All Aboard the Expo Line to Santa Monica

IMG_0450Commuters can now travel by train to the beach, with the opening of the Expo Line extension to Santa Monica. The 1.5-billion dollar project features seven stations, including several in Los Angeles County’s Second District, and the last stop is only half a mile from the iconic Santa Monica Pier.

“After the Pacific Electric Streetcars were decommissioned 63 years ago, many never believed that public transit would ever return to the Westside,” said Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “But today, Metro has made the impossible possible.  Angelenos can now get from Santa Monica all the way to Downtown Los Angeles in just 47 minutes.”

IMG_0454 “Not only will the Expo Line extension improve mobility throughout the region, it will be an economic stimulus for all the neighborhoods that it passes through,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “Its construction has already created thousands of jobs, and I expect its operation will create even more opportunities for more people.”

Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Member James T. Butts said, “We are changing the transportation landscape of L.A. County and providing a transit system for generations to come.”

The Expo Line now stretches 15.2 miles between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Santa Monica, with 19 stations in all. The extension makes up 6.6 miles and 7 stations: Palms, Westwood/Rancho Park, Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy, 27th St/Bergamot, 17th St/Santa Monica College and Downtown Santa Monica. Celebrations and ribbon-cutting ceremonies were held at each of the stations, as the people welcomed their new community asset. Ridership on the Expo Line extension is projected to total 18,000 to 20,000 weekday boardings after the first year of service.

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Thumbs up at the Downtown Santa Monica Station

“For the first time in a generation, Angelenos and visitors from around the world can travel from our skyline to the shoreline without setting foot in their cars, bringing needed relief to some of our most congested corridors,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Second Vice Chair Eric Garcetti.

“This is a really wonderful day for me, partly because I had the privilege of carrying the legislation to create the Exposition Construction Authority,” said Metro Board Member and L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “But the real winners today are all the residents of LA County who can bypass traffic in yet another segment of our region, and look forward to even more!”

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Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at the Palms Station

Service on the Expo Line begins each day at about 4:45 a.m. and continues until about 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends. Trains will run every 12 minutes until about 8 p.m., after which service will be every 20 minutes. A paved bike path runs adjacent to the tracks for most of the route between Culver City and the 17th Street/SMC Station.

A regular Metro fare is $1.75 and includes two hours of free transfers for those using a TAP card. A daily pass that is good for unlimited rides on Metro is $7 and monthly passes are $100. There are discounts available for seniors, the disabled, Medicare recipients and students. Please see taptogo.net for more information on how to apply for discounted fares.

“The opening of the Expo Line extension today is a great reminder that we have come a long way in a short time,” said Metro CEO Phil Washington. “But we still have more to do with easing everyday congestion. We will continue to strive to deliver our investments on time and on budget for the transportation network that Los Angeles County deserves.”

With the Expo Line extension, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority rail system now includes six lines spanning 105 miles.

 

 

 

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.

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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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