J-town businesses decry road, station closures (Rafu Shimpo)
The top of the story:
Holiday decorations are out in Little Tokyo, but looming over this holiday season are closures of the Metro Gold Line Station and disruptions on First Street that business owners say will negatively impact them during the busiest time of the year.
Metro announced that First between Alameda and Vignes streets will be closed due to construction on the Metro Regional Connector for the next two months, starting on Friday, Dec. 4. The road closure was originally scheduled to begin in February.
Paul Gonzalez, a Metro senior media relations officer, explained that the closures were moved up because of the $891 million Gold Line Foothill Extension, which is set to open on March 5. Once the Foothill Extension opens, the Gold Line will run from Citrus College in Azusa to East Los Angeles.
As the article notes, Metro moved the Regional Connector work forward because the agency wanted the Gold Line to operate in its entirety when the Gold Line extension to Azusa opens on March 5. The Little Tokyo/Arts District Station closes until the end of February beginning this Friday night.
A community meeting was held last night in Little Tokyo to discuss community concerns. Please see the Regional Connector’s Twitter stream for more coverage. A few samples:
Some background worth mentioning: The Gold Line extension to East Los Angeles was completed and opened in 2009. As Metro began studying the Regional Connector project in 2008, the agency was looking into a street-level project.
Residents in Little Tokyo and elsewhere in downtown Los Angeles did not like that alternative. In Little Tokyo, for example, the original studies were looking at building the tracks at the current street level across Alameda with Alameda going under the tracks in a freeway-underpass type arrangement. That brought strong opposition for obvious reasons: Little Tokyo residents didn’t want a freeway-type interchange in the middle of their neighborhood.
As a result support continued to grow for the Regional Connector to be completely underground. That changed the project significantly and resulted in plans to move the Little Tokyo Station underground with the rail tunnel’s two portals on the east side of Alameda.
I think it’s a better project this way although there’s no denying there are big-time construction impacts.
The United Nations climate summit in Paris is underway. This great Q&A helps answer some of the basic questions about global warming, including how much the planet is heating up (1.7 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, a figure that varies in different parts of the planet) and what are the most optimistic and pessimistic takes on the impacts (read the story!).
The article also asks: What can I do? Excerpt:
There are lots of simple ways to reduce your own carbon footprint, and most of them will save you money. You can plug leaks in your home insulation to save power, install a smart thermostat, switch to more efficient light bulbs, turn off the lights in any room where you are not using them, drive fewer miles by consolidating trips or taking public transit, waste less food, and eat less meat.
Perhaps the biggest single thing individuals can do on their own is to take fewer airplane trips; just one or two fewer plane rides per year can save as much in emissions as all the other actions combined. If you want to be at the cutting edge, you can look at buying an electric or hybrid car, putting solar panels on your roof, or both.
Attentive readers already know much of this, but it’s worth a reminder.
Some other climate news worth reading:
America’s incoherent coal policy in the New Yorker. On the one hand, the feds killed the Keystone Pipeline, using climate change as one reason. On the other hand, the feds are heavily subsidizing coal extraction in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. Hmm.
A path for climate change, beyond Paris in the NYT: A good explainer on what needs to happen to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The gist of it: a big expansion of existing renewable energy (especially wind and solar) and a huge conversion of gas-powered cars to electric cars.
The magazine may be Gotham-based, but in its new ad it wanted to stress the wide appeal of the venerable weekly. I’m a long-time subscriber because no one does long-form journalism better, IMHO.
As for the ad, it’s always nice to see the big-and-empty old ticket room at Union Station get put to some use.
A labor coalition has filed a complaint with the city of Los Angeles, alleging that BYD isn’t paying legally-required wages at its downtown L.A. facility. BYD officials say they are complying with the law and were legally exempted from the city’s living wage ordinance. A spokesperson for Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the city would investigate.
The company’s name may sound familiar: Metro has a contract with BYD to build up to 25 electric buses for the agency at BYD’s Lancaster facility. One interesting journalism side note: former LAT publisher Austin Beutner was heavily involved in recruiting to BYD to L.A in his previous job in City Hall as deputy mayor.
Watch this tank carry a beer without spilling a drop (Popular Mechanics)
In case you were wondering.
Nov. 30: Does too much cheap or free parking in L.A. County doom transit? And a futurist looks back at L.A.’s transpo past.
Nov. 25: How to talk about traffic with your family, transit chief resigns in Phoenix amid allegations of inflated travel expenses.
Nov. 24: California has work to do as world environmental leader, shifting money from trains to water
Nov. 23: Will the LAX people mover be up and running by 2023?
Nov. 19: the Reason Foundation’s $714-billion plan to fix traffic in Southern California.
Categories: Transportation Headlines