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.


Let a canopy be your umbrella


The Westlake/MacArthur Park Station is getting a pretty new umbrella, although at the moment it looks more like orthodonture.

As we posted a few months ago, Westlake will be the first of three stations to get a protective canopy, with the other two stations — Civic Center and Pershing Square — still not ready for rain.

The construction process involves building massive support columns at the site to hold up the sleek but heavy canopy coverings. The umbrellas are constructed in another location and then carted in.

The point of the project is to protect the escalators from weather and improve their reliability. The umbrellas also will shield those of us who ride the escalators from the elements and, hopefully, protect us from having to march up and down steps just when we least want to … wearing work clothes and uncomfortable but attractive work shoes.

It’s difficult to judge yet exactly what the finished umbrellas will look like — construction fencing and scaffolding is necessary but not particularly site enhancing — but given these recent photos, it looks like the effect will be nice.

Metro’s contractor continues to work on construction of the two canopies for the Civic Center station, which should be ready this fall. In the meantime, one of the escalators at the Civic Center First Street Station is out of service due to construction. So unless you’re StairMaster addicted, when you depart the Red or Purple line at Civic Center you might want to head for the Temple Street exit.

Pershing Square, by the way, doesn’t look like there’s anything umbrella related going on. But we’ll keep you posted as the project progresses.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Aug. 1

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.

Another spot of green for downtown L.A. (blogdowntown)

Grand Park may have this week’s starring role but another downtown park is breaking ground tomorrow, Aug. 2. Spring Street Park, between 4th and 5th streets, is set to enter its construction phase and expected to open in spring/summer 2013. And it’s located on land once reserved for a parking structure. Studies have shown that fewer parking spaces translate to more hunger for public transit. Now if we could just replace a few more lots.

Alameda Corridor has success written all over it. But what about the debt?  (CityWatch)

Alameda Corridor — the 20-mile rail expressway connecting the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach with the Union Pacific and Burlington Northern rail yard gateway to the rest of the country — has been a resounding success for truck and car mobility and air quality. And it has allowed the Ports to accommodate significant growth over the last ten years. However, there’s a little matter of significant debt and what to do about it.

Exploring the Orange Line Extension (KCET)

A short guide book tour of the Orange Line Extension separates out minor, but in several cases intriguing, points of interest that might otherwise go unnoticed by travelers passing by on the bus.

Sounds of the cities (NPR)

Last but not least, check out this segment in the on-going NPR Cities Project, which has been asking listeners to talk about the hearts of their cities. You might recognize this quick soundbite as one of our own. In its own way, it’s music to our ears.

On Transportation column: August 1 edition

MEASURE R 2: The proposed ballot measure to extend the Measure R sales tax for 30 years — from 2039 to 2069 — in order to try to accelerate transit and road will be back in the news soon. First, the Metro Board is scheduled Aug. 6 to debate a motion by Director John Fasana, the mayor of Duarte, that would allow money to be moved from highway projects to transit projects within Measure R subregions in the county. The motion is being closely watched by state lawmakers, who still must approve a bill, AB 1446, that would allow Metro to put Measure R on the ballot.

On Aug. 7, the very next day, the County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to vote whether to allow Measure R+ on the November ballot. In other words, two things need to happen for Measure R+ to go to voters: The Board of Supervisors must vote to put it on the ballot and the state bill must be approved by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

ME AND MEASURE R2: Whatever happens with Measure R, I think this is a good time to remind readers that state law prohibits Metro and other government agencies from campaigning for ballot measures and candidates. In addition, at the June Board meeting, Director Zev Yaroslavsky offered a friendly motion would prohibit Metro from spending money on a public information campaign in support of the extension.

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August Service Council preview

We published a post last week explaining Metro’s service councils and their role in the agency’s bus service.

This is the first of what will be a monthly article highlighting the presentations scheduled for upcoming meetings. For a listing of the dates, times and locations of all five service council meetings, click here. For more information about each service council, click on the name of the service council listed below.

All council meetings include a report from Metro Service Council Director Jon Hillmer providing monthly statistics on ridership, performance and other measures of Metro service.

Coming up in August, all Councils will receive an update on Expo Line preparations for the upcoming USC football season. Over the next year or so, each Council will be working with staff on “corridor studies” that will delve into the details of a specific bus corridor within their area. Most months, staff will be bringing information about that corridor to the Council. The specific corridors for each Council are shown below along with other agenda items scheduled for August:

San Fernando Valley (8/1) – Universal Station Pedestrian Bridge, Upcoming I-405 Closure (Carmageddon II), Van Nuys Blvd. Bus Lines 233 and 761 Corridor Study

More info is after the jump!

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