Metro News Now, Sept. 7: Expo Line, Dodgers, Traxx

Dept. of Dodger Stadium Express: The Dodgers’ magic number is down to four to clinch their seventh straight NL West division title. That means they’ll likely wrap things up this weekend, meaning in turn they’re likely to host game one of the Division Series on Oct. 3. The Dodger Stadium Express will once again be running for all playoff action.

The Dodgers will probably face the winner of the Wildcard game in the Division Series. I suspect the teams they most want to avoid in a best-of-five series are the ones with a pretty decent starting rotation that could dominate — i.e. the Nationals and Mets, assuming either makes it to the playoffs.

I will resist the temptation to look ahead to a World Series matchup other than to say a 1965 World Series rematch versus the Twins might be fun.

Dept. of Construction


Things to listen to whilst transiting: next in my que is The Dropout, described as such:

The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. How did the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire lose it all in the blink of an eye? How did the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges — to which she pleaded not guilty — and up to 20 years in jail? How did her technology, meant to revolutionize healthcare, potentially put millions of patients at risk? And how did so many smart people get it so wrong along the way?

In my former career I had the opportunity to watch some so-called smart people — from the private investment and real estate world — babble nonsense that led to a lot of other people (not them) getting sacked. Thus, my interest in this podcast.

In the news…

Streetsblog LA takes a look at crowding on the Expo Line in the wake of the June service changes in which peak hour trains went from running every six minutes to every eight minutes. Excerpt:

Some have speculated that the recent Expo/Blue Line service cuts could be Metro admitting operational issues – ie: that it is just too difficult to have Blue/Expo trains running every three minutes on shared tracks in downtown Los Angeles, including getting trains in and out of the 7th Street station terminus. Even with some delays the old schedule provided riders more service and less crowding. For riders, it would still be better to schedule for every six minutes, and to slip a little – delivering trains say every seven minutes – than the current (arguably more reliable) schedule for every eight minutes. For crowding and ridership, frequency would be better than reliability.

Here’s what we wrote about the service changes in May:

Metro is also making changes to rail service hours that will help standardize train frequencies, improve on-time performance, provide three-car trains at peak hours and save taxpayer money by reducing under-used service.

•During peak hours all Blue, Expo and Gold Line trains will be three cars instead of the current mix of two-car and three-car trains. 

•Weekday peak hour frequencies for the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines would have trains running every eight minutes instead of the current every six minutes (Blue and Expo) or seven minutes (Gold). This is to make frequencies consistent and more efficient on Metro’s three busiest light rail lines.

On the Blue Line, every train would run every eight minutes between 7th/Metro and Downtown Long Beach instead of trains running every six minutes between 7th/Metro and Willow and every 12 minutes between Willow and Downtown Long Beach. Blue Line customers will experience less waiting time for trains from Downtown L.A. to Long Beach.

Metro CEO Phil Washington stresses that Metro, as always, will monitor bus and rail ridership and can adjust service at any time based on changing demand.

Eater Los Angeles reports that Traxx — the long-time restaurant in Union Station that suddenly closed earlier this year — has new owners and will reopen in phases, beginning this fall. That means we’ll return to having three sit-down restaurants for those passing through Union Station, including Cafe Crepe and Imperial Western.

•A new half-mile segment of the L.A. River bike path opened Thursday in Studio City — between Whitsett Avenue and Coldwater Canyon Boulevard. Reports Streetsblog LA:

Studio City now has three officially-open river greenway stretches: Radford Avenue to Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Laurel Canyon to Whitsett, and Whitsett to Coldwater Canyon. It is not possible to walk or bike directly between these as there are currently no safe provisions to cross the streets/bridges that separate them. Cyclists come to the end of the segment, then need to ride along a busy street to get to a signalized intersection, cross there, then ride along the street back to the path. In the future, the city is looking to add under- or over-crossings.

Metro’s Measure M has funds to continue expanding the bike path and the city of L.A. says it will address under/over-crossings in the future. Metro’s big L.A. River project — called the L.A. River Path Project — is in the planning phase and will close the eight-mile gap in the river path between Elysian Valley and Maywood.

•The U.S. Department of Interior issued a rule change to allow electric bikes to be used in national parks in places where regular bikes are allowed, reports the LAT. Several groups have protested, citing the speed of electric bikes while others say the rule will make riding more comfortable or doable for more people.


4 replies

  1. Metro is so goddamn stupid and inconsiderate to its ridership. I dont care if you publish this, i just want one of you worker lackeys to read it with your own two eyes.

  2. Unreal that Metro has a high performing light rail line in Expo that is exceeding initial ridership projections, then decides to cut service. And then Metro throws its hands up in the air and says it doesn’t know what to do about declining ridership. Do two things–grade separation/physically separate bus lanes and increase frequency of service. It’s not that complicated.

  3. Well yes, Expo is indeed packed to the brim and the street running tracks probably can’t deal with more trains without major capital investment. This is not going to get better. In fact it will probably get worse when the Regional Connector opens and a new crush of riders flow into the system (though I do see some operational efficiencies with trains not having to reverse at 7MC).

    In the meantime:
    1. TAKE OUT SEATS! Everyone sits closest to the aisle. In order to sit down, you must actually be the a*hole and demand people move over. It’s notable that even in the cover photo for the Streetsblog article there apparently is an empty seat on the right. The easiest way to increase capacity is to do it like NYC where seats line the side of the car and you do not have to ask to sit down.
    2. Vertical bike racks so people do not lay their bikes everywhere. Currently the space reserved for bikes can accommodate 2-3 at the most and it’s almost comically bad as people shuffle their bikes in and out.

  4. Well, let this be a lesson for Metro not to ever build another Expo Line again. Way too many stops, no Express trains, and no signal priority. If the city are ultimately the ones in Charge of signal priority then why on earth would Metro even consider the cheap-o option and connect the Blue and Expo Line Together? Under no circumstances should it take 10-12 min for a train to go from 7th/Metro to LATTC. Metro literally pointed the blame on everyone but themselves with this one.

    What’s even more sad is now the Gold Line is going to be prone to these exact delays once the regional connector is built unless there will be LAUS-Azusa only trains as well.

    It’s sad that the Expo Line will end up being the Poster child of how a light rail line should never be build.

    If there’s going to be another sales tax ballot again, there better be fixes like Grade Separating Blue, Expo and Gold in Downtown, in addition to Express Tracks, otherwise it’s an instant no. I’m done voting for half-baked projects like this.