How We Roll, Jan. 19: Expo Line (my precious), new eatery on the Blue Line, four ideas for L.A.

Art of Transit:

Cheerleaders and Metro's old-timey bus that made an appearance in Monday's Kingdom Day Parade celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo: Metro.

Cheerleaders and Metro’s old-timey bus that made an appearance in Monday’s Kingdom Day Parade celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo: Metro.

Metro takes control of Expo Line to begin pre-revenue service (Santa Monica Next)

A train just east of the 17th Street Station. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

A train just east of the 17th Street Station. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Metro can now justly say “my precious” about the project’s mainline tracks between Culver City and Santa Monica. The Expo Line Construction Authority handed over the 6.6-mile tracks on Friday, a big step forward for the project.

The rail yard in Santa Monica still must be handed over to Metro. After that happens, Metro can set an opening date for the extension and its seven new stations. 

Testing will be ramping up. Please see this post for more information about the ongoing schedule. Bottom line: expect to see trains throughout the day and night.

That feels better L.A. — fixes for four of the city’s sorest joints (LAT)

Self-professed transit geek David Kipen offers a quartet of ideas, including:

•a bike ferry across Marina del Rey to better connect the beach bike path that runs from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica.

•An improved and better defined walkway from Chinatown to Dodger Stadium.

•A Summer Olympics bid with events throughout California for 2028 — if the L.A. 2024 bid fails.

•Additional track for the Regional Connector that would permit trains to run directly between East Los Angeles and Pasadena (and soon Azusa).

Interesting stuff. My three cents, starting with the one about Connector as it’s directly-related to Metro:

•At this point, the operating plan for the Connector is to run trains between East L.A. and Santa Monica and another set of trains between Azusa and Long Beach. Trains would be able to run between East L.A. and Azusa, but Metro has chosen an operating plan that it believes will benefit the most riders — while keeping the system easy-to-use for customers while also keeping train schedules manageable.

The obvious upside: passengers going to/from East Los Angeles don’t have to transfer to reach the heart of downtown Los Angeles. Under the current arrangement, East L.A. passengers must transfer at Union Station to reach the heart of DTLA.

As for those traveling between stations on the Azusa arm of the Gold Line and those on the East L.A. side: they can transfer between trains by walking across the platform at the new underground Little Tokyo Station.

All in all, I think the Connector will benefit riders on the East L.A. side and save time for them. It’s probably how the Eastside Gold Line would have been built if there had been funding and more political support at the time.

•Fancy walkway to Dodger Stadium with great lighting, design and security: love it.

•My hunch is that the bike ferry wouldn’t save many cyclists that much time, if any. I do like the idea of a traditional ferry running along the coast from Redondo to Santa Monica although have no idea if there is enough demand for such a service.

•I have no idea if L.A. will get the 2024 Games but I love the idea of an all-California Olympics. I don’t think it’s viable, though, until we have a bullet train — and the San Francisco to Los Angeles leg is still many billions shy of being funded.

Photos: Roy Choi’s ‘LocoL’ Grand Opening Attracts Hundreds To Watts (LAist)

Huge crowds on Monday for the opening of the new eatery that is .3 miles east of the Blue Line’s 103rd Street/Watts Tower Station. As KPCC reports, “The idea is to bring fresh, healthy and local food to Watts where residents have had little access to that in the past.”

Here’s LocoL’s website and here’s their Instagram feed. Really great news for South L.A. — an area that has struggled to attract new restaurants beyond the usual fast food joints.

How frozen Minneapolis became a biking mecca (Des Moines Register)

Infrastructure, infrastructure and more infrastructure — such as a 5.5-mile bike expressway of sorts. Excerpt:

[Mayor] Rybak said that means more than simply painting bike lanes on streets; it requires strategizing how and where to place infrastructure to create a network connecting people to places.

“Paint is cheap. Bollards are cheap, too, and bikers deserve a little bit of protection,” Rybak said. “Every budget I developed, even during the toughest times, had some room for biking improvements.”

Of course, numerous cities here and elsewhere struggle just to find the money or will to paint bike lanes. But going the extra step seems to be where the dividends are really found.

India’s super-rich have supercars, but nowhere to drive (Wall Street Journal)

What do you do with a Lamborghini or Ferrari in India? Not much, due to crowded streets and lack of wide-open freeways sucha s the 395.

A corner of Europe frozen in time (New Yorker Photo Booth blog) 

A road trip in the remote area near the Lithuania and Belarus border. Good gallery for thumbing through whilst transiting.

More things to read whilst transiting: Glenn Frey, the voice that launched a million tequila sunrises, in Rolling Stone. “He played lead, rhythm, acoustic, electric, and slide guitar; he doubled on keyboards; he co-wrote or curated most of the band’s best songs, sang lead on many of them, and maybe most crucially, helped arrange their take-no-prisoners group harmonies,” writes Will Hermes.

Like David Bowie, who passed away last week, the Eagles were a staple of ’70s radio (and well beyond). On the one hand, there were the British bands — Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones, Kinks and Wings that got a ton of plays. And then there were the bands/solo artists from this side of the pond: Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Aerosmith, Van Halen, Boston, Rush, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen and, most of all, the Eagles, who were doing the alt-country thing a long time before Uncle Tupelo came along.

Recent How We Rolls: 

Jan. 15: big cars, electric cars and self-driving cars.

Jan. 14: A look at Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles’ attempt to do something about traffic and more on the Rams move to the Coliseum and then Inglewood.

Jan. 13: The Rams aren’t here yet but concerns over game day traffic are. Plus concerns over getting to the APU/Citrus College Station in Azusa.

Jan. 12: more on the relationship between rail transit and pro football.

Jan. 11: plugging the gaps in our regional transportation system.

I’m on Twitter and have a photography blog. Questions or ideas for How We Roll? Email me.

10 replies

  1. The points about Metrolink frequency echo a much larger issue. Metrolink was designed as long distance commuter rail transit, not local transit. Since so many corporations have left DTLA since 1990 and reduced its customer base, Metrolink needs to reinvent itself. Note that higher frequency solutions such as DMUs cannot share tracks with conventional freight trains.

    Rather than expand Metrolink, I would prefer Metro to “cross the T’s” and fill in the referenced missing (mainly north/south like Sepulveda and Lincoln) links in the central county with subway and light rail. These lines may or may not follow existing trackage. As far as the Burbank / Glendale corridor, currently there does not seem be enough local (mostly existing bus) patronage to justify more frequency – a bigger picture view must take care of that.

  2. In the picture, the Expo test train is just “west” of the 17th Street Station. (On the eastside, the train curves out of the median into the dedicated ROW.)

  3. The idea of Dodger Blue foot prints showing the way to the stadium from the Chinatown Gold Line station is excellent. Have the Blue Crew pay for it and have LADOT follow the route that Metro lays out. This would be a good start. There could be a set coming from Sunset too (with numbers or destinations/origins painted every few 100 feet.). There are several locations where the Dodgers can put in some stairs and pedestrian gates that would facilitate walking. The Dodgers should pay for them, not the City. Metro, AQMD, the City, and the fans need to pressure them to put in the stairs.
    Parts of this could be done before the start of the season. If the Dodgers -really- wanted to get this done, the stairs could be in before the season too. Then next year an ADA compliant ramp could be added.

  4. “As for those traveling between stations on the Azusa arm of the Gold Line and those on the East L.A. side: they can transfer between trains by walking across the platform at the new underground Little Tokyo Station.” The question is how long will they have to wait to make this transfer. Metro’s routing decision effectively meant that two of the area’s largest Hispanic populations (East LA and Highland Park) — who now can train without transferring — will have to wait to make the transfer. Thus, the timing issue will be vital to these folks who, I submit, are a bigger traveling group than folks traveling from Azusa (or even Pasadena) to Long Beach.

  5. What was the rationale behind running Azusa-Long Beach and East LA-Santa Monica. This creates one extremely long line mileage-wise (the Long Beach route), and one that’s quite a bit shorter. The Long Beach trains will be much more delay prone. Why not run East LA-Long Beach and Azusa-Santa Monica in order to even out the route lengths a bit? Curious to hear the reasoning!

  6. Unless we can get High Speed rail accomplished in time for the 2024 Olympics, the future advantage in the bidding will swing to San Francisco, whose lifestyle, I predict, will make for an easier transition to HSR.

    • The (lack of) crossing over Ballona Creek has never had anyone up in arms. Its probably quicker to bike the path than wait for a ferry. We’d do it from Playa to Venice when we were kids to go buy “sculptures”.

      Dodger Stadium should be nuked and placed somewhere reasonable in my opinion.

      I agree with James and logic, the Oyama Y is not the best idea.

      Olympics? I don’t really follow.

      I’m glad this is just an opinion piece. The reason being is that these are easy targets tp pick off, but have no real merit under the guise of making transit better. Typical hipster b.s.

      You want to fix some of L.A.s problems; Continue the Red Line Vermont to at least Expo or Slauson (I will never give up hope on this)

      Lets get the south east side of Downtown Los Angeles (11th and Broadway- Fashion District connected)

      -When will Glendale be accessible from Downtown in under 45 minutes

      – Why doesn’t the Westside have north south Rail (maybe lincoln)?

      These are things that Los Angeles should really address in my opinion and are realistic, but aiming for the stars and hoping you land somewhere along the way fails.

      Thats like my friend who told me “They need to just tax everyone and build subways under every major blvd” with confidence.

      • Glendale is accessible from downtown Los Angeles in under 45 minutes via Metrolink. There are not enough trains and the station isn’t exactly convenient to most of Glendale but that’s another story.

      • That’s true Bob, about Glendale. The frequency is just awful and also doesn’t really allow my monthly pass to be used as fare.
        I have always wondered if there were any plans at all to add additional tracks to allow LRT along that way. I could say the same for the right of way to CSULA and USC Med Center (A sort of Metro Black Hole), which i’m much more familiar with. It appears that at some point there was a concept to do rail by looking at the infrastructure along the 10 fwy to El Monte.

        But these are just more examples of how that opinion piece fails to address real transit points of interest. I for one would LOVE to figure out the Glendale problem, because you’re spot, long waits to arrive at a strange back lot kinda station makes me just avoid doing any sort of business on that side of town unless the numbers make sense.