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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Caltrans announces QuickMap, new online tool for real-time travel and traffic information

I like the ability to quickly see freeway information signs. Here’s the news release from Caltrans:

SACRAMENTO – Caltrans today announced it has launched Caltrans QuickMap, an
online service that provides California motorists with real-time traffic
and travel information that will allow them to make better decisions about
how to reach their destination more rapidly.

To access Caltrans QuickMap, visit the Caltrans site at quickmap.dot.ca.gov

“A wide range of useful information is now easily accessible to help
motorists avoid congestion and reduce their travel times,” said Caltrans
Director Malcolm Dougherty. “This exciting innovation delivers real-time
data so travelers can adjust their routes to get where they’re going as
quickly as possible.”

Visitors to the online interactive travel map can access nearly 1,000
freeway cameras and more than 700 electronic message signs on highways
statewide. They can also monitor traffic congestion, California Highway
Patrol incidents, travel time information, lane closures due to highway
roadwork, and Amber Alerts. Other helpful features of the service include
chain control information and color-coded traffic speed displays for
freeways statewide.

@Metrolosangeles Twitter Tuesday, July 31 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 read part one and part two on the Storify website.

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Transportation headlines, Tuesday, July 31

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.

An uphill climb for downtown L.A. Streetcar (KCET)

D.J. Waldie wonders aloud whether downtown property owners along the proposed alignment will vote to tax themselves to pay for the project. Bottom line: without such as tax, the project will be very short of funding. Waldie primarily has questions about the route and whether it will appeal to enough of downtown L.A. to make the project worthwhile.

Touchdown pass or lost yardage — what will be AEG? (L.A. Streetsblog)

The op-ed written by a pair of environmental health advocates says that the proposed downtown football stadium could impair air quality because of increased traffic to games, increase noise in surrounding neighborhoods and displace residents of nearby neighborhoods. Read it for yourself and decide if a football stadium, on the site of part of the current convention center and next to a heavily-trafficked freeway, could really do that much harm to the area. The stadium is really going to be louder than the freeway? I doubt it.

Long Beach staff says 405 plan would cause bottleneck (Long Beach Business Journal)

A plan to widen the 405 freeway in northern Orange County has Long Beach officials fearful that they will get the brunt of the traffic caused by a wide freeway meeting a narrower one at the boundary between O.C. and L.A. counties. Seems like a legitimate concern; on the other hand, part of the O.C.’s plan may include a toll lane to help speed up traffic for some. Tough one, people.