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Posts from the "Orange Line" Category

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Updated Report Shows CAHSR’s GHG Reductions Less Costly Than Thought

UCLA’s Lewis Center revised some of the estimates in its recent report comparing the costs of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using California high-speed rail to those of bike, pedestrian, and local transit projects. The report’s authors found that high-speed rail is not as expensive as an emission reduction as they first thought.

Lewis_yellow_box_REVISED_copyThe update makes several adjustments to the analysis, which compared CAHSR to Los Angeles Metro’s Gold Line light rail and the Orange Line bus rapid transit route, as well as the bikeway that runs parallel to it. Originally, the report found high-speed rail to be a much less cost-effective way to reduce GHGs than any of the three urban transit options. While the new cost-benefit analysis for high-speed rail looks much better, it’s still not quite on par with local transit investments.

The new comparison of costs among high-speed rail, light rail, bus rapid transit, and the bikeway is shown in the table below. As discussed in our previous story on this report, the authors consider anything less than the current price of a metric tonne of emissions under the cap-and-trade system (about $11) a cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The lower the cost, the greater the cost-effectiveness.

The UCLA authors’ new cost/benefit estimates.

The new estimate for CAHSR is -$335 per metric tonne, compared to the previous $361. Those estimates are the full public cost plus user savings (in the case of high-speed rail, that’s the price of a ticket compared to the cost of driving or flying). However, the bus rapid transit, light-rail, and bikeway are still more cost-effective at -$676, $1,233, and $3,569, respectively.

Here’s why the numbers changed: Read more…

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Report: In Cutting Emissions, CAHSR Expensive Compared to Local Upgrades

Streetfilms featured Los Angeles’ Orange Line BRT and bike path in 2009. A new UCLA report says infrastructure projects like the Orange Line are a better way to invest cap-and-trade funds than CA High-Speed Rail.

UCLA’s Lewis Center published a report yesterday finding that California’s High-Speed Rail project is a relatively expensive way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the near-term, compared to upgrading local transit and bicycle infrastructure.

Comparing CAHSR to Los Angeles Metro’s Gold Line light-rail and Orange Line bus rapid transit route and bikeway, the report finds high-speed rail to be the least cost-efficient investment the state could make.

The high-speed rail project costs more per metric tonne of GHG emissions than the current cost of allowances under cap-and-trade, the report says. If the savings costs to users are included in the calculations, then the light-rail, busway, and bikeway projects cost far less than the cap-and-trade auction price, which makes them more cost-effective ways to meet the emission reduction goals set out in California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, A.B. 32.

“There are a lot of projects that can reduce GHG emissions,” said Juan Matute, one of the report’s authors. “And differentiating between them will become more important in the future. One way is to look at the cost-effectiveness of the reductions.”

Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed cap-and-trade expenditure plan includes $250 million for high-speed rail to be spent in the next year alone, but very little for other transit or bicycle and pedestrian projects. High-speed rail isn’t scheduled to be online until 2022, so the savings it yields won’t help meet the state’s 2020 emission reductions goals. Meanwhile, the funds could be used for more local investments such as transit services or bicycle and pedestrian connections that would reduce GHG emissions more quickly. Read more…

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It’s Not Just a Bus Line. Streetsblog Explores the Orange Line Extension’s 25 Art Pieces

Ken Gonzalez-Day is the artist at Canoga Station's new platforms connecting the "old" Orange Line to the Orange Line Extension. This picture gives you an idea how large both the art panels and ellipses are.

Last week, I was given the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Orange Line Extension’s bike path and public art installation.  For both the Expo Line and the Orange Line Extension, Metro commissioned a team of L.A. County artists to personalize the stations by creating public art projects to reflect the community.  Los Angeles Times architecture critic Chris Hawthorne mocked the stations as “aggressively banal,” but Streetsblog South L.A.’s Sahra Sulaiman writes about how community groups are working to make the art even more accesible to those passing through.

With Sahra’s article fresh in my mind, I was wondering how the art could improve a station.  After all, there’s even less customization one can do with a bus stop, even a full Bus Rapid Transit stop and station, than you can with Expo Line stations.

Metro commissioned twenty five pieces of art at four new stations and the new platform at Canoga Station.  Each station had it’s own artist who created two pieces of elliptical art on the pavement and either three or four art panels that were in place of wind screens.  The exception is Chatsworth Station which only has two panels and one ellipse . The number of panels varied based on whether or not the panels faced the public.  In some cases, the back of the panel faces a wall.

Over one hundred and fifty artists submitted proposals based in part on community profile create by a local art advisory panel and other community leaders.  The profile described the local culture, heritage and in some cases artistic styles of the area surrounding the station.  For Metro, the community involvement in creating the guide was critical so each station provides not just some eye-pleasing art but some context on what kind of community one is entering as they step off the bus.  Because the street adjacent to the Orange Line Extension is commercial, with freight yards, strip malls and even a strip club facing the stations; it’s the art that provides the real introduction to the Station area.

In an effort to use this program to advance artists’ careers, Metro did not require that the artists have experience with either panel art or the glass mosaics that were on the station.  Artists were allowed to work in their preferred medium and specialists helped fit the original art into the mediums at the station.

Our review of each station is after the jump.  But even if you don’t ride the Orange Line on bus or bike, you can still visit the art.  You can arrange a tour for a group of 15 or more through the all-volunteer Metro Art Docent Council by calling 213-922-2738.  Don’t have 14 friends interested in a tour?  Metro is co-organizing with Valley College an exhibition about the Orange Line art.  Titled, Translations: Artists of the Metro Orange Line, it will run from early October to early December. The exhibition will take place at Valley College’s Art Gallery.  We will have more details as they become available.  But for now, on to the art!

Read more…

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Rider Review: The Orange Line Bike Path Extension

A sign along the bike path notes that among the many "mores" of the Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth is "more bike paths." For more, visit the Streetsblog Flickr page.

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to visit all five of the new Orange Line stations on a tour of the newly installed art (more on that tomorrow.)  The afternoon also gave me a chance to ride and review the Orange Line Bike Path.  While I found the bike trail easy to use for the most part, the delay caused by the crossings create a trail of two bike rides.

While my overall review of the path itself is mixed, that it exists at all is still a victory for cyclists.  Just as the Orange Line extension busway is a four mile extension of the Bus Rapid Transitway from Canoga Station north to Chatsworth, the bikeway is a parallel extension.  While it’s being referred to as a bike path, it’s actually a 10 foot wide mixed use trail.  Along the path, there is more than adequate bike parking at the stations, although we should note it was over 100 degrees last Wednesday, and it wasn’t exactlty pleasant biking conditions.

The afternoon ride began at Canoga Station at the corner of Canoga Ave. and Victory Blvd.  The actual path extension begins at Canoga Ave. and Vanowen Boulevard.  I set out in the late morning with Metro’s Senior Creative Services Director, Heidi Zeller and Sammy, my two-year-old co-editor.  Zeller is also a member of the CicLAvia steering committee.

The actual start of the trail at Vanowen and Canoga

Read more…

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Congestion on the 4th of July, the Orange Line and Dennis P. Zine

Anyone lucky enough to attend “Councilman Dennis P. Zine’s July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza Presented by Keyes Automotive Group” were treated to an afternoon and evening of free music and fireworks in an open space.  They were also treated to hearing the “Keyes on Van Nuys” theme song about 122,000 times (I counted.)

But right before the fireworks, they were also treated a surprise endorsement of Metro from the Councilman’s mouth.  For much of the afternoon and evening Zine and Congressman Brad Sherman, both in tough election campaigns, served as unofficial emcee’s to the event, a job which seemed to require thanking everyone they saw in the audience that they recognized and asking for the “Keyes on Van Nuys” theme song to be played again.  However, as the crowd started to file out, Zine hit a different note:

“Those of you that came from afar, thank you.  Those of you that rode the Orange Line, you’re going to have a great trip home.  Those of you that drove could have long waits to access the streets.  Maybe one or two hours.  Be patient.  But those of you that took the Orange Line are gong to have a great trip.”

Go Metro.

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A First Look at the Orange Line Extension from Canoga to Chatsworth

Chatsworth Station Under Construction. For more pictures from last week's tour, visit us our Flickr Page

Last week, I had the chance to tour the new Orange Line BRT extension from where the Orange Line currently ends in Canoga northward for four miles to the Metrolink Station in Chatsworth. Even as construction of some of the stations continues, test buses run along the route. Greg Spotts, with the Mayor’s Office, predicts that the line will open sometime next month, although you never know what problems can arise as testing continues.

The tour consisted of both a car trip up and down the roads parallel the route followed by a tour of the actual line on the bus. Adding a twist to the tour, Spotts and I joined a group of Brazilian journalists touring and reporting on American BRT in advance of a twenty kilometer (just over twelve miles) route opening in their country.

Below are some thoughts and media on my first impressions of the route as a rider. The below video is from my flip video pointing out the front of an Orange Line bus as we head from Chatsworth back to Canoga. The entire trip took about twelve minutes, although the bus driver told me that the transponders that will communicate with traffic signals were not completely synched at the time of our tour. You can hear the Brazilian news team in the background, and occasionally I’ll narrate some interesting occurences while the video rolls.

As for my impression of the line, if I didn’t know what to look for I might declare it near ready to open.  The trip was smooth and even though it was off-peak the bus kept pace with a cars’ congestion free trip on an adjacent road.  I sat most of the way to Chatsworth and stood on the way back to Canoga.  Some of the features that make Bus Rapid Transit more than just buses on a fixed guideway were still being worked out.  The bus arrival announcements weren’t operating and as mentioned above, the signal sync that gives priority to the buses at intersections wasn’t worked out.

For more first impressions in the form of a captioned photo essay, read on after the jump. Read more…