Metro celebrates Dump the Pump Day by squashing a pump

A media event was held at El Monte Station this morning; video is above. Here’s the news release from Metro:

With gasoline prices topping $4 per gallon the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) stresses now is the perfect time to try bus, rail or vanpool to discover how much money and time can be saved compared to driving. National Dump the Pump Day, June 19, 2014, highlights transit as a way to help people save money.

Commuting to work alone in a car costs more than the price of gasoline. Drivers have to take into account insurance, maintenance, wear and tear and parking at many destinations. For example, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) estimates the cost of driving a car annually at $10,174. By using transit or vanpooling, commuter can save about 75 percent.

“Every day, Metro puts 2,000 buses on our streets and trains on 88 miles of light rail and subway tracks. There is a very good chance that Metro has a transportation alternative that works for you,” said Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. 

For commuters with a roundtrip drive of at least 30 miles, Metro also offers an extensive vanpooling program supporting a fleet of 1,331 public vanpool vehicles destined to L. A. County work sites each day. Nearly 90 percent of Metro Vanpool commuters used to drive alone and, based on ridership statistics, vanpooling results in nearly 7,000 cars off the road each day.

 “Vanpool passengers save time and money and benefit by not having wear and tear on their personal vehicles driving to work and back every day,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “In terms of reducing carbon footprint, we estimate that taking people out of their cars and putting them into vanpools reduces carbon emissions by nearly 4,000 metric tons in L.A. County each month.”

APTA reports that in 2013, Americans took 10.7 billion trips on public transportation, the highest in 57 years. According to APTA, since 1995, public transit ridership is up 37.2 percent outpacing population growth, 20.3 percent and vehicle miles traveled, 22.7 percent.

Metro bus and rail riders continue to increase in numbers. In Fiscal Year 2011, Metro had a total of 453 million boardings. In the FY2013, Metro increased that to 472.7 million boardings. 

APTA estimates that public transportation in the United States reduces the nation’s carbon emissions by 37 million metric tons annually, which is the equivalent of the electricity usage of Los Angeles, New York City, Washington D.C., Atlanta and Denver combined. In addition, research by the Texas Transportation Institute Census Bureau shows that in 2011, U.S. public transportation use saved 865 million hours in travel time and 450 million gallons of fuel in 498 urban areas. 

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at,, and and

About Metro

Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that is really three companies in one: a major operator that transports about 1.5 million boarding passengers on an average weekday on a fleet of 2,000 clean air buses and six rail lines, a major construction agency that oversees many bus, rail, highway and other mobility related building projects, and the lead transportation planning and programming agency for Los Angeles County.  Overseeing one of the largest public works programs in America, Metro is helping change the urban landscape of the Los Angeles region. Dozens of transit, highway and other mobility projects largely funded by Measure R are under construction or in the planning stages. These include five new rail lines, the I-5 widening and other major projects.

crusing pump

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

Artwork installations in progress at El Monte Station

Workers installing Martin Durazo's artwork

Workers installing Martin Durazo’s artwork

Sixteen new artworks are being installed at Metro’s El Monte Station. The artworks — by Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez — are located at each of the station’s four transit bays and help enliven the customer experience.

Each artist created four artworks. The colorful new artwork panels can be viewed at each bay from multiple viewpoints.

Click here for details on an exhibition of the four El Monte artists’ work, opening next week.

Phung Huynh's artwork being installed. Each artist created artwork in the medium of their choice, including drawing, painting and collage. This work was digitally captured in high-resolution digital files. The artwork was then translated onto 8’ x 8’ powder-coated aluminum panels, which can withstand the elements over the long-term, and are easy for Metro to maintain.

Phung Huynh’s artwork being installed. Each artist created artwork in the medium of their choice, including drawing, painting and collage. This work was digitally captured in high-resolution digital files. The artwork was then translated onto 8’ x 8’ powder-coated aluminum panels, which can withstand the elements over the long-term, and are easy for Metro to maintain.

El Monte Station
Built in the 1970s, the original transit center was the busiest bus-only station west of the Mississippi. The station was demolished to make way for a new two-level station, doubling its previous size and accommodating up to 40,000 daily riders. The new station has modern amenities including variable message signs, intercoms, closed circuit television, solar panels, wayfinding equipment and information displays, new elevators and escalators, a transit store, bike stations and lockers.

Metro Art Program
Metro Art implements the agency’s percent for art program, manages the care and maintenance of the system’s existing artworks and directs a volunteer docent council. From rail and bus stations to construction fences and poetry cards, art creates a sense of place and engages transit riders. Since 1989, Metro has commissioned artists to incorporate artworks into a wide array of transportation projects throughout Los Angeles County. The agency has received numerous design and artistic excellence awards, and is renowned for its approaches to integrating art into the transit experience, and for engaging artists at all levels of their careers.

New artwork at El Monte Station will be on display at Rio Hondo College next month

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Here’s the news release from Metro:

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has commissioned four talented Los Angeles based artists – Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez – for artworks that will enhance the transit experience at El Monte Station, the largest bus facility west of Chicago that sees up to 40,000 daily riders. Each artist has created four artworks that will be installed at the station January 2014.

Rio Hondo College will be exhibiting the original artworks to facilitate a dialog between the artists and the community. The exhibition will be on display from Feb. 3 – 28. Gallery hours will be 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday, with additional evening hours Monday through Wednesday from 6 – 9 p.m.

A panel discussion will provide an opportunity to meet the artists and learn about the process of translating their artistic vision into works of art for public transportation sites. The panel will take place Thursday, February 6 from 7 – 8 p.m. in the Ray Theatre at Rio Hondo College and will include the artists Martin Durazo, Phung Huynh, Vincent Ramos and Eloy Torrez, and moderator Jorge Pardo, Metro Director of Art & Design. Admission to both panel discussion and the exhibition will be free. Parking at Rio Hondo College is $3.

Rio Hondo College is located at 3600 Workman Mill Rd., Whittier, CA, 90601. It is accessible from El Monte Station via Metro Bus 270 and Express Bus 577. Use the Trip Planner at for more routes and connections.

The exhibition physically reveals a critical and often challenging process for the artist in negotiating the changes that occur when an artwork is fabricated for a public site. Durable artwork materials are necessary to withstand outdoor transit environments and to ensure long-term artistic integrity. Each artwork panel represents the culmination of a process of translation-in concept, practice and material. The exhibition presents a variety of media used in the artists’ studios, including painting, drawing, and digital collage that have been interpreted into powder-coated aluminum panels.

Vincent Ramos pays homage to the rich cultural contribution of the El Monte Legion Stadium, a hotbed of activity in its heyday. The artwork focuses on the musicians who played at the stadium and the promoters (radio deejays and TV personalities) who organized and hosted these events. Individuals represented in the artwork reflect the early worlds of rock n’ roll, rhythm and blues, and country music.

Eloy Torrez explores transitions and movement to visualize the movement, energy and patterns that people create on their travels. His work depicts our monetary encounters as we cross paths with each other in our daily lives and within the transit environment.

Artist Martin Durazo uses swirling vibrant colors such as metallic blue, electric yellows, pinks, and silvers, to energetically mirror the ever-changing intersection of cultures and environments in the Los Angeles area.

Phung Huynh’s artwork is informed by the city’s rich history through the use of symbolic and metaphoric imagery. Her stylized treatment of forms, shapes, and figures is inspired by papel picado (Mexican papercut art) and Chinese papercut art.

To request images of artwork for publication, please email For more information on Metro’s art program, visit

Work underway to connect El Monte Transit Center to Rio Hondo bike path

Some very good news for cyclists from Anthony Jusay with Metro’s Bike Planning staff: the Rio Hondo Bike Path will soon be connected to the El Monte Transit Center. Metro began construction on the project last week and work is scheduled to be completed within 60 days, weather permitting.

The project includes a paved access ramp and gate opening that connects to an existing access point to the Rio Hondo. There will be ADA-accessible curb ramps, shared-lane markings and wayfinding between the bike path and transit center that will also be added so that people biking, walking or rolling can easily navigate their way.

Also in the works is the El Monte Metro Bike Hub, which is anticipated to be open in spring 2014.  A Metro Bike Hub is a secure access, high-capacity bike parking facility — the El Monte Station will have the first one built by Metro.

Once these bike friendly features are complete at the El Monte Transit Center it will be a significant asset to the region as there are numerous bike planning efforts underway involving the cities of El Monte, South El Monte, Baldwin Park, San Gabriel, Temple City, Rosemead, Alhambra, Monterey Park, Covina and areas overseen by Los Angeles County.

For more information on current bike planning activities please visit the San Gabriel Valley Bicycle Master Plan website.

Recent work taking place at the El Monte Station. Photo by Metro.

Recent work taking place at the El Monte Station. Photo by Metro.

New artist opportunities at El Monte Station

View of artwork location at transit bay concourse wall. Each panel measures approximately 8’ x 8’ (there are four identical bays with four identically sized panels).

View of artwork location at El Monte Station transit bay concourse wall. Each panel measures approximately 8’ x 8’ (there are four identical bays with four identically sized panels).

Metro is seeking four artists for El Monte Station. 

The two-level El Monte Station opened in 2012, and is located at the corner of Santa Anita Avenue and Ramona Boulevard in El Monte, 12 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. The station provides transit service on numerous lines for Metro, Foothill Transit, LAX FlyAway airport shuttle and Greyhound and serves over 18,000 customers a day. A bus rapid transit service, the Silver Line connects all Metro Rail lines.

Artwork opportunities have been identified for the concourse level walls at each of the station’s four transit bays.

For complete details and information regarding submittal requirements, download the Call to Artists and ARRA Requirements.

Deadline:  Monday, May 6, 2013

Other actions taken today by the Metro Board of Directors: contract to buy new buses, TVMs for El Monte Station

Here are a few other items of interest tackled at today’s meeting of the full Metro Board of Directors:

•The Board approved a $302-million contract with New Flyer of America for the purchase of 550 new 40-foot buses powered by compressed natural gas. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved a contract modification up to $610,000 with Cubic Transportation Systems for the purchase and installation of four ticket vending machines for the El Monte Transit Center. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved a series of contract modifications totaling about $13.5 million with outside firms, including URS Corporation, for continued work on the I-710 South Corridor Project’s environmental studies. Staff report (pdf)

•The Board approved giving Metro the authority to enter into an exclusive negotiating agreement with three developers seeking to build a mixed-use project that would partially occupy Metro-owned land adjacent to the Red Line’s Vermont/Sunset Station. Staff report (pdf)

Metro staff proposes installing four ticket vending machines at new El Monte Station

El Monte TVM staff report by

The Metro Board of Directors will be holding its committee meetings today and Thursday. I’m going through the agendas and will post staff reports and proposals that I think will be of the most interest to readers.

This one certainly qualifies. It’s a proposal by staff to install four ticket vending machines at the new El Monte Station. This is something that several Source readers requested after the station opened last fall as the machines are a convenient way to purchase TAP cards or replenish them without having to go online or go out of your way.

The final decision on the machines will be made by the full Metro Board at their regular monthly meeting on Jan. 24.


Transportation headlines, Thursday, Jan. 3

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.

For the record: gasoline was most expensive in 2012 (Wall Street Journal) 

The national average of $3.60 a gallon was the highest ever in the United States, besting the $3.51 average of 2011. The average in California was $4.03 a gallon in 2012. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the Prius has become the top-selling car in the state.

Connecting the Rio Hondo Bikeway to El Monte Station (Pasadena Star-News) 

Staff writer Steve Scauzillo says that it makes no sense for the Rio Hondo Bikeway — a major artery for cyclists — to pass so close to the new El Monte Station but without a connection to it. In fact, there’s a fence between. Scauzillo has a couple suggestions on fixing it and says he’s joining the advocacy group Bike SGV in fighting for a connection.

A view of the Rio Hondo Bikeway and the old El Monte station from Google Maps.

A view of the Rio Hondo Bikeway and the old El Monte station from Google Maps.

A monorail on the Sunset Strip and other visions of L.A.’s future (Curbed LA)

Fun post with some whimsical views of a future L.A. I’m not so sure about the monorails, but I like the rewilding of the Venice Canals!

Bus here yet? Check the monitor! (Portland Tribune)

A streetcar-adjacent pub in Portland has added a nice feature: a wall-mounted computer monitor showing when the next streetcar will arrive at a stop outside the bar. The owner of the bar added the monitor after observing that many customers were leaving about the same time that streetcars were arriving.

25 years later, San Jose light rail among the worst (Oroville Mercury Register) 

The light rail serving San Jose and surrounding area was built assuming a lot of development would occur along the tracks. It didn’t entirely happen, the reason that ridership has continued to suffer. Transit officials argue that without the light rail system congestion on area freeways would jump by six percent — and traffic is already pretty bad because of San Jose’s sprawling nature. Interesting read.

How Avis will ruin Zipcar (Washington Post)

Badly, according to the Washington Post, which foresees the hip culture of Zipcar being consumed by the broader corporate culture of Avis. They also think there are some antitrust issues.

Pinnacles National Monument set to become a National Park (L.A. Times)

We talk a lot about cities on The Source, so here’s a breather — the Senate approved elevating Pinnacles National Monument in Northern California to a National Park. That would be the ninth national park in California. The Times fails to note this interesting fact: The Golden State and Alaska currently have the most parks, with eight apiece, although there’s more acreage in the vast Alaska parks than here. Park photos via Google.

Still, it’s nice to see we’ll be tops if President Obama signs the Pinnacles bill. Think about it. The nation’s most populous state will still have 6.28 million acres in national parks, not to mention the millions of acres of land owned by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management and California State Parks.

El Monte Busway closed for construction this weekend between downtown L.A. and El Monte Station

Due to Metro ExpressLanes construction, the El Monte Busway will be closed from Alameda St to El Monte Station from 10 p.m. Friday, Nov.2, through 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 5.

All buses will use the general purpose lanes on the I-10 Fwy during this time. All buses at the LAC-USC Medical Center and Cal State LA stations will board at street level locations. Metro will augment service with additional buses in order to minimize passenger delays and inconvenience. For more information, go to the “construction notices” tab at

After the  jump, here is the construction notice issued by Metro: Continue reading

Canopy design and sun protection at the new El Monte Station

Click above to see larger.

I received an email earlier this week from a rider asking about the canopies on the upper level of the new El Monte Station and whether they would afford much protection from the sun and the elements.

It’s a good question — and one that Metro staff considered when designing the new station. I wanted to post the above graphic from Metro because I think it demonstrates that the new station wasn’t just assembled to look good. Function played a big role.

As for sun protection, the issue at El Monte is similar to many other Metro bus stops and rail stations. The sun obviously moves around a lot in the course of a day and year, meaning shade will move, too. I’ve found most Metro shade canopies to be sufficient.

One other point worth making: I know there is concern among some readers about bus bay assignments at El Monte Station. They’re not written in stone. It’s a new facility and Metro staff, along with other agencies using the station, can make changes if necessary and staff have spent the past week reviewing the station and getting feedback from customers.