Go Metro Weekends, March 9-11

The star this weekend is once again Pasadena. Head to ArtNight on Friday and enjoy a free evening of art, music and entertainment. Twelve of Pasadena’s most prominent arts and cultural institutions will open their doors from 6 to 10 p.m. ArtNight also features pop-up galleries, paint-spewing army ducks and food trucks, including ice cream sandwich truck Cool Haus (try the balsamic fig & mascarpone ice cream with an oatmeal cookie, weird but delicious!). Free shuttles will loop the area throughout the evening with stops at each venue, and a bike tour is available as well. Show your valid Metro ticket or pass at participating venues and receive special discounts, including 10 percent off store merchandise at the Pasadena Museum of California Art or 10 percent off exhibition catalogs at the Armory Center for the Arts. (Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park Station, depending on which venue you’d like to visit first different buses will serve your needs, check Metro Trip Planner.)

If you’re into acoustic music, visit the Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday. String Theory, an all day acoustic music event, starts at 11 a.m. The event features musicians and dancers who put on a unique show using invented instruments and large-scale performance installations. Over 30 artists and special guests will be taking the stage. (Metro Red Line to Pershing Square Station, walk east on 5th St. to Spring St. Metro Bus Lines 16, 55, 62 to 5th/Spring.)

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Art for the Expo Line: LA Metro Lotería by Jose Lozano

Jose Lozano standing in front of an art panel before it’s installed

Jose Lozano presents a series of Lotería cards, based on a Mexican game of chance, in his artwork for Expo/La Brea Station.

Similar to Bingo, Lotería uses images on a deck of cards instead of numbers. In text at the bottom of the cards, Lozano plays with the station name “La Brea,” keeping the Spanish language prefixes “La,” “El,” or “Los,” and substituting “Brea” with passenger interactions commonly encountered while riding Metro.

Each of the eight art panels portrays a different scene: “El Luggage” shows a smiling man surrounded by overstuffed luggage, “La Prisa” (the hurry) shows a mother and child walking quickly across a platform. (Here’s a link to more information about Lozano’s work for Expo/La Brea Station.)

Original design for one of the 8 art panels (seen above with the artist) comprising LA Metro Lotería at Expo/La Brea Station

Detail of LA Metro Lotería, displaying “Los Stairs” and “La Nurse,” at the artwork fabricator, Winsor Fireform.

Detail of LA Metro Lotería, displaying “Los Romantics” and “Los Metro Guys,” at the artwork fabricator, Winsor Fireform.

More photos of the artwork being installed at the station are after the jump.

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Transportation headlines, Friday, March 9

The Expo Line right-of-way just south (right) of Olympic Blvd. at Cloverfield Blvd. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

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.

Fifty-two trees to be moved for Expo Line in Santa Monica (Santa Monica Mirror)

Before Expo Phase 2 construction begins along the right-of-way, the city of Santa Monica will remove 52 trees from the southern edge of Olympic Boulevard between Stewart Street and Cloverfield Boulevard. Fear not, 38 of them — palms, ficuses and others — will be finding a new home nearby. The Mirror cites a Santa Monica staff report stating that the city may use some of the trees to create a “buffer” between the new Expo maintenance facility and surrounding homes. Note: The coral trees in the center median of Olympic are not the trees being moved.

U.S. Conference of Mayors report: nation’s transportation infrastructure needs to keep pace with growing exports (Progressive Railroading)

U.S. exports are on the rise and that’s good news for the local economy. After all, the Ports of L.A. and Long Beach combined handle more cargo than any other port in the country. But that also means more freight moving on our local rails and roads, and more congestion as a result. That has Antonio Villaraigosa — in his capacity as L.A Mayor, Metro Board Chair and U.S. Conference of Mayors head — championing more federal investment in the infrastructure that helps move freight from ports to local warehouses and those throughout the country.

Report from last week’s DTLA bike sting (L.A. Streetsblog)

How effective has the new bright green Spring Street bike lane been at keeping bikes and cars at a safe distance? The LAPD sought to determine that last week through an enforcement operation against rule breakers. Streetsblog writer Carlos Morales checked in on the “sting” and found some clueless drivers, obstructing film crews and the occasional confused cyclists — on top of everyone else who was getting along well enough. My thought: If the bike lanes were physically separated from traffic — a la those in Long Beach, Montreal, New York — a lot of these problems would be engineered away.

The art of transit


photo by James Scott, via Flickr creative commons

Nice shot taken in late February in the Southwark part of London. The photo was taken with a Nikon D90 with a shutter speed of one-tenth of a second to capture the movement of the bus.

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.

What's happening at other transit agencies?

This weekly post features news from other transit agencies and planners from around the world. Did we miss a good story? Let us know in the comments.

Credit: New York City MTA

New York aims to install interactive touch-screen tablets in subway stations

New York’s MTA is working to add ‘On the Go!’ interactive tablets to its stations that will provide users with directions, service status updates and neighborhood restaurant reviews. These ‘virtual agents’ would sit near the banks of turnstiles, where the station booth and public telephone used to be. The MTA envisions installing 47-inch interactive tablets throughout the entire 468-station subway system.

Going digital at the turnstiles and on the platforms will allow the transit agency to update information and advertising remotely, making them both a way to keep the public informed and a source of ad revenue for the MTA.  According to a spokesman for the transit system, “On the Go! goes far beyond what we can do with paper-based station information. It’s eye-catching, informative and immediate — a huge leap forward in station-based customer information.”

Do real-time updates increase transit ridership?

Continuing with the theme of digital changes aimed at improving the transit rider’s experience, in The Atlantic Cities, Eric Jaffe writes about research that considers how Google is changing the way people interact with public transit. Google Maps and Google Transit already publish schedules for more than 475 transit agencies around the world. Jaffe’s article notes how Google’s public transit activism is helping public-transit users better plan their trips and save time waiting for a bus or train. According to research due out in the June issue of Transportation Research Part C, the Chicago Transit Authority’s Bus Tracker has attracted a significant (if modest) amount of new riders to the city’s bus system. The lesson from Chicago may be that real-time transit information should be marketed to both transit riders and drivers to increase ridership.

Metro’s provides its own real time bus information for smartphones in the form of Nextrip. Other agencies are working on signage — here’s an example from Seattle on the SDOT Blog.

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Metro staff recommends contract for purchase of new light rail cars

As Metro greatly expands its rail network in Los Angeles County in the next few years, the agency has also been working to purchase new rail cars.

After a lengthy proposal process, Metro staff is recommending a $299-million contract with Kinkisharyo International LLC– a firm based in Westwood, Mass. — for the purchase of 78 new light rail vehicles. In addition, the proposed contract includes four options for the purchase of an additional 157 light rail cars for $591 million.

Two other firms proposed on the project. The Metro Board of Directors are scheduled to consider the contract at their Systems Safety and Operations committee meeting on Thursday, March 15 (noon) and at the full Board meeting on Thursday, March 22 (9 a.m.). Both meetings are at Metro headquarters adjacent to Los Angeles Union Station.

The base order and option rail cars are planned for use on the Expo Line, Gold Line Foothill Extension, Crenshaw Line and Blue Line, which has several 69 vehicles due to be retired later in this decade. Although the design of the interiors of the new cars has not been finalized, many of the seats in the new cars will be wider than the new rail cars that debuted on the Gold Line in recent years. There will also be efforts made to maximize extra space for bikes in the rail cars.

One of the criteria looked at by Metro staff was the ability of the contractor to generate jobs in the United States. As part of its proposal, Kinkisharyo committed to creating new U.S. jobs totaling nearly $98 million in wages and benefits — primarily by establishing a new rail car production facility in the U.S.

After the jump are a few more renderings of the light rail vehicles.

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