Transportation headlines, Friday, August 8

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: The Orange Line crossing the L.A. River in the Sepulveda Basin earlier this week. More Orange Line stock photos free for anyone that needs them on our Flickr site. Just click above. I'll be out shooting some pics along the Eastside Gold Line later today--wave is you're riding by! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

ART OF TRANSIT: The Orange Line crossing the L.A. River in the Sepulveda Basin earlier this week. More Orange Line stock photos free for anyone that needs them on our Flickr site. Just click above. I’ll be out shooting some pics along the Eastside Gold Line later today–wave is you’re riding by! Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Eyes on the street: faulty ped detour for Expo Phase 2 construction (Streetsblog LA)

As the photos show, a pedestrian detour sign instructs walkers to cross busy Venice Boulevard at a spot also signed as a no ped crossing zone.

Give your input at upcoming high-speed rail meetings (Streetsblog LA)

The California High-Speed Rail Authority held community meetings earlier this week in Burbank and Palmdale and has four more meetings scheduled this month around the area to discuss the environmental studies underway for the segment of the bullet train to run between Palmdale and Los Angeles Union Station. For purposes of the study, the agency is doing a review of the Burbank-to-Palmdale section and then the Burbank-to-Union Station section. Both have their challenges.

Here’s a link to the meeting flyer and here’s a link to a PowerPoint on the two segments in our region under study. As I understand it, the High-Speed Rail Authority is planning to open bullet train service between L.A. and San Francisco in three phases: Merced to the San Fernando Valley, then Merced to San Jose and then both San Jose to S.F. and Burbank to Union Station. One hurdle, of course, is closing the gap between Palmdale and Bakersfield over/under the Tehachapi Mountains.

A test ride through Denver area’s light rail transit (High Country News)

Jonathan Thompson has heard good things about Denver’s big transit push in the last decade and decides to give the train a spin during a recent trip. The verdict:

Over the next couple of days I continue my test of the trains. My conclusion? If the goal of public transit is to transform the greater metro area into a walkable place where residents will want to abandon their cars, then Denver proper gets a B+, while the greater metro area is more like a C — it will take far more than a handful of light rail lines to rejigger the post-World War II, auto-centric suburbs of the West, as my morning walk to the station demonstrates. But if the idea is to give all those poor car-commuting souls non-vehicular options for getting around the greater metro area, then Denver’s system earns a B. As light rail lines out to the airport and other suburbs go on line in 2016, they may even move into A territory. After all, 82,000 daily trips on light rail are 82,000 trips people aren’t taking in their cars. And that’s a good thing.

Lfyt’s new carpooling service beginning of the end for public buses (Vox)

Dumb headline, dumb story. It’s great that Lyft is making it easier for passengers to split fares, but can Lfyt or any other car-sharing service really absorb (for example) the 1.1 million daily boardings on Metro buses? And are all bus riders — many using discounted monthly passes — really ready to pay the cost of using Lyft? Answer: no. There’s a much more realistic take on what Lyft and Uber are doing over at Streetsblog.

 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, May 20

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! 

My horrible, hopeful L.A. commute (Zocalo Public Square) 

Columnist Joe Mathews writes about his three- to four-hour daily journey that involves starting in South Pasadena, driving to Arcadia to drop the kids at pre-school and then turning around driving 30-plus miles to his office in congested Santa Monica. It’s quite terrible, Mathews writes. But there’s hope. Along the way he has been watching the progress of the Gold Line Foothill Extension (which will stop in downtown Arcadia) and the Expo Line (which will stop in downtown Santa Monica) and can foresee the day he could use those rail lines to travel between the San Gabriel Valley and the Westside. Both rail lines are forecast to open in early 2016.

He’s also a proponent of the ExpressLanes, which he uses on the 10 freeway east of downtown. They save him time, Mathews writes, and he hopes that Metro uses the toll money to make more transportation improvements in the region.

Building a better downtown Long Beach (Longbeachize) 

Among the ideas for improving Long Beach’s downtown offered here: conversion of one-way streets to two-way thoroughfare, a bike share program, selling un-used public space to the private sector, less parking and transforming part of the Terminal Freeway to park space.

The two-way street proposal is interesting — one-way streets do a better job moving traffic but some folks argue that two-way streets are safer, better for pedestrians and provide better access to businesses. Curiously, the Blue Line doesn’t get a mention even though it loops through downtown Long Beach, is Metro’s most heavily ridden light rail line and offers a direction connection to downtown Los Angeles and Metro’s growing rail system.

Candidates spar over subway route during debate (L.A. Times) 

Candidates for County Supervisor in the third district (currently occupied by Zev Yaroslavsky) discuss the route of the Purple Line Extension through Beverly Hills. Of course, it’s somewhat of a moot point. The Metro Board of Directors and the Federal Transit Administration approved the project’s environmental documents — including a route — in 2012. Earlier this year, a Superior Court judge upheld the validity of the documents, ruling for Metro in a state lawsuit brought by the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District. A federal lawsuit brought by Beverly Hills and the BHUSD is, however, pending.

Former transportation secretary to join investment firm (New York Times)

Ray LaHood is joining Meridiam, a firm that specializes in investing in public infrastructure projects. One of his new colleagues will be Jane Garvey, a former chief of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Corralitas Red Car land step closer to becoming a park (L.A. Times) 

The nonprofit Trust for Public Land is in negotiations with the landowner to buy the 10-acre strip of land in Silver Lake that once served as the right-of-way for Red Cars traveling between downtown Los Angeles, Glendale and Burbank. A purchase would end decades of controversy over the land, with neighbors repeatedly turning back attempts at development.

 

Construction notice: Military Avenue closed at Exposition Boulevard for utility work May 19 to June 13

Expo notice

Here’s the latest notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the independent agency charged with building the line that is being funded by Measure R.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

Service Advisory: expect minor delays on Expo Line this weekend due to Phase 2 construction

image

Crews will work to relocate tracks so they can be used for Expo Line Phase 2.

The Expo Line Construction Authority will be conducting track integration work on Expo Line Phase 2 this weekend, which will result in minor delays on the Expo Line. Trains will share one track between Expo/La Brea and Culver City stations at various times between 7 a.m. and 5.p.m this Saturday and Sunday, May 17 and 18.

Over the weekend, crews will be working to relocate tracks so they can be used for the Phase 2 aerial structure over Venice Boulevard.

For live service updates, follow Metro on Twitter or check the Metro home page. You can also check out the latest construction photos on Expo Line Phase 2 in this previous post.

Metro currently has three rail projects under construction: the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the second phase of the Expo Line and the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Utility relocations on two more rail projects, the Regional Connector and Purple Line, are underway and heavy construction is expected to begin later this year on both. All are funded in part by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. In addition, Metro has begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

Construction notice: week-long closure of intersection of Lincoln & Colorado in Santa Monica begins Monday for Expo Line track work

Lincoln1

Lincoln2

The good news is that construction of the second phase of the Expo Line continues to chug along at a speedy pace. The not-quite-as-good-news: the busy intersection of Lincoln Boulevard and Colorado Avenue in Santa Monica needs to be closed for a week to accommodate construction of the tracks along Colorado Ave.

Please help spread the word. The official notice from the Expo Line Construction Authority — the agency building the project — is posted above.

The second phase of the Expo Line is funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. It is one of three rail projects receiving Measure R funding that are currently under construction (along with the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension) with construction of two other projects expected to begin later this year (Regional Connector and Purple Line Extension). Metro has also begun receiving the first of 550 new state-of-the-art buses and is spending $1.2 billion to overhaul the Metro Blue Line, including the purchase of new light rail vehicles.

First of 18 new traction power substations delivered today

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A noteworthy construction milestone was reached today when the first of 18 new power traction substations was delivered to the Gold Line Foothill Extension and the Expo Line projects.

The first of the substations — which transfer electricity to the overhead wires — was delivered to the Foothill Extension in Duarte near the interchange of the 210 and 605 freeways, as shown in the above photos.

Both projects are now more than 50 percent complete, construction on the Crenshaw/LAX Line is now underway and utility relocation and other prep work is ongoing for the Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector projects. All the projects are receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Transportation headlines, Wednesday, October 9

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 stretch of the second phase of the Expo Line between the 10 freeway and Overland Avenue. From our Instagram feed.

And from maeryan’s Instagram feed:

Glendale-Hyperion Improvement Project (City of Los Angeles)

First observation: Tom LaBonge’s excitement is a little more palpable than Mitch O’Farrell’s :) Second observation: if you’re an elected official, always speak before Tom LaBonge.

The big news — to me — is that a new bridge for pedestrians and cyclists will be built atop the abutments that once supported the old streetcar bridge that was adjacent to the current structure.

Not everyone is impressed with the plans and many are downright worried the project will make things worse. Damien Newton has two posts at LA Streetsblog, here and here. The chief concern is that there won’t be a bike lane on the actual bridge intended for vehicles and that even a new ped/bike bridge that only spans the Los Angeles River may not really help walkers and cyclists get between Atwater Village and many destinations on the western side of the river.

BART talks likely to go to the 11th hour or beyond (Mass Transit) 

Two unions and the rail system that connects San Francisco to the East Bay and the southern part of the San Francisco Peninsula have until 11:59 p.m. Thursday to reach a new contract deal. A 60-day cooling off period imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in August doesn’t seem to have helped much and a strike that would impact thousands of riders may be looming.

Smart phones, social media blamed for Beijing traffic jams (South China Morning Post)

Photo credit: Xinhua.

Photo credit: Xinhua.

Driving .6 miles in only two hours sounds like fun!

Air travel map from 1929 (Slate)

The map was made by Transcontinental Air Transport and given to passengers to show them sites they could expect to see from air and ground alike as they traveled across the country. Awesome idea! Of course, nowadays air travel has become so commonplace that many passengers simply shut their window and completely ignore the miracle of flight. And get this: I used to completely geek out by bringing maps to try to figure out a plane’s location. I suspect doing that these days earns you a visit with the Homeland crew.

Many in GOP offer a theory: default wouldn’t be so bad (New York Times) 

Photo credit: Sierra Club.

Photo credit: Sierra Club.

The disagreement over the Affordable Health Care Act now extends to whether the government will be unable to pay its bills and, if so, whether that would be such a bad thing (the counter-argument is that it shows America is balancing its budget).

On a related note…although this poll appears extremely unscientific to me, I would like to hear a pollster read these questions without laughing. Bottom line: Congress is more popular than Ebola virus but less popular than hemorrhoids. Semi-related note: I’m pretty sure if this is the first appearance of the word “hemorrhoids” on this blog in its nearly four-year existence!