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System Alerts

@MetroLAalerts

LINE 460: Northbound buses detour via Stanton between Commonwealth and Artesia through 7pm due to police activity… https://t.co/tTPHE8P53H

LINE 251, 751: Northbound buses detour via Santa Fe between Washington and Olympic due to fire activity at Soto/Oly… https://t.co/Or964UQaXh

Delayed by Expo Line this morning and need delay verification for work or school? Call 213.922.6235. https://t.co/wVRPIkaWOo

EXPO LINE: Trains resuming normal service; earlier issue now clear. https://t.co/X7pgxZHpKv

@bffpike2016 Hi, the current delays are not related to the planned maintenance. You should be moving shortly. ^LH

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Art

Art information to come.

News

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FTA approves Metro’s request to be reimbursed for early work activities on Purple Line Extension’s section three

The Federal Transit Administration this week approved Metro’s request to be reimbursed for early work activities for Section Three of the Purple Line Extension Project between Century City and the Westwood/VA Hospital.

The approval also clears the way for Metro to take advantage of highly competitive tunnel contract bids, which have come in lower than expected and would save the project an estimated $130 million. These tunneling bids were at risk to expire on October 3. Additionally, the FTA’s approval avoids the need to rebid the tunnel contract, saving an additional $200 million in projected escalation costs and nearly two years of project delay.

The “Letter of No Prejudice” (LONP) permits the agency to incur costs on a project using non-federal resources with the understanding that the costs incurred after the letter’s approval may be reimbursable to Metro if the project is chosen for federal funding later. The LONP will take effect upon FTA’s final review of technical refinements to the project, which are being finalized by Metro. Metro will then issue a Notice to Proceed to the contractor, Frontier-Kemper/Tutor Perini Joint Venture, which has agreed to extend its bid price to December 3, 2018 to accommodate FTA’s final environmental review.

FTA’s actions mark an important step in the path to ultimately secure a Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Purple Line Extension Section Three. In August, Section Three was cleared to enter the engineering phase of the FTA Capital Investment Grants Program. Two earlier subway extension sections have already received federal funding. Metro is now seeking a $1.3-billion grant for Section Three through the FTA’s New Starts Program and anticipates a grant agreement will be forthcoming in early 2019.

“Metro is now one step closer to extending the Purple Line subway all the way to West Los Angeles thanks to a positive working relationship with our federal funding partners,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl. “I want to thank FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams and her staff for their commitment to advancing this project and for helping to bring a comprehensive public transportation system to L.A. County.”

Overall, Metro’s revised Letter of No Prejudice, submitted to the FTA on August 30, reduced the agency’s ask from $786 million for early work activities to $492 million based on favorable tunneling contract bids and other project efficiencies.

“L.A. Metro is working hard to complete all three phases of the Purple Line Extension Project prior to the 2028 Olympics, seven years ahead of schedule,” said U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein. “I intend to make sure the federal government continues to be a good partner in this effort and helps keep the project moving forward as we prepare to welcome the world to Los Angeles.”

The Purple Line Extension’s first two sections are under construction between Wilshire/Western and Century City. When all three sections are complete, the subway extension will travel approximately nine miles underground between Koreatown and Westwood. Major construction of the first section between Koreatown and Beverly Hills began in 2015.

“Thanks to L.A. County taxpayers, we already have the local dollars we need to pay the lion’s share of this regionally significant mega-project,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Working closely with the FTA, we can leverage our significant local investment with the precious resources of the federal government to deliver one of the most competitive and beneficial public transit projects in America today.”

Construction of the second section between Beverly Hills and Century City started in 2017. Section Three, scheduled to begin construction in 2019, will complete the subway to Westwood. The entire line is on track to open by 2026, in time for the 2028 L.A. Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.

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A whale of a find in downtown Los Angeles at the Regional Connector project

Earlier this summer, a discovery was made at the site of the future Historic Broadway Station, one of three new stations Regional Connector. While performing station excavation, crews discovered a large bone that likely belongs to an extinct Miocene-aged whale that lived approximately 10 to 15 million years ago.

With an appreciation for the scientific value of fossil preservation and various government regulations, Metro has hired paleontologists at each project to monitor excavation efforts and identify and preserve fossils when needed. To learn more about the discovery, we contacted Paleo Solutions’ principal paleontologist Courtney Richards, M.S.

Thanks for taking the time to speak to us. Can you tell us about what was discovered?

An isolated large marine mammal bone was discovered in the sidewall of the Broadway Station during excavation…it was tentatively identified as a whale (Cetacea) vertebra.

What kind of prehistoric species does this fossil belong to? How old is it?

Unfortunately the fossil was not identifiable to species. However, it likely belongs to an extinct Miocene-aged whale that lived approximately 10 to 15 million years ago based on the age of the geologic formation it is preserved within, and the initial evaluation of the discovery.

It’s hard to imagine something 10 million years old! Any details on the organism’s origin or lifespan?

Whales evolved from land mammals that lived during the Eocene Epoch around 55 million years ago. By the late Miocene, when the Regional Connector whale lived, both groups of modern whales (baleen [Mysticeti] and toothed [Odontoceti]) had evolved and were common in the ocean that completely covered the Los Angeles Basin, including the Regional Connector site.

Los Angeles looks much different now, especially down in the construction site. Can you describe the process for excavating the fossil?

In this particular case, the majority of the fossil whale discovery was preserved in place rather than excavated since the fossil was discovered at a depth of over 50 feet below the surface and was in a finished sidewall of the Broadway Station. Only the pieces that had already been impacted by the construction equipment were removed from the site.

Interesting, so the bone fragment was discovered at the perimeter of the new station and beyond the limits of excavation. What will you do with the fossil?

All of the fossils recovered during the project, will be offered to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Museum curation ensures that the fossils are available for scientific research, as well as public education, outreach, and display for decades to come.

How often have fossils been discovered on the project?

Vertebrate fossil discoveries have been rare on the Regional Connector project; so this was an exciting find! However, there have been a wide variety of well preserved fossil shells discovered during this project, which can often times tell researchers more about the ancient environment of the Los Angeles Basin than the larger discoveries.

How does this cetacean vertebrae compare with other discoveries made in your career?

I’ve been lucky to be a part of numerous fossil discoveries and excavations during my career. Since this cetacean vertebrae was an isolated find in a formation well-known for its fossil whales, it is not the most scientifically important fossil discovery that I have been a part of. However, it does represent the first whale fossil documented on this project and helps paint a picture of prehistoric environment of the Regional Connector area, which makes it an exciting find.

Tell us a little bit more about your experience as a paleontologist. What fascinates you about the profession?

To me, one of the best parts of being a paleontologist is the opportunity to discover new fossils that help to piece together the evolutionary history of the animals we see today, and those that are now extinct.

In particular, I am fascinated by convergent evolution, which is the independent evolution of similar features in taxa that are not closely related. For example, the similar body shapes of ichthyosaurs (ancient marine reptiles) and modern day dolphins, and the independent evolution of wings in pterosaurs (extinct flying reptiles), birds, and bats.

What was your path towards becoming a paleontologist and consulting with the Regional Connector?

Fossils and prehistoric animals have fascinated me since I was 3 years old, so I knew early on that paleontology was the career path I wanted to follow. Since paleontology requires both a knowledge of geology and biology, I pursued one as an undergraduate degree in college, and the other as a graduate degree. Upon graduation I started looking for applied paleontology jobs instead of ones in academia, which lead me to environmental consulting and the opportunity to be involved with the Regional Connector project.

Finally, why is a paleontologist needed on the Regional Connector project?

Fossils are non-renewable and scientifically important resources, that can never be replaced once destroyed. The State of California recognizes the value of these resources and put laws and regulations in place to protect them during construction of new projects, such as the Regional Connector.

In an effort to preserve significant fossils, Metro hired paleontologists to be on-site during construction at Regional Connector which has allowed for the recovery of dozens of discoveries to date. Due to construction, we are provided with wonderful subsurface exposures of the Los Angeles Basin that we would not have had access to otherwise.

@metroalerts

Open House at Union Station next Wednesday for Link Union Station project

Heads up: there is an Open House at Union Station for the Link Union Station project, which seeks to allow Metrolink and Amtrak trains enter/exit Union Station from the south — in addition to the current north entrance/exit.

The project also includes a new, expanded passenger concourse with retail, food services, passenger waiting areas, and other transit-serving amenities for users of Union Station to meet the region’s long-term transportation needs.

The idea is to make it easier for trains to get into and out of the station, reduce train idling, speed up rail trips, increase station capacity, modernize Union Station with improved ADA access to train platforms and also accommodate high-speed rail in the future.

Environmental studies are underway and Metro is working to secure funding needed to build the project.

Below is the info on the Open House, which will take place on the Vignes Street side of the station below the Patsaouras Bus Plaza. If entering from the Alameda Street side, walk straight back and continue through the passageway that accesses the platforms. The Open House is at the far end of that passageway.

For additional information about this project, please visit the website at: https://www.metro.net/projects/link-us/ .

@metroalerts

Go Metro to LA Rams vs LA Chargers supertilt at Coliseum + USC vs Wash State

Chargers or…Credit: Getty Images.

…Rams? Credit: Getty Images.

It’s a big football weekend at the Expo Line and Silver Line adjacent Coliseum this weekend: USC plays Washington State at 7:30 p.m. Friday night and the L.A. Rams host the L.A. Chargers* at Coliseum at 4:05 p.m. Sunday.

Long story short: Washington State has been beating up on tomato cans and should get whacked by USC. Meanwhile, plenty of sports wags have selected the Rams and Chargers as NFL elite teams that should survive to be playing in January, and perhaps February.

Both weekend games should draw big crowds and generate many bushels of traffic. But there’s an alternative: the Expo Line train and Silver Line bus stop a short stroll from the Coliseum and both are alternatives to soul-frying gridlock and wallet-chomping parking prices.

Below are maps of the area around the Coliseum and the Metro system map. Paid and free parking is available at many Metro stations. Parking at Union Station is $8 and there are, of course, many commercial lots in DTLA near the Metro system.

Some other tips for taking Metro to the game:

Riding Metro Rail

1. Pay Before You Board

2. Tap Your Card on the Turnstile or Validator When Boarding or Transferring

3. Choose the Nearest Station

4. Expo Line runs approximately every 6 minutes before and after games

5. Gold Line runs approximately every 12 minutes before and after games

Riding Metro Silver Line

1. Pay When You Board

2. Use 37th St/USC Station

While on Board

1. Small coolers and picnic baskets are okay to bring on board, but please keep aisles clear
2. Eating or drinking while in stations or on board Metro buses and trains is not permitted
3. Please do not bring barbeque grills, flammable products or oversized items on board

Clear Bag Policy

For a safer environment and speedier entry, both the Coliseum and Rose Bowl have enacted a new clear bag policy. Fans are advised not to bring bags unless outlined as a permissible size and material. Approved examples are a clear tote, small clutch or clear bag. For details, visit nfl.com/allclear .

Safety

1. Obey all traffic signals and instructions from Metro staff
2. Look both ways before crossing the tracks and street
3. Stand back from the edge of the train platforms and curbs at bus stops

Fan & Customer Code of Conduct

*Shout out to Carson!