Transportation headlines, Tuesday, Dec. 18

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.

Good morning, Source readers. I was out of town for the past few days so I have some catching up to do. It’s great to see that utility relocation work began on the Regional Connector last week, meaning there are two Measure R transit projects under construction (Expo Line Phase 2 and Gold Line Foothill Extension) and three others ramping up toward construction (Connector, Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Subway Extension).

One other nice bit of news: The Source was the recipient of an update from the Metro tech team that should improve this blog’s reliability and appearance. Please forgive any weird looking spacing and such as I get familiar with some of the new features.

Downtown property owners fight MTA’s subway tunnel plans (L.A. Times) 

Putting aside the fact that the reporter calls Metro a city agency, the article gives a cursory look at lawsuits brought by lawsuits from Thomas Properties and the Westin Bonaventure against Metro over the Connector project. Both plaintiffs complain that digging for the Connector along Flower Street between 4th and 6th streets will disrupt their businesses. The problem is that old support structures for buildings along Flower Street remain in the ground and would get in the way of tunnel boring machines in those blocks — thus the reason that Metro plans to excavate the tunnels from above and then cover the street with metal plates. Excerpt:

The MTA says it will work with property owners during construction to resolve problems as they arise. Changes have already been made to the plan to minimize disruption, including installing the metal plates flush with the street instead of raised as originally envisioned, officials said.

Transit improvements are worth the money and aggravation because they make the city more livable and attract economic development, the MTA’s Cardoso said.

“We are reinventing Los Angeles, basically,” he said. “We will live through it.”


A Google Maps view of the approximate area under the influence of the new Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan.

A Google Maps view of the approximate area under the influence of the new Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan.

No parking required in mixed-use plan for Cornfield area (Curbed LA)

Wow — leave town for a few days and the world turns upside down. In a historic move, the city of Los Angeles Planning Commission approved new zoning laws that remove any kind of parking requirements for the neighborhoods along the Gold Line and near the Los Angeles River. It’s mostly industrial now, but the city would like to see the area be a mix of industry, retail and residential. The parking requirements were lifted to encourage developers to build (or rebuild) in the area — not to mention because the neighborhood is near three Gold Line stations as well as the Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Keep in mind that this is a section of river that under city plans will one day be lined with new parks. It’s downtown Los Angeles adjacent and in my view, could comfortably hold thousands more residents in precisely the kind of urban area that makes sense to develop/redevelop. Great news, people! BTW, the Curbed article has a nice zoning map of the area.

Train travel makes a comeback (MSN Money) 

Interesting overview of some long-gone train routes that either will be or may be running again. Example: train service between Boston and Cape Cod will begin next summer for the first time in decades. Meanwhile, on the Left Coast, there may soon be a rail link between Las Vegas and Los Angeles, while Phoenix and Tucscon are exploring a rail connection. Hey, if Santa Fe and Albuquerque can do it, L.A.-L.V. and Phoenix-Tucson should be able to, too!