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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Metrolink names new CEO

Here's the news release from Metrolink, the commuter rail agency funded in part by Metro:

Los Angeles – At its monthly meeting, the Metrolink Board of Directors voted unanimously to appoint Michael P. DePallo, a veteran transit leader with over 30 years of experience, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO). DePallo currently serves as Director and General Manager for the Port Authority Trans Hudson Corporation (PATH), a heavy rail subsidiary of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that transports over 250,000 passenger trips a day between Manhattan and neighboring New Jersey.

“After a thorough national search, I am confident Michael is the right person to lead Metrolink as it continues to build on progress made in recent years. He has a proven record on safety, leadership and has recently overseen his agency's efforts to modernize their fleet of railcars,” said Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz. “He is familiar with the complex issues that a commuter rail provider faces; that safety is foundational, customer service, funding issues, connectivity and security. In his current role, he is overseeing projects very similar to Metrolink's Positive Train Control, Guardian cars, locomotive upgrades and fare media issues. We look forward to his leadership.”

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Metro bus involved in accident this morning

A Metro bus on the 2 Line was involved in a collision with a private automobile about 5 a.m. Friday morning at the intersection of 2nd and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. Authorities told media and Metro that the driver of the car allegedly ran a red traffic signal while texting and hit the bus. Nine people were transported to Good Samaritan Hospital and County-USC Medical Center, including the driver of the car. Injuries to those on the Metro bus are reported to be minor.

 


Go Metro Weekends, Sept 14 – 16

 

Celebrate bicycles at Tour de Fat! From Tour de Fat Official Facebook page

Start the weekend with some laughter at the Orpheum Theatre. Aziz Ansari, star of TV show Parks and Recreation, will be there to tickle your funny bone. The show starts at 7 p.m. and tickets range from $25 – $45. (Metro Red or Purple Line to Pershing Square Station, walk four blocks south on Broadway, Metro Bus 30 or 40 to Broadway/8th)

On Saturday, give up driving for riding at the L.A. stop of Tour de Fat. The bicycle celebration takes place at the Los Angeles State Historic Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and includes live performances, a bike parade, food, general merriment and good times. It’s free to attend, but you do need to register if you want to participate in the bike parade. Bikes are allowed on all Metro buses and trains, so if it’s a little far for you to bike all the way to the park, let Metro get you part way there. (Metro Gold Line to Chinatown Station, Metro Bus 76 to Chinatown Station)

Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo takes over the Los Angeles Convention Center this weekend. Over 200 vendors will be on site for all comic book, pop culture and gaming enthusiasts. Go meet Felicia Day, Norman Reedus and other celebrities, or participate in the zombie apocalypse (finally, all my training will pay off!) Tickets are required for the zombie apocalypse and start at $30. A one-day pass to the expo starts at $20. Comikaze goes from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. (Metro Blue or Expo Line to Pico Station, Metro Bus 30 or 81 to Figueroa/Pico)

On Sunday, take the family to the Japanese American National Museum and enjoy Umai 2012. Nine participating restaurants, including Torihei and Meiji Tofu, will be serving up delicious dishes, and the event includes entertainment for all. Tickets for adults are $25 online and $30 at the door. Entry also includes vouchers for all nine restaurants as well as admission to the museum. (Metro Bus 30 or 40 to Judge John Aiso/1st, Metro Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station)

Memo on recent earthquakes in Beverly Hills near subway route

Here is a memo sent yesterday to the Metro Board of Directors from the team planning and designing the Westside Subway Extension on the pair of small but noticeable earthquakes that occurred near Wilshire Boulevard and just east of downtown Beverly Hills earlier this month:

Click above for a larger view.