Welcome to The 2019: How We Roll, Jan. 7

And so it begins…2019. Among the transpo-related news in the first week of the new year:

•LAUSD teachers could go on strike beginning Thursday. The district says that schools will remain open. Metro is certainly watching, given the many students who take our buses and trains and the many parents who work at Metro or use the system who may have some childcare issues. Stay tuned.

•The Rams host the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC semi-finals on Saturday at 5:15 at the Expo Line adjacent Coliseum. Should be a huge crowd between resident Rams fans and Cowboys fans, which seem to consider the country to be open range. Fun fact: if the Rams, Eagles, Colts and Chargers all win this coming weekend (not super likely), the AFC title game will be in Carson and the NFC title game at the Coliseum on Jan. 20.

Rams at Dallas in the playoffs, Dec. 1979, en route to the Super Bowl. Never mind what Hollywood Henderson of the Cowboys did in the NFC title game a year earlier.

•Gov. Gavin Newsom takes office today. He inherits the state high-speed rail project, which is building 119 miles of bridges, underpasses and other infrastructure for the tracks in the Central Valley from Madera to just north of Bakersfield. The project needs tens of billions more to reach San Jose (where it can connect to Caltrain commuter rail) or the Los Angeles area. This LAT piece covers it well, including potential funding sources. None are easy (shocker). More pics at California High-Speed Rail Authority website.

The San Joaquin River viaduct. Photo: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The “Fresno Trench.” Photo: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

•A two-week suspension of rail service at the six westernmost stations on the Green Line began last Friday evening with bus shuttles replacing train service. This will allow work to be finished tying together the Crenshaw/LAX Line tracks to the Green Line.

In some other early 2019 news…

The dreaded L train shutdown in New York was halted in its tracks by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week after three years of planning. Cuomo found experts who recommended another way to repair the tunnels under the East River while keeping weekday service between Manhattan and Queens and Brooklyn intact. In the Empire State, the governor has an outsized role in the New York subway system — more so than the mayor of Gotham.

Speaking of NYC, the NYT ran an article saying that the West Coast is beating the East Coast on transit. I’ll be kind and just say the part about West Coast cities using ballot measures to raise funds to expand transit is on the money.

Four out of 41 railroads in the U.S. — a list that thankfully includes Metrolink in our region — met a deadline to install anti-collision technology known as positive train control, reports CNN.

Some Arizonans are not loving the self-driving car testing being done in their state. Quote from NYT story: “They said they need real-world examples, but I don’t want to be their real-world mistake,” said Mr. O’Polka.

There’s a road diet planned for the road (Cordova) that I use to drive to the Gold Line’s Del Mar Station, so says the Pasadena Star News. That will mean a bike lane actually reaching the station, which has only been open since 2003! My humble suggestion: time the traffic signals to give cyclists green lights and cut down on the impatient driving. Another planned road diet on Orange Grove in the city got the heave-ho by residents but the city plans to keep plugging away.

Things to listen to whilst transiting: The Beths, a New Zealand band I heard about on NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast.  (Spotify link here)

Things to watch whilst transiting: among the shows I’m currently streaming (I’m always well behind the times) two feature the actor Jeff Daniels: “The Looming Towers” on Hulu about the intelligence failures in the years ahead of 9-11 and “Godless” on Netflix in which Daniels plays an outlaw in the Old West who sometimes takes guidance from his left arm, there being one small catch.




15 replies

  1. You have shown some “bridge and tunnel” pictures for the HSR. With the Purple, Crenshaw, and Regional Connector, you have the tunnel pictures covered for Metro. How about some Metro funded bridges. The 6th Street viaduct is now beginning to get photogenic. The Gerald Desmond replacement in LBC is, in part, Metro funded and beginning to get dramatic. Also, doesn’t Metro help fund the I-5 work in Burbank and south of the 605? Those 2 could use some love in TheSource.

    Any news on the CA-2 / Glendale Blvd interchange. Wasn’t that to be started on soon? Please have it done before 2028.

  2. What’s going on with the Rail to River bike path along Slauson? Wasn’t it supposed to be started by 2019 to get federal funding?

    • Hi Joe —

      Here’s the update: The bids for Segment A of the Rail to River Active Transportation Corridor (ATC) between the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Blue Line came back high last year — they were higher than the approved budget and thus Metro chose not to accept the bids. Instead, Metro decided to go with a Design-Bid-Build delivery method, meaning in plain English that we’ll provide a completed design to the firm that does the actual construction. That should lower the cost. Metro has hired a Design Consultant and the design is expected to be done by this summer. At that point, the project will go back out to bid. The plan is to try to begin construction by mid-2020 with the work expected to take about two years.

      Hope that helps!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Ok. Little bit of a bummer, but hopefully it gets done! I wonder if the federal funding will still kick in? Thanks for the update! Love the blog!

        • Hi Joe —

          My understanding is that the funding for the project is fine but this is being done to lower cost and keep the project within the funding that is available.


          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  3. The Central Valley is supposed to be the easy part of the high speed rail project, but it has “119 miles of bridges, underpasses and other infrastructure”. Not easy to build and very expensive. Again, they could have just build it along the 5 freeway. They weren’t supposed to have any stops in the Central Valley. The picture of the San Joaquin River viaduct is amazing. A monumental boondoggle.

    • If built along the 5, how are riders going to get to Bakersfield, Fresno even San Jode etc. Only full express trains will have few or no stops. The limited and local trains will be stopping at cities along the way. This makes the HSR very useful.

      • They are not supposed to because the HSR was promised to go between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes exactly. There’s no law that allows a deviation.

    • No love for Fresno, Bakersfiel, Modesto or Merced? Why shouldn’t they be connected to High Speed Rail?

      • Hi Rick —

        Good point! Banc of California Stadium has replaced the Sports Arena! I’ll try to get the map updated as quickly as we can. Thanks,

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

    • TimP, you are in error, here is a picture of the full draft environmental review of HSR that was done so that the 2008 measure could get on the ballot measure, it’s available at the LA country library, if you’re interested.


      Note from the map on the cover that the full intent of HSR all along is to go to Palmdale, Bakersfield, Modesto and Fresno, not to provide an interstate 5 express LA-SF weekend booze train for staycationers as you seem to think.

      There is also a geographic severe problem with interstate 5 route: and that is simply the types of rocks (underground), mountains, San Andreas fault line, and the steepness of the grades both up and down the Grapevine. Interstate 5 is a far more direct route from LA to Bakersfield, and every extra mile spent going to Palmdale and Lancaster costs tens of millions of dollars, but the Geology of Interstate 5’s route is so incredibly hostile to rail, that even going the much shorter route would be astronomically more expensive than a significantly longer route, there are very few geographic conditions anywhere in the world where the same would hold true.

      Additionally, the interstate 5 route lacks a good place to safely cross the San Andreas fault, and americans are so fearful of such, that all rail authorities know they have to cross the most legendary fault on the continent at grade, or risk ridership to baseless earthquake+tunnel fears.

      So interstate 5 in and out of Los Angeles is uniquely illsuited to the HSR route. Would it be better in the central valley? Yes, in terms of easements from Cal Trans and minimizing property takings, but you’d also be looking at a lot of highway rebuilding as you’d probably realign the freeway in extensive sections to maximize the utility of the easements and minimize property takings, and additionally, the curve radius of an HSR train is much much larger than the curve radius of an interstate, so while Interstate 5 would be a good corridor when it is straight as an arrow, every single curve of the interstate (and therefore of the HSR) would have to be redesigned for miles on each side of the curve, to accommodate the differing curve radii’ of the two different modes of transportation infrastructure.

  4. With both the Blue Line and Green Line needing Bus Shuttles what regular bus service has been cancelled in order to accommodate the extra service caused by rail reconstruction? The spare factor at the divisions for buses is only 10% and I doubt they have that many operators in reserve that are not being forced on overtime either VCB or OCB. Does federal guideline allow buses that were scheduled for storage and sale after being replaced by new buses to be used as bus bridges?

    • I’m not aware of any bus service that has been cancelled to accommodate the shuttles.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source