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Taking the #DodgerStadiumExpress to the game cuz #ThisIsLA Ⓜ⚾🚌 || photo 📷 @thegreatmejia #GoDodgers #LALove #GoMetro #DodgerSocial #LoveMetroLA #DSE

People mover, bus lanes, on-demand buses: HWR, March 19

Dept. of Bulky Items:

Things to listen to whilst transiting: I’ve been liking the “ Hit Parade ” podcast, which looks at the Billboard charts over the years/decades and tells the story behind the music. There are a lot of songs featured that you’ll find familiar — and probably a lot of tunes you may not have heard in a while or ever. Like the Otis Redding song “Respect” that Aretha Franklin later made very famous.

Travel + Leaisure covers the groundbreaking last week for the LAX people mover project, noting the automated train will whisk passengers to both a Metro station (to be built at Aviation and 96th for Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line trains) and the airport’s new consolidated rental car facility .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcG5sPnjHjIWe haven’t talked much about the CONRAC, as it’s called in airport circles, so let’s do that now. Basically: Thank goodness already. LAX says there are about 20 separate rental car facilities, the reason why there is an endless parade of rental car bus shuttles cruising the LAX horseshoe. In the future, travelers will take the people mover to their rental cars and hopefully the rental car bus shuttles will be dispatched to the fourth circle of Heck.

The people mover and the Metro station at Aviation/96th (called the Airport Metro Connector) are both scheduled to open in 2023. I’m curious to see if folks Uber/Lyft to Crenshaw/LAX and Green Line stations and then use Metro Rail plus the people mover to complete their trips. Thoughts?

•We included this in HWR last week but I think it bears repeating: The city of L.A. has launched a test project for an on-demand shuttle called LAnow on the Westside, reports Streetsblog LA . It’s on-demand — you can summon from a smartphone or regular phone — and rides are $1.50. The service area is Palms, Mar Vista, Venice and Del Rey. Thus, it might be a useful way to reach the Expo Line’s Palms Station. There are no set stops — as with a regular bus — but instead the program picks up and drops off riders near their location or destination.

Metro, too, has a ‘microtransit’ pilot project in the works that is aiming to launch in late 2019. Metro has hired three firms to help design and run the program. Still to be finalized are service areas and other features.

As these programs launch, it’s going to be interesting to see how much they catch on, how they compete against the pricier existing ride-share services and if folks are willing to download the different apps to summon vehicles. Seems to me microtransit is a good way to deal with first/last mile challenges and short trips and it will interesting to see how the different services perform. Stay tuned.

•The potentially future Long Beach Angels (Go Metro to the Angels!) are about to toss a ton of money at Mike Trout to keep him in (potentially) Long Beach through the 2030 season, reports the NYT . Which means…based on other mega-buster deals, you may not be riding the Blue Line to the World Series anytime soon. It’s a team game, people.

•The Venice Boulevard road diet through Mar Vista — which includes some nice protected bike lanes — will remain in place, Curbed LA reports . Opponents tried to tank the lanes, but the L.A. City Council says they’ve proven popular and that the impacts on traffic were slight.

Why relevant? If our region is ever going to have more bus lanes or protected bike lanes, that is going to mean either losing street parking or traffic lanes. I completely understand why that’s often not welcome, but I also hope folks are open-minded about the possibilities when they are proposed.


Go Metro to cheer on L.A. Marathon runners this Sunday!

The annual Los Angeles Marathon returns this Sunday, March 24 with the “Stadium to the Sea” course from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica.

For those planning to attend or participate in the race, we recommend Metro Rail as the best way to get to all marathon festivities and avoid lengthy bus detours and street closures.

The marathon is offering shuttle service to Dodger Stadium from Union Station and Santa Monica. More information is here. Shuttle reservations are required. Please note: there is no shuttle from the finish line to Union Station after the race.

Participants looking to take public transit back to Union Station should catch the Expo Line at Downtown Santa Monica Station (4th St. & Colorado Ave.) then transfer to the Red or Purple Line at 7th/Metro to complete the trip to Union Station. Be sure to load $3.50 of stored value to your TAP card ahead of time.

The following Metro Rail stations are within walking distance to the route:

Metro will provide enhanced Expo Line service with longer, three-car trains running every nine minutes from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to help with larger crowds . Use the full platform to board. If you have a bicycle or stroller, place them in the designated area on each train car.

During the marathon, several Metro bus lines will be disrupted along the marathon route. Customers planning to travel via bus in the area should allow extra time in their commute. Check the service advisories page for detours.

For more details on getting to the race via Metro, call (323) GO-METRO or visit metro.net/lamarathon.


Preview of Metro Board’s Committee meetings

The agendas and staff reports have been posted for the Metro Board’s committee meetings, which will be held Wednesday and Thursday at Metro HQ adjacent to Union Station.

The meetings are open to the public — sorry, no popcorn allowed — and are live-streamed and archived online if you can’t make it in person. See this page for committee meeting times, agendas, online staff reports and links to the live-streams and recordings.

If you’re new to the Metro game, the agency’s 13-member Board of Directors are the deciders of most important agency matters. Twelve of the 13 Board Members are elected officials and the other is an appointee of the Mayor of Los Angeles.

After the committees meet, the full Metro Board will gather for their monthly meeting on Thursday, March 28, at 9:30 a.m., also at the Metro mothership next to Union Station.

As I like to do for the full Board meetings, below is a quick roundup of some of the more interestingness the Board is scheduled to tackle this month:

•Here’s a 2019-20 budget development update — hey, wake up! — with a focus on project costs. Finance and Budget Committee, Wednesday, noon.

•Staff has some ideas about the parking of dockless bikes and scooters at Metro stations. Long-report-short: the idea is to give bike/scooter firms interested the chance to rent a parking space for a reasonable fee. Planning Committee, Wednesday, 2 p.m.

•The Board will consider advancing two concepts for the Vermont Avenue bus rapid transit project while receiving-and-filing a report on making the project a rail line. Gist of it: rail is beyond Metro’s current funding for the project and the bus rapid transit options can be built in a way that would not preclude rail in the future should the money become available. Staff report and here’s a blog post from last year on the project. Planning Committee, Wednesday, 2 p.m.

•There will be an oral report in the Operations, Safety and Customer Experience Committee (Thursday, 9 a.m.) on the New Blue project and the NextGen Bus Study to restructure Metro’s vast bus system. Here’s a presentation .

•How about free rides on Metro on Earth Day as the agency did last year? It’s up for consideration again. Why? As we’ve said many times on this blog, generally speaking taking transit instead of driving alone results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Operations, Safety and Customer Experience Committee, Thursday, 9 a.m.

•As is done every month, the Operations, Safety and Customer Experience Committee will get an update on crime and policing on the Metro system. Thursday, 9 a.m.

•The Construction Committee will get its regular monthly update on project progress . Thursday, 10:15 a.m.

Here’s an update on the Gold Line 210 Barrier Replacement Project. The project aims to stop vehicles (especially big rigs) from having accidents on the freeway that result in the vehicles ending up in the Golf Line right-of-way (the train runs down the middle of the freeway from Pasadena to Arcadia). There have been 10 such accidents since the Gold Line opened in 2003. Construction Committee, Thursday, 10:15 a.m.

•There will be an oral report and presentation in the Executive Management Committee (Thursday, 11:30 a.m.) on Metro’s four bus rapid transit projects and a possible bus-only lane on Flower Street during the closures of the northern part of the Blue Line later this year.


Helping other passengers, LAX people mover: HWR, March 15

The headline in the Washington Post says it all: “A man soiled himself on [the Washington] Metro, and a passenger did an unusual thing: ask for help.” The story notes LA Metro’s homeless outreach teams , which is unique in the U.S. The tweets included in the article:

In the news…

•The formal groundbreaking ceremony was Thursday for the $4.9-billion LAX automated people mover project. The people mover will connect with the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Lines at Metro’s future Airport Metro Connector station at Aviation Boulevard and 96th Street. Major construction of the station is expected to begin next year and both the station and people mover are forecast to be complete in 2023.

Both the station and future ‘Intermodal Transportation Facilities’ the airport wants to build will have pickup/dropoff areas where people can catch the people mover. The idea is to give people fewer reasons to drive into the very congested airport horseshoe, which I like to think of as the unhappiest place on Earth.

All good stuff. LAX is already the second busiest airport in the U.S. behind Atlanta and will likely stay busy. It’s no secret that airlines prefer LAX over other regional airports (some of which are also small). So the more options to getting to the terminals, the better.

Quasi-related: quote of the day belongs to Supervisor Janice Hahn, as reported by Curbed LA :

“In Los Angeles, the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘hey, can you give me a ride to LAX?’” said Hahn Thursday. “In a few years, our answer to that dreaded question will be ‘no, take Metro.’”

The converse of that: I know more than a few people who consider giving a ride or fetching someone from LAX a great way to advance their chances with a sweetie.

•There has been talk for a few years now of improving rail service between Union Station, Glendale and Burbank. Urbanize LA runs through the options from a Metro study, correctly noting that improving Metrolink service has the lowest price tag. Funding, as usual, will be a big challenge — and hundreds of millions of dollars would need to be found for a new light rail line. Stay tuned.

•The BART Board of Directors voted to endorse State Senate Bill 50, which would allow more housing to be built near busy transit lines, reports Streetsblog . The contentious part of this bill — and a previous version that died last year — is that it usurp local zoning laws and could allow apartments to be built in neighborhoods of single family homes.

The bill’s author, Sen. Scott Wiener, says that he’s made amendments to address concerns over last year’s bill — with a focus on displacement. But I think this bill — intended to help fight the state’s housing crisis — is probably facing an uphill battle. Stay tuned.

•Gothamist rehashes an old post and ponders a question from a reader who wants to know if he should move to Los Angeles. You can guess the answer: No! Why? Gothamist’s Jake Dobkins says the weather is monotonous, the people boring and it’s too hard to get around and socialize.

This has a corollary when it comes to friendship, which is that you will never, ever, see your friends if they live on the opposite side of the city. In the rare event you have close friends who will even consider making the effort, you will spend hours negotiating where to meet. In New York, seeing your friends is easy, even if they live in different boroughs; you can just meet in Manhattan after work, get loaded, and take the subway home. This kind of thing simply doesn’t exist with any regularity in Los Angeles because the distances and costs are too great. Even now, when the advent of Uber has made it possible to have more than two drinks and not get busted for a DUI on the way home, Los Angeles socializing is still light years behind New York’s.

To some extent, this is true — especially when it comes to weeknight socializing. I live in Pasadena and the chance of me heading to the Westside for a weeknight dinner, then back to Pasadena, then back to DTLA the next day has become smaller over the years. We live in a huge area and that means it takes a little extra effort to get out and about. An expanding transit system combined with Uber/Lyft, scooters, denser housing, should help in future years.

As for the rest of the Gothamist post, some kernals of truth and a lot of the same old garbage.


Metro to hold four community meetings to evaluate routes for Crenshaw/LAX Line Northern Extension

Metro is holding four community meetings in March to discuss alternatives to extend the Crenshaw/LAX Line north with transfers and connections to the Metro Expo, Purple and Red Lines as well as numerous heavily traveled bus lines. The public is encouraged to attend and participate in the planning of this key transit project.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line is currently under construction and runs between the Metro Green Line and the Expo Line’s station at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards . With a scheduled opening in 2020, the first phase of the Crenshaw/LAX Line will provide light rail service to the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood and LAX communities.

The Crenshaw Northern Extension is a Measure M-funded project that will continue the line north of Exposition Boulevard and the Expo Line, with the extension serving portions of the cities of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. A feasibility study for the project was released last summer and there are five potential alignments under review (see map above). Metro will be conducting this screening study through fall 2019. Information from this study will be used to help determine which alignment options will be studied further in a formal environmental review process anticipated to begin in early 2020.

The Crenshaw Northern Extension project — when combined with existing and future Metro projects — will ultimately provide a rail connection between the South Bay, LAX area, South Los Angeles, Inglewood, Crenshaw corridor, Mid-City, Central Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Hollywood communities.

Measure M allocates $2.24 billion to the project, with a groundbreaking date of 2041 and project completion date of 2047. Metro is conducting this study now as there are efforts underway to identify funding to accelerate this schedule. This project is one of many funded by Measure M, the sales tax ballot measure approved by 71 percent of L.A. County voters in 2016.

The information at all four community meetings will be identical.

Thursday, March 21, 2019, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Westside Jewish Community Center, 5870 West Olympic Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90036. Accessible via: Metro bus lines 30, 217, 28, 728 and 780. Limited parking in a lot and the street is available.

Saturday, March 23, 2019, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Virginia Road Elementary School, 2925 Virginia Road, Los Angeles, CA 90016. Accessible via: DASH, Metro bus lines 38, 210, 710 and 740. Parking in a lot and street is available.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019, 6 – 8 p.m. United Teachers Los Angeles, 3303 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90010. Accessible via: Metro Red/Purple and DASH, Metro bus lines 18, 20, 51, 52, 201, 204, 720 and 754. Limited street and parking lot available

Thursday, March 28, 2019, 6 – 8 p.m. West Hollywood Library, 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069. Accessible via: DASH, West Hollywood Cityline and Metro bus lines 4, 10, 16, 30, 105 and 704. Limited street and parking lot available.

All Metro meetings are held at ADA accessible facilities. Spanish translation will be provided for all meetings. Korean translation will be provided for the March 26 meeting at United Teachers Los Angeles. Russian translation will be provided for the March 28 meeting at the West Hollywood Library. Other ADA accommodations and translations will be available by calling (323) 466-3876 or California Relay Service at 711 at least 72 hours in advance.

For more information contact the project at (213) 418-3093 or visit crenshawnorth@metro.net or metro.net/crenshawnorth.