18-hour concrete pour of I-210 Gold Line bridge superstructure is successful

Above is a great time-lapse video of the pour and below is the news release from the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is building the Pasadena-to-Azusa line — which, by the way, remains on-time and on budget:

MONROVIA — Achieving another major milestone in the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension construction project, crews worked 18 hours over the last several days to place more than 200 truckloads of concrete to form the bridge’s superstructure and main crossbeam, Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian announced today.

An important component of the Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa is the I-210 Gold Line Bridge, the “Gateway to the San Gabriel Valley.” The bridge – a 584-linear-foot light rail bridge traversing the eastbound lanes of the I-210 Freeway between Baldwin and Santa Anita Avenues – will allow connection between the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in East Pasadena and the future Arcadia Station.

“The concrete pour of the bridge marks an important milestone for the extension of the Gold Line. The bridge is a significant element of the entire project and as the concrete cures and the forms are removed in the coming months, the traveling public will get to see the bridge truly taking shape,” said Balian. “The next step is to pour the bridge deck, which will one day carry light rail trains into portions of the San Gabriel Valley that have not had passenger rail options for decades.”

 

Continue reading

A Measure R extension Q & A

Source: Metro staff.

Measure R was approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008 as a half-cent sales tax that would be in effect for 30 years — with an expiration date of mid-2039.

As many Source readers know, Metro staff are proposing to ask county voters to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax past 2039 in order to accelerate the construction of transit and road projects. Here’s the staff report, which is scheduled to be considered Thursday morning in the Board of Director’s Executive Management committee. (UPDATE: The committee voted 4 to 1 to move the staff proposal without a recommendation to the full Board for their consideration at their June 29 meeting. Voting for were Board Members Diane DuBois, Richard Katz, Antonio Villaraigosa and Zev Yaroslavsky. Voting against was Mike Antonovich.)

The decision whether to go to voters with the issue is scheduled to be made this month by Metro’s 13-member Board of Directors that oversee the agency. The following Q&A is based on Metro staff reports and presentations and is intended to help explain why the staff is recommending an extension and other issues involved:

Why is Metro staff proposing to ask voters to extend Measure R past its 2039 expiration date?

Metro staff have looked at many financing options and have concluded an extension is the best way to complete Measure R transit projects in the next 10 to 13 years instead of the next 27 years. It would also greatly increase funds available for Measure R highway projects.

There are three primary reasons Metro wants to accelerate the construction of transportation projects:

•A good way to beat future inflation is to build projects now, particularly when construction costs are significantly down.

•Extending Measure R would give Metro the revenues it needs to take advantage of favorable financing. There are historically low interest rates presently and the federal government may expand a low-interest loan program that would help Metro.

•Equally important, a Measure R extension would create a lot of jobs in the near-term as Los Angeles County is still struggling with unemployment because of the Great Recession. A study on behalf of Metro by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. estimates that Measure R will create 410,000 jobs and that an extension of Measure R would accelerate 260,000 of those jobs.

Continue reading

First impressions of Metro's newest train stations: Culver City and Farmdale

Travelers peruse display tables and grab free Expo Line tickets at Culver City Station on the day of its opening. Photo by Carter Rubin/Metro.

It’s official now folks: The Expo Line stations at Farmdale and Culver City are open for business. I took a couple hours today to visit both stations and explore the area around them. Here’s my take on each, with an emphasis on the transit connections, station facilities and other notables.

Culver City Station

  • Around the station on foot

At the moment, there isn’t much in the immediate vicinity of the station, although that stands to change as Culver City moves forward with plans to develop some of the vacant land around the station into transit-oriented housing, retail and commercial space.

That said, there’s a lot within a 5 to 10 minute walk. To the west, you can reach just about all of downtown Culver City, with its great bars and restaurants, movie theaters and shopping. To the east down Venice Boulevard, there’s the Helms Bakery District — where this post is being typed up — with even more restaurants and an assortment of trendy home furnishing and decor shops.

All told, I really think this is the ideal spot for this station in the long run. As more development goes in around the station, it will provide the ideal connection between the two aforementioned areas, making a continuous stretch of enjoyable outdoor places centered around the Culver City Station.

In the meantime, the current station parking lot strikes me as a great opportunity to host, say, a food truck festival on a weekend day when the lot isn’t too full. In fact, a full time coffee vendor or news stand on site would be a great addition, in this humble blogger’s opinion.

Metro joins local elected officials for dedication of new Expo Line Culver City station

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa leads opening day festivities for new Expo Line stations at Culver City Station. From left, Culver City council members Meghan Sahli-Wells, Jim B. Clarke, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Culver City Mayor Andy Weissman, Culver City Councilman Michael O'Leary, Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz. Photos by Juan Ocampo.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa leads opening day festivities for new Expo Line stations at Culver City Station. From left, Culver City council members Meghan Sahli-Wells, Jim B. Clarke, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Culver City Mayor Andy Weissman, Culver City Councilman Michael O’Leary, Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz. Photos by Juan Ocampo.

Here is the news release from Metro about the ceremony held this morning. The Culver City and Farmdale stations open at noon.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa joined Culver City Mayor Andy Weissman and other local elected officials today to officially dedicate the opening of the Expo Line Culver City Station located in the heart of Culver City at the intersection of Washington and National.  Both the Culver City Station and the Farmdale Station will open to the public at noon today.

“Today’s official opening of the Culver City and Farmdale stations marks the completion of the first phase of the Expo Line, connecting Angelenos from the Westside to Downtown and beyond,” said Mayor Villaraigosa.  “With this line, we are giving Angelenos the 21st Century transit options they want and deserve.”

In addition, patrons boarding trains at both the Farmdale and Culver City stations will receive free passes to use on the Expo Line today, June 20.

“Today, I want to thank my colleagues on the City Council-both past and present, the Metro Board, The Exposition Light Rail Construction Authority, staff and the construction team for their leadership and hard work in constructing the Culver City Station,” said Culver City Mayor Andy Weissman. “We are proud to have Culver City be a destination on the Expo Line, and we look forward to the station serving thousands of passengers in the years to come.”

Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, June 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.

Expo Line’s Culver City station set to debut (L.A. Times)

Check out the great panorama view from the elevated station platform. Culver City and Farmdale stations open at noon today.

Expo Line’s halting start (L.A. Times)

In an opinion piece, Molly Selvin writes she supported the project but would like to see a better effort by Metro to communicate service alerts and schedule changes to riders.

Metro Board to vote on extension of Measure R (Daily News)

An overview of the proposal by Metro staff to ask Los Angeles County voters to extend Measure R past its 2039 expiration date to accelerate the construction of transit and road projects.