Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. It serves as transportation planner and coordinator, designer, builder and operator for one of the country’s largest, most populous counties. Their mission is continuous improvement of an efficient and effective transportation system for Los Angeles County.
Metro invites you to celebrate the halfway construction completion milestone for Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension! ‘Halfway to La Cienega’ is a free community event, open to the public that will take place on Sunday, June 2, on the Great Lawn of the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum from 11 a.m to 3 p.m.
The nine-mile Purple Line Extension Project is being constructed in three sections. The first section, currently under construction, will extend the subway 3.92 miles from Wilshire/Western Station to new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega, connecting downtown L.A. to Koreatown, the Miracle Mile and Beverly Hills. Section 1 is forecast to open in 2023.
Don’t miss performances by these incredible, local artists:
Dexter Story & Wondem: Story combines his diverse background in soul, funk, jazz and folk with sounds from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and Kenya. With his band Wondem, he performs his latest release Bahir, an East African-influenced testament to Story’s decades of dedication to artistic excellence.
The Blasting Company: Blending Eastern European folk traditions with genres rooted in North America, the Blasting Company combines a consistent jazz groove with an infectious exuberance that propels it forward. With an electricity rarely felt, even in live performance, it is the very definition of ‘good time music.’
Korean Classical Music and Dance Company: This splendidly costumed ensemble boasts a rich and varied repertoire of Korean ceremonial and social dances, including an intricate, stylized fan dance and a thrilling drum dance featuring unison drumming on suspended drums.
La Junta: The La Junta crew is known for its summery, daytime cultural celebrations that feature tropical Afro-Latin music from across Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Central America, the Caribbean and more.
The New Blue Improvements Project aims to bring the Blue Line — Metro’s oldest light rail line and historically its busiest — up to the modern specifications of our newer rail lines. The idea is to reduce the number of delays and make the Blue Line far more reliable than it has been in recent years. Upgrades include an updated overhead power system, general station improvements, new train control bungalows, new digital customer information panels and more.
Dept. of Instagram Stories: Check out the new IxN Customer Information Panels that are being installed on the Blue Line stations currently closed — they’ll be available when the southern section of the Blue Line reopens on June 1. Screen grab is above.
A post shared by Dafne G (@dafne.go) on May 16, 2019 at 9:09am PDT
From the Dept. of Congressional Testimony
Metro CEO Phil Washington testified this morning in Washington D.C. (at the 42:53 mark) to the House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s hearing on “The Impacts of State-Owned Enterprises on Public Transit and Freight Rail Sectors.”
The hearing, which lasted nearly three hours, covered many topics related to Congressional concerns (here’s one example) tied to rolling stock from firms based in China (Metro has a pending order from new subway cars from China Railways). Also today, Congressman Harley Rouda (D-48) introduced legislation in the House that mirrors a bill brought forth earlier this year by U.S. Senator John Cornyn which seeks to bar the use of federal funds to purchase rolling stock from firms based in China.
•Investing in Place opines that Metro should offer free fares to K-12 students to increase ridership, help kids get around the region and get cars off the road, among other reasons. K-12 students currently pay $1 for a one-way trip (discounted from $1.75) and $24 for a 30-day pass (discounted from $100) to ride Metro.
•The city of Long Beach estimates it would cost $1.05 billion to build a ballpark for the Angels — including $105 million for a 3,500-space parking garage, so says the LAT. That would supplement other parking nearby. Of course, the Blue Line would be a short 10- to 15-minute stroll from the stadium, should the Angels decide to flee Orange County.
•Things to read whilst transiting on baseball:SI.com on how much the game has changed in the past five seasons: strikeouts and home runs are at record levels, walks have increased for the 19th straight season and the chance of hitting a single has never been lower. The Dodgers are good examples: they’re second in MLB in dingers and their starting pitchers usually exit games sooner rather than later.
•Interesting stat in the LAT: nearly one-third of the households in the city of L.A. are occupied by one person — and people do get lonely. A remedy? Go for a walk. One dude, in fact, started a business to accompany people on walks. Excerpt:
“I’m sure it seems crazy, but it’s cheaper than a gym, it’s been quite beneficial and I get good stories out of it,” Pocker said.
On rainy days, he has hired walkers to join him at Costco and Ikea. Mostly they meet outside his Hollywood building, and walk south down his street as it turns from apartments, studios and cityscape to big suburban-style homes with matching big front lawns.
It’s different than doing exercises with a trainer. It’s also different from pure friendship.
But every day Pocker is out there, being seen and being heard. And in a big city of strangers, maybe that helps.
Three Metro community meetings were held earlier this month to introduce three potential alternatives for the L.A. River Path Project, which aims to fill the eight-mile gap in the river path between Elysian Valley and Maywood.
The goal of this project is to close that gap with a safe and accessible path for walking, bicycling and rolling. Once connected, the path will create a continuous 32-mile path between San Fernando Valley and Long Beach. The project has $365 million in funding from Measure M and the hope is to begin construction by 2023 and have the path opened in the 2025-2027 timeframe, just in time for the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in 2028.
As you can see in the above presentation, there has been a lot of community input gathered over the past year that has helped shape the project, the access points, and the types of paths in the draft alignments.
From the community input received, staff evaluated what is technically feasible and how much the project’s budget can provide in the river corridor, which is constrained by railroad tracks, utilities, gas lines and development.
Overall, these draft alternatives identify a “core project,” the lines and access points in green. The lines and access points in light gray are “future opportunities,” meaning the design of the core project won’t preclude implementing any future opportunities that could be made possible down the line if/when additional funding is identified (for instance, please see the three access points north of Albion Park).
Let’s dive into these draft alternatives.
The majority of people polled in previous meetings and surveys preferred a top of bank/cantilever and an elevated path type. Compared to a bottom of channel path type, these options will be reliably open all year since they won’t be threatened by water in the river channel when it rains. While a bottom of channel alignment might better connect users to nature and the river, this option would have less access to amenities, like lighting and shade, and would have to be closed any time rain is forecasted.
In case you were wondering about how a path would go beneath and around utilities and bridges, this would be through an incised path. This path type is incised, or cut, into the side of the river channel. It would be open most of the time (except during heavy rains) and could accommodate lighting and other amenities.
As for access points, the presentation shows how each one was rated by the public. All three alternatives do the following:
•They blend both east and west bank alignments that weave across the river to connect to access points that were most desired by the public.
•They blend the three most desired path types: top of bank/cantilevered, elevated and incised.
•They begin and end on the west bank to connect to existing paths north and south of the project area.
•Due to their high favorability among the public and to enhance connectivity to important points including transit lines, LA State Historic Park, Union Station, Washington Boulevard near the Blue Line station, and the Bandini-Soto Triangle in Vernon.
•In terms of meeting project goals such as equity, safety, and user experience, these alternatives score high.
With community meetings now complete, Metro staff will present the three alternatives to carry into the environmental study as well as a report of all the community input received to date to the Metro Board of Directors in Fall 2019. The scoping meetings kicking off the environmental clearance process are expected to begin after the Board’s decision. You can find more information about the project on the website here [hyperlink metro.net/lariverpath] or get in contact with the team at email@example.com.
After witnessing the large public turnout at the NextGen Bus Study workshops earlier this year, the Council had discussions to consider whether a later start time would allow people to more easily attend their meetings. At their meeting last Wednesday, the Westside/Central Service Council voted “yes” to change their Council meeting start time from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
According to the Service Council bylaws, the purpose of the Councils is not only to review and approve bus service changes, but also to understand the needs of the community and address their service concerns. The Council hopes that this change in start time will make it easier for the public to attend, and that more Westside/Central region transit users will drop by, learn a little about the Metro projects and programs in their region, and provide their suggestions.
The Westside Central Service Council meets on the second Wednesday of each month in the Metro Board Room at Metro Headquarters next to Union Station. This change in meeting start time will begin with their July 10 meeting.
There are also four other Service Councils, each covering a different region of Metro’s service area: Gateway Cities, San Fernando, San Gabriel, and South Bay. Their meetings are held as follows:
San Fernando Valley Local Service Council – First Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91401.
San Gabriel Valley Service Council – Second Monday of each month at 5 p.m., Metro El Monte Division 9 Building, Third Floor, Service Council Conference Room, El Monte, CA 91731.
Gateway Cities Service Council – Second Thursday of each month at 2 p.m., Salt Lake Park Community Center, 3401 E Florence Ave., Huntington Park, CA 90255.
South Bay Service Council – Second Friday of the month at 9:30 a.m., Inglewood City Hall, 1 West Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood, CA 90301.
To receive the monthly agendas for any of the Service Councils meetings or to submit comments, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or submit a comment form through the Service Council web page.
Attention all Los Angeles history lovers – clear your Sunday plans and enjoy the history of early Los Angeles life with free admission to six museumson May 19. The annual Museums of the Arroyo Day is the perfect opportunity to freshen up on your historical architecture knowledge and understanding of the city’s past.
Built in 1908, the Gamble House is the most complete and best-preserved example of the work of renowned Pasadena architects Charles and Henry Greene. The National Historical Landmark was built for David and Mary Gamble of the Procter and Gamble Company. Show your TAP card to save 10% on membership at the Gamble House.
Constructed in 1914, the Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum is the site of one of the largest and most significant collections of Native American materials in the United States. Show your TAP card and receive one free bottle of water at the Autry’s Historic Southwest Museum.
Established in 1969, this living history museum tells the story of the development of Southern California transporting visitors back in time to an era when electricity was brand new. Show your TAP card and save 10% on membership at Heritage Square Museum.
Pasadena Museum of History is the only museum and research library dedicated solely to preserving and sharing the history, art, and culture of Pasadena and the west San Gabriel Valley. Show your TAP card and receive one comp ticket for a future visit at the Pasadena Museum of History.
Completed in 1910 by early activist Charles Fletcher Lummis, founder of the Southwest Museum and the first city editor of the Los Angeles Times.
Go Metro by taking the Gold Line to Southwest Museum Station or Heritage Square Station and connect to free shuttles that take you directly to the six museums. Finally, a few quick tips and reminders to consider:
Museums of the Arroyo Day runs from 12pm to 5pm, with last admissions at 4pm.
It is encouraged for visitors to plan to attend only three or four museums due to limited time.
Load your TAP card with round-trip fare ahead of time.
Round-trip fare is $3.50 stored value + $1 for a reusable TAP card if you haven’t already got one.
Metro and many other local transit agencies — including Metrolink commuter rail — are offering free rides Thursday as part of National Bike to Work Day, given that biking is good for cities, the environment and yourself (exercise!). Just show your bike or a helmet to claim your ride.
At non-gated Metro rail stations, there is no need to tap — just show the Metro fare officer your bike or helmet. At Metro Rail Stations with gates, use the intercom located near the fare gates to notify an attendant who will open the ADA gates for you.
Other agencies offering free transit rides to bicyclists on Bike to Work Day are:
On Bike to Work Day, you can find pit stops throughout Los Angeles County. See this map below — the pit stops are the green bike icons.
If you don’t currently own a bike, Metro Bike Share offers convenient round-the-clock access to a fleet of bicycles for short trips, available 24/7, 365 days a year in Downtown LA, Central LA, the Port of LA, and the Westside.
For parking your bike, there are Metro bike lockers and Metro Bike Hubs. The hubs offer secure parking for bikes with on-call mechanics and face time with friendly staff.
Want to start planning your commute? Google Maps is a good place to start. All Metro buses have bike racks for riders to store their bicycles — although space is limited. If you’re taking your bike on a train, please follow the signs to place your bike in the designated areas. And a friendly reminder: bicycles are allowed on trains as long as you can safely board without blocking any aisles and doorways. For more tips on how to bring your bike on board, check metro.net/bikes.
A landmark mural celebrating Hyde Park community stories was unveiled Saturday at the intersection of Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue. The project began with area youth collecting the stories of residents and business owners under the guidance of lead artist Moses Ball. He also collaborated with rising artist Dezmond Crockett and HOPE Hyde Park member Assata Umoja, who coordinated the involvement and history gathering of local youth.
The mural was developed in anticipation of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, which is scheduled to open next year. The mural was designed to improve the first/last mile experience and will be visible to tens of thousands of people – those who live, work and play in the area, as well as transit riders.
The project was led by local nonprofit LA Commons with technical assistance from Metro Arts & Design to support deeply anchored, community developed and owned transit connections. Funded by Transportation for America, the mural is installed on private property and is owned and maintained by LA Commons. Additional project partners include the Park Mesa Heights Community Council, HOPE Hyde Park and the office of Council Member Marqueece Harris-Dawson.
More information about the project is available here.
The pier at Gaviota State Beach as seen from Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner on Friday evening — see the item at the bottom of this post. Photo courtesy Steve Hymon.
•The LAT has a story on why the forecast completion of the Regional Connector has recently slipped from Dec. 2021 to spring/summer 2022.
Among some of the challenges: labor shortages for some jobs and damage found to the L.A. Times building, which is adjacent to the station being built at 2nd and Broadway.
Metro says the schedule still could recover. The LAT points out that some of the problems — particularly with jobs in a hot construction market — could threaten Metro’s efforts to build 28 projects in time for the 2028 Olympics (here’s a new staff update on that).
Below is a slide from the monthly construction project update to be given to the Metro Board this month. The full report is here. FWIW, here’s a Source post from last week with a bunch of Connector construction pics.
If you’re new to this space, the Connector is a pair of 1.9-mile light rail tunnels that will tie together the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines to speed up light rail trips to and through DTLA and reduce the need to transfer.
•Metro and the city of L.A. are hoping to pilot a new bus lane in the nearish future. Below is a slide from the Board report on the four best candidates from the 25 initially studied and here’s the full presentation (it’s short) that will be given to the Board’s Operations Committee on Thursday. Thoughts?
Metro’s Vision 2028 Plan, approved by the Metro Board last year, calls for more bus lanes to speed up bus speeds, which have been in decline in recent years due to traffic.
•There’s a new staff report on Metro’s efforts to improve real-time arrival info. In one sentence: progress is being made on the bus side and there are some issues to still tackle on the rail side, where tunnels are one challenge to getting up-to-the-second data. Curbed LA wonked out on this important issue last year.
•For the first time, I took Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner from Union Station to San Luis Obispo on Friday. All in all, a nice experience — I treated myself to a business class seat and legroom-wise it’s going to be hard to go back to steerage class when flying from LAX to Cincy.
The train was comfortable enough, the staff was very friendly, social media updates were good and the ride was relaxing. The scenery from Ventura onward is truly awesome (northbound travelers should sit on the left side of the train). The wifi worked well enough to get baseball scores and do email and some basic searching.
Then again, when I fly to Cincy the nearly 2,000-mile flight usually takes about four hours in the air (if there are no delays) and up to three hours getting to and from airports. The train trip to SLO — which would have been an 190-mile drive — took five hours and 50 minutes in addition to a 55-minute delay at Union Station because of earlier delays to the train between San Diego and L.A.
Amtrak doesn’t own the tracks and much of the track between Union Station and SLO is single track — meaning we had to sit at sidings on at least three occasions to let other trains pass (Metrolink and Union Pacific also use the tracks). Our nation has poured a lot of money into infrastructure for air travel — and that’s great for travelers. But that has come at the expense of short- to medium-length trips that could be taken by train. And, IMHO, that’s too bad.
Quasi-related: I went to the Central Coast to do some kayaking in Morro Bay, which is scenic and has a pretty good variety of birds and other wildlife — including sea otters. There are kayak rentals in Morro Bay. If you take the train to SLO, there’s a local bus that runs to Morro Bay (it’s about a 25-minute ride) and ride share operates in the area. True confession: I was meeting my partner up there, who had a car — but there are ways to get around the lovely Central Coast without one.