If you live in the area in Santa Monica, please read this closely — this is a weeklong closure. Yes, it may be a pain in the rear quarters for some folks, but it’s also a sign that construction of the second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and Santa Monica continues at a brisk pace.
And now there are train tracks across Overland Avenue for the second phase of the Expo Line!
Work was completed over this weekend, as shown in the above photos. Westwood Boulevard got the same treatment last weekend.
The project to extend the Expo Line six miles from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica is now halfway complete. The project is funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. It is currently forecast to open in early 2016.
Reminder to Westsiders: Overland Avenue will be closed this weekend between Ashby Avenue and Coventry Place so that the rail crossing for the second phase of the Expo Line can be constructed. The closure begins tonight at 9 p.m. and runs until Monday at 6 a.m. More details are above.
And here are three photos from last week’s work installing tracks across Westwood Boulevard:
ART OF TRANSIT: Nice throwback costume!
Missed this one yesterday. The article reports on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s video at the Mobility 21 conference and his statement that another transportation ballot measure for the county may be in the works. The key excerpt:
Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said the mayor’s remarks at the Mobility conference were not an indication of support for an extension of Measure R, the voter-approved half-cent sales tax that’s currently paying for an array of rail, bus and highway projects.
Robb said Garcetti was simply referencing recent actions taken by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who also sits on the MTA board. Antonovich has been talking to local communities about what projects they want to see built under another ballot initiative. Antonovich, along with County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky also authored a motion approved by the MTA board on Tuesday to allocate $500,000 to help the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments develop a “Mobility Matrix” that would identify some of the Valley’s transportation needs.
“Cutting traffic is a priority for Mayor Garcetti and he is currently exploring all options to ease congestion for Angelenos,” Robb said.
MTA Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy, who also attended the conference, struck a skeptical tone when addressing a possible extension. “We will evaluate whether we do a Measure J again,” Leahy told the Daily News. “I don’t know if we will. It’s possible that would happen in either 2014 or 2016.”
As we wrote the other day, nothing is currently on the table. But there certainly seems to be discussions on how projects could be accelerated or new projects funded.
Metro construction boom brings opportunities (Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ website)
A look at the business opportunity summit held at the African-American Museum on Monday. As the article shows, there is clearly an appetite for jobs among those who live near the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Line. Excerpt:
Opportunity is exactly what Erika Bennett is seeking. She is hoping her company, Total Transportation Services Inc., a trucking company that transports cement and dirt to construction sites, will become one of the sub-consultants for the large firm that was awarded the Crenshaw contract, Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors.
“This is a good meet and greet,” she said, as she walked up to the Walsh Shea table and introduced herself to the executives for the company.
Other attendees, such as Matsimela McMorris, were simply looking for a job. McMorris, who has been unemployed for more than a year, applied for a position as a custodian with Metro. But at the event, McMorris saw other possibilities, including becoming a bus operator.
“It is really good to be able to come here and meet people,” he said. “Online, you can’t really tell people your story.”
The city’s Department of Transportation will be getting a new general manager. LADOT runs a large bus system and, of course, manages the thousands of miles of roadway (including the traffic signals) in the city of L.A.
It’s time to treat bike share as mass transit (The Atlantic Cities)
The blog post argues that bike share fees should be tax deductible in the same way that commuter fringe benefits are.
Expo Line Phase 2 reaches the halfway point (Culver City Observer)
A look at the announcement earlier this month that the six-mile extension between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica is halfway done. Next up: more track work!
Good construction pics! And press release from the Expo Line Construction Authority below:
EXPO PHASE 2 PROJECT ACHIEVES MAJOR SAFETY MILESTONE
Construction crews reach one million hours worked without incident
As construction for Phase 2 of the Expo Line from Culver City to Santa Monica reaches the halfway mark, Skanska-Rados Joint Venture (SRJV) today celebrated one million hours worked on the project without a lost time incident. Since the start of preconstruction activities in June 2011, no workers on the Expo Phase 2 project have missed a shift due to injury.
“We are very proud of our workers and staff for reaching 1,000,000 Safe Hours without a lost time incident,” said Brian Freund, SRJV Project Manager. “This achievement is a major milestone in the construction industry, and we look forward to completing the Expo Line without incident.”
With hundreds of employees logging in thousands of hours a week working on bridge structures 25 feet in the air, around high power lines up to 138,000 volts, and in trenches over 20 feet deep, maintaining such a safety record is no small feat. This noteworthy achievement reflects SRJV’s focus on an Injury-Free Environment, which is unparalleled in the construction industry and goes far beyond standard safety programs. Working in a dense urban environment along congested city streets, SRJV is responsible for protecting not only the health and safety of its personnel, but also that of the public. The contractor’s strong safety culture is what keeps hundreds of workers on the job day in and day out, and the communities along the Expo Line safe.
“We commend SRJV for its demonstrated commitment to safety while making great progress,” added Rick Thorpe, CEO of the Exposition Construction Authority.
Major construction on Expo Phase 2 began only a year and a half ago and already the project is about 50 percent complete. Work continues at a rapid pace, with bridges and stations well underway and track work starting this fall.
Service on Phase 1 of the Expo Line began in Spring 2012. Construction on Phase 2 is expected to be complete in 2015. The Expo Line will bring greater mobility to the region by connecting West Los Angeles to the region’s existing rail network. These communities are traditionally underserved by public transportation and among the most traffic-congested in the nation.
Photos by Expo Line Fan
It is with a bit of sadness that we today post the final three photos of Expo Line Phase 2 construction from Expo Line Fan, who for the past few years has been faithfully chronicling the project’s construction from downtown to Santa Monica.
Expo Line Fan has taken a job back East, so this is it — but he promises to return for the Phase 2 opening.
Metro and the Expo Line Construction Authority wishes to thank Expo Line Fan for his interest in the project and for sharing his photos. Check out his website for many more construction pics.
My bad — I forgot to post this news release from the Construction Authority yesterday:
CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT AFFIRMS APPEALS COURT RULING IN FAVOR OF EXPOSITION CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY
In a 6 to 1 decision, the California Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals and the approval by the Exposition Construction Authority of the extension of the Expo Line light rail transit project from Culver City to Santa Monica. The Court’s decision allows construction of the project to continue on schedule and to provide desperately needed traffic relief to the residents of Los Angeles County.
Work on the $1.5 billion, 6.6-mile Phase 2 extension is already well underway along the entire alignment, with all eight bridges under construction. Currently there are almost 400 workers on the project and this decision will enable them to remain on the job.
“We are gratified that the California Supreme Court has affirmed the lower court rulings. Today’s decision is a win for taxpayers and the future riders who will soon benefit from a direct connection between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica,” said Expo Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe. “We remain focused on finishing the Expo Line on-time and on-budget in 2015.”
About the Expo Line
Service on Phase 1 of the Expo Line began in Spring 2012 and serves nearly 27,000 daily riders. Construction on Phase 2 is expected to be complete in late 2015. The Expo Line will bring greater mobility to the region by connecting west Los Angeles to the region’s existing rail network. These communities are traditionally underserved by public transportation and among the most traffic-congested in the nation.
The California Supreme Court issued its opinion on Monday on a long-running lawsuit brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail against the second phase of the Expo Line. Neighbors for Smart Rail had alleged that the environmental study for the project was insufficient in two regards. On those points:
1. The Supreme Court found that the Expo Construction Authority sufficiently studied the effects of spillover parking near stations.
2. The Supreme Court also concluded that transportation agencies have discretion under certain circumstances to measure the significance of a project’s traffic and air quality impacts against future conditions (the Expo Line study used conditions as they were expected to be in 2030).
While the Court indicated that the Expo Authority should have also measured the significance of the Expo Line’s traffic and air quality impacts against conditions in 2015 — when the project was expected to be complete — the Court concluded that this was an “insubstantial” technical error and that technical error did not preclude informed decision-making about the project’s impacts and public participation regarding the Expo Project.
As a result, the Expo Line Construction Authority does not have to redo any part of its environmental study for the project and construction work may continue to proceed. The 6.6-mile project is extending the Expo Line light rail from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica and is funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.