Even though there is no station in Bell Gardens currently proposed for a light rail project that would connect riders from Downtown Los Angeles to Artesia, Mayor Pro Tem Pedro Aceituno recognizes the impact access to regional transit would have for a community that has far too long been isolated from the rest of the county.
His words came last week during a legislative briefing in Paramount where elected officials from across the southeast region pushed for funding a light rail project proposed by Eco-Rapid Transit, a joint powers authority made up of twelve cities and the Bob Hope Airport Authority.
“It is going to open doors,” Aceituno noted, pointing out the economic opportunities for his constituents. “This gives folks an opportunity to apply for jobs further away,” that otherwise they could not reach, he said.
Eco-Rapid’s rail system would run from Union Station to Artesia with stops in Vernon, Huntington Park, Bell, South Gate, Downey, Paramount and Bellflower.
“The current [transit] system has for far too long avoided the southeast,” said Assembly Speaker-Elect Anthony Rendon, whose 63rd district includes many southeast cities.
“The region is desperately in need of a rail service,” Rendon urged.
The communities along the proposed rail route are some of the densest areas in the region and would benefit greatly from the rail line being built, said representatives from the area one after the other.
Edgar Cisneros, who serves as a board member for the Montebello Unified School Board and as city manager for the city of Huntington Park, told EGP even the cities without a station within its borders would benefit. MUSD has schools in the cities of Bell Gardens, Commerce, East Los Angeles, Montebello, Monterey Park and Pico Rivera.
“Many kids aren’t walking to school, they have to rely on school buses,” he said. Regional transit is a “convenient and cheap way that allow parents to ride with their children.”
The southeast has not seen any new transit projects since 1995 when the Green Line opened. After decades on the shelf, Sen. Tony Mendoza said it’s time to make the rail project a reality.
“For many, the bus is the only means of transportation and this project will help families travel to the rest of the county,” Mendoza told EGP.
A recent Metro study found the proposed project would connect 4 million residents to regional transportation and have an estimated daily ridership of up to 80,000 people – more than any current or proposed light rail line in the Los Angeles area. If built, the Eco-Rapid rail project could create thousands of jobs for a region where the unemployment rate is a high as 16 percent in some areas, supporters said.
“The project will create economic development opportunities in and around each station,” Mendoza emphasized.
Diane Dubois, Director of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and councilwoman for the city of Lakewood, however, noted that finding funding could be a problem. With a price tag of $4 billion, it will take a lot more than the $240 million the agency has secured in Measure R funds.
Extending the voter-approved Measure R half-cent sales tax and new sales taxes is key to funding the project, said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. Gov. Brown recently approved a bill allowing Metro to ask voters for a tax increase, which could generate as much as a $120 billion.
On Thursday Metro approved $18 million of Measure R funding for the pre-development and planning of the light rail line.
“This investment of resources brings us closer to ensuring that the necessary funds are available to develop and build the light rail to completion,” Mendoza said in statement.
Mass transit projects ease the number of cars on the road, reducing the amount of road maintenance required over the years, pointed out Sen. James T. Bell, who serves as chair of the California State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing. He told local elected officials to consider what the direct impact would be to each of the municipality’s general fund.
The longer Los Angeles County residents wait to address mass transit projects, the higher the cost will be, Bell said. “If we don’t act it doesn’t keep things the same, it makes it worse,” he said.
Mendoza asked the city leaders to begin educating their constituents on the need to pass a transit tax.
Using the Gold Line Extension as an example, Rendon described how the rail system helped connect eastside communities along the route to downtown.
As proposed, the southeast rail project would use the abandoned West Santa Ana Branch right-of-way. The goal is to complete the project by 2027, with subsequent links to Santa Clarita and possibly the High Speed Rail lines in Norwalk.
“This project will dramatically change mobility for an area that has waited for decades,” said Dubois.
Update: Feb. 26 11:40 a.m. included new funding approved by Metro; statement from Sen. Tony Mendoza.
Metro officials announced Monday the start of express bus service that will provide more frequent and faster commutes between San Pedro and downtown Los Angeles.
The Silver Line Express, which uses the I-110 Harbor Freeway ExpressLanes, will save riders 15-20 minutes each trip, with fares costing $2.50 per trip, Metro officials said.
The service includes a 950X line that runs every 20 minutes during peak “rush hour” times, while an off-peak 910 line will run every half-hour and make more frequent stops than the peak line. On the weekends and holidays, a 950 line will run every 40 minutes.
The express service replaces the 450 line and eliminates the need to transfer at the Harbor Gateway Transit Center, Metro officials said.
“We had two popular lines – the Silver Line and the 450 – and we combined them to improve service, convenience and reach for our patrons,” Metro CEO Phil Washington said. “The new line is also taking advantage of the speed offered by another of our projects: the Harbor Freeway ExpressLanes.”
The Silver Line Express is aimed at making it easier for San Pedro residents to get to downtown Los Angeles, while also encouraging more people to visit the San Pedro area.
The Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro is offering free admission to Metro riders as part of a promotion lasting until Jan. 31, after which Metro customers will be able to get $2 off admission.
“With increased frequency and service now extending all the way into San Pedro, the Silver Line provides a premiere path for Angelenos to access all of the unique destinations in the South Bay and beyond that is easy, convenient and affordable,” said Metro board Chair and county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
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
Opening Reception Corazon de Los Angeles Anniversary Show Featuring Chicano Master Artist George Yepes
Master artist to the stars, George Yepes will unveil his latest work at Corazon de Los Angeles, historic Olvera Street’s newest gallery on Saturday, June 27, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
The aptly named gallery is located in the heart of Los Angeles, at El Pueblo Historical Monument in Downtown Los Angeles, the city of L.A.’s birthplace. Corazon de Los Angeles is celebrating it’s third anniversary with new works by the world renown Chicano artist who grew up in East Los Angeles and was a significant contributor to Los Angeles’ most iconic murals and the growth of Chicano art to popularity and acclaim beyond Los Angeles.
Yepes’ paintings are in the personal art collections of Hollywood’s most cutting edge actors and filmmakers including Sean Penn, Madonna, Patricia Arquette, Nicolas Cage, Cheech Marin, Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez.
“George’s work grabs you by the lapels and makes you feel as if you’re discovering art for the first time. He’s a master painter in the best sense, the art comes through him not from him. That is rare,” Director Robert Rodriguez said.
Joining Yepes in the exhibit – which runs through July 19 – are several former students of his art academy, the Academia de Arte Yepes at Academia de Artes Yepes : Juan Solis, Maria Kane, Gene Ortega, Saul Aguilera, Ricardo Estrada and Ulie Garcia, Ben Morales – all now accomplished artists in their own right.
Meet the artists and enjoy some light refreshments, music. Free admission. Corazon LA is located at W-19A (2nd level above La Golondrina Restaurant)) on the historical Olvera Street marketplace. (634 N. Main St.) L.A.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (213) 617-0227 or visit on facebook: Corazon de Los Angeles’s Corazon de Los Angeles’ Facebook page.
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.
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.
Friday, Jan. 23
8-10pm—Jazz Up Your Night at Union Station! Metro Presents free performance by Kamasi Washington & The Next Step. The musicians will be performing new jazz, soul, classical, and hip-hop. Doors open at 7:45 p.m. & there will be two 45-minute sets. DJ Carlos Niño will be spinning before and in between sets. Admission will be on a first come, first served basis. Union Station is accessible via Metro Rail, Metro Bus and several municipal bus lines. Use the Trip Planner at metro.net for routes and connections. Bicycle parking is also available on site.
Saturday, Jan. 24
9am-2pm–Montebello Unified School District and The Children’s Partnership host Covered CA Enrollment event at Montebello Teacher’s Association Conference Center. English and Spanish-speaking certified enrollment counselors and representatives from health insurance plans will be available to families and individuals. The event is free and open to the public. Free childcare will be provided and refreshments will be available. MTA conference center is located at 920 Whittier Blvd.
10am-2pm–Grand Re-Opening of Rosewood Library. Celebrate the opening of the renovated Commerce library. Enjoy performances, children’s activities and more. Library is located at 5655 Jillson St. For info, call (323) 722-6660.
12pm-4pm–Commerce 55th Birthday Celebration at Rosewood Park. Event will feature free shuttle buses, kiddie trains, interactive games, live entertainment, obstacle courses, free food and refreshments. Park is located at 5600 Harbor St. For info, call (323) 887-4434.
10am-3pm—Glassell Park Farmers’ Market in the Goodwill Parking Lot (San Fernando & Fletcher). Local honey, great tamales, and more.
2pm—Rosy Simas Presents We Wait in the Darkness at the Autry Museum in Griffith Park. Contemporary dancer/choreographer Rosy Simas (Seneca) combines music, dance, film, and narration to explore her family’s heritage and themes of loss and resilience. Included with Museum Admission / Free for Autry Members. No reservations necessary. For more information, visit theautry.org.
Volunteers needed for Cypress Park Community Clean Up on Jan. 31 from 8:30 to 11:30 am. Wear comfortable work clothes. Meet at Nightingale Middle School: 3311 N. Figueroa St., LA 90065. Continental breakfast & lunch served to volunteers. For more information, call Jose Rodriguez at (3213) 550-1538.
Night on Broadway Jan. 31 Celebrating the 7th Anniversary of the Bringing Back Broadway Initiative. Celebration will feature booths, art exhibits, a vintage car show, food trucks and programming in six of Broadway’s historic and often closed-to-the-public theatres including the Million Dollar, Los Angeles, Palace, Tower, Orpheum, and the Theatre at Ace Hotel. The Event is free, open to all ages. Time: 5pm-10pm. For info, visit nightonbroadway.la
VITA Income Tax Preparation Assistance Begins Feb. 2nd at Plaza de La Raza in Lincoln Heights. Plaza provides FREE income tax preparation to qualified individuals. Plaza is located at 3540 N. Mission Rd, LA 90031. Contact Mayra, Francis or Carolyn to schedule an appointment (323) 223-2475.
Miles de personas llegaron a Union Station para celebrar el 75 aniversario del transporte público histórico de Los Ángeles. La estación fue construida en 1939 por la firma de los famosos padre e hijo Parkinson y Parkinson conocidos por sus construcciones de varios lugares icónicos en Los Ángeles incluyendo el Coliseo y el edificio City Hall.
Actualmente la estación sirve a aproximadamente 97,000 personas entre semana y es considerada la Terminal más grande de trenes en el oeste de Estados Unidos.
Durante la celebración se presentaron espectáculos musicales, los nuevos autobuses de Metro y de Amtrak, hubo paseos gratis en MetroLink y decenas de mesas con información sobre Union Station, los autobuses, metros, trenes y sus servicios.
Read Full Story in English: L.A. Union Station Celebrates 75 Years with Music, Nostalgia and Trains