Transportation headlines, Oct. 8: L.A. ranks 3rd on jobs near transit, study says

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! 

University of Minnesota ranks accessibility to jobs by transit in the U.S. (news release)

MinnesotaStudyMap

The study finds that Los Angeles ranks third behind New York and San Francisco when it comes to the number of jobs near transit, according to the study that crunched the numbers on 46 of the 50 largest metro areas in the U.S. That puts the L.A. area ahead of some older and more established transit cities such as Chicago, Washington, Boston and Philly. The list:

Top 10 metro areas: job accessibility by transit (January 2014)

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Los Angeles
  4. Washington
  5. Chicago
  6. Boston
  7. Philadelphia
  8. Seattle
  9. Denver
  10. San Jose

 

I don’t think the above map is exactly shocking news to those who live here and know our area — but the map still makes a pretty visual argument for better connecting transit to downtown Los Angeles and the Westside. The map also suggests that the Measure R-funded transit projects that Metro is building or plans to build are serving a real purpose. The short list:

•The Purple Line Extension will directly connect downtown Los Angeles to Westwood via the Wilshire Corridor with a short detour to Century City. The project also provides a direct link between our region’s largest transit hub — Los Angeles Union Station — and the Westside.

•The Expo Line’s second phase connects Santa Monica, West L.A. and downtown L.A. via Culver City, the northern part of South L.A. and Exposition Park.

•The Regional Connector will link the Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown L.A. and allow easier and faster access to and through downtown L.A. for riders on all three lines.

•The Gold Line Foothill Extension extends the Gold Line to the Azusa/Glendora border, making for easier and faster access to jobs in the Pasadena area, downtown L.A. and beyond (i.e. the Westside). Meanwhile, the second phase of the Eastside Gold Line is being studied and would connect either South El Monte or Whittier to downtown L.A. via this project and the Regional Connector.

•The Crenshaw/LAX Line will serve a north-south corridor starting at the Green Line’s Redondo Beach Station and extending north to the Expo Line, including the job-rich area around the airport. The Expo Line, in turn, offers east-west access to jobs. The map also suggests that extending the Crenshaw/LAX Line north — a project in Metro’s long-range plan but unfunded at this time — would connect people to more jobs to the east and west via the Purple Line. A South Bay Green Line Extension, a project also to be funded by Measure R, could extend the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line deeper into the South Bay.

•The map also suggests that connecting the San Fernando Valley to the Westside via the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor makes sense and that the area along Van Nuys Boulevard — to be served by the East San Fernando Transit Corridor — is also a wise proposition in the short-term. The Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor is a long-term project not scheduled for completion until the 2030s unless funding is found to build and accelerate it, but the project could eventually connect to the bus rapid transit or light rail built as part of the East San Fernando Valley Transit project along Van Nuys Boulevard.

•The map also shows that the Warner Center area is one of the more job rich areas in the Valley, thereby suggesting that it makes sense for Metro to pursue improvements to the Orange Line. See this recent Source post for more about that.

Here is the page about Los Angeles in the University of Minnesota study:

Los Angeles

More headlines after the jump!

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Metrolink’s Angels Express will run for playoff games beginning Thursday

Photo by Ray Smith, via Flickr creative commons.

Photo by Ray Smith, via Flickr creative commons.

The American League West champion Angels open the division series at home on Thursday against the Kansas City Royals, who won a thriller wild card game on Tuesday night.

Thursday’s game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. and Game 2 on Friday is 6:30 p.m.

Metrolink’s Angels Express will be running for the post-season with train service between Los Angeles Union Station and the ballpark in Anaheim with stops at Norwalk, Buena Park and Fullerton — there will also be trains between Oceanside and Anaheim. The train station is in the parking lot for the stadium (beyond left field) and is a short walk from the ballpark.

Please click here for schedules. Round-trip is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors/disabled and $4 for those aged six to 18. Kids five and under are free with a limit of three free sprouts per paying adult.

 

Metrolink runs USC Football Express from The OC for Saturday’s game versus Beavers

USC fans hope the Beavers don't chop down what's left of their college football playoff hopes after the devastating Stanford loss. Photo by Mark Round, via Flickr creative commons.

USC (2-1) fans hope the Beavers (3-0) don’t chop down what’s left of their college football playoff hopes after the devastating loss to Boston College earlier this season. Photo by Mark Round, via Flickr creative commons.

Here’s the news release from Metrolink:

USC Football Express to take fans from Orange County to Los Angeles

Fans can save time and money by taking Metrolink Sept. 27 to Oregon State game

LOS ANGELES – Football fans are encouraged to ride the USC Football Express to and from Los Angeles Union Station for the Saturday, Sept. 27 game between No. 18 USC and the undefeated Oregon State Beavers at 7:30 p.m.

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is funding the special Metrolink train service to and from the Saturday night game. Orange County Line train 6507 will depart Oceanside at 3:15 p.m., making 11 convenient station stops before a 5:25 p.m. Union Station arrival.

Metrolink riders can purchase the always low-priced $10 Weekend Day Pass, which allows passengers to ride anytime, anywhere system-wide on either Saturday or Sunday.

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Transportation headlines, Monday, September 15

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! 

MTA bus and train fares to rise on Monday (L.A. Times)

Transportation reporter Laura Nelson does a good job of breaking down the new fare structure that went into effect earlier today — with the regular fares rising to $1.75 (with two hours of free transfers) and weekly passes now $25 and monthly passes now $100. Please click here for charts showing the new fares as well as a useful Frequently Asked Questions on the fares.

The article also offers useful context about the finances and politics that drove the fare hike. Two key graphs:

Metro staff members estimate that ridership will drop by 3% to 4% during the first six months of the increase, but that fare revenue will grow by $21 million this fiscal year and $28 million in subsequent years.

That will not be enough to correct the agency’s long-term financial problems. Metro analysts have pushed for a series of three fare increases over eight years, saying more income is needed to offset an expected cumulative deficit of $225 million over the next decade. Agency directors approved the fare hike that begins Monday but postponed two subsequent increases proposed for 2017 and 2020, saying they needed more information about the agency’s financial outlook.

The Metro Board earlier this year asked staff to report back on other sources of revenue — so that’s something to keep an eye on. The other question looming over the issue of fares is a possible ballot measure in 2016 and what it may or may not include (no decision has yet been made on the ballot measure or its contents). Measure R did include a temporary fare freeze.

As for the basics on the fare increase, the $1.50 regular fare went up to $1.75 today but now includes two hours of free transfers.

Poll: 68 percent want more transit spending (The Hill)

Speaking of transportation funding, the Mineta Transportation Institute’s poll for the American Public Transportation Assn. shows slightly more Americans want more spent on public transit. Putting aside the not-so-small issue that both groups benefit from more dollars spent on transit, I’m guessing there is significant support in most metropolitan areas in the U.S. for transit. In Los Angeles County, 68 percent is a key number as 66.6 percent of voters are needed to approve transportation ballot measures. Measure R in 2008 was approved with 67.9 percent of the vote and Measure J in 2012 failed with 66.1 percent approval.

LAWA’s Gina Marie Lindsey: investments in LAX continue (The Planning Report) 

The general manager of Los Angeles World Airports — a city of Los Angeles agency — talks about the challenges and difficulties of installing remote baggage check-in at LAX and the automated people mover that will take passengers from the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the airport terminals. While the people mover’s route is pretty much settled outside the terminal horseshoe, Lindsey says the important matter of deciding its route and station locations should be decided within the next few months. Earlier this year, LAX was looking at configurations that included two stations or four stations.

Perris Valley Line taking shape (Press-Enterprise)

Nice to see some progress on the 24-mile extension of the Metrolink line from Riverside into the Perris Valley. Officials say the line is forecast to open near the end of 2015. It’s the first major Metrolink expansion in more than a decade, reports the Press-Enterprise.

Meet Seleta Reynolds, the safe streets advocate running LADOT (Streetsblog LA)

Damien Newton interviews the new general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, which manages traffic signals and the city’s DASH and Commuter Express buses, among other things. A lot of the conversation focuses on bike policy and Reynolds is mindful to (correctly) remind everyone that the City Council has pretty much the final say in everything.

Guest editorial: urban change in L.A., too little too slow (Streetsblog LA)

Thoughtful article by architect and urban designer Gerhard Mayer. His main point: while L.A. is certainly changing, it’s changing a lot more slowly than other cities and far too much of the city is devoted to roads and/or parking lots. The key paragraph:

L.A.’s land use imbalance is acute. In a “normal” city, only approx. one-fifth of the city’s land is dedicated to transportation. Four-fifths of that city is used for buildings that generate revenue – or for open space. Not in LA; here, as much as 60 percent of our land – three-fifths – is used to accommodate our automobiles. Only two-fifths of LA has buildings that generates revenue to maintain, renew and expand our public services.

Of course, it’s hard to come up with averages like that on such a sprawling city but the statistics sound about right for some parts of the city. I just drove to Oregon and back and L.A. is hardly alone. Driving through Klamath Falls I was struck with a downtown that appeared to be on life support while outside of town, the usual shopping malls with the usual big box stores were surrounded by vast parking lots and a lot of traffic.

Coming to the rescue of riders who drop treasures on the tracks (New York Times) 

Interesting article about the transit workers in the New York subway who use a variety of tools to scoop up belongings that riders have dropped on tracks below the platforms. This includes a bag of blood, a variety of artificial limbs, engagement rings and stuffed animals. Of course, we implore all riders to NEVER try to retrieve such items themselves on our transit system or any other. If you drop something valuable, please contact our Customer Relations department.

Regulator slow to respond to deadly vehicle defects (New York Times) 

A long and deeply reported article that is extremely critical of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The nut graphs:

An investigation by The New York Times into the agency’s handling of major safety defects over the past decade found that it frequently has been slow to identify problems, tentative to act and reluctant to employ its full legal powers against companies.

The Times analyzed agency correspondence, regulatory documents and public databases and interviewed congressional and executive branch investigators, former agency employees and auto safety experts. It found that in many of the major vehicle safety issues of recent years — including unintended acceleration in Toyotas, fires in Jeep fuel tanks and air bag ruptures in Hondas, as well as the G.M. ignition defect — the agency did not take a leading role until well after the problems had reached a crisis level, safety advocates had sounded alarms and motorists were injured or died.

Not only does the agency spend about as much money rating new cars — a favorite marketing tool for automakers — as it does investigating potentially deadly manufacturing defects, but it also has been so deferential to automakers that it made a key question it poses about fatal accidents optional — a policy it is only now changing after inquiries from The Times.

 

The article includes many anecdotes and examples. Perhaps the hardest thing to stomach: the agency declines to directly answer many of the Times’ questions, none of which seem unreasonable to ask.

Ride Metrolink to Los Angeles County Fair, save on tickets with Metro

Photo courtesy of Metrolink

Photo courtesy of Metrolink

It’s starting to cool down just a little bit, which makes going out on weekends that much more enjoyable. Make sure to include the Los Angeles County Fair in your plans this month! The fair is happening now through September 28 at the Fairplex in Pomona.

To get to the fair on weekends, take the Metrolink San Bernadino Line to Fairplex Station. A free shuttle will take you from there to the Yellow Gate Entrance. Metrolink is offering a late-night train service back to Los Angeles Union Station on Saturdays and Sundays while the fair is in session so you can stay and enjoy the concerts, nightclub and evening entertainment.

Discounted tickets to the Los Angeles County Fair are available for Metro riders. Use the exclusive promo code when buying tickets online and save up to 50% on any-day fair tickets. Continue reading

Special late night service added to Metrolink’s Los Angeles County Fair schedule

Photo by Victoria Bernal via Flickr creative commons.

Photo by Victoria Bernal via Flickr creative commons.

Here’s the news release from Metrolink:

LOS ANGELES – As part of its annual service, Metrolink will operate late night trains back to L.A. Union Station on both Saturday and Sunday nights from the Los Angeles County Fair (LACF), the largest county fair in the country. The service will begin this weekend and continue on Saturdays and Sundays throughout September.

The Saturday train will depart the Fairplex Station at 12:20 am (Sunday morning), while the Sunday train will depart at 10 p.m. back to L.A. Union Station. The new late night Metrolink service is made possible by funding from Metro.

The additional service will enable fair-goers to stay until closing on Saturday and Sunday nights so they can enjoy the nighttime concerts and entertainment.

Metrolink has been providing special train service to the LACF since 1993.

In addition to the pair of late-night trains to L.A. Union Station, Metrolink’s San Bernardino Line trains will make special weekend stops at the Fairplex Station. All San Bernardino Line weekends trains will stop at the Fairplex Station except for trains 351, 352 and 353 on Saturday and train 351 on Sunday.

Regular weekday (Monday-Friday) San Bernardino Line trains will not stop at the Fairplex Station.

For more information please visit http://www.metrolinktrains.com.

ABOUT METROLINK (www.metrolinktrains.com)

Metrolink is Southern California’s regional commuter rail service in its 21st year of operation. The Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), a joint powers authority made up of an 11-member board representing the transportation commissions of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties, governs the service. Metrolink operates over seven routes through a six-county, 512 route-mile network. Metrolink is the third largest commuter rail agency in the United States based on directional route miles and the eighth largest based on annual ridership.

And don’t forget to use the exclusive Metro promo code to score a 50% discount on any-day tickets to the fair!

Save up to 50 percent on any-day Los Angeles County Fair tickets with Metro

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Discover the Los Angeles County Fair–the largest county fair in the country–with Metro and Metrolink. The fair takes place from August 29 through September 28 at the Fairplex in Pomona. You’ll be able to enjoy Luminasia, a larger-than-life Chinese lantern festival, Grinding Gears dance club, live animals, a carnival with more than 70 thrilling rides and more!

Discounted tickets to the Los Angeles County Fair are available for Metro riders. Use the exclusive promo code when buying tickets online and save up to 50% on any-day fair tickets.

To get to the fair on weekends, take the Metrolink San Bernadino Line to Fairplex Station. A free shuttle will take you from there to the Yellow Gate Entrance. Metrolink is offering a late-night train service back to Los Angeles Union Station on Saturdays and Sundays while the fair is in session so you can stay and enjoy the concerts, nightclub and evening entertainment.

All San Bernardino Line weekend trains will stop at the Fairplex Station except for trains 351, 352 and 353 on Saturday and train 351 on Sunday. Take advantage of the special Metrolink weekend pass discount for trains that run to and from Union Station.

For weekday service to the fair, use the Pomona (North) Station and transfer to Foothill Transit Bus 197.