Service alert: potential delays to bus and rail riders due to President Obama’s visit

President Barack Obama’s visit to Los Angeles continues today. There will likely be delays for Metro bus and train riders.

As per usual and due to security concerns, we can only release limited information about potential delays. According to this LAPD notice, there will likely be street closures on the Westside, Beverly Hills and the southern part of downtown Los Angeles on Thursday.

•On Thursday, bus routes that could be impacted include the 2, 302, 40, 81, 35 and the Silver Line.

•Beginning mid-morning Thursday — after the morning rush hour — expect intermittent delays to the Blue and Expo Lines in downtown Los Angeles. Here are the latest tweets:


Everything on the this list is subject to change. For the latest updates, please check the homepage, our general Twitter account or our service alert Twitter account.

No damage to Metro in this morning’s 4.4-magnitude earthquake; all Metro Rail lines running

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 7.14.34 AM

The 4.4-magnitude earthquake’s struck at 6:25 a.m. and had an epicenter near Westwood, according to the above preliminary data from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Metro officials say that no damage has been reported to the system. All Metro Rail lines are resuming normal rush hour operations with some slight residual delays.

The agency’s tweets from this morning:

There are no reports of injuries or damage from law enforcement. The CHP says that area roads are clear.

Here is an earlier Source post that explains how Metro deals with earthquakes and goes about inspecting tracks for Metro Rail. Excerpt:

When a quake is thought to be strong enough to cause damage, rail control center staff will radio the train operators and tell them what to do. Orders can vary from line to line, depending upon where the quake is strongest. If a weak quake is centered in the San Fernando Valley, for example, trains in Long Beach may not be affected.

If the quake is deemed potentially damaging, operators may be told to stop where they are and begin sweeping the track, which means that they proceed at about 15 mph to the next station or to the point where the train ahead of them stopped and began its sweep. (In that way, every inch of the track can be examined.) While the operators are proceeding they carefully watch the track looking for damage. Everyone reports back to rail control, which determines if the line or lines can reopen. Decisions are based on the common sense of humans, rather than seismic machines.

Should a significant event occur, the entire rail system would be shut down and not reopen until all lines have been thoroughly checked and determined to be safe. The term “significant” does not refer to Richter scale strength but to a variety of factors including strength and location of the quake and the judgment of rail control staff.

Should operators feel an earthquake (not that obvious in a moving train), they must immediately stop where they are and then proceed slowly to the next station. Or they may be given specific instructions from the rail control center, which generally will tell them to begin sweeping.



And here is another Source post on how subways are designed to withstand quakes, including the above chart. Excerpt:

There is no specific magnitude that subways are designed to universally withstand. The strength and flexibility the subway is designed for depends on the characteristics of earthquake faults in the area and their proximity to the structure being designed. In other words, the main question engineers ask is this: how strong is the ground shaking likely to be at the tunnels and stations?

The forecasted level of ground shaking at a particular location is garnered from seismic hazard maps published by the United States Geological Survey.  Building designers and engineers use these same maps to design their projects.

Obviously, Southern California sits in the midst of well-known earthquake country (here is a list of notable earthquakes in California in the past 200 years; the largest was a 7.9-magnitude quake near Fort Tejon in 1857).  Metro’s design criteria requires that its facilities are designed to ensure both life safety and the ability to be repaired after larger earthquakes – the ones that are predicted to occur every 2500 years. At the same time, Metro’s facilities are designed to ensure continuous operation in smaller earthquakes that have a probability of recurring every 150 years.

Take our poll: What do you want/need from Metro’s service alerts?

Why the poll?

As government enters — at times slowly — the 21st Century and its rich mix of social media, government is also learning new ways to talk to the taxpaying public. It’s no longer a one-way conversation, people.

Many of our riders already know that our service alerts tend to focus on service impacts rather than the cause of the impacts. To some degree, that’s going to change. We’re presently trying to develop some basic descriptions to better explain what’s happening on our system and the accompanying impacts to riders.

As we do this, we want to know what’s important for riders. Thus, the above poll. We want to know what you think before we make any changes.

Admittedly, speaking in plain English has been a struggle at times. Here are a couple of recent examples from Metro’s primary Twitter feed:

What these tweets don’t say is that a blind man had fallen on the tracks. He was lucky not to be hit by the train and was being extricated by emergency personnel, thus the understandable delays to subway service. He was called a trespasser because that’s Metro’s existing protocol: anyone on the tracks who shouldn’t be there is considered by the agency to be trespassing.

I am well aware that riders have chafed at times at Metro’s service alerts and the information included and, equally important, not included. Especially now that other government agencies — i.e. the LAFD, LASD and LAPD — and media and riders are often posting info on social media in real time about incidents involving Metro.

Why do agencies withhold some information and have trouble, at times, speaking in plain English? It’s a good question.

I don’t think there is a precise answer, nor do I think Metro is the only agency to struggle with what to say — and what not to say. Rather, I think there has been a mix of issues that boils down to two things: a reluctance to broadcast information that is incomplete, can’t be 100 percent verified, unfairly places blame for an incident or is insensitive to serious, perhaps deadly incidents. And, to be honest, I think there is a natural reluctance at many agencies, including this one, to say anything that might make an agency look bad.

Sometimes, too, there are other more complicated reasons. An agency may not want to give a troubled soul a bad idea — thus the reason we are extremely reluctant to discuss suicide-by-train on Metro’s blog or social media even when media is reporting it. The same goes with security issues: when it comes to rider safety, policing and system security, we often follow the ‘do no harm’ rule and say only what is absolutely necessary.

Thank you for taking the poll and for providing any feedback via comments or social media. I think you’ll be seeing some changes soon that will hopefully be for the better.

Israeli prime minister visit may delay or detour some Metro buses

Map of expected street closures via

Map of expected street closures via

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is visiting Los Angeles this week and authorities have warned his motorcade may cause traffic flare-ups on the Westside over the next three days.

Unfortunately, Metro buses are not exempt from the rolling closures that could slow traffic, or close streets entirely, as the Prime Minister moves from place to place. Customers traveling through the Westside today through Thursday should allow extra time to reach their destination, as some bus lines in the area may experience delays of up to 20 minutes, or temporary detours. Metro Rail will not be impacted.

While the exact movements of the prime minister’s motorcade are not released ahead of time, the Secret Service has issued a general traffic advisory with areas to avoid during specific times. Here’s the info via the LAPD’s blog:

Tuesday March 4th 2014

  • Santa Monica Blvd between 405 Freeway and Melrose Ave. 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • 405 Freeway between Wilshire Blvd. and 105 Freeway 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Melrose Ave between La Cienega and Van Ness 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday March 5th, 2014

  • Santa Monica Blvd between 405 Fwy and Melrose Ave 7:30 a.m. – 8:30, & 4:00 p.m.- 11:00 p.m.
  • 405 Fwy between Wilshire Blvd. and 105 Fwy 7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m., & 4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
  • 10 Fwy between 405 Fwy and CA Highway 1/PCH from 6:30 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.
  • CA Hwy 1/PCH between 10 Fwy and Malibu Canyon Rd. 6:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.

Thursday March 6th, 2014

  • Santa Monica Blvd between 405 and Melrose Ave 8:00 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
  • Pico Blvd between Roxbury and Castello 8:45 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
  • 405 Fwy between Wilshire Blvd. and 105 Fwy 12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

For possible bus detours as motorcade closures unfold, please follow our Twitter feed or visit

Storm update #2 — next wave is expected (ugh) in time for afternoon rush hour


The next wave of rain and wind is expected to hit Los Angeles County about 3 p.m. about 2 p.m. (it’s coming down hard now at Union Station!) and possibly continue through the afternoon rush hour.

The rain and wind overnight and this morning caused some problems, including:

•There was a temporary loss of electricity to the Green Line rail yard. Power has been restored and there was no impact to regular service.

•There were delays up to 20 minutes on the Orange Line due to a downed tree blocking the busway near Laurel Canyon Boulevard. Buses were back on normal schedule about 9:30 a.m.

•There were water-related signal issues on the Gold Line just south of Union Station. The problem was resolved at 11 a.m. 

•There were 15-minute delays along the Blue Line due to a disabled train at San Pedro station. The issue was cleared about 9 a.m. and schedules then returned to normal.

•There were 10- to 20-minute delays on the Expo Line due to a disabled train at Culver City station.  

•LADOT and LAPD have been closing roads in the Sepulveda Flood Control Basin, due to rising water. Metro Bus }154 is on high-water detour at this time.

All lines are running normal service at this time.

To stay up-to-date on the status of your bus or train, follow Metro on Twitter at @metrolosangeles and @metroLAalerts, and be sure to check back here at The Source.

The current scene looking west from the Metro Mothership:

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.


This it it, people: Jamzilla 80-hour closure of northbound 405 lanes begins late Friday; officials ask for motorists to avoid 405 this weeekend



Photo by Dave Sotero/Metro.

Photo by Dave Sotero/Metro.

Lane closures begin late Friday evening and a complete closure of the NORTHBOUND 405 will be achieved by 1 a.m. from Getty Center Drive to Ventura Boulevard. Only two northbound lanes will be open during daylight hours on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and a 65 percent reduction in traffic is needed to avoid serious gridlock.


Officials again asked the public to avoid the 405 and Sepulveda Pass area this weekend at a news conference Friday afternoon at Caltrans' Traffic Management Center. Photo by Dave Sotero/Metro.

Officials again asked the public to avoid the 405 and Sepulveda Pass area this weekend at a news conference Friday afternoon at Caltrans’ Traffic Management Center. Photo by Dave Sotero/Metro.

The 80-hour lane closures — which end Tuesday morning — are being done for repaving work on the northbound side of the freeway. Most of the work until now has been on the sides of the freeways, on the freeway ramps or the bridges above the 405. This work is being done on the freeway itself and is necessary to complete the project — which is expected to be done by this summer.

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project is adding a northbound HOV lane between the Santa Monica Freeway (I-10) and the Ventura Freeway (I-101). The southbound 405 already has an HOV lane. When completed, the 405 will have HOV lanes in both directions from the northern San Fernando Valley to the Orange County line (click here to see a map of HOV lanes in L.A. County).

Here is the closure area for Jamzilla weekend:


The traffic maps and photo at the top of this post are from Saturday, March 2 of 2013 — a day when three lanes on the northbound I-405 were closed between Montana Avenue and the Getty Center off-ramp for construction work on the 405 northbound carpool lane project. 

While traffic in L.A. is usually a bear on Saturdays, it was especially grizzly on that Saturday. The problem, in short: not enough motorists heeded warnings to avoid the northbound 405, thereby backing up traffic to Marina del Rey by 2 p.m. and well beyond later in the day.

Thus, the reason Metro is harping on the upcoming Jamzilla northbound lane closures that begin late Friday night and run until Tuesday morning. The message, again and sweet and short: please avoid driving on the northbound 405 over the Sepulveda Pass this upcoming weekend.

For more info, here is a roundup of recent posts:

Jamzilla is coming: unprecedented 80-hour closure of northbound 405 freeway lanes on President’s Day weekend

Video from Jamzilla press conference

Jamzilla 405 operation more complex than Carmageddon

Jamzilla countdown clock and banner ads now available

New Jamzilla public service announcement available for public use

Jamzilla video: who you gonna call? 

Transcript from Jamzilla online chat with Metro and Caltrans officials

Expo Line running every 20 minutes tonight between La Cienega and Culver City Station

Heads up, Expo Line riders. Tonight after 9:30 p.m., the Expo Line will be running approximately every 20 minutes between the La Cienega/Jefferson and Culver City Station due to rail grinding and urgent track maintenance. Trains will share one track in the area beginning at 9 p.m.

Every other Culver City-bound train will turn back towards Downtown L.A. at La Cienega/Jefferson or Expo/La Brea Station. To continue to Culver City, wait for the next train approximately 10 minutes behind. There will also be a bus shuttle between La Cienega/Jefferson to Culver City Station starting at 9 p.m. to supplement service.

Additional rail grinding work will take place near the Jefferson/Hauser intersection. Once complete, the work should result in a smoother ride for customers and quieter operations for Expo Line neighbors.