Red Line 20th anniversary video, part two: Is this what city planners had in mind?

I love the question posed in the opening of this 1989 video, suggesting that city planners could not have possibly been thinking of what Los Angeles had become: TrafficVille.

My two cents: I think this video gives city planners too much credit. I’m not sure they were thinking of anything except, perhaps, how to cram a few more strip malls into L.A. Zing!

When watching the video, also take a few moments to enjoy the music. Memo to our younger readers: there actually was some very good music created in the 1980s. This just isn’t it. This is.

If you missed it earlier, here’s Dave Sotero’s excellent analysis of the Red Line’s 20th anniversary and what the subway has done for Los Angeles — and what it will likely do in the years and decades ahead. Also, here’s another pair of videos documenting opening day on Jan. 29, 1993.

20 years ago today: videos of the Red Line’s opening on Jan. 29, 1993

Here are a pair of videos on the opening of the first segment of the Red Line on Jan. 29, 1993 — so 20th century! Thanks to the Metro Transit Library & Archive on digging these up and for all the helpful information on the 20th anniversary of the Metro Red Line.

Please see Dave Sotero’s post earlier today on the big anniversary. There are a lot of interesting factoids about the original project along with a great photo gallery and more video.

Transportation headlines, Friday, Oct. 26

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.


A Pasadena-bound Gold Line train crosses the Arroyo Seco earlier this week. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

This date in history: Metrolink begins! (Primary Resources)

On Metrolink’s 20th anniversary, an excellent post explaining how commuter rail returned to Los Angeles County after a long absence. It started with the purchase of track and the rights to use Union Station from the Southern Pacific and Union Pacific railroads, respectively. Check out the 10-minute video from 1992 included in the post.

Metro, AEG agree to expand Pico Station for Farmer’s Field (Daily News)

Good to see one daily newspaper in town will still attend Metro Board meetings! The article looks at the Metro Board’s approval yesterday of a funding agreement with AEG to add capacity to the Blue and Expo line’s Pico Station that is a short walk from the proposed site of the Farmers Field football stadium. Under the deal, AEG will pay for a second platform on the southbound tracks, the makeover of the existing platform and staff Metro needs to help with crowds at Pico Station and other downtown Metro stations.

South Pasadena Council resolves to support Measure J (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Despite protests from those opposed to a possible tunnel to close the 710 gap, South Pasadena joins councils in Glendale and La Canada-Flintridge in supporting the extension of the Measure R half-cent sales tax. The mayor of South Pasadena said he hopes J money will be steered to more transit projects.

Transit initiatives are giving a boost to businesses, report says (New York Times)

The study by New York City’s transportation department finds that its efforts to add pedestrian plazas, bike lanes and bus lanes has given a pronounced bump at nearby businesses. Critics of the city’s policies have complained that such initiatives make traffic worse and get in the way of access to local firms, but the city says it has data while such gripes are based only on anecdotal evidence.

And I belatedly catch up with this cool video about a cardboard bike that could be used to enhance mobility in places where bikes and money are in short supply.

Izhar cardboard bike project from Giora Kariv on Vimeo.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Metrolink!!!

A Metrolink train in Camarillo in 2006. Photo by KaroliK, via Flickr creative commons.

A Metrolink train in San Clemente in 2011. Photo by Loco Steve, via Flickr creative commons.

A midday Metrolink train at the Fullerton station in 2008. Photo by SP8254, via Flickr creative commons.

An early map of the Metrolink system. Date unknown. Photo from Metro Transportation Library and Archive’s Flickr page.

It’s pretty amazing that in sprawling Southern California commuter rail was all but absent for most of the latter half of the 20th century. That changed when five counties — Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside — agreed to come together and foot the bill for a commuter railroad with Los Angeles Union Station as its main hub.

The arrival of Metrolink and the Metro Red Line brought Union Station back to life. Metrolink also targeted the long-distance car commuter, finally giving them an alternative to long, slow freeway commutes across the region. Entering its third decade, Metrolink should fare well as linkages improve to the Metro system and more development is hopefully targeted near stations. Source readers: What do you think are the main challenges for Metrolink in the next decade?

Here is a good interactive 20th anniversary report from Metrolink and below is the news release from Metrolink:

LOS ANGELES – The west coast’s largest commuter rail system, Metrolink, will celebrate 20 years of service on Friday. To date, Metrolink has transported more than 100 million people throughout Southern California.

Metrolink began operations on Oct. 26, 1992 with three routes, 11 stations and 112 miles of track in two counties. It initially carried 2,300 daily passengers. Today, Metrolink offers seven routes, 55 stations and 512 miles of track in six counties. Average weekday ridership consists of over 44,000 boardings.

“This is a tremendous milestone,” Metrolink Board Chairman Richard Katz said. “When you consider the tens of thousands of lives we impact each and every day, our positive impact on improving air quality and reducing congestion…it can be overwhelming. Our employees and crews take great pride in their work and being a part of this occasion is very special for everyone associated with Metrolink.

“The safety of our passengers and crews is and always will be Metrolink’s core value,” he said.

(More photos after the jump!)

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