State allocates $60 million to Metrolink to upgrade locomotives and cab cars

Here’s the news release from Metrolink:

Los Angeles- At its August 22 meeting, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) allocated $60 million in Proposition 1 A bond funds to help pay for much-needed upgrades to Metrolink’s fleet of locomotives and coach cars. This program will allow Metrolink to upgrade between 21 and 30 locomotives and 44-55 passenger cars either by purchasing new equipment or rehabilitating existing equipment. Their mechanical and communications systems will be overhauled and new seats and flooring will be installed. Luggage racks, more bike racks and higher powered HVAC systems are planned to be added to accommodate longer trips anticipated as part of the High Speed Rail project.

“These funds will allow Metrolink to serve the region better in many ways. We can move more people, will be more environmentally-friendly and will have fewer delays caused by older equipment,” said Metrolink Board Chair Richard Katz. “This is the biggest capacity-adding project in the agency’s history. It would not be possible without these funds.”

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Transportation headlines, Monday, August 27

A little Monday morning stupidness for you, dear readers. Hat tip: Grist.

A view of the suburban ghost towns surrounding Charlotte (Streetsblog network)

Some interesting photos of abandoned suburban projects far from the city core. Cautionary tale or sign of things to come if the economy recovers?

BART bike pilot underway (BART)

The rail agency in the Bay Area is allowing bikes on trains all day on Fridays, including during peak hours. Metro last year decided to allow bikes on trains at all times. Here’s a good video by the agency:

Arctic sea ice shrinks to new low in satellite era (NASA)

The extent of the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean has shrunk to its lowest levels in the three decades since satellite observations begun. It was not an unusually warm summer in the Arctic, but it’s part of an ongoing trend that indicates the Arctic’s sea ice is “fundamentally changing,” according to government scientists.

Credit: NASA.

Taxpayers are gouged on transit costs (Bloomberg)

In this opinion piece that could use a lot more facts, the writer asserts that transit costs in the United States are generally more expensive than their European counterparts because of out-of-date procurement standards, a tendency to invest too much in pretty architecture and famous architects and courts that tend to side with contractors in disputes with government agencies. An enterprising local reporter — there are still some out there, right? — could borrow this idea and compare costs of California projects to some overseas or even elsewhere in America. It would take some footwork, but would be good knowledge to have.

Blue Line train, Metro Bus accident in downtown Los Angeles; Blue Line resumes normal service

Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro.

UPDATE, 9:40 a.m.: The Blue Line is resuming normal service between Washington-7th/Metro.

A Blue Line train collided with a Metro bus Line 51 in downtown Los Angeles at approx. 6:56 a.m. The train was heading southbound when it hit the southbound bus at Washington and San Pedro on the south side of downtown. Bus and train were both full.

Bus bridges are in place to shuttle Blue Line passengers between 7th/Metro and Washington. The Expo Line has resumed service with residual delays at all stations.

Here is the most recent update from the Los Angeles Fire Department website:

Train vs. Vehicle 8/26/2012
*UPDATE: 1900 S San Pedro St* Most injuries appear minor; Some taken by
ambulance to area hosp; Updated patient count pending – Brian
Humphrey###

The L.A. Times is reporting that about 48 people received mostly minor injuries in the incident. The Fire Department says that the injured were “most if not all from the bus.”

UPDATE, 9:40 a.m.: The LAFD just posted this to their Twitter feed:

LAFD ‏@LAFD

*UPDATE: 1900 S San Pedro St* Final patient count = 32 total; All in good-to-fair condition (31 minor injury; 1 ill); NFD -Brian Humphrey###

The cause of the accident is under investigation, according to Metro. The agency also said that one rail car and the bus suffered major damage.

The 51 Metro local bus runs between Wilshire Center and the Artesia Transit Center, including a long stretch on San Pedro Street. The Blue Line runs down the middle of Washington between Flower Street and Long Beach Avenue.

If you were delayed because of the accident this morning and need verification for your employer or school please call Metro Customer Relations at 213-922-6235 or fax them at 213-922-6988.

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 http://www.metro.net/EBB/bids1.asp 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)