Metro staff to visit stations to push rail safety to riders

Here’s the news release from Metro:

To increase rail safety awareness during September, Metro Safety staff will be visiting several rail stations passing out safety information, providing safety tips and discussing safety issues around trains and tracks with Metro Rail patrons.

The effort coincides with Railroad Safety Month in California established to raise awareness about the importance of proper safety around California railroad tracks and highway-rail grade crossings.
The Metro Blue, Red, Purple, Expo, Gold and Green line stations will be visited during rush hours, mostly in the morning hours during September.

“Safety has always been Metro’s top priority,” said Metro Transit Safety Programs Manager Barbara Burns. “Metro has developed a program focused on education, engineering, and enforcement, but we need the public’s cooperation. We need them to pay attention to their surroundings, to listen to the sounds, bells and whistles of trains approaching, to look around when they are near the rail tracks.”

Metro Safety staff will be at different rail stations throughout the month of September passing out safety information, promoting safety to patrons and responding to questions or providing safety tips while patrons wait for their train.

On the Metro Blue Line, Metro Safety staff will be available from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the sidewalks by the exit at the Vernon Station on Sept. 6, Florence Station on Sept. 7, 103rd/Watts Towers Station on Sept. 10, Willowbrook Station on Sept. 11, upstairs (Green Line) and downstairs (Blue Line), and on Sept. 12 at Artesia Station.

On the Metro Expo Line, Metro Safety staff will be available from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the sidewalks by the stations at the Expo Park/USC Station on Sept. 13, Vermont Station on Sept. 14, and Western Station on Sept. 17. On the Metro Gold Line Highland Park Station on Sept. 18, Mission Station on Sept. 19, Filmore Station on Sept. 20, Pico/Aliso Station on Sept. 21, Indiana Station on Sept. 24, and E.L.A. Civic Center Station on Sept. 25.

To reach patrons from the Metro Blue, Expo, Purple and Red Lines, Metro Safety staff will be on the Figueroa Street side of the Metro Blue Line escalators at 7th St./Metro Center station on Sept. 26 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sept. 28 from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m..

At Union Station, Metro Safety staff will be at the East Portal area leading to the Metro Red/Purple Lines on Sept. 27 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Metro cautions riders to avoid texting, talking on the phone or listening to music through headphones near the tracks or on station platforms. Remember to always Stop, Listen, Look and Stay Alive around train tracks. For more information on rail safety, visit

About 8,000 people rode Expo Line to USC game on Saturday

Fans en route to the USC game on Saturday on the Expo Line. Photo by Marc Littman/Metro.

The ridership numbers from Metro are in and here’s the skinny: an estimated 8,000 people rode the Expo Line on Saturday to and from USC’s home opener against the University of Hawaii at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In addition, Metro estimates that 4,000 to 6,000 of those fans reached or traveled from the Expo Line via other Metro buses or trains. In total, there were about 22,000 boardings on Metro on Saturday related to the game.

USC is listing the attendance at the game at 93,607, which means that about 8.5 percent of those who went to the game were delivered there by the Expo Line.

The next USC home game is Saturday, Sept. 22, against Cal. The game time has yet to be announced.

405 closures for prep work for Carmageddon II

Here’s the news release from Metro about upcoming overnight closures of parts of the 405 freeway and other streets in order to prepare for the demolition of the north side of the Mullholland Drive bridge on the weekend of Sept. 29-30:

Carmageddon II prep work

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, Sept. 5

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.

Shock therapy for a declining gas tax (The Planning Report)

Here are the remarks presented at last month’s forum at Metro on the new federal transportation funding bill by David Yale, who does financial forecasts (among other things) for Metro. The agency could do well from the expansion of a federal loan program but otherwise much of the bill is luckily a break-even proposition for the agency because the federal gas tax is in decline and no one wants to deal with raising it. In other words, this can’t go on forever. By the way, David’s title at Metro is “Executive Office of Regional Programming for the Countywide Planning Department” and his business card is three-feet long.

Using BRT as a transit Band-Aid (The Atlantic Cities)

Fascinating story about the new bus rapid transit in Istanbul, which has proven so popular that buses at peak hour are running every 30 seconds in one direction. The story’s bigger point is that regions sometimes turn to BRT because it’s far less expensive than building rail — and then quickly discover they really needed rail to handle the demand from the transit public. This certainly echoes a sentiment from some Source readers who believe the Orange Line should have been a rail line and not a bus.

XPressWest has $1.5 billion in investors — and a strong argument for Victorville (California High-Speed Rail blog)

Forget the old Desert XPress name. The private firm proposing to build a bullet train between Victorville and Las Vegas changed the name to XPress West earlier this year. Officials also say they have raised $1.5 billion in private investments for the project, but won’t say who — although there are hints the money may be coming from Las Vegas casinos and resorts who want to keep the customers flowing into town. One of the partners in the project, a former casino/hotel owner and operator, also says that data gleamed from casino and hotel operators indicates that most So Cal customers are coming from the Inland Empire, a drive up to 40 minutes from Victorville, which sits in the high desert above the Cajon Pass. Interesting.


Service councils conducting in-depth corridor studies

For the first time, each of Metro's five regional Service Councils is conducting a “Corridor Study” to evaluate within a heavily used transit corridor in their area. Each of the corridors being studied include multiple routes, which could consist of local service, limited service and/or rapid service. The routes selected for each council are listed below.

Overviews of each of the chosen corridors were presented at the July Service Council meetings and the studies will continue through July 2013. Council member regularly ride buses operating in their region. They have been asked to increase their trips on the lines being studied in their region. In addition to observing the line in operation, they have also been asked to speak with customers and bus operators on the lines. Council members will also be invited to participate in scheduled line rides for the routes in their areas accompanied by Jon Hillmer, Director of the Regional Service Councils.

Throughout the year, councils will share their observations and discuss ideas to improve service in their corridors every other month. Discussion will include:

Evaluation of the days and hours of service.

Frequency of service (peak and off peak hours).

Passenger loads.

Possible route modifications.

Possible schedule changes to improve connections to other bus lines and rail services.

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Sept. 4

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.

Measure J examined (The Transport Politic)

Yonah Freemark takes a look at some of the pros and cons of the proposal by Metro to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax by 30 years, from 2039 to 2069.

Bus rapid transit in Chicago won't be so rapid (Chicago Tribune)

The Trib's transpo columnist takes a look at the Windy City's first BRT which mostly will not have its own lane or some other features usually associated with bus rapid transit projects.

Why do bike tires stink? (Grist)

The 'Ask Umbra' column tackles the question of why bike tires must be inflated much more often than car tires. Answer: it's the way the tires are manufactured and the phenomenon of high pressure — the air in bike tires really just wants to escape.

Obama Administration to states: get ready for more transit oversight (The Hill)

In a letter recently sent to 26 states with major transit agencies, federal officials said the recent federal transpo bill gives them the authority to set national safety standards for local transit operation. “Public transit remains one of the safest ways to travel in the U.S., and we intend to keep it that way,” wrote U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

What will it take for climate change to become an issue? (New York Times)

In days of yore — like 2005 — activists predicted that weather calamaties would finally focus the public's attention on the issue of climate change. Well, the world has seen plenty of wacky and (sadly) deadly weather in the past couple of years, but the presidential candidates are still treating climate change as if it's highly radioactive. It's gotten so bad that the League of Conservation Voters has started an online petition to ask debate moderator Jim Lehrer to force Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to talk about it during their first encounter next month.

Expo Line service to USC football kicks off with big crowds!

The new Expo Line did what it was designed to do this afternoon, carrying many USC fans to the Trojans’ football season opener against Hawaii. It is the first time in nearly six decades that there has been train service to a football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Extra service was added on the Expo Line and throughout the Metro system and up to now everything has been running smoothly. “It’s a great start for a new L.A.-Trojan-Metro tradition,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy.

Here are some photos taken this afternoon by Metro’s Marc Littman:

The last photo shows the command center that Metro is using near USC to monitor train service.