Transportation headlines, Monday, the 6th of January

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Hello and a belated Happy New Years to everyone. We took some time off during the holiday and also worked on some longer-term things, so we’re still in a bit of catch-up mode. And into 2014 we go….

Review: Tentative signs of progress in Metro’s transit network design (L.A. Times) 

Over the holidays, the Times published a news story on Metro’s new “kit of parts” approach to designing Metro Rail stations. The idea is to standardize station design to help provide the future system with a more consistent look, make it easier to maintain and help control costs. (The Gold Line Foothill Extension and the Expo Line Phase 2 will have station designs consistent with both lines’ current look).

Following on the news story, Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne’s well-written review can be boiled down to three words: be bold, Metro. Excerpt:

Meanwhile, the kit of parts has already faced enough challenges inside Metro to suggest how politically complicated it can be to pursue bold design at an agency of its size. To pick just one example, Sussman/Prejza suggested giant Ms, appearing to be partially sunk into the pavement, to mark the entrance to every station.

The letter would have been split into two parts, allowing it to operate as a sort of alphabetical gate. But some Metro officials balked, according to Welborne, fearing exiting passengers might have their view of cars and moving trains blocked by the giant signs.

The loss of the oversized M is emblematic of the various ways in which the kit-of-parts design risks being diluted before we see it in built form. The new stations, after all, don’t need less color or verve. They need a good deal more.

Christopher also touches on an interesting subject by suggesting that stations should reflect local architecture. The question is this: what exactly is L.A. architecture? There’s such a mishmash out here ranging from adobe houses to art deco to Craftsman.

If I was the king — and judging by my cubicle, I’m clearly not — I think rail stations deeply reminiscent of the old Spanish missions would be kind of cool.

A greenbelt future for South L.A. (L.A. Times) 

The Times’ editorial board looks at a proposal by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Gloria Molina: to transform 8.3 miles of the old Harbor Subdivision rail right-of-way into a pedestrian and bike path between the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Los Angeles River.

The editorial praises the idea while noting that a lot of work remains to be done — among them securing funding. Metro currently has a feasibility study underway of the proposal. The study is scheduled to be released this spring.

Bringing the underworld to light (New York Times)

A photo of work on the Second Avenue Subway from 2009. Photo by Patrick Cashin/MTA.

A photo of work on the Second Avenue Subway from 2009. Photo by Patrick Cashin/MTA.

Nice photo essay on New York MTA photographer Patrick Cashin, who has been chronicling the agency’s projects, including construction of the Second Avenue Subway.

The photos are just a small slice of the images that the New York MTA publishes on its excellent Flickr page.

1 reply

  1. While it’s great to see so many exiting the Memorial Park station, it’s a pity the pedestrian exit is only wide enough for two abreast. There needs to be some serious thought to improving the pedestrian experience. There could also be safety issues if there is crush. After all, this is Metro’s main entryway to a stadium holding 100,000 spectators.