Digging Way to Seamless Rail Rides

October 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A boring machine dubbed “Angeli” began its underground journey Wednesday to create tunnels for Metro’s regional connector project, which will link up the Blue, Expo and Gold lines in downtown Los Angeles when completed.

Metro board members, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, were on hand for a ceremonial lowering of the boring machine, which was officially named Angeli, the Latin name for angels.

Will Rogers Middle School eighth-grader Windsor McInerny came up with the winning submission in a naming contest.

“Building out a 21st century transportation system means creating links so that people can get around L.A. County with ease,” Garcetti said. “As ‘Angeli’ digs through the heart of Downtown, she is creating seamless connections for Angelenos from Azusa to Santa Monica.”

Garcetti added that Angelenos will benefit from even more connections soon after another boring machine named “Harriet Tubman” completes digging work on the Crenshaw/LAX line, which will connect stations in Crenshaw and Inglewood to the Green and Expo lines.

The $1.55 million regional connector project is scheduled to be completed in 2021, with Metro officials estimating it could shave off 20 minutes in traveling time for passengers.

The full length of the line including above-ground portions will run a total of 1.9 miles, and include three new stations.

Metro board Chair John Fasana, who is a Duarte city councilman, called the start of tunneling “a major milestone toward the completion of a vital project that truly connects the region by providing a one-seat ride to downtown Los Angeles for users of the Blue, Gold and Expo lines.

“The Regional Connector will reduce travel times for many Metro rail riders and make our system much more convenient and attractive to those who want a transit alternative to driving,” he said.


Boyle Heights: Woman Taking Pictures Hit By Metro Gold Line Train

July 30, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

A woman was recovering this morning after she was struck by a Metro Gold Line train when she got too close to the tracks in Boyle Heights because she was trying to take a photograph, according to authorities.

It occurred at 1149 E. First St. and was reported at 10:10 p.m. Friday, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

The unidentified woman was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

No one on the train was injured, Humphrey said.

The incident was being investigated by the sheriff’s Transit Services Division.

A Bold Transportation Plan

July 28, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

In 2008, Los Angeles County residents took a leap of faith and voted to raise our county-wide sales taxes to fund the construction and maintenance of our transportation infrastructure. Seven years later, Metro conducted a quality of life report to study the impact of that decision on the region. The results are impressive. New rail and bus rapid transit now provides access to more than 300,000 jobs in the region. Nearly 500,000 residents now live within a half mile of projects that opened after passage of Measure R. What’s impressive is that this data was tallied prior to the 2016 openings of the Gold Line extension and Expo Phase II.

For these two reasons, along with the tremendous congestion we all experience every day, the L.A. Area Chamber Board of Directors has voted to formally support Metro’s Traffic Improvement Plan (tentatively Measure M). This ballot measure will add another 1/2 cent sales tax to our infrastructure investment and generate an additional $860 million a year for transportation projects in every city and unincorporated region of L.A. County. Major projects include an LAX Airport Connection, Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont, Westside Purple Line Extension to Westwood, Orange Line conversion to light rail, a transit route through the Sepulveda Pass and more than a dozen highway improvement projects throughout the County.

The plan earmarks more than $4 billion in funding for our vital goods movement corridors and will return 17-20 percent annually to cities for investments in local roads and neighborhoods. It also increases oversight and implements a comprehensive review process every decade to make sure our dollars are going to the projects that make the most sense for the region.

As the largest business organization in L.A. County, the L.A. Area Chamber is dedicated to improving mobility and job opportunities for our residents. A modern transportation infrastructure is the foundation for both.

The November general election ballot will be packed with numerous state and local measures, but none will impact your day to day life in L.A. County more than this Traffic Improvement Plan. I urge you to vote yes on this transformative measure on Nov. 8.

And that’s The Business Perspective.

The Business Perspective is a weekly column by Gary Toebben, President & CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, produced with the input of Public Policy staff.

Gold Line Extension ‘Divides’ Eastside

March 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Variations in the plan to extend Metro’s Gold Line Light Rail down two of the busiest streets in East Los Angeles would further divide a community that has for decades already shouldered more than its share of transportation projects in the region, eastside residents told Metro officials Tuesday.

“Every community must share the burden of traffic,” said Martha Hernandez, who last year advocated against a light rail being included in plans to alleviate traffic congestion between the 710 Long Beach and 210 freeways, from East Los Angeles to South Pasadena.

“East L.A. has no more land to share,” Hernandez said firmly.

Lea este artículo en Español: Línea Dorada ‘Divide’ al Este de Los Ángeles

The Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project aims to extend the Gold Line east from where it currently ends at Atlantic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. The two alternatives Metro is considering include a light rail line along the SR-60 Pomona Freeway that ends in South El Monte, or a north-south connection to Washington Boulevard, which would then travel east with a final stop in the city of Whittier.

Both proposals are similar to the alternatives presented nearly two years ago to residents and the business community, but have now been tweaked to reflect comments received from the community and regulatory agencies, according to Eastside Phase 2 Project Manager Eugene Kim.

The SR-60 NSDV alternative would travel for 6.9 miles along the southern edge of the Pomona Freeway, transitioning briefly to the north side of the freeway, stopping at the Shops of Montebello before continuing on to its final stop on Peck

Road in the city of South El Monte. The cost for this plan is estimated at $1.3 billion.

The Washington Boulevard alternative now includes Arizona Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue, three variations for the north-side connection to Washington Boulevard in the city of Commerce, with a potential stop at the Citadel Outlets. The route would travel 9.5 miles and is estimated to cost up to $1.7 billion.

Metro officials pointed out that unlike two years ago when an aerial rail line was proposed, an underground subway would be used for the new Garfield route.

Kim stressed that no determination has been made on whether the light rail would travel at grade, above grade or below ground in the Arizona and Atlantic variations.

Metro has hosted public meetings on the revised plans in East Los Angeles, Montebello and Whittier. An additional meeting will be held Thursday at the South El Monte Senior Center at 6pm.

On Tuesday, the Washington Boulevard alternative proved to be the most controversial for attendees at the meeting at the East Los Angeles Library. Many of the participants recalled how business suffered when the Gold Line was first extended to the eastside along 3rd Street.

To this day, many in the community to this day say the community and businesses have still not recovered.

“Our businesses will suffer, our kids will suffer while Montebello or Commerce benefit,” complained East L.A. resident Raul Daniel Rubalcaba.

Meeting participants, from East L.A., South El Monte, Montebello, Pico Rivera and other areas were broken up into small groups where they discussed possible benefits and their concerns for each of the alternatives.

A Gold Line light rail train arrives at the Atlantic Station in East Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

A Gold Line light rail train arrives at the Atlantic Station in East Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

What came across loud and clear Tuesday, was East L.A. residents do not want a light rail that travels above ground.

“If a subway is good enough for the people on the Westside, it’s good enough for us,” said Clara Solis.

Most cited the loss of business among their greatest concern.

“We don’t want to transport our customers to the Citadel or The Shops at Montebello,” said Eddie Torres, the owner of a sign company and member of the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.

If the Washington Alternative moves forward, argued Torres, the Citadel and Commerce Casino  would be the winners in the long-run, while eastside residents, forced to live through the construction, traffic and noise would be negatively impacted for the rest of their lives.

“I’ll be dammed if I help send business their way on my grass,” Torres said.
Ben Cardenas, president of the Montebello Unified School District and assistant city manager for the city of Pico Rivera, told residents at his table that the community should really be advocating for both alternatives, something Metro is also considering.

“The goal is to bring mass transit” to the area, said Cardenas. “The bottom line is, are we willing to compromise short term for a long term benefit?”

He said another light rail could bring a new tax base to the eastside community, but only if riders get off and shop.

“These streets are already congested, the alternatives would just kill business,” countered Lily Hernandez.

Opponents of the SR-60 alternative pointed out the list of regulatory agencies that could complicate efforts to move forward. The SR-60 alternative travels near the EPA Superfund site, Southern California Edison transmission lines and near a flood control basin at Whittier Narrows. The north side variation could prevent any plans for widening the Pomona Freeway in the future, they argued.
Nothing has been set in stone, representatives for Sup. Hilda Solis and Metro assured residents.

“Before recommitting to an environmental process we want to get feedback from the community again,” Kim explained.

Kim told EGP the agency has allocated $1.7 billion in Measure R funds for the project. He said the board is looking to allocate additional funds if voters approve a new transit sales tax in November.

Rubalcaba pointed out that when the Montebello residents and business owners complained two years ago that an above grade or at grade route would devastate their community, Metro listened and came back with a less intrusive option. He told the East L.A. residents in the room it was their turn to unite and demand what they want instead of allowing transportation projects to divide their community any further.

“Our grandparents may have let it go, our parents were too busy raising us, but this is where we draw the line.”


Twitter @nancyreporting


Gold Line Service to Little Tokyo Resumes Sunday

March 18, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

After about 10 weeks of construction work, Metro Gold Line service between Union Station and Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles is scheduled to resume Sunday.

Metro officials said crews have completed track-relocation work at First and Alameda streets as part of construction on the Regional Connector, a subway designed to provide seamless connections between the Expo, Gold and Blue lines. The connector is scheduled for completion in 2020.

The work began in early January, forcing the closure of the Little Tokyo Gold Line station and requiring passengers to take shuttle buses between Union Station and the Pico-Aliso station. With the work completed, rail travel will resume at the beginning of service Sunday morning.

“This was intense construction work that needed to be done to prepare the area for the insertion of the tunnel-boring machine later this year to begin actual tunnel mining for the project,” Metro CEO Phillip Washington said. “We want to thank the businesses, residents, motorists and Gold Line riders for their patience during this critical work and are pleased to once again restore Metro Gold Line service to the Little Tokyo area.”

Metro officials noted that the First and Alameda intersection will likely be closed for three 55-hour weekend periods in May to prepare for construction of the First Street/Central Station. Plans for those closures have not been finalized.

Metro Gold Line Expansion East Brings Rail to More Commuters

March 10, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Metro Gold Line grew by 11.5 miles last week, extending through Arcadia, Irwindale, Monrovia, Duarte and Azusa, making it the transportation agency’s longest rail line and pushing the overall rail system close to the 100-mile mark.

The Foothill extension of the Gold Line, which opened to commuters last Friday, brings the route to 31 miles overall, connecting the San Gabriel Valley with downtown and East Los Angeles.

A host of elected and transportation officials — County Supervisors Hilda Solis, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Mike Antonovich, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Duarte Mayor John Fasana and Metro CEO Phillip Washington — took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Duarte/City of Hope station where they touted the new service as an important step in reducing traffic congestion in the region.

“Whether you live in the San Gabriel Valley or downtown L.A., easing congestion is a goal shared by everyone in our region,” said Garcetti, who is also the second vice chair of the Metro board. “The Gold Line Foothill Extension is the first Measure R rail project to enter service, and it embodies our dreams for the future of L.A. County — a place with a truly comprehensive transit system that gets us around faster, helps us breathe easier, and moves our economy forward.”

The $1 billion extension includes six new rail stations, providing access to locations such as City of Hope hospital, Azusa Pacific University, Citrus College and Santa Anita Racetrack.

Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said the opening of the line will push the overall Metro rail system to 98.5 miles. The system will cross the 100-mile mark on May 20, when the Expo Line is extended 6.6 miles from Culver City to Santa Monica.

Metro officials noted that shuttle buses are still being used between the Union Station and the Gold Line’s Pico/Aliso station due to construction on the Regional Connector rail project in downtown Los Angeles.

Metro officials also reminded San Fernando Valley residents that they can take advantage of the new 501 Line express bus connection the Metro Red/Orange Line station in North Hollywood with the Gold Line’s Del Mar and Memorial Park stations in Pasadena. The buses will run every 30 minutes, and cost $2.50 per trip.

The opening of the new rail line, however, faced an unexpected setback just one day after opening when both sides of the Metro Gold Line were forced to shut down after a truck crashed and burned on the Foothill (210) Freeway near San Gabriel Boulevard and came to rest on the tracks in the center of the freeway, officials said.

The crash damaged the wires that power the trains, said Lt. J. Wargo of Sheriff’s Transit Services, suspending service for about 24 hours. The wreckage was cleared from the tracks, but shuttles were used to get Metro riders around the closure, spokesman Dave Sotero said.

Service was restored in time for the Monday rush hour commute.

The Gold Line extension is expected to carry 13,600 passengers per day by 2035.

Plan Ahead: Section of Gold Line to Close Nov. 20

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Metro will temporarily shut down Gold Line service between Union Station and the Pico/Aliso Station during the Nov. 20 weekend as part of pre-construction work for the Regional Connector Transit Project.

The preliminary closure will run from Friday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. until Monday, Nov. 23 at 5 a.m.

Major work on the connector transit project calls for workers to move existing Metro Gold Line tracks at 1st Street and Alameda 40 feet north in order to reconfigure the southern station entrance of the existing Little Tokyo Gold Line Station.

Work will begin Dec. 4 at p.m. and take up to three moths to complete, according to Metro.

During that time, there will be no Gold Line train service between Union Station and the Pico/Aliso Gold Line Station. The transit agency says it will operate a bus shuttle service between the two stations, giving Gold Line riders service to the Little Tokyo area and Pico/Aliso station. Riders will need to get off the Gold Line at Union Station or the Gold Line Pico/Aliso station to board the shuttle buses.

Travel delays should be expected, and travelers should adjust their travel schedules through the area, Metro advised.

Vehicle drivers should also expect lane closures and detours through the area during construction.

Once completed in late February 2016, Gold Line train service will be restored to normal operation with a modified south entrance, Metro said.

According to Metro, the “Regional Connector Transit Project completes a 1.9-mile segment between the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.” The transit agency expects the new rail line to attract 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to over 88,000 passengers when completed in 2020.

“It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.”

For more information on the project and for construction updates, visit metro.net/regionalconnector


Breves de la Comunidad

August 13, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Glassell Park

Alexis Madera, 18, fue detenido el miércoles por presuntamente disparar a una mujer en la mañana del martes.

Desiree Ramírez, 31, de Los Ángeles, fue encontrada muerta alrededor de las 2:40 am en un vehículo estacionado en la entrada de una casa en la cuadra 3200 de Isabel Drive. Había recibido un disparo en la parte superior del cuerpo.

Madera fue fichado bajo sospecha de asesinato y esta detenido bajo una fianza de $1 millón de dólares, informó el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles.

No se ofrecieron detalles de porqué le disparó.


Este de Los Ángeles

Un hombre de 78 años quien murió al ser atropellado por un vehículo el domingo al tratar de cruzar la autopista 5, fue identificado como Plez Williamson, dijo el médico forense Craig Harvey.

Los oficiales de la Patrulla de Caminos de California (CHP) llegaron a las 12:30am y encontraron al hombre sin movimiento al norte de la Calle Triggs, dijo el oficial de CHP, C. Richardson.

Se desconoce porqué estaba corriendo cuando fue golpeado cerca del divisor central de la autopista.


Boyle Heights

Un hombre fue asesinado a tiros en una estación de metro el sábado alrededor de las 7:15pm.   El tiroteo fue reportado en el bloque 2300 de la calle Primera en la estación de Soto de la Línea Dorada de Metro, dijo el oficial Mike Barraza de la Oficina del Alguacil.

Tres sujetos se acercaron a la víctima que estaba cerca de los elevadores iniciando una discusión. Uno de los tres sospechosos sacó una pistola y le disparó a la víctima varias veces, dijo Barraza.

Los sospechosos huyeron hacia el oeste por la calle Primera y desaparecieron. La víctima fue llevada un hospital, donde fue declarado muerto, dijo Barraza.

Quien tenga información puede llamar a la Oficina de Homicidios del Alguacil al (323) 890-5500.



Un pequeño avión que jalaba una pancarta tuvo que aterrizar de emergencia el viernes al lado del río de Los Ángeles en Vernon, dijeron las autoridades.

No está claro qué provocó el aterrizaje de emergencia de la Piper PA-25 Pawnee alrededor de la 1:10pm en las inmediaciones de los bulevares Atlantic y Bandini, Ian Gregor de la Administración Federal de Aviación dijo.

El piloto, el único ocupante del avión, resultó ileso y el avión no estaba dañado, dijo Gregor.


Boyle Heights

Un hombre que conducía un camión robado llevó a las autoridades a una persecución el lunes, de Santa Clarita a Boyle Heights. La persecución comenzó poco después de las 9am sobre la autopista 5, y continuó hacia un área al este del centro de Los Ángeles.

Entonces el hombre se alejó del lado de la autopista por un campo, y estrelló el camión en una berma de hormigón al lado de la carretera.

El hombre abandonó la camioneta, corrió a un vecindario de Boyle Heights poco antes de las 10am y se sentó en una acera en espera de los oficiales. Se rindió sin incidentes.

Free Concert Today at Union Station

May 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In the mood for some great music? Head to Union Station this evening where East L.A. based Camalanche will perform from 4-6 p.m in the East Portal.

The Chicano-Jarocho group plays and promotes the traditional Son Jarocho in the spirit of the fandango, a celebration of music and dance.

Get a taste of the groups exciting sound then head across the street for dinner and shopping at Olvera Street or take Metro to other local hot spots for an evening of great fun without the hassle of looking for parking.

East L.A.-based Chicano-Son Jarocho group Camalanche.

East L.A.-based Chicano-Son Jarocho group Camalanche.

Continue the weekend fun Saturday by celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month with a special Metro Art Moves tour. The tour, led by artist and curator Sam Lee, starts at 10:30 a.m., at the Gold Line Chinatown Station – street level – before continuing on to tour stops The Wheels of Change of Chusien Chang in Chinatown Station, Through the Looking Glass or Traveling at the Speed ??of Light (Rail) Clement Hanami station at East LA / Civic Center.

The tour ends at noon – just in time for lunch. We suggest you go to Purgatory Pizza, opposite the Pico/Aliso station. Show your TAP card and receive 10% off your order.

Pedestrian Fatally Struck by Gold Line Train in Highland Park

April 13, 2015 by · 5 Comments 

[Updated: April 16, 12:10 p.m.]

A pedestrian was struck and killed by a Metro Gold Line light train Monday morning in Highland Park.

At around 11:13 a.m., a Metro train traveling southbound struck a pedestrian at Avenue 61 and Figueroa Street, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The fatally injured man was in his 30s, said coroner’s Chief Craig Harvey. His name was not immediately released.

Los Angeles Police Department officials said the death was being investigated as a possible suicide.

Authorities were on the scene in Highland Park of a train-on-pedestrian accident on Monday. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Authorities were on the scene in Highland Park of a train-on-pedestrian accident on Monday. (EGP photo by Jacqueline Garcia)

Several witnesses at the scene said it appeared the man intentionally walked in front of the train. Ivan Gomez-Moron and Gena Lopez were both relaxing in the park just a few feet away and said they noticed the man—described as Latino, 35-40 years old—watching the trains pass by.

Gomez-Moron told EGP he at first thought the man was a “Metro or city employee” because he was wearing a blue shirt, blue pants, black shoes and carrying a bag, but noticed the man was acting suspicious.

“It looks like he was building courage to jump,” Gomez-Moron said.

The victim watched two trains go by then disappeared from sight when a third train passed by, witnesses said. Hearing the loud noise caused by the crash, Lopez and Gomez-Moran said they ran to investigate; that’s when they noticed the man’s bag on the ground where he had been standing.

“The Metro was making popping noises” and then it stopped, Lopez said. “That’s when I knew the train had hit him.”

Several other people said they too heard loud noises and then saw small pieces of debris flying in the air.

Gomez-Moron said he picked up the man’s discarded bag and noticed before turning it over to police that “there was a bible inside.”

None of the 70 passengers on board the train were seriously injured, Metro spokesperson Luis Inzunza told EGP. He said all the passengers were interviewed before being released.

The train’s female operator was in shock and transported to receive counseling services, according to Inzunza.

Buses were initially brought in to shuttle passengers between the Southwest Museum and South Pasadena stations until mid-afternoon, when service resumed with trains sharing a track at the Highland Park station. At about 5:30 p.m., service resumed on both tracks, but Metro spokesman Joe Lemon said service was still limited, with three-car trains running every 20 minutes.

Regular service has since resumed.

According to Lemon, The Gold Line is Metro’s safest rail line, said Lemon, adding that the two fatalities on the rail line since it opened in 2003 were both suicides. LAPD Officer Herrera said they are asking any witnesses of the incident to call the Northeast Station at (323) 344-5701.

[An earlier version of this article did not have the correct year the rail line opened.]

Information from City News Service used in this report.

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