Transportation headlines, Wednesday, August 15

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.

L.A. Council aims at changing parking requirements (L.A. Times)

The City Council voted yesterday to create special parking districts in which current parking requirements could be relaxed or increased depending on the circumstance. That means that potentially developers could get a break on building parking for some new residents and that new businesses in some cases may not have to produce as much parking as they have in the past. This is seen as an incentive that could help lure new businesses and redevelopment — particularly to areas near transit — and help ignite economic development in others. Los Angeles' strict parking requirements are widely seen as a major reason that so much of the city is covered by parking lots, especially on commercial corridors. Here's the ordinance.

For Universal City, a bridge not far enough (L.A. Streetsblog)

Some Valley residents aren't pleased that Metro is ramping up to spend $19 million to build a pedestrian bridge over Lankershim Boulevard at Universal City to connect the subway station to Universal City proper. Skeptics say the bridge — something promised years ago — isn't necessary and would rather see the money plowed into other transportation improvements.

Pasadena Council resolves to oppose three 710 alternatives (Pasadena Star News)

The Council on Monday night voted to formally oppose three alternatives under study by Metro to improve traffic in the area near the 710 gap: a tunnel between the 710 freeway in Alhambra and the 134 freeway that would go under the San Rafael Hills, a widening of Avenue 64 to accommodate more north-south traffic and another alternative that would potentially widen parts of Huntington Drive, Fair Oaks Avenue and Pasadena Avenue.

The three alternatives are part of a package of 12 alternatives that Metro is studying as part of a potential project. The agency will carry some of those alternatives forward into a draft environmental document. The idea of the current study is to evaluate everything that might improve traffic times in the area AND seek public input on those ideas.

In the northeast, travelers turn to Amtrak (New York Times)

In the late 1990s, about 33 percent of travelers between New York and Washington went by Amtrak. Today that number is 75 percent, an increase attributed to faster trains, airline delays and increased airport security.

 

The Los Angeles region and a future Olympics from a transit perspective

First, I want to be very clear about something: I have no idea whether the Los Angeles region in the future will want to bid on hosting the Olympic Games. It’s a big decision involving a lot of money and many cities across the globe have wrestled with the question — which I don’t think has been definitively answered — of whether the Games are worth pursuing, although London seems pretty happy with its Games right now.

That said, it’s hard to ignore Los Angeles’ rich history with the Olympics and the appeal of the Games. The region hosted the Summer Games in 1932 and 1984 and pursued the 2016 games, although Chicago was eventually chosen to represent the United States in the bidding process (and lost out badly to Rio de Janeiro). UPDATE: Los Angeles has been chosen as the host for the 2015 Special Olympics Summer games, the first time in 16 years the event will be held in the United States.

What I think is interesting is that with or without a future Olympics, the transit landscape in Los Angeles County will be noticeably different the next time the Games may land here. The earliest possible date would be 2024, given that the United States Olympic Committee, citing financial reasons, has said it won’t bid for the 2020 Summer Games or 2022 Winter Games. (The finalists for 2020 are Istanbul, Madrid and Tokyo).

The 1984 Games here were widely considered successful; please see this excellent post on the Metro Library’s Primary Resources blog. At that time, there was no Metro Rail nor was there Metrolink. Traffic was a major, major worry in the run-up to the games although regional gridlock did not come to pass. Buses successfully ferried people to and from events and many residents and businesses altered their commuting hours to avoid traffic. It was a team win similar, I think, to last year’s non-Carmageddon.

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Silver Line late-night service starts Friday, Aug. 17

Photo by Waltarrrr, via Flickr creative commons.

When Metro rolled out expanded late-night service on Metro Rail and the Orange Line last month, many of you wondered “what about the Silver Line?” Well wonder no more good readers, late-night weekend service for the Silver Line begins this Friday.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the Silver Line will run past 2 a.m. The last bus from Artesia Transit Center departs at 1:56 a.m. and the last bus from El Monte Bus Station departs at 2 a.m. The schedule of additional trips can be seen here.

Metro added extended service to the Silver Line due to the jump in late-night ridership since Metro Rail and the Orange Line began operating until 2 a.m. Keep these numbers up and we may one day end up with late-night service seven days a week!

Upcoming meetings for Regional Connector to discuss conceptual engineering

Here’s the good word from Metro staff working on the Regional Connector project, which will tie the Blue Line, Expo Line and Gold Line together in downtown Los Angeles, making for an easier commute for many riders.

Metro is currently completing advanced conceptual engineering for the Regional Connector, a 1.9-mile underground alignment that will connect the Metro Blue, Expo, and Gold Line Light Rail Transit (LRT) lines in Downtown Los Angeles. The Regional Connector will improve transit access for the anticipated 88,000+ riders who would use the system daily. The project includes underground tracks linking three new stations, located at 2nd/Hope, 2nd/Broadway, and 1st/Central.

You are encouraged to attend one of the upcoming community updates; content at each meeting will be identical. Metro will present the status of the project, including next steps as well as station design for each new station.

Spanish, Korean, and Japanese translation services will be provided at all meetings.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Times Community Room
145 S Spring St, Los Angeles

Thursday, August 23, 2012
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Central Public Library
630 W 5thSt, Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Colburn School of Music
200 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles

Wednesday, August 29, 2012
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Japanese American National Museum
369 E 1st St, Los Angeles

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, August 14 edition

Welcome to Twitter Tuesday, our roundup of the latest Metro related tweets. To get our attention, add the #MetroLosAngeles tag to your tweets and subscribe to our feed if you haven’t already. For specific complaints and customer service, please use the Customer Comment Form on metro.net.

If having problems viewing this post, please see part one and part two on the Storify website.

Many more tweets after the jump!

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, August 14

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.

A new, fun video from the transit activist group Move LA.

Cracking down on diesel (L.A. Times)

Carl Pope, the former chairman of the Sierra Club, pens an opinion piece in which he urges the California Air Resources Board to enforce rules requiring the retrofit of trucks to reduce particulate matter. It’s not cheap — it can cost $10,000 — but Pope says the benefits are enormous and also pushes more companies to follow the lead of Coca-Cola and clean up their fleets. Given the heavy truck traffic on California’s freeways, it seems a sensible argument.

As the presidential campaign begins in earnest, a study in contrasts (The Transport Politic)

Blogger Yonah Freemark takes a look at Rep. Paul Ryan’s voting record in the house in addition to Ryan’s larger views on the role of government in transportation. Although Ryan or presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has said very little about transportation, Freemark’s take is that Ryan would likely only support transportation programs paid for with user fees. Practically speaking, Freemark speculates that could mean eliminating funding for anything not involving cars. Of course, none of us really know — both the Romney and Barack Obama campaigns have been largely silent on the issue of transportation.

Hottest month on record, by the numbers (NOAA)

The news came out last week that July 2012 was the hottest month on record in the contiguous United States since 1895, when modern records began being kept. Here’s a good chart from NOAA breaking it down state-by-state — the numbers represent years, i.e. the ’48’ on California means that July 2012 was the the 48th coolest July here since 1895.

 


Construction notice: Sepulveda bridge work for Expo Line phase 2

One of the big structures for phase 2 of the Expo Line is the bridge over Sepulveda Boulevard — just south of Pico. Below is the latest construction notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the agency building the line that Metro will eventually operate.

Click above to see a larger image.

Phase 2 of the Expo Line between Culver City and Santa Monica is a project funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by county voters in 2008.