How We Roll, January 30: and suddenly everyone wants to take transit to the airport

From the Dept. of Twitter: 

The feed for BART — the rail system serving parts of the Bay Area — had lots to say this weekend.

Metro followed suit:

It was another story in Seattle where for a short time on Saturday night, light rail service to Sea-Tac was suspended at the request of the police as demonstrations grew. Sound Transit pushed back and we got this series of tweets:

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo had to step in to allow demonstrators to reach Kennedy airport via the AirTrain.

As for LAX, we didn’t have that issue because…we don’t have direct rail service to the airport! (And the G Shuttle often gets stuck in airport traffic). That situation will change in a few years when there will be Metro Rail to LAX Automated People Mover service that should make it easier to travel to the airport for whatever reason.

Pivot….In fact, the Metro Board on Thursday approved the environmental study for the Airport Metro Connector/96th Street Station project, which received a major funding boost from the Measure M sale taxes approved by L.A. County voters in November.

The project is adding a station along the Crenshaw/LAX Line that will serve Crenshaw trains, the Green Line and many muni buses. It will be the primary transfer point to the people mover that LAX will build. The airport has said they want to have the people mover done by 2023. That will improve access to the airport via Metro Rail and probably be a tad faster for many than the Silver or Blue Line to the Green Line to G shuttle combo platter.

Pivoting back…Art of Transit: 

We Are Happy You Are Here

Standing up for what’s right (Uber) 

Standing up for the driver community (Uber)

Above are the two press releases issued by Uber of the weekend after the firm on Saturday turned off surge pricing for rides to/from Kennedy Airport in New York. Uber’s PR problem: New York taxis — in response to President Trump’s immigration ban — had announced they would not be serving the airport.

Many Uber customers saw this as a way of exploiting the protests and refusing to stand up for taxi drivers, many of whom are immigrants. Customers also noted that Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has also agreed to serve on a business advisory council to the White House. The New York Taxi Workers Alliance was certainly not amused.

As the Washington Post notes, Lyft did the same thing with the surge pricing, but Lyft on Sunday announced it was donated $1 million to the ACLU. The two news releases from Uber seemingly indicate that the company is seemingly worried about losing riders and/or the immigration ban. Of course, Americans have complained about other big firms being exploitive before but popular products and cheap prices often trump those concerns, so to speak.

Speaking of airports….

Santa Monica Airport can close after 2028 (city of Santa Monica press release)

The agreement with the Federal Aviation Administration was announced Saturday. This is a big deal — the airport represents a big slice of land on the Westside that has potential to be many things. That will have to be worked out in the next decade, but still.

And, btw, the airport is fairly close to the Expo Line’s Bundy Station — about 1.4 miles. That’s certainly bikeable or shuttle-able.

Credit: Google Maps.


Trump’s immigration order could have impact on sports and 2024 Olympics (NYT)

The article is mostly speculation but has an interesting tidbit regarding the L.A. bid to host the 2024 Summer Games:

The ban on visitors from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — comes at a delicate time for the U.S.O.C. Los Angeles is seeking to host the 2024 Summer Games, and it will learn in September whether it, Paris or Budapest will get the Games.

(There is some speculation that the I.O.C. will award the 2024 Games to Paris and the 2028 Games to Los Angeles, but the U.S.O.C. remains committed to the bid for the 2024 Games.)

L.A. is up against Paris and Budapest. The challenge with Paris: it last hosted the Summer Games in 1924 for those who are into 100th anniversaries. France also has a presidential election this spring and, yes, nationalist politics are in play there. The conventional thinking — and maybe conventional thinking should be tossed out the window in these modern times — is that Budapest doesn’t have enough existing facilities to pull off a Games.

The L.A. in 2028 thing strikes me as the kind of rumor that could prove true. Although the IOC has only announced one Olympics winning city at a time in the past, such a move would likely please NBC — which pays a ton to broadcast the Games — and provide some certainty going forward. Considering that L.A. has already hosted two Summer Olympics, leaders here couldn’t really grumble too much.

These two competing visions of the Games are kind of fun, from Paris’ and Los Angeles’ bids, respectively.

Hmmm, Eiffel Tower or Santa Monica Pier? I like both but wish they’d swap the volleyball with roller derby, which IMHO should absolutely be an Olympic sport.

A faster Metro Orange Line through the Valley? It’s on track (Daily News)

At 1/25th shutter speed, the Orange Line resembles a bullet train. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

A look at the some of the changes/improvements for the Orange Line that we wrote about last week. Those include running a shuttle between Canoga Station and around Warner Center, electrifying the line, possible grade separations and/or crossing gates and more buses between NoHo and Reseda Station, the busiest stretch of the line in terms of ridership.

One regular rider is quoted in the story saying the Warner Shuttle would make it easier to reach the bus. Both the president of the Valley and Industry Commerce Assn. and L.A. Councilman Bob Blumenfeld say they think the changes will result in higher ridership and get more people out of their cars. Blumenfeld even predicted fewer cars on the oft-constipated 101 freeway.

That would be awesome. I often attend pit bull training classes in Sherman Oaks on Saturday mornings and by the time it’s over — 11 a.m. — traffic on the 101 headed back to Pasadena is yuckyville!

Beer-n-Transit with Long Beach Mayor and Metro Board Member Robert Garcia (Facebook events)

Here’s your chance to bend the ear of Metro’s brandest and newest member about how much you ❤️ the Blue Line. The event has 90 minutes of mingling/drinking before 90 minutes of town halling with the mayor. HWR hears from its younger colleagues that drinking can be a fun pastime in which everyday social mores are sometimes gently put aside.

Why MacArthur Park doesn’t gentrify (Curbed LA)

MacArthur Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.

Westlake and the park are only one subway stop west from 7th/Metro Station in DTLA. Yet, as Marissa Clifford writes:

Because of its Metro station, park, and proximity to a rapidly gentrifying Downtown LA, MacArthur Park remains, in many ways, perfectly poised for gentrification. But despite increased interest in the area from people like my old landlord, the realities of everyday life in Westlake—overcrowded or poorly maintained housing and little to no functional access to the internet—stand in stark opposition to those advantages.

This is a really smart article that notes that gentrification doesn’t seem to be coming to Westlake soon — the infrastructure needs are too great. And that, Marissa writes, might give the city an opening to do things right so that residents are not displaced when changes eventually come.

Also in this article is a factoid that I love: MacArthur Park has been renovated at least six times and there is yet another proposal for $20 million in upgrades. I shot a photo essay on the park for Zocalo a couple years ago and spent a lot of time there. Considering the extremely heavy usage the park gets around-the-clock and the size of the park, at the time there were two — yes, two — functioning toilets (and I don’t think that has changed). Also yuckyville!

And finally….

Tappy the talking TAP card has made its debut. Early reaction:

Rumor has it that Tappy’s outtake reel is even better than the one from Smokey and the Bandit.




18 replies

  1. Here’s my take on the new US President’s impact on whether or not Los Angeles (a) is awarded the 2024 Olympics and (b) the speculation that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) give Paris the 2024 Games AND LA the 2028 Games.

    If the IOC really had a nod for sentimentality, they would have given the 1996 Olympics to Athens, the birthplace of the modern Games which was exactly 100 years earlier, and not Atlanta. From what I know, the IOC has yet to award an Olympics without a bidding. [LA got the 1984 Games competing against Tehran, Iran, the only other city to bid for the Games.] Yes, Paris last hosted the Olympics in 1924 and would be ecstatic to host the 100th anniversary of those Games; at the same time, in a time when previous Olympic cities have incurred up to billions of dollars of debt and many others have decided either not to bid for the Games or (in the case of both Boston and Rome) pull out of the bidding after controversy over the costs, LA has the biggest advantage of having virtually every venue already built and a transportation system that’s rapidly expanding already (with or without the Olympics). One thing seems to be true: Los Angeles or Paris will host the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad and that Budapest has basically no chance at winning.

    I think the reason for the rumors of LA getting the 2028 Games is the fact that, in all likelihood, the newly elected American president will not be in office in 2028 when the Games of the XXXIV Olympiad take place. Although unlikely, he could still the president in 2024 and the IOC may not want the current American president to still be in office during that time. I also highly doubt that the IOC would give TWO Olympics, but the IOC has a knack of unpredictability. Also of note is that according to Wikipedia’s 2028 Olympics page, up to 20 cities could bid for these games. [Some of the notable places include Toronto, Milan, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Melbourne and Johannesburg. Source:

    I do hope the rumors of the IOC awarding both the 2024 and 2028 Games to Paris and Los Angeles, respective, are true. It would (a) give both worthy cities the Olympics, (b) give the IOC some positive press which the organization sorely needs and (c) from LA’s point of view, an extra four years for Metro to have the expanded transit system not only ready, but work out any possible kinks that may occur beforehand as well as having possibly one or two more transit projects that may not have been ready in 2024 to have a real chance to be part of the 2028 Games. I don’t expect that to happen, but stranger things have happened.

  2. Your headline is totally bogus: everyone wanted to take transit to the airport EVER SINCE the green line opened and DIDN’T GO TO THE AIRPORT. Because LAWA buckled to cab and shuttle special interests what could have been a several hundred million dollar project NOW has an estimated price tag of $1.5 BILLION. Now THAT’S forward planning!!!!

    • I don’t think the extension of the Green Line up the wye to serve the 96th Street/LAX station will cost anywhere $1.5 billion, nor does
      the station itself cost that much.

      Metro has the figures for both facilities and should provide clarification.

      However, Metro needs to address why it is not providing one-seat rail service between the LAX station and Union Station. JFK, SFO, ORD, PHL, DEN, and many others provide such service to and from their respective downtown areas..

      The transfer between two rail lines running at 12-minute midday frequencies will discourage all but the most dedicated (or desperate) airline passengers. Surely Measures R and M can provide the funding for such service.

  3. not saying rail is what we should juuuuust yet, but please make implement changes that improve speeds substantially. Grid separation is probably the most financially feasible option for now, making sure of course the the bridges and/or tunnels are built to support future rail conversion.

    • Although the Orange Line should have been a rail line from Day 1, I support the idea of upgrading it to reduce running times.

      Perhaps, Metro can instead use the money to extend the Green Line along the Santa Fe ROW so that it really serves Redondo Beach. Manhattan Beach, etc.

      From Google Earth, it appears that much of this ROW is still available.

  4. I’m not sure the orange line can handle too much more capacity comfortably enough to make people with the option to ride the line, want to ride the line. If you don’t believe me then ride the during rush hour and you’ll see what I mean. The demand is extra extraordinary 😉

  5. Fro those interested in the Metro LAX station and LAX access, there will a Public Hearing for the City of Los Angeles, Department of City Planning, on February 2, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on the proposed LAX Landside Access Modernization Program (LAMP) to be held at The Flight Path Museum and Learning Center, 6661 W. Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA 90045 .

    The proposed LAMP Automated People Mover (APM) will have a station adjacent to the Metro 96th Street/LAX station.

    I feel that Metro should be represented, as should all those concerned about LAX access.

    There is considerable information on the LAX website, including the LAMP Draft EIR at This document goes into great detail as to what LAWA is planning. Those who do attend this public hearing should, if possible, download and read this 1600-page document before attending. Actually, all you need to read are Chapter 1 (Executive Summary), and Chapter 2 (Project Description).

  6. Whoops, the sign reads: “signals SET for 40 MPH”. Hmm, maybe that isn’t the same thing? Even so, that implies there is some kind of signal coordination or progression system that doesn’t work as intended.

  7. As far as the orange line bus improvements are concerned, all well and good as it is well overdue (although more needs to be researched as to WHY ridership drops west of Reseda, account for long term improvements there, and certainly NOT REDUCE service west of there.)

    For the upgrades, the more signal priority and grade separation there is, the better! But one particularly glaring flaw that’s odd and very frustrating about the existing signals on the busway are that they clearly are NOT synced for the bus despite saying so. There is actually a sign at Tajunga (for the busway) just after leaving the North Hollywood station which reads: “signals synced for 40 MPH”. The problem is that this is clearly not true! The bus frequently stops and waits for full cycles at lights between Tajunga and Coldwater Canyon (the segment that the sign seems to be referring to). What gives?!

    How is Metro/LADOT planning on addressing these signal issues with the upgrades if its own system clearly doesn’t work as it is supposed to right now? LADOT facepalm. Or is it that Metro still unnecessarily slows buses down at many crossings, therefore throwing off the sync? Does the sync not account for stopping at Laurel Canyon Station? If so, what’s the point then? That last problem (not accounting for station stops) also seems to apply to the rest of the busway and most street-running LRT segments too. Of course, there really should be signal preemption, but we all know LADOT is allergic to this.

  8. Does electrification of the Orange line imply buses like the Foothill Transit ones? Or does it imply overhead wires?

    I frequently wonder when we will build the last line with overhead wires. They are a major construction cost. As new technology comes on line, eventually we could be looking at charging in-station. It would be a shame to pay the construction cost and then have it be obsolete within 20 years.

    • Hi Todd;

      No overhead wires! The buses will have electric engines.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  9. There is a BIG DIFFERENCE with BART at SFO. The SFO/BART station provides a one-seat ride between SFO and Downtown San Francisco. The Metro LAX station DOES NOT provide a one-seat ride to Union Station or Downtown LA and probably never will.

    Instead, a transfer with elevation change will be required at Rosa Parks between the Blue and Green lines, NOT a comfortable arrangement for passengers with small children, several pieces of luggage, or mobility issues. The Expo-Crenshaw transfer arrangement is worse, requiring two transfers to go between Union Station and the LAX station.

    This, plus lack of coordination between train schedules, especially midday and on weekends, makes this problematic for all but airport employees, I doubt that many LAX-bound passengers will use this service.

    Metro is blowing smoke if it thinks that LAX-bound passengers will prefer this service to the FlyAway bus service.

    As I have suggested numerous times, Metro needs to construct a branch to the Blue Line along Slauson to connect with the Crenshaw Line and operate premium-fare, limited-stop service using reconfigured LRT cars with fewer but better seats and baggage storage in the articulation joint.

    Too bad the Santa Fe Harbor sub is not available for upgrade to DMU service.

  10. Looks promising….. Is that the absolute closest to the airplane terminals where travelers are allowed to leave & board??

  11. Do you know the projected completion date for the 96th St. station and the multimodal transportation facility ? Is it when the Crenshaw / LAX line is completed in 2019 ? Or is it when the airport people mover is completed in 2023 / 2024 ?

    I just wondered whether there are plans for how either the new Aviation / Century light rail station or the 96th Street station will interact with LAX before the people mover is completed.

    Will there be shuttle buses from either of these new stations to LAX ? When will the existing LAX bus station next to Parking Lot C be moved to the new 96th St. station ?

    Since the Crenshaw / LAX line will be completed years before the airport people mover, I’m hoping that someone is trying to figure how what will happen in the interim years.

    • Hi Bob;

      The Measure M spending plan lists a completion date of 2021-24 (the plan gives three-year ranges). So after the Crenshaw/LAX Line is expected to open and possibly before the people mover opens. I’m not sure how the station will be used if the people mover is not yet complete.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • I would think that since the aviation/century station is right along the existing shuttle bus route, it will simply connect to there from then on. No reason to continue all the way south to the existing one any more since this one is more than twice as close to the terminals. This will also greatly improve turnaround times for the shuttles.