Potholes, what are they good for? Absolutely nothin’!

Photo by autumnlight, via Flickr creative commons

Let’s face the facts. The road conditions around much of Los Angeles County STINK.

When it comes to cycling in the region, there’s nothing worse than knowing you’ll inevitably be encountering one of the many potholes, bumps, cracks, and cratered manholes scattered throughout the area. Too often, they tend to ruin a perfectly good ride. Don’t believe me? Try speeding down Wilshire Boulevard on a bicycle, it’ll feel like you’re sitting on a massage chair … from hell.

In my opinion, potholes and cracks are a cyclist’s worst enemy. Not only do they make it dangerous to ride, but they make it stressful as well. They slow us down, force us to swerve left and right in traffic, and can lead to serious injuries and expensive bike repairs.

Imagine such a scenario: One moment you’re riding down a street with nothing but smiles, then KA-BAM! A wide enough crack on the road sucks your front wheel in and the next thing you realize, you’re flapping your arms like a distorted seagull having been launched into the air like a human cannonball. Then, impact. Ouch.

Fellow cyclist Lynn shows the injuries she received (right) after crashing from a pothole (left) on a night group ride.

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On Transportation column: June 27 edition

Measure R Extension: The big-ticket item at Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting is a scheduled vote on whether the Board wants to ask voters to extend the half-cent sales tax beyond its mid-2039 expiration date.

Metro staff is proposing to extend the tax as a way to possibly accelerate all of the Measure R transit projects as well as help advance the construction of some of the road projects. Here’s last week’s post looking at the staff proposal.

I anticipate a lot of questions from the Board, with most of them involving the following:

•How would a Measure R extension deal with funding gaps in many of the projects? Does it fill those gaps or merely supply the money needed to build projects now instead of many years from now?

•If the Measure R transit projects are successfully accelerated, when would funds be available to begin building other projects in Metro’s long-range plan and which projects would be built first?

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Celebrate the opening of the Orange Line extension on June 30!

Metro will celebrate the opening of the Orange Line Extension with fun-filled family events at two stations on Saturday, June 30. Festivities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include food trucks, live music and much more.

Canoga Station

Chatsworth Station

  • ribbon cutting at 11 a.m.
  • community booths
  • food trucks – Fry Girl, The Lobos Truck, Just for the Halibut
  • petting zoo and pony rides for children provided by The Farm, first 20 children get a free pony ride
  • Iron Horse motorcycle and rider dress up competition at 12 p.m., first prize is a trophy and $100
  • live performances presented by Cowboy Palace Country Gone Awry and Coldwater Canyon – and Metro Express
  • raffle to win bikes hosted by Cycle World
  • free bike valet provided by Cycle World
  • blood drive hosted by the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Providence Blood Donor Center

Rides on the Orange Line Extension from Canoga Station to Chatsworth Station will be free both Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Regular fares will apply on all other Metro Rail, Metro Rapid and Metro Local lines and the rest of the Orange Line. Buses will only run on the extension from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. this weekend,the regular schedule starts on Monday, July 2.

State bill to allow vote on Measure R extension clears Senate transportation committee

The vote on AB-1446 (by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles) was yesterday afternoon. The state bill is needed in order to put a Measure R extension on a ballot before county voters.

On a related note, the Metro Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on whether to take the issue to voters at their meeting tomorrow. If the Board wants to put an extension to voters in November, they will need AB 1446 to be approved by the Legislature this session and then signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Here is the update on yesterday’s vote by Metro’s government relations staff:

Today, the California State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee approved AB 1446 (Feuer) on a 7-2 vote. The Committee asked for an amendment to clarify that the local return sub-fund in Measure R would continue with an extension. The author accepted the amendment, and the bill will now be referred to the Senate Governance and Finance Committee for a vote. We anticipate the bill will be heard on Tuesday, July 3rd.

A copy of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee analysis from today’s hearing is attached for your reference.


The art of transit

photo by calflier001, via Flickr creative commons

Cool photo of a bullet train in Kyoto, Japan. The photo was taken with a FujiFilm FinePix HS10 digital camera. Nice processing.

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.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 27

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.

Grand Park to open in late July (ZevWeb)

The first two blocks of the new Grand Park — between Grand Avenue and Hill Streets — will open to the public on Saturday, July 28. The other two blocks between Hill and Spring streets will open in late summer or early fall. The park literally has a subway stop right underneath it, the Civic Center station serving the Red and Purple lines.

Work begins on first Expo Line-adjacent mixed-use in Culver City (CurbedLA)

Buildings have been cleared on the southeast corner of Washington and National to make way for new market-rate apartments and commercial space adjacent to the new Culver City station. Residents will get a year’s worth of passes to the Expo Line to encourage use, but the building will also have two levels of underground parking to appease neighbors who fretted that a residential building without enough parking would increase parking pressure on their streets.

Proposal to extend Measure R: lots of unanswered questions (CityWatch)

This long and somewhat meandering article hits on many of the questions that will likely surface at tomorrow’s Metro Board meeting about whether to ask voters to extend the Measure R sales tax to accelerate transit and road projects. Specifically, writer Ken Alpern points to uncertain project timelines and the big question of which, if any, future non-Measure R projects could be funded.


Gate locking test today at Wilshire/Normandie station

In order to prepare for the upcoming locking of gates at subway stations, the turnstiles have been locked until 8 p.m. today at the Purple Line’s Wilshire/Normandie station (photos above and below).

In addition, the ticket machines at that station have been converted to TAP only — that is, they are no longer dispensing paper tickets with one exception: Metro-to-Muni transfers. The ticket machines will remain that way and other ticket machines in the subway will be similarly converted in the weeks ahead.

Metro staff will be in the Wilshire/Normandie station throughout the day to ensure that everyone can get through the gates. Free TAP cards are being handed out to station patrons who don’t already have them.

The gates at Wilshire/Normandie may be locked intermittently in the coming weeks — and they may be locked permanently sooner if the Metro Board of Directors decides to accelerate gate locking (staff report, pdf). Once the gates are locked, the station will always be staffed to help those with Metrolink tickets, EZ passes and Muni-to-Metro transfers get through the gates.

Metro has developed a solution for EZ Pass commuters — the passes will be a paper smart card that can be electronically read by TAP validators when boarding Metro buses and trains as well as muni operators that use TAP. The new EZ passes will also have monthly stickers on them so that agencies without TAP can visually inspect the passes. These new EZ passes are expected to be available in mid-August.

About the same time, bus operators issuing Muni to Metro transfers to Red/Purple subway will sell paper TAP cards that are good for one entry to enter the gates. These paper TAP transfers are NOT valid on Metro buses; these are for exclusive, one-time use to get through gates. Alternative options are under discussion for a longer term solution to accommodate all Munis and Metro transfers in the future.

Metro continues to work with Metrolink to get that agency into the TAP program.