Utility relocation work on Regional Connector to begin Monday

Some good news from Metro staff working on the Regional Connector project in downtown. Here's the announcement:

What: The Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project will extend Light Rail Transit (LRT) tracks 1.9 miles underground through Downtown Los Angeles, connecting the Metro Gold, Blue, and Expo lines. The project also includes the construction of three new stations located at 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway, and 2nd/Hope. Utility relocation activities are expected to begin in August 2012, with construction of the Regional Connector beginning in late 2013. Anticipated project completion is 2019.

When: Beginning August 2012 and continuing through August 2013.

Metro has secured a permit from the City of Los Angeles to complete utility relocation work from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., seven days a week.

This work is being completed in advance of the Regional Connector construction. Activities such as tunnel boring and station construction will not begin until Metro has selected a Design/Build contractor, which is expected in 2013.

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Program dissects new federal transportation bill

 

Metro hosted a session this morning titled “Everything You Wanted to Know About the New Federal Surface Transportation Bill.” I'll try to distill the nearly three-hour session to a few nuggets for everyday people not versed in the, uh, fascinating universe of transportation funding. *

•At the top of the session, Metro Board Member Richard Katz said “we can't fix L.A. one project at a time…you'll never catch up.” He said that's one reason that Metro is pursuing the extension of Measure R — to build a network of transit and road projects.

•The expanded TIFIA loan program in the new bill is the largest infrastructure loan program in U.S. history, said David Kim, the Associate Administrator for Policy and Governmental Affairs for the Federal Highway Administration. He ticked off the long list of reforms to the program, which will allow Metro to pursue a loan for multiple projects — and for the loan to cover more of a project's cost (up to 49 percent from 33 percent).

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Transportation headlines, Wednesday, August 15

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.

L.A. Council aims at changing parking requirements (L.A. Times)

The City Council voted yesterday to create special parking districts in which current parking requirements could be relaxed or increased depending on the circumstance. That means that potentially developers could get a break on building parking for some new residents and that new businesses in some cases may not have to produce as much parking as they have in the past. This is seen as an incentive that could help lure new businesses and redevelopment — particularly to areas near transit — and help ignite economic development in others. Los Angeles' strict parking requirements are widely seen as a major reason that so much of the city is covered by parking lots, especially on commercial corridors. Here's the ordinance.

For Universal City, a bridge not far enough (L.A. Streetsblog)

Some Valley residents aren't pleased that Metro is ramping up to spend $19 million to build a pedestrian bridge over Lankershim Boulevard at Universal City to connect the subway station to Universal City proper. Skeptics say the bridge — something promised years ago — isn't necessary and would rather see the money plowed into other transportation improvements.

Pasadena Council resolves to oppose three 710 alternatives (Pasadena Star News)

The Council on Monday night voted to formally oppose three alternatives under study by Metro to improve traffic in the area near the 710 gap: a tunnel between the 710 freeway in Alhambra and the 134 freeway that would go under the San Rafael Hills, a widening of Avenue 64 to accommodate more north-south traffic and another alternative that would potentially widen parts of Huntington Drive, Fair Oaks Avenue and Pasadena Avenue.

The three alternatives are part of a package of 12 alternatives that Metro is studying as part of a potential project. The agency will carry some of those alternatives forward into a draft environmental document. The idea of the current study is to evaluate everything that might improve traffic times in the area AND seek public input on those ideas.

In the northeast, travelers turn to Amtrak (New York Times)

In the late 1990s, about 33 percent of travelers between New York and Washington went by Amtrak. Today that number is 75 percent, an increase attributed to faster trains, airline delays and increased airport security.

 

The Los Angeles region and a future Olympics from a transit perspective

First, I want to be very clear about something: I have no idea whether the Los Angeles region in the future will want to bid on hosting the Olympic Games. It’s a big decision involving a lot of money and many cities across the globe have wrestled with the question — which I don’t think has been definitively answered — of whether the Games are worth pursuing, although London seems pretty happy with its Games right now.

That said, it’s hard to ignore Los Angeles’ rich history with the Olympics and the appeal of the Games. The region hosted the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984 and pursued the 2016 games, although Chicago was eventually chosen to represent the United States in the bidding process (and lost out badly to Rio de Janeiro). UPDATE: Los Angeles has been chosen as the host for the 2015 Special Olympics Summer games, the first time in 16 years the event will be held in the United States.

What I think is interesting is that with or without a future Olympics, the transit landscape in Los Angeles County will be noticeably different the next time the Games may land here. The earliest possible date would be 2024, given that the United States Olympic Committee, citing financial reasons, has said it won’t bid for the 2020 Summer Games or 2022 Winter Games. (The finalists for 2020 are Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo).

The 1984 Games here were widely considered successful; please see this excellent post on the Metro Library’s Primary Resources blog. At that time, there was no Metro Rail nor was there Metrolink. Traffic was a major, major worry in the run-up to the games although regional gridlock did not come to pass. Buses successfully ferried people to and from events and many residents and businesses altered their commuting hours to avoid traffic. It was a team win similar, I think, to last year’s non-Carmageddon.

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Silver Line late-night service starts Friday, Aug. 17

Photo by Waltarrrr, via Flickr creative commons.

When Metro rolled out expanded late-night service on Metro Rail and the Orange Line last month, many of you wondered “what about the Silver Line?” Well wonder no more good readers, late-night weekend service for the Silver Line begins this Friday.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the Silver Line will run past 2 a.m. The last bus from Artesia Transit Center departs at 1:56 a.m. and the last bus from El Monte Bus Station departs at 2 a.m. The schedule of additional trips can be seen here.

Metro added extended service to the Silver Line due to the jump in late-night ridership since Metro Rail and the Orange Line began operating until 2 a.m. Keep these numbers up and we may one day end up with late-night service seven days a week!

Upcoming meetings for Regional Connector to discuss conceptual engineering

Here’s the good word from Metro staff working on the Regional Connector project, which will tie the Blue Line, Expo Line and Gold Line together in downtown Los Angeles, making for an easier commute for many riders.

Metro is currently completing advanced conceptual engineering for the Regional Connector, a 1.9-mile underground alignment that will connect the Metro Blue, Expo, and Gold Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in Downtown Los Angeles. The Regional Connector will improve transit access for the anticipated 88,000+ riders who would use the system daily. The project includes underground tracks linking three new stations, located at 2nd/Hope, 2nd/Broadway, and 1st/Central.

You are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming community updates; content at each meeting will be identical. Metro will present the status of the project, including next steps as well as station design for each new station.

Spanish, Korean, and Japanese translation services will be provided at all meetings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Times Community Room
145 S Spring St, Los Angeles

Thursday, August 23, 2012
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Central Public Library
630 W 5thSt, Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Colburn School of Music
200 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Japanese American National Museum
369 E 1st St, Los Angeles

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, August 14 edition

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, our roundup of the latest Metro related tweets. To get our attention, add the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.

If having problems viewing this post, please see part one and part two on the Storify website.

Many more tweets after the jump!

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