Transportation headlines, Wednesday, October 1

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: New Metro Rail light rail vehicles being assembled in Palmdale. In this pic, two halves of a light rail car are being joined together. Photo: Metro.

Art of Transit: New Metro Rail light rail vehicles being assembled in Palmdale. In this pic, two halves of a light rail car are being joined together. Photo: Metro.

Metro breaks ground on key downtown L.A. subway link (L.A. Times)

Officials break ground on $1.4-billion Regional Connector (Downtown News)

Coverage of yesterday’s groundbreaking for the Regional Connector project that will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines in downtown L.A., making for a quicker ride to and through downtown for Metro light rail passengers. Officials emphasized that the Connector will reduce the need for transfer and should hopefully make taking the train into DTLA more convenient and possibly even quicker than driving.

I thought it was interesting that no one at the event noted, however, that the Pasadena Gold Line was originally intended to connect to the Blue Line. That was cut from the project in the 1990s due to budget woes, with officials figuring the subway could be used to bridge the gap between Union Station and 7th/Metro. Complicating matters, the Gold Line platform and subway platforms aren’t exactly adjacent — something I’m not sure you would appreciate unless you’re the one walking it day after day, month after month and year after year.

Metro’s Union Station Master Plan a significant shift (L.A. Times)

Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a look at the Union Station Master Plan that the Metro Board will consider in its October round of meetings (the Board delayed taking action in September). Overall, he likes many elements of the plan and considers some of the challenges — such as how new development adjacent to the station will blend in with the historic station structure. One note from Metro: officials emphasize that raising the tracks at Union Station as part of the run-through project and providing room for the concourse below would not impact nearby bridges over the Los Angeles River.

Making Los Angeles streets safe, zero pedestrian deaths are mayor’s and LADOT’s goal (Daily News) 

A look at the “Great Streets” document released by the city of Los Angeles earlier this week. The goal of ending pedestrian deaths in the city by 2025 is certainly commendable — and will certainly be a challenge given the size of the city and the amount of traffic within it. As the article notes, there were 80 deaths last year and that number hasn’t moved much in recent years. My humble request: improving the often lousy pedestrian environment on sidewalks near the Blue Line would be a great place to start.

The document from the city is below — looks like it has some interesting facts and figures, although I haven’t had a chance to read yet in its entirety.

A high-frequency bus network: is it worth the cost? (Edmonton Journal)

Excellent intro to a longer series about an ongoing discussion in the city: should high-frequency bus service be the goal or should the city continue to spread bus service around so everyone has at least a little service? Transportation planner Jarrett Walker was hired to help city officials make some decisions — see his blog for more coverage.

Of course, this is a hugely relevant conversation in Los Angeles County, where Metro and many other municipal agencies provide bus service. Some of it is certainly high frequency (at times) and much of it dives deeply into the ‘burbs and has low ridership but is obviously critical for the mobility of those who do ride. The catch: funding for bus service is never unlimited, meaning that to some degree the number of high-ridership, high-frequency lines are limited by the number of low-frequency bus lines.

 

 

Thanks for riding to the L.A. Kings victory parade, hockey fans! A few pics for you…

Thanks everyone for riding Metro today to the victory parade and celebration for the Los Angeles Kings Stanley Cup Championship. Looked to me like a big turnout — perhaps more people than for the 2012 parade.

If you would to download full resolution versions of any of the above photos of the Kings, they’re available on Metro’s Flickr page. To download, click on the “….” on the right side of the screen and then choose “download/all sizes” and then select the size.

See you in September, hockey fans!

New platform decals reinforce the message: let people off the train before boarding the train!

IMG_3174[2]

As many of you have noticed in the past week, there are new floor graphic decals on the platforms serving the Red and Purple lines at the 7th/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles.

IMG_3168[2]The intention of the decals is to deal with an issue many of you have also raised: exiting rail cars can sometimes be difficult because people trying to board the train stand directly in front of the doors, blocking the exit route. Some riders have said this makes L.A. transit riders look amateurish compared to other cities!

Here’s some information from Stephen Tu in Metro rail operations about the decals — interesting stuff:

•THE PROBLEM: 7th/Metro is our busiest rail station in the system and one with high turnover due to transfer activity between all four rail lines. We currently build 60 extra seconds into the subway schedule just to account for the increased amount of boardings/alightings at this station. As many of us know, simultaneous boarding and alighting is the most inefficient and uncomfortable method for passenger flow.

•THE SOLUTION: Ideally, passengers should exit the train first, then those on the platform may board.  As a result, Rail Operations approached Creative Services on identifying cost-effective solutions to improve passenger flow and reduce dwell times at this station. After Creative Services reviewed floor graphics throughout the transit industry, and met with various internal Metro staff including Operations, Facilities Maintenance, Civil Rights and ADA, this design was chosen as the best fit for our system.  This is a temporary decal that will be evaluated for effectiveness.  We will soon be testing a slightly elongated floor graphic on the outbound track at 7M.

•THE NEXT STEP: If successful, this program will be expanded to other stations with high turnover and with more permanent material.

So there you have it. My understanding is that the testing has gone well with a few occasional problems in which the train doors don’t line up directly with the decals. Your thoughts, readers and riders? Comment please.