Crenshaw/LAX Line Construction Hits Halfway Point

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The $2-billion Crenshaw/LAX Line that will ultimately take commuters straight to the airport is now halfway complete, prompting a community celebration at Leimert Park Village.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who chairs the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said residents affected by the construction project deserve a “thank you” for their patience during construction.

“The communities surrounding this Line have endured traffic, noise, dust and other nuisances over the past two years,” he said. “Their sacrifice has not been in vain, as we already have a lot to show for it.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Councilmen Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Herb Wesson with the tunnel boring machine beneath Crenshaw Blvd.

“The Crenshaw/LAX line is being built by local community members, and millions of dollars have been granted to local businesses,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added.

Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, City Council members Herb Wesson, Matt Bonin and Marqueece Harris-Dawson also attended the festivities.

Metro CEO Phillip Washington said hitting the halfway point of construction is a “huge milestone for the community, for Metro and for the County.”

“As a community, we must remain united in the goal of creating an infrastructure inheritance for our children,” he added. “We are building not only for today, but for their future and the next one hundred years.

Slated for completion in 2019, the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line will have eight stations, with the northernmost connecting to the Expo Line and the southernmost to the Green Line. It will serve passengers in the Crenshaw District, Leimert Park, Inglewood, Westchester, Los Angeles International Airport, and points in between.

Funded through Measure R, a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008, the Crenshaw/LAX Line is projected to have a daily ridership of 13,000 to 16,000. It would be the first to serve the area since street cars – dubbed “Yellow Cars” – stopped running in the 1950’s.

To date, workers have excavated the rail line’s three underground stations beneath Exposition Boulevard. The tunnel boring machine, named Harriet after civil rights trailblazer Harriet Tubman, has begun drilling a path for trains underneath Crenshaw Boulevard.

Meanwhile, workers are busy building bridges that will span the 405 Freeway, La Brea Avenue, Manchester and Century Boulevards, and connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line to the Green Line. They are expected to begin installing railroad tracks later this year.

Harriet

The tunnel boring machine named “Harriet” beneath Crenshaw Boulevard

Metro Invites Public Input on $120-B Transportation Plan

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Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Inglewood Station platform

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors is soliciting public input on $120 billion worth of transit and highway projects it envisions building with funds from a possible ballot measure in November. With the list of projects extending from Lancaster to Long Beach, the expenditure plan is aimed at fully building out Los Angeles County’s transportation system and reducing congestion.

“This expenditure plan brings us a step closer to defining what projects are needed and where the funding could come from,” Metro CEO Phillip Washington said. “As Metro plans for future growth and transportation needs, it is imperative that we look at all mechanisms at our disposal to ensure the region’s mobility needs are met.”

Those wanting to comment on the expenditure plan can go to Metro’s website, Facebook or Twitter; send an email to theplan@metro.net; or attend community meetings and town halls in April and May.

Metro’s Board of Directors will decide in June whether to ask voters to increase the countywide sales tax by a half-cent through 2057, and to extend an existing half-cent sales tax called Measure R to 2057. If approved, the ballot measure would raise $120 billion over 40 years.

“We want to continue on the path of making this a transparent and inclusive process, and public review begins with the release of this expenditure plan,” Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas said.

The foundation of the plan consists of 36 major highway and transit projects, as well as projects designed to improve and enhance mobility and system connectivity. Several are in the Second District, including a train station/transit center on the Crenshaw/LAX Line where passengers can take a people mover directly to to LAX. Other projects include:

  • Purple Line Extension subway to Westwood, a decade earlier than currently planned
  • Vermont Transit Corridor improvements between the Expo Line and Red/Purple Lines;
  • LA River Bike Path connecting downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley;
  • ExpressLanes on the 405 Freeway over the Sepulveda Pass, where a rail line could later be added to connect the Orange and Purple Lines and, eventually, LAX;
  • ExpressLanes on the 105 Freeway between the 405 and 605;
  • Bus Rapid Transit between the Orange Line and Red Line in North Hollywood, and the Gold Line in Pasadena.

The complete list is posted at www.metro.net/theplan.

Aside from transit and highway projects, the expenditure plan invests in pedestrian and bike paths, commuter rail and transit operations. There are also projects intended to keep buses, trains, bridges, tunnels and other facilities in good repair; reduce congestion; hasten the movement of goods on highways; and keep fares low for seniors and students.

Metro projected the expenditure plan’s benefits include increasing the overall number of transit riders by 3.2 billion over 40 years, cutting the number of miles traveled in vehicles by 5 million a day, and four percent reduction in greenhouse gases.

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Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Aviation/Century Station

Gold Line Extends Public Transit’s Reach

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Public transit now reaches more Los Angeles County communities than ever before, with the opening of the 11.5-mile Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension through the San Gabriel Valley.

1MZ_7792“Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa have joined Metro’s Transit Revolution and millions of Angelenos stand to benefit,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who chairs the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

With the extension, the Gold Line has become Los Angeles’ longest rail line, with 27 stations over 31 miles. The extension is the first project completed with funding from the Measure R half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008

The $1-billion extension connects the Foothills by rail to Pasadena and the rest of the Metro Rail System, which now spans 98.5 miles overall. It features six new stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte/City of Hope, Irwindale, Azusa Downtown and APU2MZ_3354 (1)/Citrus College.

Passengers aboard the Gold Line can now travel between downtown Los Angeles and APU/Citrus College in only 65 minutes.

“Metro is working hard to rid ourselves of the moniker that Los Angeles is the car capital of the world,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “With this Gold Line Extension, Metro now operates almost 100 miles of rail – a mark we will surpass on May 20th when we open the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica.”

Also this month, on May 7th, Metro will mark the halfway point of completing the 8.5-mile north-south Crenshaw/LAX Line that would link the Expo and Green Lines, and provide a link to the Los Angeles International Airport.
Rediscover Gold Fact Sheet

A Cutting-Edge Facility for Metro Buses

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has opened a $120-million state-of-the-art facility near Union Station for fueling, repairing and parking its growing fleet of buses.

Supervisor and Metro Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas led the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Division 13 Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility, built with eco-friendly innovations.

Screen Shot 2016-02-08 at 2.51.38 PM“We prioritized both form and function,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “Beyond ensuring that buses operate safely and reliably, Division 13 stands as a model of great design and sustainability.”

Constructed over three years, Division 13 features skylights and white-colored interiors that reflect light, reducing the need for electricity. Making it even more energy-efficient are solar arrays mounted on the rooftop and façade, as well as shade structures and natural ventilation.

Beneath the facility is a 275,000-gallon cistern with a system of pumps and filters that reuse rainwater for washing buses. On the roof is a garden with native California plants that prevent storm water run-off and the urban heat island effect.

160129_018 (1)Division 13 is also distinguished by a unique artwork entitled El Aliso de Los Angeles, commemorating a centuries-old tree that used to stand near the site. Created by Christine Ulke, it features a massive graphite pencil rendering on translucent panels that are lit from within, emulating a lantern.

Metro Chief Executive Officer Phillip Washington said, “This advanced facility is a concrete example of how innovative thought can go from the drawing board to the street corner. We are committed to many more forward-thinking projects like this one.”

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Harriet Paves the Way

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority paid homage to a civil rights heroine while preparing to clear a path for the Crenshaw/LAX Line about 80 feet beneath South Los Angeles.

Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas led a dedication ceremony on February 1st to name the Line’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) after abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who delivered dozens of slaves into freedom via a network of secret routes and safe houses called the Underground Railroad.

MVA_1658“I can think of no better way to kick off Black History Month than to name the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s tunnel boring machine after Harriet Tubman, the legendary conductor of the Underground Railroad,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said. “I am confident that this marvel of engineering now known as ‘Harriet’ will carry on its namesake’s legacy of forging new paths to greater opportunities.”

Like ships, TBMs are named before being put to work for the first time, to bring good luck.

With a front end resembling a 20-foot tall cheese grater, and as long as 10 school buses placed end-to-end, “Harriet” still has to be lowered underground, and then assembled over several weeks. It would then spend just over a year drilling twin mile-long tunnels to connect three underground train stations where Crenshaw Boulevard intersects with Exposition Boulevard; Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard; and Vernon Ave. near Leimert Park. The Line ascends to street level beyond that point.

“Today is about more than just launching the tunnel boring machine, it is about the promise we have made to help our communities move forward,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “The Crenshaw/LAX Line will serve riders who have been historically underserved and, in doing so, it will ease congestion and get Angelenos to the people and places they love.”

Slated for completion in 2019, the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line would be the first to serve the Crenshaw District and Inglewood since streetcars were decommissioned in the 1950’s.

MVA_1367It will have eight stations – the northernmost connecting to the Expo Line, and southernmost to the Green Line, where passengers will be able to  get on a people mover to the Los Angeles International Airport. It is projected to have a daily ridership of 13,000 to 16,000.

Metro held a contest to name and embellish its TBM. Students submitted more than 230 essays and artworks, which drew 50,000 votes online. Harriet, proposed by 11th grader Calvin Mosely of City Honors High School in Inglewood, emerged as the crowd favorite. The winning artwork was a colorful drawing by 3rd grader Brittany Hernandez of Lloyd Owen Knox Elementary School in Los Angeles.

In honor of the TBM, local restaurants Earlez Grill, Brooklyn Deli, Jordan’s Hot Dogs and Southern Girl Desserts have each named a dish “Harriet.” Metro Board member and Inglewood Mayor James Butts said Metro would continue to provide support to businesses along the route while construction is ongoing and thanked the businesses for their patience.

“The progress we’re seeing today is only the first of many exciting milestones we’ll experience in 2016,” said Metro CEO Phillip Washington. “In March, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa will open and in late spring we will cut the ribbon on the Metro Expo Line extension to Santa Monica. These developments demonstrate that investment in transportation moves our County forward now and in the future.”

Rendering of the Leimert Park Station, which will be underground.

Rendering of the Leimert Park Station, which will be underground.