Metro to hold public hearing on proposed bus service changes

Metro Service Councils will be holding three upcoming public hearings in August to receive public comments on proposed changes to Metro bus service to take effect in December 2014 or later.

The three public hearings will take place on:

Wednesday, August 6 at 6:30 p.m.
San Fernando Valley Service Council Hearing
Marvin Braude Constituent Center
6262 Van Nuys Blvd.
Van Nuys

Saturday, August 9 at 9 a.m.
Metro Headquarters Building
One Gateway Plaza, Board Room
Los Angeles

Wednesday, August 13 at 5 p.m.
Westside/Central Service Council Hearing
La Cienega Tennis Center
325 South La Cienega Blvd.
Beverly Hills

Affected Metro bus lines and service proposals under consideration are listed after the jump.

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Use 511 to avoid Century Crunch traffic this weekend

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Southern California 511 has launched a new feature to keep drivers up to date during the planned Century Crunch closure scheduled July 25 to 28.

Century Crunch will see Century Boulevard, one of the main access roads to the airport, closed to traffic at the Aviation Boulevard intersection beginning 9 p.m. Friday, July 25, through 6 a.m. Monday, July 28. The old Century Boulevard Bridge needs to be demolished to allow for the future construction of a new Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail station.

To access the real-time traffic information, call 511 and say “Century Crunch” after the automated greeting. You will get info on the intersection closure and learn recommended detour routes. Or say “traffic” to receive frequently updated traffic information on nearby roadways that feed into the LAX area.

Updates will include freeway traffic drive times, freeway speeds and SigAlerts. For real-time traffic maps and public transportation travel alternatives, visit the website Go511.com or use the Go511 app available in iTunes and Google Play app stores.

Motorists are advised to call or use the mobile app before starting their trip. Please do not use your phones while driving.

Transportation headlines, Monday, July 21: preparing for the ‘Century Crunch’

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

Photo: Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

ART OF TRANSIT: The clock tower that will soon be installed at the Arcadia station for the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Foothill Extension Construction Authority officials say the project that will extend the Gold Line 11.5 miles from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border is almost 75 percent complete. Photo: Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority.

Century Crunch could make journey to LAX worse (Daily Breeze)

Coverage of the closure this weekend of the intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards near LAX in order to demolish an old railroad bridge to make way for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. The closure begins at 9 p.m. Friday and is scheduled to last through 6 a.m. Monday. Excerpt:

“We anticipate there is going to be a lot of congestion in and about the airport,” said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “We just don’t want to see people missing their flights because they are affected by the extended time frames.”

For weeks, LAX and MTA officials have worked to spread the word, sending notices to the media to alert the public, to airlines and other transportation companies to warn their employees, and to hotels along Century Boulevard to alert their guests.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti even starred in a YouTube video, asking airport travelers to plan ahead.

“Because we planned ahead, Carmageddon never happened on the 405. So let’s plan ahead again,” Garcetti said. “Avoid the area if you do not need to be there and, if you must, allow for extra travel time and use public transit.”

The airport is expecting its usual heavy air traffic through the weekend and almost 93,000 vehicles pass through the Aviation/Century intersection on the average day — airport officials say it’s the busiest entrance and exit to the airport.

Please consider taking the Flyaway bus or public transit if traveling to or from the airport this weekend. If driving, the detour map is below and using Sepulveda Boulevard is one choice for avoiding Century Boulevard.

CrenshawDetourMap

Report to Metro: pay attention (L.A. Register)

Tough audit sparks reforms (ZevWeb)

The Register looks at an internal audit of the of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which is under contract by Metro to patrol the agency’s buses, trains and stations, and contract oversight by Metro. Excerpt from the Register:

“The results of the audit are disappointing,” said County Supervisor Mike Antonovich, who sits on the Metro Board of Directors. “The Sheriff’s Department should have done a better job in meeting the requirements of our contract and MTA executive staff failed to manage the contract competently or effectively.”

The report noted some recent improvements, however.

“More citations have been written, the number of fare checks has increased, officer morale has generally increased, and plans to address staffing issues and other improvements are underway,“ the audit said.

Spokespeople for both Metro and LASD said the organizations agreed with most of the recommendations and said that actions were already underway to increase performance. As a result, there was a persistent decline in violent crime over the past year.

Serious crimes incidents are below 4 incidents per 1 million boardings, and the numbers have improved since last year, according to Metro spokesperson Marc Littman.

 

As the article on Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky’s website notes, “The audit comes as the sheriff’s Metro contract—by far the department’s largest—is up for renewal. The new contract will likely be worth more than $400 million over five years, the report said. The department currently is working under a $42 million six-month contract extension that expires on Dec. 31.”

Kicking the can down the road: a habit that is hard to kick (NPR)

Good piece that attempts to answer why Congress will only offer temporary fixes for the Highway Trust Fund and other budgetary matters. The answer: it’s hard to do anything decisive when there’s another big election looming.

Museum row losing tenant to Metro (L.A. Register) 

No new news here, but a reminder that the Architecture and Design Museum on Wilshire Boulevard has to be move to make way for construction of the Purple Line Extension’s Wilshire/Fairfax station. Museum officials are looking for a new location — with downtown Los Angeles one possibility. Meanwhile, the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday is scheduled to consider approving a $1.6-billion contract with Skanska, Traylor and Shea to build the project’s 3.9-mile first phase with new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega.

 

I-5 Empire Project update: upcoming construction activities and closures

Here’s the news release from Caltrans; Metro is a funding partner on the project:

The construction activities and closures listed below will occur during the week of July 20-25, 2014, as part of the I-5 Empire Project in Burbank, a series of freeway improvements between Magnolia Boulevard and Buena Vista Street. More information about the project is here. Construction activities and closures are subject to change.

Major Construction Activities for the Week of July 20-25, 2014

Daytime work except where noted.

  • Fill placement between the San Fernando Boulevard tunnel and the Lincoln Street/Victory Place intersection.
  • Removal of vegetation along southbound I-5 between Scott Road and Burbank Boulevard.
  • Construction of a boring pit at Victory Place and Wilson Avenue.
  • Manhole work at Victory Place and Empire Center Drive (the signaled intersection near Wendy’s and Catherine’s).
  • The Gas Company will perform utility removal/relocation work near the intersection of Empire Avenue and Victory Place and on San Fernando Boulevard between the northbound Scott Road off-ramp and Grismer Avenue. Some of this work will be performed at night. Please be attentive to lane closures and watch for workers in the construction zone.

What to Expect: Residents and businesses close to the freeway may notice vibration and construction noise, but it will not exceed levels permitted by state, federal and local regulations. Also, the contractor is using approved dust-control measures to minimize airborne particles, but some dust is expected. Additionally, motorists should be attentive to new traffic patterns created by restriping of travel lanes and concrete barriers. Please proceed cautiously and watch for workers.

Closures for the Week of July 20-25, 2014

Northbound I-5 Closures

Ramp

  • Burbank Boulevard/Walnut Avenue on-ramp: A permanent closure was implemented on July 16, 2014.

Southbound I-5 Closures

Ramps

  • Scott Road off-ramp: Permanent closure. This ramp will be integrated into the Empire interchange, which will open in mid-2016
  • Victory Boulevard/Lincoln Street on-ramp: Permanent closure. This ramp will be integrated into the Empire interchange, which will open in mid-2016

Resources for Motorists

  • Project Information:Information about the project is here.
  • Closure Information: Closure information for this and other freeway projects is also available on the Caltrans website and the I-5 website.

For the safety of the construction crew and motorists, please be attentive to closures, slow for the cone zone, and move over one lane where possible.

Caltrans thanks motorists for their patience and understanding during construction. For more information, visit I-5info.com.

 

Transportation headlines, Friday, July 18

Have a transportation-related article you think should be included in headlines? Drop me an email! And don’t forget, Metro is on TwitterFacebook and Instagram. Pick your social media poison! 

ART OF TRANSIT: A Metro bus rolls down a very quiet Spring Street shortly after rush hour on Thursday evening. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: A Metro bus rolls down a very quiet Spring Street shortly after rush hour on Thursday evening. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Dodger Stadium Express: Metro nightmare or game day savior? (Neon Tommy) 

One reporter boards the free shuttle bus from Union Station to the ballpark. The other reporter drives. Who gets there faster? The reporter on the bus, who along the way apologizes to a couple from Iowa about the poor state of public transit in L.A. only to have them respond that they think transit here is “fine” and they use it during their visits to L.A. Always fun when the source doesn’t take the bait, eh? :)

Click here for more info on the Dodger Stadium Express.

Good start at Metro LA: call for active transportation funding strategy (SM Spoke) 

Santa Monica Spoke is pleased with a new motion before the Metro Board that could potentially create a steady funding stream for active transportation projects — i.e. projects that would benefit pedestrians and cyclists. There was a big activist turnout at the Metro Board’s Planning Committee on Wednesday, prompted by the Board’s consideration of a short-range plan that activists say does not supply enough funding for walking and biking.

Metro considering rail link from Valley to Bob Hope to Pas (Curbed LA)

Coverage of the the motion before the Metro Board of Directors asking for study of improving the Orange Line, including a possible rail conversion and an extension of some sort — presumably rail or bus rapid transit — to Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena.

The full Board is scheduled to vote on the motion at its meeting this coming Thursday. The motion also asks for study of using more articulated buses on the line, improving traffic signal priority and grade separations. Important to know: converting the Orange Line to rail is not funded by Measure R, nor is it in Metro’s long-range plan although an undefined project linking the Orange Line to the Gold Line’s Del Mar station in Pasadena is a tier 2 unfunded project. The new motion included an amendment on creating a process to add projects to the long-range plan. Read the motion here.

San Francisco sets bond vote for aging transportation system (Bloomberg) 

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors — i.e. their City Council — voted to send the $500-million bond measure to voters in November. The money, which would be borrowed, would be used to pay for upgrades to the local transit system that will be used, in part, to speed buses and trains. The measure needs two-thirds approval to pass even though it doesn’t involve raising taxes.

Proposal to allow state tolls on interstates hits roadblock (NPR)

With lawmakers pretty much refusing to consider raising the federal gas tax to keep the Highway Trust Fund in the black, President Obama is proposing to allow states to collect tolls on federal interstates to raise funds for road maintenance and other transportation projects. But there’s pushback, including from an array of corporations who say that tolls + gas tax = double taxation.

New York can’t afford to build the Second Avenue Subway, and it can’t afford not to (CityLab)

The problem is that the subway is costing more than $2 billion per mile to build, including three new stations. The two-mile first phase is due to be completed in 2016, but the remaining three phases aren’t funded and in total the project could reach a $20-billion price tag. The current subway line serving Manhattan’s Eastside is running at capacity, traffic is at its worst on the Eastside and New York is expected to add one million residents. FWIW, the 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension — including three new stations has a budget of $2.77 billion. The Metro Board is expected to vote on a $1.6-billion construction contract at its meeting this coming Thursday.

Uber, Lfyt and a road map for reinventing the ride (New York Times)

Interesting piece in the Sunday Review section from last week about Uber dropping the cost of a ride in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles to try to encourage more volume and get more people in the habit of using Uber. The key quote:

“The whole point of price cuts is to get UberX pricing below the cost of owning a car,” Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, told me. “Let’s say you take three or four trips a day on average. If we can get the price of UberX low enough, we can get to where it’s cheaper to take Uber than to own a car.”

The article also mentions transit with the author pointing out that Uber may cost more than taking a train or bus for a routine errand, but would be faster and more convenient. My three cents: I don’t see Uber or similar services as much of a threat to transit, although they could certainly harm the existing taxi or car service industry. As for denting the sale of cars…maybe, although the costs of using Uber all the time could certainly rack up fast.

Perhaps it’s something in which a family could forgo a second car if living in a city with a variety of Uber-like services, a good transit system and neighborhoods that are walkable and bike-friendly. All those choices could mean — emphasis on could — families with fewer second cars.

Expect intermittent closures on I-110 9th Street off-ramp through August

Here’s the press relase from Caltrans:

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) will be removing debris, sediment and trash from the storm drain at the northbound I-110 9th Street off-ramp.  Construction crews will be working from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday leaving one lane open. This project is expected to be completed by mid-August. Intermittent closures should be expected.  Major delays are expected.

There will be no work between July 26 – July 30, 2014

Detours will be posted for motorist convenience.  United Storm Water, Inc. of La Puente, California is the contractor on this $80 thousand project.

Caltrans advises motorists to “Slow For The Cone Zone.”