How We Roll, Sept. 10: the project acceleration edition

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Art of Transit: 

From the Department of Heads Up!: The Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority is holding a ceremony to dedicate the Monrovia Station at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the station, 1651 S. Primrose Avenue, Monrovia. More details here.

Today’s timewaster: a cool selection of photos from 1960 of Los Angeles, Long Beach, So Cal smog and sprawl and a very empty Disneyland.

Another cool area photo from Days Gone By: 

Please slow down around crosswalks: 

Time-lapse across North America, including our state and town: 

Eyeing L.A.’s Olympic bid, Metro seeks to accelerate two rail projects (LAT)

Construction of the Red Line in the mid-1990s. Photo: Metro Transportation Library's Flickr stream.

Construction of the Red Line in the mid-1990s. Photo: Metro Transportation Library’s Flickr stream.

We briefly mentioned yesterday that Metro has expressed interest in a pilot program by the Federal Transit Administration to accelerate construction of the Purple Line Extension to Westwood and the Aviation/96th Street station on the Crenshaw/LAX Line. That station will be transfer point to the future LAX people mover that will run to airport terminals. (Here’s the letter to the FTA about the Purple Line Extension and here’s the letter about the Metro Connector/96th Station).

Reporter Laura Nelson’s story offers more details. In particular, Metro is hoping to use the FTA program to complete the Purple Line to Westwood by 2024. That’s 12 years ahead of the current long-range plan schedule of 2036. The 2024 goal isn’t a surprise with Los Angeles pursuing the ’24 Summer Olympics. From Laura’s article:

Winning the Olympic bid is often a catalyst for new infrastructure projects. Most recently in the U.S., when Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995, the city expedited two light-rail lines, which opened in 1999 and 2001.

Passenger service for the Purple Line would begin May 31, 2024, according to a draft schedule included in the letter. The Los Angeles bid proposes an Olympic start date six weeks later.

Metro has told the FTA that accelerating section 3 so that work coincides with section one to Wilshire/La Cienega and section two to Century City would reduce construction costs, reduce construction impacts and bring transportation benefits to the region more than a decade earlier than planned. Hard to argue with any of that.

Section one is beginning construction and is forecast by Metro to be complete by 2023. Section two is scheduled to open in 2026 under Metro’s long-range plan. The 10-year time gap between section two and three is there for funding and political reasons — Measure R funds need to accumulate over time to pay for this project and others around Los Angeles County (in other words, not all the money can be used on just one project — the funds need to be spread around). But the project can undoubtedly be done more quickly if tunneling machines can be left in the ground and continue to dig instead of sitting idle for years after the Century City segment is finished.

So we’ll see. Also TBD is how Metro’s ongoing work on a long-range plan update and potential 2016 ballot measure to raise funds for transportation projects impacts this. No doubt that 2024 is very ambitious for the subway project.

As for the Aviation/96th project, the current long-range plan timeline has that being done in 2028 although Metro and LAX have been trying to find a way to speed up the project so that it opens by 2023. An airport connection to Metro Rail would certainly be a nice option to provide visitors to our region as well as the thousands of LAX employees who staff the nation’s fourth-busiest airport and must get to and from work each day.


Why LADOT won’t have its portion of Expo Bikeway done anytime soon (Streetsblog LA)

The challenge is figuring out a path on nearby streets for the Expo Line 2 pathway roughly adjacent to this stretch of tracks through the Northvale trench. Photo: Metro.

The challenge is figuring out a path on nearby streets for the Expo Line 2 pathway roughly adjacent to this stretch of tracks through the Northvale trench. Photo: Metro.

A very detailed explanation by Jonathan Weiss of why the Cheviot Hills section of the bike path — to be built by the city of Los Angeles Department of Transportation — is now indefinitely delayed. This is something to keep an eye on, as it’s important to connect cyclists to Expo Line stations and give them other ways to get around town.

Things to read while sitting/standing/stuck on transit: A smart piece on the NYT’s Upshot blog about the folly of predicting what will happen in any given NFL season. As you might know, many predictions by so-called experts turn out to be dead wrong, largely because they’re based on last season’s standings, which often have nothing to do with the next year’s results.

That said, How We Roll can’t help but to run downfield while clutching its crystal ball. After all, in a much earlier form in centuries gone by, HWR correctly predicted that the NFL would embrace the two-point conversion and HWR now proudly considers itself the Father of the NFL Two-Point Conversion.

And thus our pick: the Green Bay Packers, with Aaron Rodgers but minus Jordy Nelson, will avenge their epic collapse in last year’s NFC title game by defeating Tom Brady and his Patriots in the Super Bowl. Choosing the AFC entrant was more difficult as we suspect Andrew Luck and the Colts will pile up the wins, passing yardage and points, respectively, in the weak NFC South.

Although we believe the Pats will win, HWR has decided in the meantime to cheer vigorously for the Buffalo Bills as this column’s Unofficial Favorite Team Who Are Not the Cincinnati Bengals. Why? We like an underdog.


Bills current QB Tyrod Taylor has big (ahem) shoes to fill. Photo: Buffalo Bills.

Lawsuit says new L.A. mobility plan would result in more air pollution (LAT)

As expected, the group Fix the City filed suit, alleging that the mobility plan recently approved by the Los Angeles City Council would increase car traffic and air pollution by adding bike and bus lanes and possibly reducing car traffic lanes.

The Spring Street bike lane in DTLA. Photo: LADOT.

The Spring Street bike lane in DTLA. Photo: LADOT.

The mobility plan says that if enacted many people would switch from driving to walking, biking and taking transit. As for Fix the City, the group has a long history of fighting projects that could add density to the region, arguing the region can’t handle the density it already has.

Of course, many others argue that density can make neighborhoods more livable by attracting more businesses and making them more walkable, more bike-friendly and better supporting transit. On that note, please see this Source post about Metro beginning the process of developing 15 acres of agency-owned land adjacent to the NoHo Red Line and Orange Line stations.

Quasi-related: A lawsuit in San Francisco tried to stop the city from adding new bike infrastructure, alleging that an environmental review was needed to determine impacts on traffic. The review was done and the City Council re-adopted a bike plan it had already approved and bike infrastructure improvements went forward, delayed but not defeated.

Uber and Lyft must improve access for disabled riders, advocates say (LAT)

As far as can be told, the rideshare services have relatively few vehicles that provide rides for customers who use wheelchairs — and those customers may be charged more for those rides. Such a policy would not pass go in publicly-supplied transit, nor at other private firms, I suspect.

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12 replies

  1. One of the biggest problems with the MTA is their inability to build in more than one direction on any rail segment under construction. We hav eseen it on the Expo Line, currently on the Purple Line segment and originally on the Blue Line. Over three years to build a rail line over a previous rail line route that took only six months to build in the early 20th Century with the crude equipment they had then as opposed to all the new technology we have today is just laughable. Perhaps four crews as opposed to one could be a clue as to the incompetence we see today.

    • Hi Bill;

      Not sure. But this is basically the first step in the process — with the FTA asking transit agencies to send letters of interest if interested in this. I’ll try to find out a general timeline for the pilot program.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Hi Bill;

      Not sure. But this is basically the first step in the process — with the FTA asking transit agencies to send letters of interest if interested in this. I’ll try to find out a general timeline for the pilot program.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. “Winning the Olympic bid is often a catalyst for new infrastructure projects.”

    This is very true and it not only just for LA, but also for the State of California. The Olympics could also speed up the CAHSR project as well too because if people from all over the world is coming to LA, they might as well also take side trips to San Francisco and San Diego too and see what California has to offer.

    Hopefully, a successful Olympic bid will be able to let projects cut through bureaucratic red tape and get stuff done fast.

  3. Knock on wood (and I will too) but it’s hard for me to imagine the Feds turning the purple line down. I truly hope that we seal the deal and get this thing under construction. On the other hand, just think, a baby born today could ride the inaugural train from UCLA to Downtown to celebrate her 21st birthday when phase 3 opens.

  4. What LA needs is a north-south heavy rail line from SFV via West LA and LAX to South Bay, as a rail alternative for the 405.

    While at it, the Crenshaw Line definitely needs to be extended past Expo/Crenshaw all the way to Wilshire/La Brea and even up to Hollywood/Highland.

    So where’s the money going to come from? Well unfortunately, it seems many people consider building more free parking lots for Metro stations in the SFV seem to be more of a priority issue today in LA than making solid revenue making ideas, yet they all wonder why LA Metro has no money to link the SFV to the rest of the LA Basin other than the Orange Line and the Red Line.

    Hopefully the Olympics will speed up these programs. But then again, probably not.

  5. If you want to get people out of their cars dependable/fast transit needs to be built where people travel not where it’s polically correct, see Crenshaw Line, and where it’s the cheapist route to build, see Gold Line to no where in the SGV.

  6. NFL topics:

    Sorry to burst your bubble, the Millennials are tuning out to watching NFL, and practically don’t even care about this topic at all. You’re reaching out to the wrong demographic again who are increasingly caring less about being into pro-football.

    NFL Losing Popularity and Credibility with Millennials

    The NFL’s Biggest Challenge? Keeping Younger Viewers

    NFL sees viewership decline for conference championship games

    “The average audience between 18 and 49 for NFL broadcasts across CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and the NFL Network has declined by about 10.6% over the last four seasons, according to Nielsen data prepared by Horizon Media, to about 7.7 million in 2013 from about 8.62 million in 2010. Meantime, male viewers between 18 and 24 watching the sport have also fallen off, tumbling about 5.3% in the same time period, to approximately 847,000 in 2013 from 894,000 in 2010.

    “This segment is not passionate about the NFL like older age groups,” says Kirk Wakefield, executive director of sports and entertainment marketing at Baylor University’s Hankamer School of Business. “The social status of NFL teams and players may be deteriorating compared to other pastimes or interests that are more personally engaging.”An NFL spokesman did not respond to a query about the ratings declines.”

    You’re really better off writing about video games or the new iPhone 6S to woo in Millennial readers than NFL stories.

    • I wasn’t writing to woo any particular readers. You may have also mentioned that a record 114.4 million Americans watched the Super Bowl last year and your stats show that plenty of millennials are still watching the NFL.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. RE: Purple Line Westside Extension to Westwood

    Like to see it happen, but we all know this will never happen before Olympics 2024. The biggest roadblock to this will be the Beverly Hills residents who don’t want a subway going underneath their sacrilegious high school.

    Seriously, there ought to be a law where public projects like these should place more weight toward the benefits of the many (all of LA County’s 10 million residents) over the issues of the few (only 34,000 residents of BH).

  8. Most good Americans will root against the Patriots, if only for all the shenanigans Belichick and company have pulled over the years.