Several media outlets have reported on a visible defect in a retaining wall now being constructed as part of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project in the Sepulveda Pass. Panels on a localized segment of the retaining wall at the future Skirball Drive on-ramp became displaced late last week. This section of the retaining wall has since been stabilized, and poses no safety risk for either freeway or street traffic. The contractor is now performing an investigation. Here’s additional information from a project e-mail that went out to 405 project constituents:
A MSE (Mechanically Supported Engineering) retaining wall, located along the southbound I-405 at Mountain Gate, suffered a localized failure on Thursday, December 1. The failure occurred on Caltrans right-of-way, west of the freeway, in our construction zone. No one was injured and our geotechnical team deemed the freeway and Sepulveda safe for the traveling public. Traffic has not been restricted at this location.
The wall, approximately 2,000 feet long, is part of the work to relocate the Skirball Center Dr on-ramps south of their present location on the Skirball bridge. The portion of the wall that has been compromised is only 20 feet long. The project has been aware of deficiencies in this portion of the wall for a few weeks and were preparing a partial deconstruction plan when the panels failed. The wall has been stabilized and there is no danger to the traveling public. The contractor is currently performing an in-depth investigation to the cause of the localized failure. Experts have been brought in to collect forensic evidence. We cannot speculate at this time as to what caused the failure. Once a thorough and complete investigation has been finalized and approved by Metro and Caltrans, the contractor will create a mitigation plan.
Until the investigation is complete, work on the other MSE walls along the project has been halted. Our path forward will be determined by the outcome of the investigation.
We appreciate your patience during this investigation. Please be assured that safety is our number one priority and we will work until we can guarantee that all work on the project is safe and stable.
A crack team of urban design and development experts from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) descended on Los Angeles last week to help Metro and the city of L.A. develop its vision for the area surrounding Union Station. After several packed days of interviews and site visits, the panel presented its findings this morning to a crowd of community members, local elected officials and planners who gathered at the Tateuchi Democracy Forum in Little Tokyo.
Attentive readers will recall that Metro bought Union Station earlier this year, along with the rights to build roughly six million square feet of development around Southern California’s largest transit hub. Since then, Metro has begun soliciting concepts from a number of design firms for a master plan for the Union Station property itself.
The ULI panel’s job, then, was to help Metro envision how a present and future Union Station can better integrate with the surrounding areas of Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Olvera Street, the Arts District, the Civic Center and the Los Angeles River.
Each of the panelists presented different components of the vision, so rather than summarize what each said, here’s a distillation of some of the key points, and hopefully we can post the PowerPoint presentation later on:
UPDATE: Metro officials said Friday that the service changes were suspended because a few of the changes needed to be analyzed to determine their impacts on low-income people and minorities. This is required under federal Civil Rights guidelines. Due to staffing and equipment issues, Metro decided Friday that it would be best to implement all of the service changes at once and, therefore, decided to delay them until the analysis of some of the changes was completed.
Here is the news release:
Various bus service changes scheduled to go into place on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2011 have been suspended. All service changes and modification to Metro bus service announced in a Metro news release issued yesterday (Dec. 8, 2011), have been suspended until further notice.
Metro staff apologizes for any inconvenience and confusion cause by the suspension of the proposed changes. Staff over the next several months will conduct further analysis on the proposed changes to determine if and when the service modifications will be implemented.
For complete route and schedule information visit metro.net.
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 blog.
Taking transit to Farmers Field (Huffington Post)
An exec with AEG, the firm proposing the downtown NFL stadium, told an L.A. City Council committee that one day to reduce the number of people driving to games would be to sell transit tickets along with game tickets. The Blue Line and future Expo Line will share a station that is a short walk from the stadium location next to Staples Center and the Red/Purple Line station at 7th/Metro Center is also within a stroll-able distance. Not to mention the many bus lines serving the area, including the Silver Line.
LaHood pushes for national ban on texting-while-driving (USA Today)
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wants to see the ban in all 50 states — only 35 so far have enacted bans, many thanks to LaHood making an issue of it. But the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say that such bans haven’t reduced the number of crashes. LaHood says the bans would — if states enforced them. One issue is that solid data on distraction-related crashes has been hard to come by. Until recently, different states and localities tracked data in different ways. In 2010, the feds estimate that there were 3,092 distraction-related crash deaths. For the sake of comparison, there were 10,228 drunk driving deaths in the U.S. in 2010 and 32,885 traffic deaths. All sad numbers — and a reminder why so many of our readers would like to see more late night transit service.
Making your Smartcar larger (Autoweek)
Not enough room in the Smartcar for your tastes? Here’s a trailer that adds an axle and some trunk space that can hold a battery to extend the car’s range.
photo by Mishtun, via Tumblr
Nice shot of the moon over Union Station last night. That’s Metro’s headquarters towering over the Metrolink train.
To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.
The Tappan Zee Bridge carries Interstate 87 over the Hudson river. Image via flickr user waywuwei.
Good question! This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.
Tappan Zee Bridge plan a dud without public transportation
The decade-long process of deciding how to replace New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge has been long and arduous one, so much so that Kate Slevin called it “a civics lesson in how not to do a transportation project,” in an editorial for the Lower Hudson Valley Journal News. The public consensus seemed to be that any replacement should have a transit component, and that bus-rapid transit would suffice until funding could be amassed for a rail line. It appears, however, that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo wants to fast-track a proposal with no transit option, despite projections that the BRT system would have roughly 50,000 riders each day.
Kudos to Kazakhstan
The first subway in the central Asian republic opened last week in the country’s largest city, Almaty. Planning for the 5.2-mile line began in 1988, the Associated Press reports, before the fall of the Soviet Union severely disrupted the project. President Nursultan Nazarbayev was on hand with thousands of residents for the opening ceremony.
UPDATE, 4:42 P.M.: power has been restored and regular service is resuming with minor delays and crowds through 5:30 p.m.
This just in from the Metro Alerts Twitter feed:
“@metrolaalerts: Red & Purple Line MAJOR DELAYS due to loss of pwr. No service btwn 7th/Metro & Wil/Vermont. Use Rapid 720 Bus on Wilshire to/fr Downtown ^ST”
“@metrolaalerts: Subway service at this time as follows: Union Sta<>7th/Metro. NoHo<>Vermont/Beverly. Wil/Western<>Wil/Normandie. Expect major delays. ^ST”
“@metrolaalerts: Bus shuttles requested but will take time. Plz be patient. Use 720 on Wilshire. In Downtown, board 720 on 5th/Broadway (PershingSq). ^ST”