T&Y Bakery opens at Union Station!

coconut thingUnion Station’s has a brand new attraction. T&Y Bakery opened this morning with pastry and cookies and French macaroons and this amazing coconut confection that turned out to be the perfect way to calm a 3 p.m. hunger attack.

T&Y stands for Tbilisi & Yerevan (the capitol cities of Georgia and Armenia) and the bakery selections reflect that heritage. Pierogi, baclava, cannoli, breads, black and white cookies. What more could we want? Well, maybe ice cream but Ben & Jerry’s is just next door and Starbucks is across the concourse.

There are T&Ys in two other L.A. locations, in West Hollywood and at the Farmers Market at Fairfax and 3rd Street.

What with the Japanese convenience store Famima, Wetzel’s Pretzels and this new Russian bakery, Union Station is becoming quite the international destination … just like L.A. itself.

Here’s the T&Y Bakery video from The Farmers Market site.

 

Draft environmental document released for Eastside Gold Line phase 2 project

Eastside Map

Metro released the draft environmental study today for a project that could potentially extend the Gold Line from East Los Angeles to South El Monte or Whittier. In addition, the study also looks at a Transportation Systems Management (TSM) alternative which identifies potential bus upgrades and the legally required no-build option.

Click here to access the entire draft study, which is also known as the Draft EIS/EIR.

Metro will conduct four public hearings during the 60-day formal comment period, each of which will include a 30 minute open house where the public can view the Draft EIS/EIR, see project displays, get more information on the project and talk to Metro staff. Meeting date and times are: 

Saturday, September 27, 2014
Pico Rivera Senior Center
9200 Mines Avenue
Pico Rivera, CA 90660
Open House: 9am
Public Hearing: 9:30am – 11:30am

Monday, September 29, 2014
Quiet Cannon Banquet Center
901 Via San Clemente
Montebello, CA 90640
Open House: 5:30pm
Public Hearing: 6pm – 8pm

Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Uptown Whittier Senior Center
13225 Walnut Street
Whittier, CA 90602
Open House: 5:30pm
Public Hearing: 6pm – 8pm

Wednesday, October 1, 2014
South El Monte Senior Center
1556 Central Avenue
South El Monte, CA 91733
Open House: 5:30pm
Public Hearing: 6pm – 8pm

The study process has been closely watched by communities along both potential light rail routes as an extended Gold line would provide an alternative to driving on the frequently congested 60 freeway or traffic in communities along the Washington Boulevard alignment. The two light rail options, shown above, would both begin at the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension’s current terminus at Atlantic and Pomona boulevards in East Los Angeles.

•The “SR 60″ Alternative would extend the Gold Line for 6.9 miles to South El Monte with four proposed new stations. The train would run adjacent to the 60 freeway, mostly on aerial structures, and include four new stations serving Monterey Park, Montebello and South El Monte.

•The “Washington Boulevard” Alternative would extend the Gold Line for 9.5 miles to Whittier with six proposed new stations. The train would follow the 60 freeway and then turn south, running on an aerial structure above Garfield Avenue until turning east on Washington Boulevard and ending near the intersection of Washington and Lambert Road. This alternative would serve Monterey Park, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Whittier.

Estimated ridership for the SR 60 alternative is 16,700 boardings each weekday with a cost estimate of $1.271 billion to $1.296 billion in 2010 dollars, according to the draft study. Estimated ridership for the Washington Boulevard alternative is 19,900 daily boardings per weekday with an estimated cost of $1.425 billion to $1.661 billion in 2010 dollars.

Continue reading

Take Metro’s Dodger Stadium Express to Paul McCartney show Sunday

dodgers_map

And the answer is yes: Metro’s Dodger Stadium Express bus service is running Sunday night to the sold-out Paul McCartney concert at the ballpark. The bus between Union Station and Dodger Stadium is free to those holding a ticket to the show.

This is McCartney’s first show at Dodger Stadium since the Beatles played there August 28, 1966. Expect a huge crowd and the usual parking hassles that go with it.

The basics:

BOARDING LOCATION

  • Board the Dodger Stadium Express at Bus Bay 3 of the Patsaouras Transit Plaza at Union Station.
  • Service leaves Union Station every 5 to 10 minutes, starting at 5 p.m. (the show begins at 8 p.m.). Metro recommends arriving early; crowds will be heavier closer to the concert start time.
  • Your concert ticket is good for the Dodger Stadium Express fare*; otherwise, regular Metro fares apply.
  • You can exit inside Dodger Stadium at one of two stops – behind Center Field and at the Top Deck. Service will pick up at the same stops after the game.
  • Return service runs until 45 minutes after the concert ending.
  • Note: All Dodger Stadium Express vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

Parking at Union Station is $6. Union Station is also served by many Metro and municipal bus lines and Metro Rail’s Red, Purple and Gold lines, as well as Metrolink and Amtrak.

The last Purple Line train from Union Station is 11:47 p.m. Sunday. The last Red Line train from Union Station to North Hollywood leaves at 12:12 a.m.

The last Gold Line train from Union Station to Pasadena leaves at 12:12 a.m. The last Gold Line train from Union Station to East Los Angeles leaves at 12:12 a.m.

To plan the route that’s best for you, use the Trip Planner, Google Transit or call 323.GO.METRO. 

And for those who have never seen footage from the ’66 Beatles show:

That was their second-to-last concert — the last show was in San Francisco — until the Beatles popped up on a London rooftop in Jan. 1969, the year before their formal breakup:

A great one from McCartney’s Wings days (if you grew up in the 1970s, Wings and the Beatles were more or less on the radio constantly), played on Jimmy Kimmel in Hollywood last fall:

 

4-day closure of Huntington/2nd in Arcadia for Gold Line work begins Friday

image002

Here is the news release from the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the 11.5-mile addition to the Gold Line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border. Yep, it’s another project funded by Measure R:

Four-Day Full Closure of Huntington Dr & Second Ave Intersection Begins Friday Morning, August 8; Followed by Six Weeks of Nighttime Directional Closures

WHO:  Residents / Commuters / Businesses in the Cities of Arcadia.

WHAT: Crews will be performing two phases of work on the light rail bridge structure over the intersection of Huntington Dr and Second Ave in the City of Arcadia. This work is part of the 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project. The first phase of work will require a full closure of the intersection to thru-traffic for four days, beginning Friday morning, August 8, to allow crews to install the bridge girders.

Following the four-day full intersection closure, six weeks of nighttime directional closures will begin on Tuesday night, August 12, Sundays thru Thursdays ONLY, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Huntington Dr will be closed to thru-traffic in one direction at Second Ave (either eastbound or westbound; never concurrently), while no thru-traffic will be allowed on Second Ave at Huntington Dr. The directional closures are needed to install the cross beams and deck steel onto the light rail bridge structure.

During these closures, detours and signage will be posted to guide motorists and pedestrians around the work area. Access to all local businesses, including those on Huntington Dr and Second Ave, will remain available.

WHEN:

-        Full Closure:
Friday morning, August 8, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. thru Tuesday, August 12, 2014 at 6:00 a.m.: The intersection of Huntington Dr and Second Ave will be fully closed to thru-traffic to install the bridge girders. Traffic will be detoured and signage will be posted to direct motorists and pedestrians (see detour map above).

-        Directional (One-Way) Nighttime Closures:
Beginning Tuesday night, August 12, 2014 for approximately six weeks, Sundays thru Thursdays ONLY, from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.: Huntington Dr will be closed to thru-traffic at Second Ave in one direction (either eastbound or westbound; never concurrently), while no thru-traffic will be allowed on Second Ave at Huntington Dr. These closures are to install the cross beams and deck steel. Traffic will be detoured and signage will be posted to direct motorists and pedestrians during these hours. No work will be performed on Fridays or Saturdays.

WHERE: Intersection of Huntington Dr and Second Ave in the City of Arcadia.

WHAT TO EXPECT:

•Detour routes will be in place during the closures and signage will be posted to direct motorists and pedestrians.

•Access to all local businesses, including those on Huntington Dr and Second Ave, will remain available at all times during the construction.

•Bus stops in this vicinity may be temporarily relocated. For information about:

Foothill Transit bus services call (800) RIDE-INFO (800-743-3463) or go to www.foothilltransit.org

FOR MORE INFORMATION

-        Visit www.foothillgoldline.org

# # #

About the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority: The Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature. Its purpose is to extend the Metro Gold Line light rail line from Union Station to Montclair, along the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The Construction Authority built the initial segment between Union Station and Pasadena and is underway on the Foothill Extension. The Foothill Extension (now known as the Foothill Gold Line) is a nearly $2 billion extension that will connect Pasadena to Montclair in two construction segments – Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair. The 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa segment is on time and on budget, and will be completed in late-September 2015 when it will be turned over to Metro for testing and pre-revenue service. It is fully funded by LA County’s Measure R. Metro will determine when the line will open for passenger service. Three design-build contracts, totaling more than $550 million, are being overseen by the Construction Authority to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment. The Azusa to Montclair segment is environmentally cleared and is undergoing advanced engineering and design. It will be shovel-ready for a design-build contract in 2017. The $1 billion segment is currently unfunded for construction.

Go Metro Gold Line to Rihanna and Eminem!

Eminem and Rihanna bring their “Monster Tour” to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena Thursday, August 7, and Friday, August 8. As always, you can take the Gold Line to Memorial Park Station to reach the paid Rose Bowl Shuttle at the Parsons parking lot in Old Pasadena.

At Memorial Park Station, turn right when exiting the station and walk two blocks west on Holly Street to reach the Parsons parking lot.Shuttle pick up point is at Union & DeLacey.

After the concert ends at 11 p.m., customers should return to the shuttle stop immediately to ensure making the last train home. Customers should also load fare on their TAP card in advance to avoid long return lines and missing the last train. One way fare is $1.50 per line or $5 Day Pass (valid until 3 a.m.). Each customer must have their own TAP card to ride.  Customers must validate their fare by tapping their TAP card before each boarding (including when transferring lines) on faregates or standalone validators located near each station entrance.

Last return train with connecting service to all other lines departs Memorial Park at 12:25 a.m. on Thursday night and 1:25 a.m. on Friday night. Last Union Station-bound train without connecting service departs Memorial Park at 1:05 a.m. on Thursday night and 2:16 a.m. on Friday night. Last Sierra Madre Villa-bound train departs Memorial Park at 12:33 a.m. on Thursday night and 2:33 a.m. on Friday night.

Transportation headlines, Friday, August 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: Nice pic taken last month on the Blue Line. Photo courtesy Matthew Grant Anson, via Flickr.

ART OF TRANSIT: Nice pic taken last month on the Blue Line. Photo courtesy Matthew Grant Anson, via Flickr.

The value of fast transit (Transport Politic)

As our very own Joe Lemon recently noted after a visit to the Twin Cities, the new light rail line connecting Minneapolis and St. Paul is a crawler, taking 48 minutes to an hour to travel 11 miles. Yonah Freemark, in this new post, writes:

Of course, the Twin Cities are hardly alone in their predicament. Recent transit lines elsewhere in the country feature similarly leisurely travel times. The new Houston North Line, for example, is averaging 17 mph. Los Angeles’ Expo Line is slightly quicker at 18 mph. Bus rapid transit and streetcar projects popping up virtually everywhere are often significantly slower. Only the Washington, D.C. Metro Silver Line, which will extend that region’s subway deep into the Virginia suburbs, will speed commuters along at an average of 32 mph. It will do so while only stopping at 5 stations, all of which will be located in the middle of expressways.

With speeds like those light rail lines or services like the Silver Line, it’s little wonder that it’s so difficult to convince people to get out of their cars in so many places. The fact of the matter is that services like this often do not provide much mobility improvement over the bus services they replace. That’s particularly true for large regions where too many destinations are simply too far away to be accessible by transit that averages such slow speeds.

The post goes on to note, very correctly, that the problem is that fast transit usually means putting transit on bridges or underground and that makes it prohibitively expensive at a time when there is only so much help the federal government in the U.S. will provide. As a result, less expensive and slower versions of transit get built.

Meet the worst transit project in America (Vox)

Writer Matthew Yglesias wags his finger at a streetcar line in Washington D.C. that’s under construction. Not only will it share a traffic lane with cars, the streetcar will likely block faster buses. This kind of slow transit project, Yglesias writes, not only harms the low-income riders who most rely on public transit (i.e. they’re stuck on transit instead of doing something else useful), but also creates a backlash against expensive transit projects that turn out to be of little use to motorists seeking an alternative to driving. Concur.

The missing link: exploring the Regional Connector transit corridor (KCET)

Nice summary of the neighborhoods and sights along the future Connector’s 1.9-mile route through downtown Los Angeles between Little Tokyo and the 7th/Metro Center Station. The Connector, as the name implies, will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and Expo Line. That will allow trains to run straight through downtown and should allow for faster rides and fewer transfers for most riders.

L.A. is working on a major zoning code revamp (L.A. Times) 

Good primer on efforts to revise the citywide code and, more importantly, the community plans that really dictate how neighborhoods look and what kind of development is allowed. This has been in the works for quite some time and looks like there are several years to go. At the end of the day, these plans will decide what gets built near transit.

Does Eric Garcetti have a big enough vision for L.A.? (Governing)

Very interesting profile on the mayor of Los Angeles, who is also the Chair of the Metro Board of Directors for the next 11 months. Garcetti makes a persuasive case that a back to basics approach is the best way to persuade people to believe in government again. Not much on transportation until the final graph. Excerpt:

Eric Garcetti wants to win big — he just believes that the way to do it is to bring the city’s fundamental management processes under control as a first step. Not until 2016 do most observers expect to see Garcetti himself put a controversial proposal before voters: That’s when he is expected to back an updated version of Measure R, the 2008 sales tax initiative that jump-started construction of the so-called Purple and Crenshaw subway lines.

 

The Metro Board has been discussing the possibility of a ballot measure in 2016 and the agency has asked local cities for their input. Nothing has been decided yet, including whether Metro would ask voters to extend Measure R or seek a new sales tax increase in order to accelerate projects and fund new ones. This is obviously one of the big storylines this blog will be following for the next two years.

Officials discuss motion seeking to improve Orange Line at media event in NoHo

Three Metro Board Members and other elected officials, activists and business leaders held a media event on Friday morning at the NoHo Orange Line station to discuss the Board’s passage Thursday of a motion calling for feasibility studies of improving the Orange Line and potentially connecting it to Burbank, Glendale and the Gold Line in Pasadena.

A video with some nuggets from the media event is above. Sorry about the shaky camera — I left a key piece of my tripod at home :(

I’ve had several people ask why is this an issue now and the answer is twofold:

Assemblyman Adrin Nazarian, who represents Van Nuys and the surrounding area, wrote a bill reversing a 1991 bill that banned any kind of rail project on the old Southern Pacific rail corridor that became the Orange Line. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month.

•With a potential Metro ballot measure on the horizon in 2016, officials and activists realized that could be an opportunity to fund such a project but that having some studies done would help this effort.

I can’t emphasize enough that the motion only asks Metro to study possible upgrades for the Orange Line. Despite what may be said, at this time no decisions have been made about any possible improvements, nor is such a project funded or in Metro’s long-range plan.

Continue reading