Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Metro Crenshaw/LAX LRT extension study
"Previous studies have been conducted as part of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor for a future extension of that project north from Exposition Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard. The CrenshawILAX Transit Corridor WilshireILaBrea Light Rail Extension Study (June 2009) identified possible connection points to the Westside Subway at La Brea, Fairfax, La Cienega or San Vicente with future extensions farther north to West Hollywood and Hollywood. Such an extension could operate along the same route as the heavy rail subway alternatives that were considered in the Westside Subway Draft EISIEIR."
"Costs to complete an Initial Review of a Hollywood/West Hollywood Transit Corridor connection to the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor could be undertaken for approximately $1.5 million and would take approximately 12 months to complete following notice to proceed. Such a study would evaluate conceptual alignments, station locations, connection points with existing and planned transit lines and potential ridership and costs. Since this corridor is currently included in the unfunded, strategic element of the adopted Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), no funding currentlyexists for the completion of this study or the implementation of this project. The South Bay Metro Green Line Extension to Long Beach and/or San Pedro is also included in the Strategic element of the adopted LRTP. Staffing is not available to complete this work. Additional staff would need to be hired to prepare a Statement of Work, procure consultant services and to conduct the Initial Review."
Friday, October 22, 2010
Metro Board Room
One Gateway Plaza, 3rd Floor
Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
What next for Santa Monica Blvd. and West Hollywood after the LPA recommendations for the Westside Subway Extension?
This structure is not recommended for inclusion in the LPA. The cost of $135 million is not within the available funding reserved through the LRTP for the project. Additionally, the heavy rail option for the West Hollywood Line did not perform as well as anticipated when evaluated against FTA New Starts criteria in the DEIS/DEIR. As such, the high cost of the connection structure is not justified when there may be alternative, less costly, solutions to serve the route through West Hollywood.
While the DEIS/DEIR identifies that the West Hollywood line has very high potential as a transit corridor, further study is needed to determine if a more cost-effective transit alternative such as light rail subway may provide a project that would be more competitive under federal funding criteria. If such an alternative were selected in the future, there would not be the need for a heavy rail connection structure.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Other Side of the President's Visit to Los Angeles - The Forgotten and Marginalized Transit Rider
Last night it took me two and one-half hours to get from Pico/Roxbury to
While the President was raising money from the rich and powerful, thousands of commuters were faced with no way to get home.
"What a spectacular evening," Obama said. "Let's just hang out."
Yeah. Great. I was “hanging out” at bus stops with nowhere to go. There was no northbound traffic on La Cienega and Fairfax. Buses on Pico were at a standstill. I had to take a crawling bus on Pico to WESTERN, then north on Western to
At each bus stop I waited at there were crowds of people not having any idea the President was in town, let alone how they were to get home.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Police Department said that the Secret Service had not shared street-closure information with the department. The Secret Service also didn't tell Metro. So in other words, there was no ability to plan for this nightmare and no warning people would have that there would be disruptions to their lives. What about the people that had to get home to their kids?
Now contrast this with the wealthy and powerful at the fundraiser who no doubt had the best in valet parking. Congratulating themselves at their concern for the plight of the hardworking American people, they were no doubt perfectly attended to while the working poor were invisible, irrelevant and inconvenienced.
Isn’t this just a living metaphor for
So who is to blame for this?
Didn’t it occur to anyone on the President’s staff that the bad feeling and anger that this commuting nightmare would cause might outweigh all the benefit of “hanging out” at this fundraiser?
Didn’t it occur to the city/county leadership and to Metro to announce the following: “The President is in town during rush hour for a fundraiser, and the Secret Service won’t tell us the routing, so you may not be able to get home that evening.”
Now I lived in
But that best case scenario is in the best case ten years from now. In the meantime, how we can ensure that this won’t happen again or that we will at least be informed that we won’t be able to get home the next time this or a future President has a mid-city rush hour fundraiser with the elites?
I have a feeling based on the bad PR coming from the traffic/transit nightmare that this fundraiser caused, that future Presidential fundraisers will be held in lest disruptive locations like someone's Malibu beach home.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
However, I do not subscribe to the belief that a seat on the bus is as "good" as a seat on a train, nor do I agree with the choice of Metro to brand busways with official colors like the "Orange Line" and the "Silver Line".
The San Fernando Valley seems to be left out of mass transit planning in
Just how did this former rail corridor end up as a busway anyway?
The majority of the Orange Line is built on part of the former Southern Pacific Railroad Burbank Branch right-of-way. This had passenger service from 1904 to 1920, with stations at several locations including
and Van Nuys. It had Pacific Electric Red Car service from North Hollywood Northto Van Nuys again from 1938 to 1952. Hollywood
The right of way was purchased by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (now Metropolitan Transportation Authority) in 1991 along with several other rail road right of ways across the Southland for future use in transportation projects.
The California Legislature passed a law in 1991 introduced by Alan Robbins which prohibited the use of the corridor for any form of rail transit other than a "deep bore subway located at least 25 feet below ground". Later Los Angeles County passed Proposition A in 1998, promoted by supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, which prohibited Metro from using its county sales tax funding to build subways anywhere in the county.
With subway and light rail now off the table the only option left to develop the transit corridor was to build a busway.
The "Orange Line" busway is already at capacity and shows the limits of BRT. The San Fernando Valley deserves an east-west rail project that connects
In Measure R which was approved by voters in 2008, there is a project study for a north-south transit project connecting the Orange Line with Wilshire/Westwood through the
What about east-west rail travel? The most obvious solution is to upgrade the existing Orange Line to light rail.
I asked the incomparable Kymberleigh Richards (http://transit-insider.org), member of Metro's San Fernando Valley Governance Council, her thoughts on the issue and the possible challenges and here is what she had to say:
Here are the problems that would be faced:
1. You would need to retrofit the busway without seriously disrupting existing service, otherwise what's the point? You wouldn't want to inconvenience the existing passengers by forcing them to a slower alternative during construction. The most likely way to proceed would be to close one segment at a time, one lane at a time, then cut grooves into the pavement down to the roadbed and install the rails so that they were flush with the pavement (like a grade crossing, only along the entire alignment) then reopen the lane to bus traffic. Service would continue to run with only a minor delay by using the remaining open lane to run both directions, with flagmen. Grade crossings would require a bit more logistics, especially the major arterials like Van NuysBlvd.
2. You would have to use a low floor light rail vehicle in order to avoid having to retrofit the existing station platforms. This means the existing light rail cars would not be compatible with the Orange Line. So there would be a third fleet of LRVs at Metro; heavy rail subway (Red/Purple), high floor/high platform light rail (Blue/Green/Gold/Expo/Crenshaw) and low floor/low platform light rail (
). So forget any Orange Line extensions that would interline with something else. Orange
3. Because of the constraints of construction, the technology will have to be something other than overhead catenary for power. Installing that would require full busway closure for longer periods of time, which puts us back to inconveniencing passengers during construction. Third rail power, like the Red/Purple Line, is also out of the question because of the open-air operation (you can't have passengers in danger of making contact with the electric source). A DMU, like the
system, is going to be far too expensive for this and brings constraints of its own to the process. So either you need a protectedthird rail (very costly; they are experimenting with this in some of the Middle Eastern countries, where cost is no object) or a self-contained, rechargeable on-board power source. Perhaps some type of storage battery that could plug in at the layovers? San Diego
4. The street running segment between Canoga Station and
would have to be negotiated with traffic engineers at LADOT. I doubt they'd give up traffic lanes for the light rail, and I don't savor the idea of running light rail in mixed-flow traffic. Warner Center
And of course, you'd have to do an entire new scoping/AA/EIR/EIS and figure out where the funding is coming from. Just that last part (the $$$) pretty much means all the Measure R projects would have to be underway and near completion before you could start programming funds for an Orange Line upgrade.
No one has ever done a busway-to-light rail conversion. We'd be breaking new ground, which is why there's no hard research available on the subject.
Hmm. Sounds problematic, doesn't it? However, why couldn't this be the first corridor to attempt a busway to light-rail conversion? I'm game.
In any event, the Robbins bill would have to be repealed for any light rail project, so start lobbying your state legislators if you want to see ANY rail service in this area, for a subway ain't coming to this corridor this century.
What about alternatives? Metrolink commuter rail is in the northern San Fernando Valley, but many people travelling to the
1) San Fernando Valley transit advocates could lobby for a subway under
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Alternatives 4 and 5 have the West Hollywood subway spur included. (This chart is also not good news for the City of Santa Monica which wants the full extension of the Purple Line to the beach which is in Alternatives 3 and 5).
What if we brought streetcars back to this corridor? Not the historical red cars of yore, but the new modern streetcars such as the ones we see in Portland or in the Cryodon borough of London -- and then run them in transit only lanes?