The art of transit

photo by mlanda7419, via Flickr

That’s the 210 freeway in Pasadena and the Lake Avenue Gold Line station. The photo — with very cool mix of black and white and color — was taken with a Nikon D300 with a 10 second shutter speed, an aperture of f/13 and ISO of 200. Photoshop was used for the processing.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

The art of transit

photo by Steve Hymon/Metro

I shot of the Union Station platforms on Friday from the 13th floor of Metro’s headquarters adjacent to Union Station. I used my iPhone 3Gs and the Hipstamatic app and then adjusted the color using the Camera+ app. I’m still waiting for some iPhone 4s transit photos from readers — hint hint.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

Third foundation completed for Gold Line Foothill Extension bridge

Here’s the email that went out this morning from Foothill Extension Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian on the bridge over the eastbound 210 freeway in Arcadia:

Early this morning, Skanska completed the last of three deep (110 foot deep, 11 foot diameter) foundations for the I-210 Bridge – a significant undertaking. Each deep hole was reinforced with 60-ton steel cages that had to be brought to the site in two large segments and permanently joined on-site. Once lowered into place, close to 450 cubic yards of concrete was poured into each reinforced hole – requiring 45 truck-loads of Irwindale-produced concrete. Most of this work was done late at night, from Midnight to 5:00 a.m., requiring multiple closures of the eastbound I-210 Freeway and coordination with Caltrans, CHP, City of Arcadia Police Department, and others.

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The art of transit

Photo by Jeremy Whiteman, via Flickr

Nice night work capturing a northbound Gold Line train at the Del Mar station in Pasadena. Jeremy used a Nikon D90 with a shutter speed of 1.8 seconds, f/8.0 aperture and 400 ISO.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

Gold Line Foothill Extension secures $6-million federal grant to build bus and pedestrian connections to future stations

Wow – some good news out of Washington D.C. for the Foothill Extension project, which will extend the current Gold Line from Pasadena for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border. It’s great news because transit planners are always fretting — rightfully — on how to solve the “first mile-last mile” issue of getting people to and from rail stations.

Here’s the email from Habib Balian, CEO of the Foothill Extension Construction Authority:

FTA [Federal Transit Administration] officials have confirmed that a multi-year federal grant totaling approximately $6 million was appropriated for bus/pedestrian interface enhancements around the future Gold Line stations from Arcadia to Azusa by Congress. This latest grant was supported by federal Representatives David Dreier and Adam Schiff, and augments a previous $3 million grant to study how such enhancements would be integrated into the station areas. We thank Representatives Dreier and Schiff for supporting these opportunities for the project.

To date, the grant has resulted in a detailed study of the existing bus, bike and pedestrian routes around each of the future stations with the goal of supporting Gold Line riders arriving to the stations without the use of an automobile. The remaining funds will now be made available for design and construction of real improvements on nearby streets and other areas around the stations to enhance intermodal connections for future riders. These types of enhancements are aimed at improving the overall transit experience in order to make transit riders feel comfortable and safe as they access stations on foot, bus or bicycle.
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Citywide bicycle network planned for South Pasadena

Existing and proposed South Pasadena Bikeway Network Map

The city of South Pasadena has made big plans to become more bike-friendly. The city just announced that it intends to build more than 24 miles of connecting bikeways that will create a citywide bicycle network to connect schools, library, parks, shops, the Metro Gold Line and Metro bus stops.

At a community event planned for Tuesday afternoon, the city will talk about its planned network and newly approved Bicycle Master Plan that also includes roadway markings, way-finding signage, bike racks and lockers and safety programs.

The bikeway network will begin with the construction of a bike lane on El Centro Street near Arroyo Vista Elementary School.  The construction of bike facilities will be prioritized to first provide increased public safety and connections to, among others, public venues and public transportation.  When completed, the 24-mile network will consist of lanes, routes and paths — it should make getting across the city much easier in all directions and provide much better cycling linkages to the Gold Line, even for those riding from outside South Pasadena.

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Late night closures of eastbound 210 freeway in Arcadia tonight and Tuesday night

Work on the bridge that will take the Gold Line Foothill Extension from the median of the 210 to the south side of the freeway continues. Here’s the alert from the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is building the 11.5 project from Pasadena to Azusa:

Click above to see a larger image.

Statistics on crime on Metro buses and trains

Because of the fatal stabbing on the Red Line in August — the first slaying in the history of the subway since it opened in 1993 — there has been some understandable discussion about safety and crime on Metro buses and trains.

I sat down with Commander Patrick J. Jordan on Tuesday to discuss safety on the Metro system. Commander Jordan serves as the Chief of Transit Police for Metro, a job he has held for the past two years.

The good news: crime is very low on the Metro system — certainly lower than in many surrounding communities. Over the past five years, the number of the most serious crimes has gone down and the number of arrests and citations issued is up.

The bad news: the Metro system is not crime-free and it’s not immune to some of the ills of the cities that it serves. That’s just the unfortunate reality.

The Sheriff’s Department is contracted by Metro to oversee security on the agency’s vast bus and train system. As part of that job, the Sheriff’s Department maintains statistics on crime on the Metro system. I’ve posted several pages from the most recent report — from August — above and below. It’s the first time that Metro has published this type of detailed crime statistics.

Some points from my conversation with Commander Jordan:

•There were 1,216 “part one crimes” reported on Metro buses and trains in 2010 or about 2.77 crimes for every million boardings. Part one crimes include homicide, rape/attempted rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand theft and petty theft. That compares to 2.63 part one crimes per million riders on the MBTA system in Boston in 2010, 6.68 on the Washington WMATA system and 11.03 on the DART system in Dallas. “Your chances of being a victim of violent crime on the transit system are incredibly low,” said Commander Jordan.

•As the charts lower in this post show, most of the crimes on Metro involve theft.

•On the Metro system, the Blue Line and Green Line have the highest part one crime rates — the Blue Line has 14.3 per million riders and the Green Line has 19.7 per million riders. Commander Jordan attributes some of the Blue Line problems to a small group of people — five were arrested last week — who have been stealing electronics and jewelry from riders. On the Green Line, the crime rates are greatly influenced by car thefts and car break-ins in station parking lots, which are owned by Caltrans. Metro is seeking to become owner of those lots in order to beef up security. Here’s a staff report on the issue that is part of the Metro Board’s agenda at its Thursday meeting.

•How to prevent crime? Commander Jordan has several recommendations:

–Many of the crimes reported on Metro invoke thieves snatching-and-grabbing cell phones or jewelry from riders and then running from a rail station into the less-confined environment of the street. Be careful while talking on cell phones near station entrances and either don’t wear valuable jewelry — especially anything with gold — or tuck it under your clothes or put it out of view.

–If you witness a crime, call the Sheriff as soon as possible at 888-950-SAFE (7233) from either a cell phone or Metro emergency phone and try to note exactly when and where a crime occurred. There are cameras in every rail car and station and noting the precise time that a crime happened makes it much easier for the Deputies to determine if the crime was videotaped.

–If you park your car at at Rail or bus station, put valuables in the trunk or lock them in the glove compartment. It may only be a cell phone charger to you, but that can be easily sold quickly for a few dollars on the street — the exact appeal for thieves looking to fund their drug purchases.

•If you want to compare crime rates on Metro versus crime rates for a variety of neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, here is the crime database maintained by the Los Angeles Times using data from the LAPD and Sheriff’s Department. It’s worth noting that crimes are measured differently. In the database, they’re displayed as violent and property crimes per 10,000 people. Example: The database shows that North Hollywood over the past six months had about 143 violent and property crimes combined per 10,000 residents. The Red Line in August had about 10 part one and part two type crimes combined per million boardings. So the Red Line’s crime rate works out to much less than NoHo as a whole. That’s hardly surprising: there’s one Red Line station in NoHo and the city as a whole is a lot, lot larger than one train station.

•One of the advantages of Metro’s proof-of-payment system is that fare checks are fairly common according to the statistics and allow Deputies to have a lot of contact with riders. That accomplishes two goals: 1) Many fare evaders are caught; 2) Some evaders are also caught for other crimes they’ve committed. It’s the broken windows theory of law enforcement: policing the little stuff helps police the big stuff. By the way, based on audits and fare checks by Deputies, Commander Jordan says that about two percent of Metro riders don’t pay fares but that the real number could be slightly higher.

Here are crime statistics for 2011, through August. It is important to note that some of the numbers on the types of crime change over time depending on the outcome of criminal cases in courts. Part two crimes include battery, lesser sex offenses, carrying illegal weapons and some types of narcotics crimes.

Click above to see a larger chart.


Click above to see a larger chart.


Charts showing crimes reported in August on each of Metro’s rail lines, the Orange Line and the bus system are after the jump.

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Video: Urban exploring sisters ditch their cars and Go Metro

The Nutty Nomads are a pair of urban explorers who happen to be sisters that love to document their adventures in L.A.

Last week they tweeted @MetroLosAngeles to let us know about their latest video: Metro Challenge.

The challenge? Visiting some of L.A.’s best sites without a car! The Nomads ride the bus, subway and light rail to visit Olvera Street, Little Tokyo and Chinatown.

The video offers a good primer on riding the Metro system as well as some interesting facts about Union Station and Olvera Street. Check it out!

Metro extending late night rail service on Red and Gold Lines for this Saturday's FYF Fest

On Saturday, September 3, Metro is once again partnering with a summer music festival to provide extended late night rail service so that concert goes can leave their cars at home.

This time it’s the FYF Fest – featuring acts such as Descendents, Broken Social Scene, Explosions In The Sky, Simian Mobile Disco and more – and once again the festival promoters have chosen the Metro Gold Line adjacent Los Angeles Historic State Park as the ideal venue.

The show starts at 12pm and runs through midnight. Last trains depart from the Gold Line Chinatown Station at 12:30am, and the last Red Line train from Union Station to North Hollywood departs at 12:45am. This will give party goers the opportunity to stay for the entire event and still make it home on public transit.

Important note: other Metro rail lines will not be running extended schedules, so plan accordingly if you are connecting via the Blue or Green Lines. Last trips generally end around midnight.

Metro has set  up a helpful page for the extended service that will be updated with any changes, so be sure to check it out here. In addition, you can follow @MetroLosAngeles and @MetroLAalerts on Twitter for any updates.

Be safe, have fun and Go Metro!