Coverage of yesterday’s media event to explain ongoing renovations to the Blue Line which will cost $1.2 billion. As the Times notes, the bulk of the money is being spent on new rail cars that will be shared by the Blue and Expo lines. They’re also getting a new paint job — goodbye the “mustard” stripe and hello train cars that are mostly gray with yellow fronts, a popular look in the United Kingdom. See below:
As for Metro, the first of the new rail cars is scheduled for delivery in Aug. 2015 with all 78 rail vehicles to be received by Jan. 2017.
Washington Metro awards $184 million for futuristic fare collection system (Washington City Paper)
The new system, according to WMATA, will be equipped to accept chip-enabled credit cards, federal government IDs, and cell phones for fare payment, as well as SmarTrip cards.
“While Metro pioneered the tap and go system we currently use, by today’s standards that system is cumbersome and the technology is not sustainable,” said Metro General Manager Richard Sarles in a statement. “The new technology will provide more flexibility for accounts, better reliability for riders, and real choices for customers to use bank-issued payment cards, credit cards, ID cards, or mobile phones to pay their Metro fares.”
Washington Metro’s current fare cards are similar to TAP cards. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and several other Board members authored a motion last year calling on Metro to study other fare payment systems, including smart ticketing using cell phones.
As evidence grows of inbreeding among the tiny population of mountain lions in the Santa Monicas, experts say the lions need more range. The challenge relates to transportation: the lion’s range is constrained by development and, in particular, freeways on all sides. Perhaps the most troublesome barrier is the 101 freeway that serves as a barrier between the Santa Monica Mountains and the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills. Excerpt:
The California Department of Transportation has twice sought federal funding for a $10-million tunnel crossing near the Liberty Canyon Road exit. The area is part of a critical wildlife corridor that connects the Santa Susana Mountains and Simi Hills to the Santa Monica Mountains.
Riley and others working with DOT recently proposed what they consider a superior option: a landscaped crossing over the freeway. Such overpasses have been successful in Canada and Europe and are starting to be used in the Western United States.
“I’m arguing pretty aggressively for an overpass,” said Joseph T. Edmiston, executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, which owns much of the land near the proposed crossing. “It would be more inviting for the animals.”
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy will consider next month whether to provide $200,000 so the California Department of Transportation can study alternatives. The cost of an over-crossing would far exceed the $10 million that has been projected for a tunnel.
The multi-million dollar question here: will it be too late for the lions by the time a crossing is studied, possibly approved and funded? Of course, the fact that lions have survived this long in the Santa Monicas is remarkable and a testament to their ability to adapt and the fact that lions can’t be hunted in California.
Christie fires aide in bridge scandal as U.S. opens inquiry (New York Times)
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says he had no knowledge that his staff and appointees ordered lanes closed on the George Washington Bridge last fall as a way to punish the mayor of Fort Lee — who happens to be a Democrat and who happened to not endorse Christie in last year’s governor’s election. Recently released emails show otherwise — that Christie’s staff was directly involved. The U.S. Attorney’s office have launched an inquiry which should presumably show whether Christie was involved in any decision making. He has already fired one of his deputies who was involved, calling her “stupid.”
Jon Stewart has coverage, too. Warning: adult language/visuals, etc.
Hey, it’s almost Friday — so why not a song from one of Gov. Christie’s favorite musicians?[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbQ8e6EFpUg]
Categories: Transportation Headlines