Crenshaw testing, A Line, Spotlight on Beantown traffic: Metro News Now, Nov. 21

Dept. of Heads Up!: early Crenshaw/LAX Line train testing continues on the southern part of the line — with testing earlier this week reaching Florence and Hindry avenues in Inglewood. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists should be alert at street crossings (there are also Metro personnel on site).

Here’s a short vid of the train crossing Manchester Boulevard and then Arbor Vitae Street on Tuesday. Please ignore commentary/yelping from our enthusiastic videographers, which I left in because, well, it’s kind of funny:

Metro’s contractor expects substantial completion of the Crenshaw/LAX Line in 2020. We’ll keep providing updates on testing and construction.

A Line (Blue) update: Metro staff provided an update to the Metro Board’s Operations Committee on Thursday morning. Takeaways:

–Weekday ridership was about 42,000 average weekday boardings in the first week after the reopening. The A Line carried about 61K to 63K boardings in the months before work and closures began in January.

–Metro officials say they’ve resolved many of the causes for delays (although some were caused by traffic accidents on nearby streets) and that the ride on the A Line should continue to smooth out.

–Metro Board Member and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia didn’t mince words, saying delays since the Nov. 2 reopening have been “unacceptable” and that he expects the agency to continue working toward a faster ride.

–The peak hour express bus between Long Beach and DTLA will soon begin using 40-foot buses instead of the longer articulated buses to meet current ridership demand.

–The report by agency staff was forwarded to the full Board to hear at their Dec. 5 meeting.

In the news…

•Speaking of the A Line, Streetsblog LA takes a critical look at service since the reopening.

•And that big empty lot on Crenshaw Boulevard just south of the Expo Line and next to the future Crenshaw/LAX Line? Looks like it’s going to stay empty a while longer, according to the LAT.

Citing fears of gentrification, the South Los Angeles Area Planning Commission voted against a new private development project this week that would have built 577 apartments on the site.

It remains to be seen what the developers do next — this is a project that has faced financial challenges in the past and has been in the works for years. But political support seems lacking.

Unrelated to this project, Metro and L.A. County are working together on a joint development at the southwest corner of where the Expo and Crenshaw Lines will meet.

The District Square development was proposed for the green lot south of Obama Boulevard and east of Crenshaw Blvd. Credit: Google Maps.

Quasi-Related: 

•Three academics have discovered — and only in an ivory tower would anyone be allowed to study this — that people will drink more if they think they’ll get a ride home, in this case via Uber or Lyft. Well, okay. Charts at The Economist.

•Last but hardly least, the Boston Globe’s Spotlight team investigates the growing traffic congestion in their region. Part one focuses on reasons for traffic (much will sound familiar to Southlanders) with a particular interest in the politicians who are supposed to be doing something about it. Excerpt:

Consider that every member of the Legislature — no matter how close they live to the State House or public transportation — has access to parking on Beacon Hill, where spaces are rare and ruinously expensive for most everyone else.

The same holds for Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Martin J. Walsh. The perk is free except for a bite taken by the Internal Revenue Service, which considers some of the value of free parking taxable income.

But the benefits of elected office go beyond parking. At least 40 current and former officials have leased cars through their campaign. In the past two decades, politicians have used at least $4 million raised from political donors for cars, gas, tolls, Ubers, and more, according to a review of the database maintained by the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

That’s just part of the tale and I’m not sure a direct cause for traffic. But fair game. More importantly, the reporters also focus heavily on congestion pricing, which they note has had success elsewhere and could work in Boston, where the idea has little political support.

In part two of the series, the reporters make interesting a non-sexy issue: that many Boston-area reporters subsidize employees who drive but don’t do as much to help those who want to take a bus or train to work.

Quasi-related: Metro is launching a congestion pricing feasibility study to determine where tolling might be used in our region to improve traffic and transit.

Things to watch whilst transiting: if you haven’t seen the movie “Spotlight,” you should. The winner of the Academy Award for best picture, the film follows a team of Globe reporters investigating sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the Boston area. It’s streaming on Amazon and Netflix.

In the Twitterverse:

I recently took the Flyaway from Union Station to LAX on a Friday night (a very busy time at the airport). The bus left exactly on time and reached the Sepulveda Boulevard exit from the 105 in 25 minutes. Can’t complain about that.

Can complain about: the traffic between the 105 and the entrance to the LAX horseshoe. That was another 25 minutes of stop-and-go.

The good news, albeit a bit long-term-news: the airport is building the automatic people mover that will offer transfers to the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line at a new station Metro will construct at Aviation Blvd. and 96th Street. Both the people mover and new rail station have target openings of 2023.

The city of L.A., to its credit, has been aggressive about adding bike infrastructure to Main and Spring streets in DTLA. I’d love to hear from cyclists who use the lanes — how’s it going? People using the lanes?

More awareness is good given the number of human-caused wildfires in the U.S. — and, in particular, Southern California.

9 replies

  1. I rode the Main Street lanes once so far – I thought they were nice – as are their Spring Street complement. One warning – though the striping/roadway stuff is done, the signals are not changed yet – so southbound cyclists need to be very careful – because there’s no bike signals yet, and drivers may not expect you riding counter-flow.

  2. Are the motorman beacons along the C/LAX Line going to be replaced with L&W Ind. based beacons?

  3. I think that any Tap cards issued in the future should be sold at Union Station and the service centers, such as Wilshire and Vermont, not just at the stops pertaining to a particular line, such as the A.

  4. The A Line service feels the same. The Crenshaw Line has already taken too long to build. Whats really unfortunate is that Earlze Grill got moved and this lot will stay empty; furthermore, we will have to cross the street to make an eastbound transfer to the E train.

    The LAX Fly Away is pretty awesome. Many dont know that with a Zone 4 pass, you can ride pretty much everything.

    The 40 bus, the 102, and even the 232 can be reliable connections to LAX as well, especially if you’ve got a 6am flight. Guess what? Metro Rail is closed until 4:45 am..

    I am wondering if when the LAX line opens, if we can expect better and more frequent early AM service if not 24 hour service at least; its time.

    • 4am start time? Yeah, that I can definitely agree with? 24 hours? For obvious reasons, no thanks. I’ve ridden buses at 3am and it really isn’t fun at all.

      • When did I say waking up to ride metro was fun. This wasnt about a lack of fun, this is about my day to day commute, and many others. Thanks for the two sense (virtue share).

  5. Hi Metro! the red/purple line horizontal maps that are overhead within the subway trains are missing “A” and “E” on the colored dots for the 7th Street Metro station. These should be updated so that the people on the red line and metro line know that this is where they stop to get on the new A line. Will these be updated soon?

    • Hi Josh —

      I’ve asked the folks that are working on the line renaming about this. Will let you know.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. The last time I used the Spring St bike lane, there was a truck parked in it. That was annoying. Also, having it on the left side of the street is very disorienting.