New joint timetable available for regional commuter rail and Amtrak

As you may know, there are a variety of passenger trains rolling throughout Southern California: Metrolink in the L.A. metro area, the Coaster and Sprinter in San Diego County and Amtrak, the national railroad connecting cities in California to the rest of the U.S.

The four different railroads have historically each maintained their own timetables, making it tricky for Jane Citizen to quickly figure out what might be the quickest or most convenient way to take a train from here-to-there.

To remedy that issue, the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridors Agency has created a timetable that covers all four railroads. Neat idea, people! Outside of transit circles, the agency is a bit obscure but their core mission is easy to understand: improve regional rail service.

Here’s the new timetable (pdf download here) with a hat tip to Dana Gabbard at L.A. Streetsblog:

Joint Timetable

Announcing Artmageddon — a nice alternative to sitting in the worst traffic jam in the history of the universe

If you’re looking for something to do on Carmageddon II weekend, Sept. 29-30, look no further:

Click above for a larger image.

Regional Connector begins process of hiring contractor to build the project

A small but significant milestone for the Regional Connector project this morning, with this announcement being sent by Metro to interested parties:

Because you were listed as an individual or firm interested in the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project, the following is being sent for your information:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) is requesting Statements of Qualifications (“SOQ”) from Design–Build Entities (“Respondents”) interested in submitting a proposal for the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project Contract for design-build delivery. Work under this contract will include, but is not limited to, furnishing all management, coordination, professional services, labor, equipment, materials and other services to perform the final design and construction of the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project that will create a 1.9 mile light rail line from 7th and Flower Street to 1st St. and Central Avenue that connects to the existing Metro Blue, Expo and Gold Lines.

The Request for Qualification (RFQ) documents will be available online to download at beginning August 24th, 2012.

Go Metro Weekends, Aug 24 – 26


Get down and dance on Friday with Boogie Nights, showing at the Mosaic in the downtown Arts District. In addition to the movie, there will be a costume contest, trivia, free drinks and sweet treats. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the movie begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 at the door. (Metro Gold Line to Little Tokyo/Arts District Station, walk south on Alameda toward 3rd Street)

On Saturday, don’t miss the H2O Festival at the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The outdoor concert features two stages and a mix of musicians, including Snoop Dogg, Paulina Rubio and Ozomatli. There will be cash-only food trucks and vendors on site. Tickets start at $25 and are available online. The event opens at 3 p.m. and lasts until 12:30 a.m. Don’t spend money you could be spending on merchandise to park your car, go Metro – the late-night rail service makes it an easy choice. (Metro Gold Line to Chinatown Station)

Sunday is the last concert of the Sounds of Summer series. Dwight Trible will be performing at the Craft and Folk Art Museum courtyard at 6 p.m. The concert is free, but reservations are recommended. (Metro Bus 20 to Wilshire/Curson)

More details on the five options to be further looked at in 710 study

This document was just posted to explaining the decision to eliminate seven of 12 alternatives that were part of the ongoing study to improve traffic in the area of the 710 gap between Alhambra and Pasadena (pdf download here).

SR710 Announcement Aug 2012

On Transportation column August 24 edition: 710 gap studies and Dodger Stadium traffic

710 GAP STUDY: I know some readers believe that my recent post about the ongoing 710 study was perhaps one of the worst things ever published on the internet. And that I was condescending, to boot.

Here’s one recent email from a reader:

More window dressing to try and cajole the effected groups. This is never going to fly. We will fight you every step of the way.

I certainly don’t intend to be condescending. On the other hand, I did mean to as forcefully as possible set the record straight that the 710 gap project is far from a settled issue despite what some people are saying. That was demonstrated Thursday when Metro announced that seven of 12 project alternatives were being dropped from the ongoing study, including two that involved roads going through or under the San Rafael neighborhood of Pasadena.

Again, I want to emphasize: No project has been selected by the Metro Board of Directors, who are the ultimate deciders. And the Board has a long, rich history of acting independently of Metro staff.

I think the problem with the 710 study goes back to the very nature of the project. Oftentimes when Metro launches a project, there’s a particular set of alternatives that the agency wants to study. So there’s a starting point that’s easy to grasp–for example, Metro wants to study extending the subway deeper into the Westside as well as possible alternatives.

In the case of the 710 gap studies, the agency started from scratch with — I believe — the noble idea that it would completely reconsider the 710 gap problem and potential solutions for it. Without anything specific on the table, it was naturally hard to attract much attention to the early planning efforts.

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Friday, August 24

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.

Metro staff chooses final 710 routes for environmental study (Pasadena Star News)

Seven of 12 alternatives under consideration have been dropped from a study about improving traffic in the area around the gap in the 710 freeway between Alhambra and Pasadena. Among the options shelved are a road widening through the San Rafael neighborhood in Pasadena and a freeway tunnel under it as well as any kind of surface freeway. Metro still plans to study a freeway tunnel directly between the 710 in Alhambra and the 210 in Pasadena, although some residents in the city say they plan to fight it. Here’s the news release from Metro.

Giving reins to states over drilling (New York Times)

This news analysis piece looks at Mitt Romney’s plan to give states more control over oil and gas drilling on federal lands in order to reduce the nation’s reliance on foreign oil. The Times sees it as a potentially tough sell in Congress because it’s a radical shift from the way that federal property has been managed since the days of Theodore Roosevelt, who put a strong slant on conservation. About 45 percent of California is federal property, including national forests, national parks, military bases and Bureau of Land Management properties.

For those curious:

•The U.S. consumed 18,835,000 barrels of petroleum per day in 2011, of which 8,736,000 was motor gasoline, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

•Forty-five percent of the petroleum products consumed by the U.S. were imported in 2011 — the lowest level since 1995 — and 60 percent of the nation’s crude oil processed in the nation’s refineries was imported.

•About 71 percent of U.S. oil consumption goes toward transportation.

•In 2010 and 2011, the U.S. consumed about 22 percent of total world petroleum; the U.S. leads the world in oil consumption. U.S. consumption of gasoline peaked in 2007 when 3,389,269,000 barrels were consumed.

•The burning of gasoline and other products made from fossil fuels is widely viewed as a primary reason for the buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that many scientists believe is the reason for global warming. Taking transit, by the way, is seen as a good way to reduce your carbon footprint, as the chart below from the Federal Transit Administration shows.

With Regional Connector stations, a less is more design (Downtown News)

Metro is trying to standardize the look of stations with the Regional Connector project, aiming to reduce the vast number of materials and design elements that may show up in one rail station but no others. Here’s yesterday’s post with drawings of the three stations for the Connector.