Go Metro Weekends, March 23-25

Going to see “The Hunger Games” will be the highlight of my weekend – to those of you who went to midnight showings, I hope you had fun! – but there are a few other events worth checking out too.

Strawberry donut from The Donut Man. Photo by Space Pirate Queen via Flickr

Swing by Echo Park Film Center on Friday to watch the screening of The ADD Channel’s “The Virtual Zone,” a hilarious and sometimes offensive web series featuring real online classified ads acted out by brilliant actors. A few episodes of season one will be shown and the screening is free. Seating is limited so make sure to RSVP. The screening starts at 8 p.m. (Metro Bus 2 or Metro Rapid 704 to Sunset/Alvarado.)

Prepare to pig out the rest of the weekend because For Your Art is offering free donuts for 24 hours. They are setting up a pop-up doughnut shop across from LACMA and giving away donuts from 12 p.m. Saturday until 12 p.m. Sunday. The menu will rotate throughout the day; some of the donuts being offered are UMAMIcatessen’s Tres Leches donut, The Donut Man’s Strawberry donut and Nickle Diner’s Maple Bacon donut. The schedule will tell you which donut is being offered when, but make sure to get there early because the good ones (and they’re all good) will run out fast. The event coincides with the 24-hour screening of “The Clock” at LACMA. (Metro Bus 20 to Wilshire/Spaulding, DASH Fairfax to Wilshire/Spaulding, please note DASH Fairfax does not run on Sunday.)

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Transportation headlines, Friday, March 23

The Metro Red Line station at Hollywood and Vine. Photo by flickr user Jack Wei.

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.

Martha Welborne on balancing planning responsibilities, goals and constraints at Metro (The Planning Report)

Here’s the first of two excellent Metro-related interviews. The Planning Report sat down with Martha Welborne, Metro’s Executive Director of Countywide Planning, to discuss her work as Metro’s chief planner. The whole interview is worth a read for the insights it gives into Metro’s Union Station master planning process (Metro bought Union Station last year), planning for various rail lines and a number of other topics.

Mayor awesome: Against all odds, L.A.’s mayor stays green (Grist)

Next up: Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa discussed with Grist the initiatives his administration is undertaking to make L.A. a greener place. As a regular Source reader can imagine, transportation has featured prominently in that agenda. Give it a read for the discussion of CicLAvia, L.A.’s bike plan, Measure R and America Fast Forward.

Wilshire Boulevard subway circa 2020 (Los Angeles Magazine)

The Westside Subway station renderings have given a glimpse of what Wilshire will look like once the subway is up and running. But for those who can’t picture what’s there now — and I couldn’t off the top of my head — L.A. Magazine has some handy “before and after photos” at the link above. Enjoy!

New Metro Rail map


Here’s a map showing the Metro Rail system, including lines and busways under construction — i.e. the Expo Line, Orange Line Extension and Gold Line Foothill Extension.

It was on display for the media this morning and shows how the Metro system is growing. The official new Metro Rail map is in production.

What's happening at other transit agencies?

The New York Select Buses that cruise Manhattan are getting good marks from riders. Photo by flickr user Stephen Rees.

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.

Select Bus Service gets a ‘B’ from East Side Manhattan riders

New York’s relatively new BRT transit service has proven quite popular with strap-hangers, according to a recent survey of 1,300 residents in one Manhattan city council district. The New York Daily News reports that the average grade given by respondents was a B and that one-in-five would like to see more BRT lines featuring wider stop spacing, dedicated bus lanes and pre-paid fares — all of which considerably speed up bus times. (Only one-in-five? Hmm.) For reference, Select Bus Service falls somewhere between a typical Metro Rapid line and the Metro Orange Line in terms of BRT features and amenities.

Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. announces plans for private passenger rail service in Florida

Even though the Florida’s governor rejected high-speed rail dollars from the federal government last year, the private sector seems to think it would financially viable. Florida East Coast Industries, Inc. (FECI), is planning to invest $1 billion to build, operate and maintain a new passenger rail line connecting Orlando to Miami and other South Florida cities. A press release boasts that the new line would be primed to capture a part of the 50 million people who travel between South and Central Florida each year. The project would entail upgrading 200 miles of track along the coast and building an additional 40 miles of track inland towards Orlando. FECI expects trains to cover the 240 miles in three hours, which is roughly the same time it takes Amtrak’s high-speed Acela trains to make the New York–Washington D.C. run. If all goes accordingly to plan, service on the new line could begin in 2014.

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Metro Board meeting recap

Some other actions from today’s Metro Board of Directors meeting:

•The Board approved some minor bus route modifications, extra Silver Line service on weekends in the future and a proposed operating plan after the Orange Line Extension opens this summer. Board report and Source post on Orange Line.

•The Board approved a motion by Supervisor and Board Vice-Chair Mike Antonovich for a Metro staff report on a number of improvements to Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line. Board report and Source post on the Antelope Valley Line.

•The Board approved a motion by Supervisor and Board Vice-Chair Mike Antonovich calling for an annual performance review of Metro CEO Art Leahy, the first of which should be completed by June. Motion.


Renderings of proposed Westwood/VA Station for Westside Subway Extension

In my weekly column yesterday I wrote about the benefits and challenges of the proposed Westwood/VA station for the Westside Subway Extension. Above and below are a couple of preliminary station entrance renderings that I thought readers would like to see.

In the above drawing, that’s Wilshire Boulevard cutting diagonally across the left side of the screen and Bonsall Avenue passes undernearth Wilshire. The stop for Wilshire buses is on the bridge above Bonsall. In the drawing below, Wilshire Boulevard can be glimpsed on the far left and the parking lot for the VA Hospital is on the right.