Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Sept. 11

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.

The memorial plaza for United Flight 93 in Shanksville, PA. Photo: National Park Service.

Boosting ridership by replacing buses with trains (The Atlantic Cities)

Here's a response of sorts to our post last week looking at ridership in corridors where Metro built rail. Writer Nate Berg has a couple thoughts — rail doesn't always mean geographic equity and population growth may be a factor in the ridership surge.

Amtrak in the crosshairs (Associated Press)

Even as the Republicans, including presidential candidate Mitt Romney, take aim at privatizing Amtrak, the railroad continues to set ridership records. Democrats are more protective of the railroad and the federal subsidies it requires to operate.

Transit goes hybrid in San Francisco (HybridCars)

Looks like San Francisco Muni is going to purchase 45 of the diesel-electric hybrids that are manufactured in St. Cloud, Minn. Since buses are often stopped to pick up passengers or at traffic signals, this seems to me a particular good use of hybrid technology.


New program aims to cut down on citations to juveniles aboard Metro


Below is the news release from Metro, which held a media event this morning (see video above):

On Monday, September 10, 2012 at 10 a.m. the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles School Police held a press conference to launch the new Transit Juvenile Diversion Program.

This new program targets student behavior and student safety on public transit. The goal of the program is to keep juvenile students who ride the Metro buses and trains out of the criminal justice system in the event they are cited for minor infractions and keep them in school. “We want to keep students, who may commit minor infractions, out of the courtroom and in the classroom,” said Superintendent John Deasy. “This program allows us to better achieve that goal, while enhancing student safety at the same time.”

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Metrolink unveils first train with anti-collision technology

Metrolink's Neil Brown shows PTC technology in a locomotive -- the computer screen at left is PTC. Photos by Steve Hymon/Metro.

With the fourth anniversary on Wednesday of the deadly crash in Chatsworth in 2008 that killed 25 people and injured 135 — many critically — aboard a Metrolink train, transportation officials on Monday showed media the work they're doing to ensure that something similar never happens again.

The technology is called positive train control, or PTC. It's a GPS-based system that tracks the movement of trains across the region and is capable of stopping trains before they run into trouble. Although PTC is found on a few other stretches of track in the United States, it's hardly widespread — although its implementation is mandated by 2015 by federal law for most rail providers (some of which are trying to push back the deadline).

Sandbags are being used to simulate the weight of passengers on the Metrolink test train.

Metrolink has installed PTC technology on a test train — seen in the accompanying photos — that is presently being used after hours on tracks in the Inland Empire. In addition, several SUVs capable of running on railroad tracks are testing the technology on tracks throughout the region. Metrolink's goal is to have the system fully implemented by 2013.

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Transportation headlines, Monday, Sept. 10

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 very nice video from New York artist Sophie Blackall, partly about her love of transit in New York. Hat tip to our friends at the Buzzer Blog in Vancouver for the link plus another good story — this one about a New York city bus driver who provides live opera performances for his passengers. I'm not an opera fan, but I've heard worse music on buses for sure.

Four years later, survivors of Metrolink crash still hurting (L.A. Times)

This Wednesday is the fourth anniversary of the crash that killed 25 people and injured 135 when a Metrolink train slammed head-on into a freight train; the Metrolink engineer was later found to have missed a red signal because he was texting. Many victims say their lives and livelihoods have been forever altered due to their injuries and that money from a legal settlement with Metrolink may not be enough to cover their care and other expenses. A federal law caps legal awards at $200 million per rail accident, although a Los Angeles judge said that an award would likely have been $320 million to $350 million if the case had gone to trial.

What's on TAP? Confusion, for some (ZevWeb)

The ongoing conversion at Metro's ticket machines from paper tickets to TAP cards is leaving some tourists and seniors confused. The most common complaint, acknowledged by Metro, is that the machines can be daunting for first-time visitors, especially those who want a simple transaction and don't understand why they need a TAP card and why the system is changing.

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Hollywood/Highland station closed due to police activity

UPDATE, 3:35 p.m.: the station is now reopen.

Due to police activity at this time, the Red Line subway's Hollywood/Highland station is closed and trains are bypassing the station. Please use the Hollywood/Vine station as an alternative and follow announcements.

Updates are also available on Metro's Twitter feed.


More progress on Foothil Extension's big bridge in Arcadia — falsework going bye-bye!

Photos: Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

Progress continues on the bridge that will carry the tracks for the Gold Line Foothill Extension over the eastbound 210 freeway in Arcadia. Here’s the latest update on the Measure R project by Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian:

It’s hard to believe that the Gold Line Bridge is only a few months away from an on-time, on-budget hand-off to the Alignment contractor that is responsible for completing the stations, track and systems for the project. As you can see – WOW; the falsework is being removed to reveal the many architectural elements designed into the superstructure by artist Andrew Leicester. It will take several more weeks of consecutive night closures to complete the removal process.

The falsework removal is only one of numerous activities currently underway at the project site. In the freeway’s center median, heavy machinery is demolishing the remaining portions of the previous retaining wall. Specialists are out sandblasting the superstructure’s exterior; part of the finishing activities I have described in previous emails. And crews are encasing the last of the post-tensioning ducts on the eastern abutment. The locations of these activities are shown below.

Finally, off-site, work continues on fabrication of the baskets that will soon sit atop the bridge’s main columns.

Be advised that eastbound closures of the I-210 will start again late Sunday night, and continue through next Friday morning. Closures start around 9 p.m. each night with nearby on-ramp closing first, then individual lanes begin to close around 10 p.m. Full closure of the eastbound freeway starts at Midnight, and all lanes reopen by 5:00 a.m. the following morning.

A new video on Carmageddon II