This morning, Metro CEO Phil Washington and Metrolink Board Chair and Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson welcomed Southern California commuters to “dump the pump.” The press event featured a motorcycle officer serving ceremonial divorce papers to a car. The divorcing a car theme is reminiscent of the title of a recommended 2000 book by Katie Alvord. Divorcing one’s car, according to American Public Transit Association (APTA) figures for Los Angeles, will save a car commuter nearly $13,000 each year in “auto-mony.”
Posts from the Metro Category
As expected, at yesterday’s meeting the Metro Planning and Programming Committee approved the contract for the first phase of Metro bike-share. The final approval is now expected at next Thursday’s meeting of the full Metro board of directors.
The initial phase of Metro bike-share will be located in downtown Los Angeles, extending from Union Station to USC. There will be 1,000+ bicycles at 60+ docking stations. The system is expected to open in early 2016. Once established, the system is expected to expand to Pasadena, other parts of central Los Angeles, and additional areas. See details at this earlier SBLA article.
The vendor selected is Bicycle Transit Systems, which implemented and operates Philadelphia’s Indego bike-share system.
Metro bike-share will likely be the largest, but when it opens for business in early 2016, it will be the third bike-share system in L.A. County, after the systems already being implemented in the cities of Santa Monica and Long Beach. Both Santa Monica and Long Beach use a different operator, CycleHop, than the one being approved by Metro. At yesterday’s Metro meeting, the city of Santa Monica’s Strategic and Transportation Planning Manager Francie Stefan testified that multiple uncoordinated systems could “chill” the spread of bike-share throughout the region.
Both State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (AD-50), whose district includes Santa Monica and other Westside cities, and Santa Monica Mayor Kevin McKeown submitted letters (PDF, PDF) to Metro advocating for Metro to prioritize interoperability between systems. Read more…
The first of new Metro’s new tunnels underway is expected to be completed late this year. It will be under 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles. It may not be long or expensive, but it represents an interesting change in the orientation of L.A.’s downtown landscape. It expands downtown’s connection with the Metro Red, Purple, Blue, and Expo Lines. When the current subways first arrived in downtown L.A. in 1992, downtown businesses and development were perhaps a bit standoffish, not fully eager to embrace transit access. Now, downtown development, in the light of demographic shifts toward transit, walking and bicycling, and is re-orienting itself to better connect.
The 1970s mall on the south side of 7th Street from Flower Street to Hope Street is getting a $180 million mixed-use makeover. It will no longer be Macy’s Plaza, but The Bloc. Though it will still have a lot of that ’70s-era parking, new residents and retail customers will have easy access to Metro’s subway lines.
Streetsblog mentioned the tunnel briefly in April, when the Metro board approved the agency’s $4.6 million portion of the project budget [PDF], representing roughly half of the cost of the tunnel. Metro also approved the terms of the agreement that assigns responsibilities for construction, maintenance, etc., and that mandates the tunnel be open to the public at least from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Metro is in its third week of an all-door boarding pilot at two stops on the 720 Wilshire Rapid Bus line. Riders can take advantage of all-door boarding mornings westbound at Wilshire/Vermont and afternoons eastbound at Wilshire/Westwood.
Streetsblog checked out how it was working this morning, and it looks great!
Here’s how Metro’s trial works:
Signage and Metro staff are on hand to explain the pilot. Today it appeared that many riders boarding the 720 had already figured it out, so staff did not have a lot to do.
Temporary TAP stanchions have been placed at locations corresponding to all three bus doors. Read more…
While the LACCD programs may not be the sort of topic that readers turn to Streetsblog for, the grant will greatly benefit students that are key to Los Angeles’ future. And Streetsblog readers can get a better look at Metro’s impressive new CEO Phil Washington based on his remarks, in the above video. Washington, who grew up in low-income housing on the south side of Chicago, sounds impressive in emphasizing his agency’s roles (alongside industry’s roles) in improving the lives of youth and low-income communities. It appears that Metro boardmember Jackie Dupont-Walker, who frequently emphasizes Metro contractor responsibility in benefiting local residents, will have an ally in CEO Washington.
If you’ve ever tried to navigate the Rosa Parks/Willowbrook station, either to transfer between the Blue and Green Lines or to catch one of the nearly dozen buses that connect with the station, you know it isn’t the most user-friendly place.
Not only do the narrow stairs connecting the two platforms (used by 78% of all 30,000+ passengers that pass through the station daily) create a natural bottleneck, in combination with impatient Sheriffs, families with strollers, cyclists with bikes, and glitchy TAP validators, they can facilitate human traffic jams that inhibit people’s ability to transfer to transit.
Moreover, the narrow Blue Line platform can be quite crowded and uncomfortable in the heat of the day.
Metro is aiming to change all that with the (proposed) construction of a more open and welcoming community-oriented transit center it believes will be an asset to the neighborhood.
The revamped station will better connect transit riders to nearby education, cultural, health, commercial, and recreational resources via a Mobility Hub (and Bike Hub), more comfortable waiting areas and more sheltering canopies, improved pedestrian circulation via a new Transit Hall, a reconfiguration of the bus depot area, a new southern at-grade entrance to the Blue Line, and upgrades to the lighting, signage, landscaping, stairs, elevators, and escalators (see the project fact sheet here).
The station will also feature a Sheriff’s facility, Metro Customer Service Center (to better serve lower-income riders), better integration with the Kenneth Hahn Plaza (KHP) shopping center to the south, and possibly a cafe.
Via a rendering from Jenkins/Gales & Martinez, Inc. and design architects Hodgetts + Fung, it appears passengers will also enjoy a much more enticing, well-lit, and well-signaled connection to the Green Line under the 105 freeway (below). Read more…
“Are you riding the train…?” came the voice over my shoulder.
It is perhaps one of the more terrible pick-up lines I have heard in a good while. Especially because I was standing on the Blue Line platform at Grand — a minimally furnished and poorly shaded station in the middle of an ugly stretch of Washington Blvd. that you must cross a very busy street halfway to reach. It is not a site one purposely seeks out as a rest stop.
Worse still, the line came from an armed private security guard hired, it appeared, to ensure construction workers there to upgrade the platform were able to do so in peace and to help travelers safely navigate the section of the platform being worked on.
He had not been hired to hassle the passengers.
But that was exactly what he was doing.
I had just watched him demand a young African-American man show him what he had in his pockets. The young man didn’t appear to be bothering anyone (I arrived in the middle of the incident), nor did he appear to be dangerous. His only crime appeared to be that he may have been homeless, and judging by the cardboard sticking out of the pocket of his hoodie, possibly carrying some garbage on his person.
As the young man tried to ignore him, the Afro-Latino guard paced back and forth in front of the young man, belittling him in front of the other passengers. “I’ll double it…Triple it.” he said, offering to up the money he had originally bet that the guy had something in his pockets.
Frustrated by the young man’s unwillingness to respond to his jibes and having spotted me, the guard now decided he had other fish to fry. Read more…
At its June 25 monthly meeting, the Metro Board will be voting on the contract for the initial phase of what is now optimistically called “Metro Countywide Bikeshare.”
SBLA previewed the regional bike-share system in this earlier post. The initial phase is planned to include 1000+ bicycles at 60+ docking stations in downtown Los Angeles, expected to be operational in early 2016.
According to the recently posted board agenda look-ahead [PDF], Metro has selected bike-share vendor Bicycle Transit Systems. The $11.8 million contract is “contingent upon the execution of an MOU between the City of Los Angeles and Metro” and “future phases will be brought back …for Board approval contingent upon successful completion and operation of the Phase 1 Pilot.”
Bicycle Transit Systems is a somewhat new presence in the bike-share industry, though captained by experienced leadership. The company is based in Philadelphia and headed by former Alta Bike Share CEO Alison Cohen, who led NYC CitiBike during its rocky start-up. To date, the company’s big bike-share implementation success has been Philadelphia’s Indego, which launched in April 2015 with 600 bikes at 60 stations.
Last Friday, Metro and Zipcar announced a new partnership that places car-share vehicles at ten Metro station parking lots. The new program was announced via a press conference at the North Hollywood Red Line Station. Speakers included Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, Metro Boardmember Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Metro’s new CEO Phil Washington, and Zipcar Regional Vice President Dan Grossman. The cars are available and ready now.
Mayor Garcetti touted $36 billion in transportation investment, but it may be these sorts of high-tech, low-cost, quick mobility wins that will the extend the reach and convenience of Metro’s rail and bus systems into Los Angeles neighborhoods. Examples include Metro bike-share, debuting downtown by early 2016, and LADOT’s fare-payment app.
Both Garcetti and Washington emphasized that this new car-share program is part of implementation of Metro’s First Last Mile Strategic Plan, though early action on car-share was prompted by this July 2014 Metro board motion [PDF] by Garcetti, with boardmembers Pam O’Connor and Mike Bonin. Expanding car-share also dovetails with Garcetti’s sustainability pLAn which aims to increase car-share/bike-share/ride-share from its current 0.9 percent of L.A. City trips to 5 percent by 2035. Washington emphasized the need for innovative “mobility on demand” that would seamlessly connect travel by airplane, train, bus, car, bike, and foot. Read more…
On October 23, 2014, the Metro Board of Directors voted to adopt the Rail to River Intermediate Active Transportation Corridor (ATC) Feasibility Study and directed staff to identify funding for full implementation of the project. The Board also authorized $2,850,000 be put towards facilitating the environmental, design, alternative route analysis, and outreach work required for the project to move forward and requested the staff report back in May of 2015.
At this past Wednesday’s Planning and Programming Committee meeting, the committee filed the requested report detailing recommendations that the Board take the next steps of applying for grants from the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Discretionary Grant (TIGER) program and the state Active Transportation Program (ATP). To facilitate the application process, staff also requested the Board authorize an allocation of $10.8 million in hard match funds in time to make the grant programs’ June 1 and June 5 deadlines.
The report suggests the Rail-to-River project has the potential to be very competitive.
Sited along an 8.3 mile section of the Harbor Subdivision Transit Corridor right-of-way (ROW), it will eventually connect the Crenshaw/LAX rail line to multiple bus lines (including the Silver Line), the Blue Line, the river, Huntington Park, Maywood, and/or Vernon via a bike and pedestrian path anchored along Slauson Ave.
First proposed by Ridley-Thomas and Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina in 2012, it has the potential to effect a significant transformation in a deeply blighted and long-neglected section of South L.A.
But it isn’t going to come all that cheaply. Read more…