no.

City abandons plans to take Brentwood sidewalk space for bus only lanes (StreetsBlog LA)

Everyone says they love the speed and convenience of bus lanes but no one wants to give up space/parking/anything to make room for them. There are lots of reasons not to, of course, and here’s another.

Tunnel visions (New York Times)

A piece on the subway now under construction below Second  Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side has echoes of L.A.’s struggle to tunnel from downtown to the sea. “Geology defines the way you drive the tunnel,” says Amitabha Mukherjee, an engineering manager with the firm supervising construction, suggesting that geology should have a vote on the selected route. And yes, he is referring to the path the Second Avenue subway will take — a path “New York City has been postponing, restarting, debating, financing, definancing and otherwise meaning to get in the ground since 1929.” Sound familiar?

Officials: Get Ready, Carmageddon II Coming

City, county and state officials met on the side of the I-405 near Mulholland Bridge this morning to again ask for the public’s cooperation for “Carmageddon II,” the second extended closure of 10 miles of the nation’s busiest freeway the weekend of Sept. 29-30.

The long anticipated closure between the I-10 and U.S. 101 is now about two months away, and transportation agencies, law enforcement, and other emergency responders are preparing for the closure the same way they did the first time: with diligent planning and concern, particularly if the public does not take seriously calls to “Plan Ahead, Avoid the Area, or Eat, Shop and Play Locally” this time.

While sending a positive tone by encouraging Angelenos to enjoy a car-free weekend and exploring their local neighborhoods by foot, bike or transit, officials also were quick to point out that the risk factors from Carmageddon I have not changed.  The I-405 still ranks as the nation’s busiest freeway, and its sister freeways – the I-10 and U.S. 101 – carry their own tremendous traffic loads on weekends. The closure area is still within a geographically constrained canyon pass, with no other direct north/south connections nearby.  And the final demolition of the Mulholland Bridge won’t be done early because crews have a third more work to do, meaning that the closure will likely extend until the early morning hours of Monday.  The closure is set to expire by 6 a.m., just in time for morning rush hour traffic.

“You’ll hear this again and again this morning, but don’t become complacent,” warned L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky. He said he was confident the public would again heed the call and cooperate with authorities.  They said “Thank You” following last year’s highly successful operation, and called for a car-free weekend once per month in L.A.

At least for the end of September anyway, they will get their wish granted a second time.

Monumental sculpture installation in progress at new El Monte Station!

Artist Donald Lipski stands in front of Time Piece, the sculpture he designed for the El Monte Station, as it’s being installed. When complete the sculpture will include three double sided clocks, which will be suspended by a network of cables from this sweeping 30 foot tall stainless steel arch.

An iconic, large-scale sculpture by Donald Lipski is being installed this week at Metro’s new El Monte Station, which is slated to open in late summer 2012. Here are a few photos showing the progress of installation.

Click here and here for prior Source posts on this artwork, and here for more information on Donald Lipski’s work.

The artist with John Grant, the artist’s project manager, standing with part of the sculpture before it’s hoisted skyward. JunoWorks fabricated the arch and cabling system for the clocks.

Detail of Time Piece before it’s installed. Each clock weighs a hefty 350 lbs. and is manufactured by the Verdin Company, the nearly 170-year old maker of clocks and bells, which has been operated by six generations of the Verdin family since 1842.