Transportation headlines, Tuesday, March 20

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.

Subway makes tracks toward Westwood (ZevWeb)

The article provides a detailed look at the routing of the subway through Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky’s district, which includes Beverly Hills and Century City. The piece also looks at the seismic issues involved and considers the controversy over a Century City station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars — a location opposed by some Beverly Hills officials as it would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. Excerpt:

But last year, a panel of high-profile scientific experts convened by Metro said that active earthquake faults make the Santa Monica Boulevard location too dangerous for a subway station. These experts, including Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey and Caltech, found instead that a station could be safely built at the Constellation site, which has no evidence of active faults. In addition, they said that tunneling under the high school property could be accomplished safely with state-of-the-art equipment and techniques even through earthquake zones and ground with large concentrations of methane gas.

Beverly Hills hired experts of its own to review Metro’s scientific conclusions. Those experts argue that more research is needed, particularly around the Constellation site and on the high school campus. (The city’s website has links to those reports, as well as other information on Beverly Hills’ position on the subway.) In addition, the Beverly Hills school board recently commissioned widespread trenching studies on the high school campus to determine whether seismic hazards are present; a report on that is expected soon.

Metro officials say the final environmental documents released today make it clear that it will be safe to build a subway station at Constellation, but said they will be studying the Beverly Hills reports carefully. (Updated: The Beverly Hills School District’s attorney, Kevin Brogan, issued a statement criticizing Metro for releasing the final environmental documents before receiving the results of the trenching studies. His statement is here.)

 

Batik-influenced designs cover the side of Kereta Api's executive-class Argo Gede train line at Bandung, Indonesia's main station. (Photo credit: Jakarta Globe)

Plans to build Indonesia’s first high-speed rail line gather steam (Jakarta Globe)

Indonesia has moved closer to building its first bullet train with a pledge by the Japanese government to pay part of the $6.5-billion construction bill. Japan is also funding a feasibility study that could take two years to complete. This would push the railway’s completion date to 2017 or 2018. The Indonesian government plans to build two high-speed trains, one connecting Jakarta and Bandung, and a second route connecting Jakarta and Surabaya.

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Go Metro to live music: Cults

Don’t be afraid to go outside and go Metro this Thursday night to see the indie-rock group Cults perform live at The Fonda Theatre (formerly The Music Box) in Hollywood. And with the Hollywood/Vine Red Line Station just a block away, there’s no reason to miss it.

Cults began as a side-project between two friends, Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion, while both were in music school in New York City. Relatively unknown prior to 2010, they’re now best known for their single “Go Outside” (below) which became an internet hit not long after they uploaded the song to their personal music sharing website. Their self-titled mainstream debut, which also features the song, was released on Columbia Records in 2011.

 

 

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Art for the Expo Line's La Cienega/Jefferson station: Engraved in Memory by Daniel González

Artisans at the artwork fabricator, Mosaïka Art & Design, working on Gonzalez’s art panels. Highly skilled artisans translated the artist’s original black and white linoleum prints into pieces of hand-carved, hand-glazed porcelain.

Daniel González’s artwork for La Cienega/Jefferson Station illustrates the history of the Ballona Creek and the surrounding environs, including the people who have called the area home.

The art panels reference the Mission and Californio periods, the film industry and contemporary art scene, as well as the Baldwin Hills dam break of 1967. The Ballona Creek flows through several art panels, constant and recognizable, visually linking the images across time. (Here’s a link to more information about Gonzalez’s work for La Cienega/Jefferson Station.)

Detail of Engraved in Memory at La Cienega/Jefferson Station

Artisan at Mosaïka Art & Design working on an art panel

More photos of the artwork are after the jump.

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The art of transit

photo by The Hamster Factor, via Flickr creative commons

Take a guess where the photo of this bus stop was taken. There is one pretty good clue in the image. Here’s another one: the city is nine years shy of its 400th anniversary. Answer after the jump.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to sourcemetro@gmail.com or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

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I-5 South Corridor braces for second wave of congestion-busting improvements

Officials break ground March 19 to launch the I-5 HOV Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second of six segments of the I-5 South Corrdior Improvement Projects.

Officials break ground March 19 to launch the I-5 HOV Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second of six segments of the I-5 South Corrdior Improvement Projects.

Caltrans and Metro announced Monday that construction will begin on the I-5 Widening and Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project, the second segment of the I-5 South Corridor Improvement Project that runs from the Los Angeles/Orange County Line to the I-605. Last fall, Caltrans began the first of six I-5 corridor improvement projects totaling more than $1 billion; some of the funding is coming from Measure R.

The $110-million Alondra Boulevard Bridge project will add one carpool lane and one general purpose lane in each direction from North Fork Coyote Creek to Marquardt Avenue, a distance of nearly a mile. The project also includes reconstructing two bridges at Alondra and North Fork Coyote Creek to accommodate a wider freeway, redesigned ramp structures and realigning Firestone Boulevard and Freeway Drive frontage roads.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge Project is expected to be completed by mid-2015.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge spans the 1-5 South Corridor in Santa Fe Springs. An estimated 220,000 vehicles travel this section daily.

The Alondra Boulevard Bridge spans the 1-5 South Corridor in Santa Fe Springs. An estimated 220,000 vehicles travel this section daily.

Highlights from the Westside Subway Extension's final environmental study

The Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the Westside Subway Extension was released this afternoon (news release here, report here). Here are some other highlights about the project from the report:

•As the map above and the chart below demonstrates, one big benefit of the Westside Subway Extension is that it will be near a lot of jobs. There are parts of the Westside nearly as job-rich as the downtown areas of other large cities. Note: the map shows options for the final alignment considered by Metro staff in Century City and Westwood.

•As this earlier post shows, the Subway Extension would speed up transit trips to and from Westwood. It is expected to take about 15 minutes for the subway to travel between the Westwood/VA station and the existing Wilshire/Western subway station.

•After the Metro Board of Directors approves of the FEIS/R and the study gets a “record of decision” from the Federal Transit Administration, the project can enter the final design phase, followed by construction. A groundbreaking in 2013 is possible.

•Two construction schedules are proposed by Metro staff in the FEIS/R. One would have the entire line open to the Westwood/VA station in 2022 — but that would first require an expansion of federal funding by Congress.

•The other construction schedule would follow Metro’s long-range plan and would complete the Westside Subway Extension in three phases — opening to La Cienega in 2020, Century City in 2026 and Westwood in 2036. It is 3.9 miles between the existing Wilshire and Western station and the future La Cienega station.

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