Transportation headlines, Monday, May 21

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Metro bus operator Alan Thomas.

Slain Metro bus operator identified 

The Metro bus operator shot and killed in West Hollywood on Sunday morning has been identified as Alan Thomas, 51, a five-year veteran of Metro. A vigil is being planned by Alan’s colleagues for Monday evening.

A 41-year-old suspect is being held on $1-million bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The suspect was the lone passenger on the 105 line bus at the time of the slaying — witnesses and officials said that the suspect shot Thomas and then climbed out a bus window before surrendering.

A Metro supervisor who was nearby was the first at the scene and summoned help. Two guns were recovered from the bus, including a sawed-off shotgun.

Metro CEO Art Leahy was at the crime scene and visited the downtown bus division where Alan was based. Leahy said he would do everything possible to make grief counseling available to Alan’s colleagues. Metro says it is the first killing of a bus operator since 1967.

Each and every day and night, hundreds of bus and train operators around the region quietly do their jobs to ensure that the public gets where they’re going safely. Alan’s death is an unspeakable tragedy and The Source offers its heartfelt condolences to his family and many friends and colleagues at Metro.

Expo Line junction prompts special inspections (L.A. Times)

The junction of the Blue and Expo lines in downtown Los Angeles had a design flaw that prompted Metro and the state Public Utilities Commission to agree on a series of inspections to make sure everything remains in good working order. As originally built, the junction caused excess wear on the wheels of Blue Line vehicles, which make a sharp curve there. The issue has been fixed to the satisfaction of the state and Metro continues to inspect the track to make sure everything continues working as intended. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas — who is on the boards that oversee Metro and the Expo Line Construction Authority — said he had not previously heard of the issue.

Los Angeles lives by car but learns to embrace bikes (New York Times)

Several events — most notably the CicLAvia held in April and the city of L.A.’s push to build more bike lanes — inspire the Times to look at the emerging cycling scene around Los Angeles. Several advocates are quoted that cycling is on the rise, including commuting to work by bike. Is it? To my eye, yes — but hard numbers are hard to come by. The most recent U.S. Census data shows 67.3 percent of the city’s workers drive alone to work, 10.8 percent carpooled, 11 percent took public transit, 3.5 percent walked, 2.3 percent went by “other means” (including bikes) and 5.2 percent worked at home.

Paramount Boulevard bridge reopens (KCBS)

The new bridge over the 60 freeway reopened 115 days after the previous bridge was destroyed in tanker truck fire. An opening was planned for June 1, but when the new, widened bridge was completed late last week, Caltrans reopened it without fanfare or ceremony.