To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hyperloop Meets Politics: Visionary Idea Probably Won't Stand A Chance, Expert Says


August 13, 2013

 hyperloop poltics
An image released by Tesla Motors is a conceptual design rendering of the Hyperloop passenger transport capsule. One expert says the idea doesn't stand a chance.

Even if he builds it, they probably won’t come.

A day after Elon Musk unveiled details on his futuristic plan for a superspeed alternative method of transport between Los Angeles and San Francisco, an expert steeped in the business of transportation systems told The Huffington Post that the politics opposing such a proposal would be extremely difficult to overcome in the short-term.

“People are afraid to change,” Stephen Trent, a New York-based analyst for Citigroup who follows train and plane manufacturers, said of Hyperloop. “Even if he can demonstrate a prototype to other companies and government officials and show that this idea actually works, you’re still going to have a lot of obstacles, politically, before you get to the point where there’s a push on companies to do this.”

“Mastering the technology is one thing,” Trent said. “Then you have several layers of political and economic viability. Who's going to foot the bill? What economic and political constituencies stand to lose out?”

On Monday, billionaire industrialist Musk released a 57-page “alpha design” that addressed many questions about the viability of an alternative commuter system he’s mentioned several times in the past. Heavy on technical protocols, the design laid out a vision for a system of pods traveling at speeds exceeding 700 miles per hour inside a network of pressurized steel tubes. The pods would carry at least 28 people, according to the design, and would turn the current six-hour commute from Los Angeles to San Francisco into a 30-minute affair.

Musk did not commit to developing the technology -- other than perhaps by investing in the initial research and development needed to create a prototype.

“I’m just putting this out there as an open source design,” Musk told Businessweek Monday. At a press conference with reporters later, he noted, "Maybe I could do the beginning bit ... and then hand it over to somebody else."

That dynamic is unlikely to fly, Citigroup analyst Trent noted, given the fact that construction of major transportation infrastructure in the United States is a field fraught with political pitfalls.

“Maybe you have politician X, Y or Z that has budget procured to improve a station served by the current technology. And if the new technology takes over, they wouldn’t be able to use those funds,” Trent said. “That would make people mad.”

“The main clients for this type of infrastructure in this country are governmental bodies that don’t do decisions based on economics,” Trent added. “They make decisions based on protecting their turf, among other things.”

Several commenters have already pointed out that Musk's proposal seems to unduly minimize the potential roadblocks his visionary idea could face due to political factors.

Writing for The Atlantic, Senior Editor Alexis Madrigal noted that, while Musk’s plan minimizes the amount of land that must be bought or seized when compared to a standard high-speed rail project, it would still range in the tens of thousands of acres. That could open a veritable Pandora’s box of political problems. The Washington Post pointed out that many local constituencies will use any construction project, whether they support it, oppose it or are indifferent to it, to extract special –- and costly -- concessions for their communities. Meanwhile, Gizmodo chimed in on the fact the Hyperloop would have to be a painfully curve-free ride, which means it would almost definitely run into obstacles it would have to clear through eminent domain, tunnel-digging or other politically sensitive tactics.

It is possible, of course, that Musk’s idea could revolutionize the way companies that develop major transportation technology think about their industry. A consortium of companies might decide to go forward and develop the technology privately and not for a government client -- providing private-sector solutions to political issues.

But Trent, the Citigroup analyst, said he isn't sure that the right kind of culture exists among U.S. transportation systems manufacturers to support that kind of dynamic. In fact, he added, companies often want to protect the status quo.

“Why would they invest in this new technology that’s going to make all the projects they’ve been working on for years obsolete?" Trent said. “Why don’t they go ahead and shoot themselves in the foot while they’re at it?”

Bruce Katz: L.A. Is Coming Into Its Own


By Shayna Rose Arnold, August 13, 2013


You could say Bruce Katz is an expert on cities—all cities. The vice president of the Brookings Institution is the founder and co-director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and a contributor to The Atlantic Cities, which explores the ways in which neighborhoods shape the global economy and culture. He’s also recently written a book with Brookings Fellow Jennifer Bradley called The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile EconomyIn it Katz argues that metro areas retain enormous power—both political and financial—and that city governments can solve problems the federal government today cannot. Curious what he had to say about Los Angeles and our position in this bigger picture, we called his Washington D.C. office to find out.

In a Global-everything world, why do you think real power exists at a local level?

As the world becomes flat, what we’ve done in some respects is revalue places where assets and advantages are concentrated. Cities have always had an economic function going back millennia, but in today’s world they are even more important because they are the mash-up of the institutions and innovative firms and talented workers that drive economies forward. Cities are more connected than ever been before but what that has done is really reinforce the power of place and the importance of proximity.

Thanks to our city charter, the office of the mayor of Los Angeles is not as powerful as that of other cities, like New York. How might that affect our ability to follow the civic trends you’re seeing elsewhere?

Well cities are not just governments, they are networks of leaders. I’ve worked with mayors who were “weak power mayors” and I’ve worked with mayors who were “strong power mayors” and frankly, the most important thing today for many mayors is not just how you deal with the city council or how you deal with city agencies, but how you deal with a broader network of institutions and leaders that help produce your economy and in many respects co-govern your place—heads of universities, heads of metropolitan associations and chambers, philanthropies, unions. Successful mayors or elected officials at the local level really need to use their informal power to convene and have multiple stakeholders coproduce solutions and co-execute initiatives.

It sounds like you’re a big fan of private-public partnerships.

That’s how cities prosper and thrive. A lot of times we talk about private-public partnerships as if they are just financing mechanisms to get a deal done, but actually they are the way in which cities operate. It’s why when the federal government shuts down as it basically has now because it is completely mired in gridlock, cities still function.

Speaking of our mayor, in his first month in office, Mayor Eric Garcetti held public office hours, created a Mayor’s Help Desk inside City Hall, asked city managers to reapply for their jobs, called for an investigation into the LADWP’s sick-pay policy, and hosted a Government 101 session to bring community activists into the fold. What do you make of his early moves?

Well the other early move that you didn’t mention is he said he intends to name a chief sustainability officer, which is really important because sustainable growth and economic competitiveness go hand in hand. It’s very important to have an open, transparent, inclusive government because for many people, government is far removed and they don’t understand the role it plays, so I commend him on those moves. I think those are the kind of 21st century moves that we need.

Are there other things Eric Garcetti should be doing to maximize his political power and the growth of Los Angeles?

New mayors have just been through a political campaign, so they need to take a breath and they need to get their staff organized and set the broader strategies for their tenure. He’s obviously been doing those things. I think the bottom line for American cities is, if you want to thrive you need to pay attention to several things: Is your work force skilled and educated for the jobs that actually exist? There’s still a lot of manufacturing in Los Angeles and still a lot of technology jobs in Los Angeles. Are your high schools and your community colleges supplying workers to those forces? Also, infrastructure: [Former Mayor] Villaraigosa made I think enormous strides on infrastructure, particularly around transit with Measure R. Can you build on that success? Roads, transit, port, airport, energy distribution, water and sewers—those are the infrastructures that make cities move and thrive. Lastly, innovation: Are you an innovative economy? Are your research institutions and major sectors of the economy constantly pushing the envelope? If not, someone else will, either in the United States or abroad. My sense is Mayor Garcetti and the other business civic leaders understand that. The question is what will be the game changing initiatives that evolve in Los Angeles over the next several years that looking back 30 years from now, folks will say really helped put us on a new course.

What about everyday citizens? What can we do to keep L.A. competitive like the thriving cities you’re studying?

Individual citizens can do many things. They can voice their support or opposition. They can participate, not just in elections but between elections, and become informed and energetic citizens. At the neighborhood level they can be a major part of growing livable, walkable, quality communities. So much of what we want in the United States today, particularly with our demographic shifts, is to build communities where we’re not spending an hour-and-a-half in the car, which isolates us from our family and undermines our economic competitiveness. The laying of a backbone of transit in Los Angeles, which is one of the most residentially dense metropolitan areas in the country, I think creates an opportunity to grow a very different physical space in Los Angeles. But this is not jus the work of planners, it’s the work of citizens. I tend to think of Wilshire Boulevard and other corridors as the main corridors of Los Angeles. So what does Wilshire Boulevard look like 25 years from now?

I was going to mention that L.A. is also unlike other cities in that, while it does have a downtown, it lacks a traditional city center. Some argue our corridors are the city’s center. But what does that mean for our future?

Well in many ways you’re polycentric. Many places are becoming like Los Angeles in that way, frankly. Think of Washington D.C. area—we have our downtown, but we also have these suburban nodes with employment and residents and retail. Having a polycentric, corridor-driven development pattern supported now by transit is a sign of things to come. That will change how your nodes develop. If the city uses transit well as it has been used in other places like Arlington, Virginia, you can grow a development pattern that’s more competitive, sustainable, and even inclusive.

Speaking of transit, extensions of our metro’s purple and expo lines are in the works. In addition to that, the new Broad contemporary museum is slated to open downtown in 2014, there are plans to revitalize the Los Angeles River under review, and more. It seems the city is in many ways on the verge. Is this something you see as well?

Los Angeles is constantly reinventing itself. You’re a global city with a global brand. You have a whole set of innovative sectors. There’s so much connectivity in Los Angeles. It’s one of the most demographically diverse metropolitan centers in the United States. There’s just a constant sense of formative energy in Los Angeles, so what you are now seeing with cultural institutions and the infrastructure projects—the reimagining of the physical development of the city—is Los Angeles coming into its own. I think it’s an enormously exciting time for the city, which is not to say there are not challenges. You have a lot on your plate in Los Angeles, but things are moving forward and game-changing initiatives are getting done. That’s critical.

You mentioned our challenges. Traffic is a big one. So is our poorly funded public education system. What do you think is L.A.’s greatest weakness?

I think the greatest challenge that every metro is facing in the United States is how to educate our young so they can participate fully in the economy and realize their own individual potential. That means we need a broader vision of what education is in this century. If we were smart, we could reorient a portion of our high schools so that kids going through those schools would come out with skills necessary to participate in the economy right away. We need a much bigger, more ambitious focus on what we used to call vocational education. This is Job Number 1, and it’s not something you delegate to your school system. It’s something all institutions and leaders need to engage in.

In a column in our August issue, architect Frank Gehry says “It’s easy from outside to portray us as La-La Land.” In actuality, we’re a leader of exports and home to many industries. What can Los Angeles do to be taken more seriously?

Maybe you should have a national public service commercial saying we’re no longer La-La-Land. Listen, there is always this misperception about cities. In the book we have a chapter partly about Portland, and everyone thinks of Portland as Portlandia—weird and crunchy. Well Portland doubled exports in the last decade because they are so proficient at computers and electronics and have created a platform for sustainable products and services. In the global economy today cities and metros need to think carefully about their brand and marketing, and to some extent you need to go counter to the conventional wisdom. You have unbelievable assets in Los Angeles, and that has been masked by the dominance of Hollywood and the reality of the location where you are situated. But that gives you an opportunity to have a contrarian brand and to begin to send a signal to the world: here’s the Los Angeles you don’t know.

Time to put you on the spot, then. How would you brand Los Angeles?

It is the land of production, innovation, and 21st century community.

Community: Press Release: PASADENA POLICE DEPARTMENT To Hold Zero Tolerance Distracted Driving Enforcement Operation #PPD


August 13, 2013

Pasadena Police Department will be actively ticketing those texting or operating hand-held cell phones on Monday, August 19, 2013. Drivers who break the law and place themselves and others in danger will be cited. Cost for violating cell phone laws start at $162 for the first offense and $285 for subsequent offenses. Other violations for actions that can be classified as distracted driving can range even higher.

“We all know that talking on our cell phones while driving is distracting, but that doesn’t stop some people from continuing to do it,” said Pasadena Police Department’s Chief, Phillip L. Sanchez “This effort is intended to educate our community about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. We hope people realize the danger involved and change their driving habits to help protect themselves, their families, and others on the road.”

“We are very encouraged to see the usage figures decline, especially after the increase last year”, said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “But any number is too high, since any usage of cell phones while driving takes away too much of our brain’s ability to react to what is happening on the road, not to mention when our hands or eyes are disengaged also.”

Following a few uncomplicated steps would go a long way in keeping you safe from distracted driving:
 Put your cell phone out of reach or turn it off when you get in the car so you won’t be tempted to use it.
 Mention on your outgoing voicemail message that you can’t answer because you might be driving.
 Don’t call or text anyone when there is a good chance that they may be driving.
 If you must call or text, pull into a parking space. The extra couple of minutes are worth it.
 The ability to multi-task while driving is myth. Cell phone use actually diminishes the brain’s ability to drive safely.
 Never check Facebook, run an app, read or otherwise allow your full attention to leave the task of safely driving.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For More Information:
Lt. Pete Hettema
(626) 744- 7159

Why Metro is seeking construction work hour exemptions for Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector


By Steve Hymon, August 13, 2013

A PowerPoint presentation by Metro on work exemptions being sought for construction of the Purple Line Extension’s La Cienega station.


First, the good news. After years of talk, study, planning, engineering and the pursuit of funding, three Metro rail projects — the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Purple Line Extension and the Regional Connector — are on the verge of beginning serious construction.

Which brings us to the less-than-happy news: All three projects involve tunneling and building underground stations, which in turn require some very big holes to be excavated for stations. Bottom line: Although Metro will be making every effort to mitigate construction work identified in the project’s environmental studies, there will be unescapable and unavoidable impacts.

On each of the three projects, Metro is already discussing the issue of getting permits to perform construction work with local cities. Depending on the work to be performed, Metro is also seeking permission to be allowed to work during the morning and afternoon rush hours, during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and during overnight hours. Although Metro is seeking permission to work at night — which involves some noise — that noise must stay within legal limits.
Why is Metro doing this? To reduce the overall period of the heaviest construction impacts. In particular, Metro wants to complete street-level work as quickly as possible because underground construction work produces far fewer impacts. The hours when heavy construction work in most cities is limited and the more hours that construction can take place each week, the faster the projects can be built. 

Some other salient points:

Metro needs to get work permits so that contractors will know how many shifts they will be able to work at a given location for a particular activity. This will determine the projects’ overall schedules and will help the contractor better prepare their contract proposals. That’s why Metro is seeking permits for the Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector now — so firms that are currently preparing bids to build those projects can better estimate their costs.

The time it takes to complete a project, or parts of a project, is greatly determined by the number of hours of work that can be done each week. Example: Advanced utility relocation work for the projects requires lane closures in order to dig up and move pipes and cables. Example: the subway station at Wilshire/La Cienega, such work could be done in 19 months if work is limited to between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m on Sundays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays. Or, it could be reduced to 12 months if work is allowed between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights.

Here’s the rub: The lane closures to relocate the utilities have greater impacts during the day whereas night work would minimize impacts to traffic, pedestrians and businesses.

The bigger the task, the more important the issue of work hours become. This is illustrated by the progression of building underground stations:

1) Utility Relocation – Limited lane closures only.

2) Piles & Shoring – Requires heavier equipment to install the piles that will support the station walls and decking. At each station location, some lanes are closed while other lanes remain open.

Partial street closure of Hollywood Boulevard during pile installation for the Metro Red Line.

3) Decking – Work takes place in the street and will require complete closure of the travel lanes in the streets, usually from Friday night to Monday morning on successive weekends. Once the deck is complete, work can take place underground without lane or street restrictions.
Let’s be clear on this, people: it’s the piles and shoring and the decking that will be the most painful part of the process. The quicker that gets done, the quicker that construction can move underground for several years. Once underground, the most noticeable part of that work should be hauling of materials to construction sites and the hauling of dirt away from the subway tunnels as they are excavated by the giant tunnel boring machines. (Metro is also talking to cities about haul routes and times for that work).

•Although Metro is seeking permits that would allow construction between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, work would not be done on the actual holidays.

•As part of its construction impact mitigation program, Metro Construction Relations will be interviewing business owners along all the project alignments to determine the best way to coordinate contractor activities with the least amount of impact.

•Metro is also hoping to have consistent hours. Example: two of the stations for the Purple Line Extension (La Brea and Fairfax) are in the city of Los Angeles and one is in Beverly Hills (La Cienega). If one of those cities seeks to greatly limit work hours or hold up permits during the review process, that could jeopardize the timeline for the entire project.

In the coming months, we’ll do our best to keep providing updates on work schedules and what communities near the projects can expect. Stay tuned — there is a lot happening.

Tiny bike-based libraries pedal books to streets and parks


By Holly Richmond, August 13, 2013

Pedal power and page-turning are like peanut butter and chocolate (although, OK, maybe not at the same exact time). So it’s peachy keen that libraries in cities like Seattle, Denver, Portland, and Tucson are combining the two to bring books to the masses.
Take a look! It's in a book!
Street Books
Take a look! It’s on a bike!
As far as I can tell, the unofficial books-by-bike pioneer is writer Gabriel Levinson, who started delivering books to people in Chicago parks via a custom-built bike in 2008. Following in his foot-clips three years later was Laura Moulton, who started Portland’s Street Books for people who don’t have a permanent address (and thus can’t register for a traditional library card):

Patrons are issued an official Street Books library card without being required to show proof of address or identification. We use an old-school library pocket and a card that patrons sign and leave with us. During our twice-weekly shifts, patrons stop by to check out and return library books. They are invited to be photographed with their book, and these photos and stories are collected at our site: streetbooks.org.
In 2012, Tucson librarian Karen Greene got on board, citing inspiration from Levinson when she launched Pima County Public Library’s traveling Bookbike. In its first year, the Bookbike distributed more than 11,000 books to area residents. As Greene told Arizona Public Media:
The Bookbike is an adult, three-wheeled tricycle that has a specially-created box in the front. When you open it up, it has bookshelves and it can hold hundreds of books. We take the Bookbike out to different locations to give away the books, to give away library cards, to give out information about library programs and literacy projects, as well as bike maps and bike programs.
And just last week, the Denver Public Library joined the pedal party, introducing DPL Connect, “a pedal-powered mobile library and wi-fi hotspot.” The “tricked-out trike” tailors its books to its location, such as carrying cookbooks to give away at a farmers market. Thanks to DPL Connect, people can download audio books and ebooks, sign up for a library card, get help with research, and get book recommendations.
Denver Public Library
Before …
...and after!
Denver Public Library
… and after!
Two days ago, the Seattle Public Library snagged the attention of NPR for its pilot Books on Bikes program. Books on Bikes staffers register people for library cards, sign kids up for summer reading programs, and inform parents about story time in their neighborhood. As Seattle farmers market visitor Barbara Clements told NPR:
It’s just nice to have books in circulation, easy to get to. It’s not a special thing, it’s just like, hey, here’s part of your day, like your lettuce or your ice cream.
Seattle librarian Jared Mills said he hoped Books on Bikes would herald an ongoing shift of libraries being more outreach-focused:
I would like to be part of ushering in this new era of librarianship that’s just a lot more mobile and agile and really responsive to the community and the needs.
PREACH. Check out this video of SPL’s launch of Books on Bikes:


With Blumenfield in the City Council, What Happens to His Infrastructure Legislation in Sacramento


By Damien Newton, August 13, 2013

Following the near-miss Measure J, a 2012  ballot proposition that would have extended Los Angeles’ half-cent sales tax for transportation projects, local legislatures began examining a “fix” to state law. Despite Measure J receiving over 66% of the vote, it failed to reach the 2/3 threshold required by law.

Bob Blumenfield

ACA 8, Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, will give voters a chance to reset that threshold through a constitutional amendment if the tax would go for infrastructure improvements.* If passed by the Senate, it would place a measure on the November 2014 ballot to reduce the threshold for passage of local infrastructure bond measures to 55% from the current two-thirds, the same threshold that currently applies to school bond measures.

It only takes a majority vote to pass an amendment to California’s constitution at the ballot box.
“ACA 8 will free local communities to determine for themselves the level at which they wish to invest in infrastructure projects and enhance their quality of life,” Blumenfield concluded.
But now Blumenfield sits on the Los Angeles City Council. So what does that mean for ACA 8? Apparently very little. The proposed Constitutional  Constitutional Amendment was passed by the Assembly in June, on Blumenfield’s last day in office. It is awaiting a hearing in the Senate’s Governance and Finance Committee before moving on to the full Senate. Blumenfield’s job change has no impact on the legislation’s progress.

For the many groups that fought for the passage of Measure J in 2012, Blumenfield’s Constitutional Amendment is a sort of holy grail. Barring a major shift in public opinion, a 55% yes vote for a transit tax extension such as Measure J would be easier to attain. After all, Measure J just missed receiving a two thirds vote just last year. In Alameda County, a 2012 vote on a transit tax was even closer.

“Los Angeles’s infrastructure simply does not make the grade,” said Blumenfield. “Each dollar invested in infrastructure creates a seven dollar return to our economy and every $1 billion invested creates 18,000 jobs and helps ensure our state’s competitiveness  Time and again, however, infrastructure bonds have failed at the ballot box with overwhelming majorities of the electorate, while falling just short of the two-thirds threshold.”

In 2012, the Los Angeles County Infrastructure Report awarded Los Angeles County an overall “C” grade. Much of California’s infrastructure was designed and built over 40 years ago to accommodate a population of 25 million. California’s current population of 38 million is expected to rise to 60 million by 2050.

The Los Angeles City Council passed a resolution, authored by Blumenfield, endorsing ACA 8 last week.

* Rick Orlov mentioned the legislation in yesterday’s Daily News, and it caused some confusion. Just a note, this measure would do nothing to impact the amount of votes it would take to repeal Proposition 13.

South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Against SR-710

 From Sylvia Plummer: On August 5, 2013, the Board of Directors of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce voted overwhelmingly in support of the City of South Pasadena's Resolution re-affirming the City's official position on the SR-710 Freeway Extension.

Opposition to SR 710 Resolution

Board of Directors of the Chamber of Commerce

On August 5, 2013, the Board of Directors of the South Pasadena Chamber of
Commerce voted overwhelmingly in support of City of South Pasadena
Resolution #7172 re-affirming the City’s official position on the State Route 710
Freeway Extension, supporting multi-modal alternative and rescinding Resolution

Whereas, a superior alternative to the flawed, proposed SR 710 Tunnel
exists, known as the Multi-Modal alternative; and

Whereas, the resources required to complete the proposed freeway are
not available given the status of the project as “constrained,” while many
other important transportation projects that rightly have a higher priority
because they will improve mobility and healthy living standards and quality
of life in the San Gabriel Valley are in need of those resources for
completion; and

Whereas, the local economy and business district would be harmed
substantially by the impacts of construction and subsequent increase on
cut-through traffic upon freeway completion, as congestion on the 710
increases yet the drivers seek to avoid the proposed tolls; and

Whereas, the quality of life in South Pasadena and neighboring cities will
be diminished by the pollution of our air and our emergency response
teams will be overburdened by the responsibility of providing for public
safety with the substantially increased risk of traffic collisions caused by
the dangerous conditions inside one of the longest tunnels ever built,
which is an untested design scheme resulting in the volatile combination
of high speeds in restricted spaces with limited escape exits; and

Whereas, the City Council of South Pasadena unanimously voted to pass
Resolution #7172 on July 20, 2011 listing many other reasons why the
State Route 710 project, whether by surface route or bored tunnel, should
forever be abandoned; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce
supports the City of South Pasadena’s official position opposing the
completion of the State Route 710 Freeway, supports the adoption of the
Multi-modal transportation approach, and rescinds previous Resolution

RESOLVED FURTHER; That the Chamber of Commerce emphasize to
the City Council that business is important to our community, and that this
City enthusiastically support sensible transportation solutions that will
protect our historic fabric while increasing access and mobility in an
environmentally sensitive manner and a forward thinking, efficient and
effective transportation strategy rather than the outdated mentality that
building more and bigger highways will somehow reduce congestion
instead of exacerbate it.

Respectfully Submitted,
Odom Stamps, Chairman

TALLY 08/05/2013

Chamber of Commerce Directors:

Odom Stamps, Chair Yes July 20
Michele Downing, Chair Elect Yes July 19
Richard Gerrish, Treasurer Yes July 20
Steve Dahl, Past Chair Yes July 19
Samuel Muir, Scty Yes July 19
Jeff Burke Yes August 5
Dennis Chiappetta Yes July 19
Tom Field Yes July 20
Jon Primuth Yes August 3
Jason Rubin Yes August 3
Rich Roche Abstain August 3
Tony Tartaglia Abstain July 21
Carol Zorn Yes July 20

Recorded by Scott Feldmann, President & CEO on Monday,
August 5th, 2013

South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 3446
South Pasadena CA 91031

A 501c6 nonprofit mutual benefit organization

Tunnel Drilling Project Sends Rats Into Downtown Buildings


August 8, 2013

(photo credit: MAURICIO DUENAS/AFP )
(CBS Seattle) — A local pest control company says it’s seeing an increase in business because of the Highway 99 tunnel project.

Sprague Pest Solutions told KIRO TV the drilling has sent rats fleeing into buildings in downtown Seattle. The business is now using rolling bicycle ads to alert building managers to seal cracks so rats can’t get inside. The company told KIRO it’s seen a 60 to 80 percent increase in calls since the tunnel project began, as the shaking of the ground sent rats out of their hiding places.

A tunnel project spokeswoman told KIRO that contractors set dozens of traps, but have not noticed a significant number of rodents. Project managers also say much of the tunneling is done below sea level where rats don’t live.

Sprague Pest Solutions predicted the resurgence of rats last year as the project got underway, saying similar rat displacements also happened during the construction of the Seattle bus tunnel, the Columbia Center, and the Kingdome demolition.

Megabus Expands Service with New Bus Routes in California


August 12, 2013

Scottsdale, AZ -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/12/2013 -- Megabus, the stellar, express bus service with tickets starting as low as $1, announced a new megabus route on August 8th to/from Burbank, Calif. This service route will start running on August 15th, running six daily direct routes taking from 5-6 hours depending on destination.

Residents of San Fernando Valley will soon be treated with direct travel to Oakland, San Jose and San Francisco, Calif. Arrival and departure for megabus Burbank will be located at the Metrolink Station Downtown at 201 N. Front St., just off Interstate-5.

Burbank will be the seventh city added to the megabus “route roster” in California during the past eight months. Megabus also provides killer bus transportation from Los Angeles to Las Vegas for all you Cali to Sin City needs.

“We’re excited to announce express service to/from Burbank,” said Mike Alvich, megabus’ Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations. “This expansion provides San Fernando Valley residents the convenience of an additional arrival/departure location in and out of the metro area.”

“With gas prices continually rising, California residents are looking for ways to stretch their dollars even further,” added Alvich. “The cost of travel shouldn’t be a barrier to visiting the people and places that matter most. Megabus.com is committed to safe, affordable travel to the Bay area and back.”

Bus ticket on megabus start as low as $1 and increase gradually the closer to the desired travel date you get. Travelers must book as early for a chance at dollar bus tickets,

“The $1 fares go quickly, but there are many other great fares available if you book early,” said Alvich. “Traveling on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays is another great way Burbank customers and all travelers can secure the best megabus.com fares.”

“Tourism is a leading industry in Los Angeles that has enjoyed solid visitation growth over the last two years,” said Don Skeoch, Chief Marketing Officer, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board. “There is tremendous demand for the LA experience and megabus.com provides travelers with an affordable and accessible transportation option. With megabus.com adding a third arrival/departure location – in addition to Los Angeles Union Station and Riverside – we look forward to welcoming even more visitors through the additional, convenient arrival/departure location in The San Fernando Valley, an important tourism region of Los Angeles.”

Megabus launched its bus travel service in 2006 as a subsidiary of Coach USA and is one of the largest city-to-city express bus service providers in North America.

Megabus runs a fleet of the latest, state-of-the-art green-certified double-decker buses that include free Wi-Fi, restrooms and wheelchair access.

Please visit http://megabuspromocodes.com for more information on megabus ticket discounts

L.A. Light Rail Clears Hurdles Above and Below Ground


By Greg Aragon, August 12, 2013

Phase 2 of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority Expo Light Rail project is closing in on its quest to reach the Pacific by 2015. About 45% complete as of late July, the $1.5-billion, 6.6-mile-long line from Culver City to Santa Monica faces obstacles above and below ground.

The project continues the Expo Line's $930-million, 8.6-mile-long Phase 1, which opened last year and links downtown Los Angeles with Culver City. Phase 2 broke ground last summer and will extend the line to Santa Monica. The new phase includes seven major bridges, seven stations—divided into 25 design packages—and a railcar maintenance and parking facility.

When complete in 2015, the project will have used more than 9.3 million lb of rebar and 20,558 cu yd of concrete on the bridges, walls and sidewalks, and workers will have excavated about 371,607 cu yd of earth.

The alignment, primarily at grade, will parallel the I-10 freeway and run along the old right-of-way of the Pacific Electric Exposition—an electric trolley line used in the early 20th century—to 4th Street and Colorado Avenue in downtown Santa Monica.

Maze of Utilities

A particular construction challenge along the route has been dealing with a web of underground utilities.

The proximity to busy city streets and neighborhoods has made coordination between the project team and local utility companies especially important, says Eric Olson, chief project officer for the Exposition Construction Authority, which oversees the project.

"One thing we did on this job that was unique was facilitated partnering with each utility in an effort to bring them in as part of the project team," Olson says. "This is my fourth design-build [project] and this is the first time we've done something like this. And it's proved to be effective."
He adds, "Design-build projects move very fast .... By getting [utilities] in early, we are getting them to keep up with our pace."

Rick Thorpe, Construction Authority CEO, says, "A lot of times third parties aren't staffed for such a big project" and sometimes may need the contractor to take over certain major project tasks.

He points to Santa Monica's Colorado Avenue. The light rail trains will run for one mile down the center of that busy artery to the project's final station, near Santa Monica Pier. Thorpe says to prep the site, workers first had to remove all existing utilities from under the tracks because once the trains begin to run "access will be impossible." He says that when workers began to dig and locate utilities, it became apparent that it would be no small effort. There were so many utility lines beneath the avenue that "it became virtually impossible to find a clear path to relocate all of them," Thorpe says.
The design-build contractor, Skanska-Rados Joint Venture, and lead designer Parsons Brinckerhoff stepped in to help.

"Early on in initial design, we potholed all existing utilities and used a BIM model to show existing conditions," says Brian Freund, Skanska-Rados project executive. The model showed an extensive, complex underground Southern California Edison system of power lines as well as numerous water, sewer and telephone lines. Crews had to get creative with staging materials while "cramming everything in the lane and a half of traffic on either side of the rail alignment," he adds.

One of the largest obstacles found beneath Colorado Avenue was a mile-long section of the 10-ft-dia Kenter Canyon storm sewer line, which the Army Corps of Engineers built in 1937. Still in use, the arched brick and concrete line required substantial testing of core and exterior materials to see if it could handle the loads of the light rail line.

Brett E. Jones, Phase 2 engineering manager with Parsons Brinckerhoff's Orange office, says the structure has withstood time and passed all the new tests as if it were "built yesterday." Jones says the storm drain will remain in place and rail tracks will go in above it.

When complete at the end of 2013, the 13-block-long Colorado Avenue utility relocation will have spanned about two years.

Neighborhood Watch

Besides the underground utility hurdles, the project has had to contend with numerous local stakeholders.

"The challenge of the job is that it travels through Culver City, West L.A. and Santa Monica, and each community has its own diverse set of stakeholders and stakeholder concerns," says Mike Aparicio, executive vice president for Skanska USA Civil, Los Angeles.

"There is not a week that goes by that there is not some sort of community meeting, whether for noise and dust, school access, design review, etc.," he adds.

Not all concerns have been settled amicably. One local group, Neighbors for Smart Rail, has challenged the Expo Line's environmental review process, contending that it doesn't adequately address potential traffic and parking impacts to surrounding neighborhoods.

The organization filed a lawsuit against the project but lost in the state superior court and also in the appellate court. The California Public Utilities Commission entered the fray on July 13, when it reiterated its approval for the project and its environmental documents.

On Aug. 5, the California Supreme Court, in a 6 to 1 decision, reaffirmed the appellate court decision. Thorpe says he is "gratified" by the win, and the project team "remains focused on finishing the Expo Line on-time and on-budget in 2015." 

On the other hand, bicyclists are eagerly awaiting the five-mile-long, $10-million multi-use bike path and walkway that will run parallel to the new line and that will lie within its protected perimeter.
"From my perspective, one of the most interesting stakeholder groups on this project has been the bicycle access groups," says Aparicio. "This is a group we haven't seen before on a transit job, but they are gaining huge momentum in L.A."

He says bike group members have been so involved in community meetings that project owner LA Metro has created a separate "bike liaison" committee to work with them and gather their design and construction input.

"We've done a couple of billion dollars of [transit] jobs, but I have never seen the bicycle groups so involved as this," Aparicio adds. "We've done bike lockers and spaces before but never something so intrinsic to the project as this. And we embrace it."

Project officials estimate that by 2030, 64,000 passengers will ride the Expo Line each day, making it one of the busiest light rail lines in the country.

About 250 craft workers and 75 managers are on the jobsite each day, having completed more than 894,000 hours without a lost-time incident, Freund says.

Public Transit Keeps Stumbling in Congress Despite Major Needs


By Stacy Kaper, August 12, 2013

The number of miles drivers log on the road has declined over the last decade and continues to drop. Additional highway lanes in cities nationwide have failed to fix congestion problems. Evidence is mounting that public transit can boost economic growth and relieve population pressures.

Yet many transportation experts complain that federal policies in Congress, which in turn drive policies in states and cities, continue to favor building highways, and that public transit is as beleaguered as ever.

These policies, they say, are carried by powerful, well-established interests that back road-building over alternative transportation modes such as light rail, commuter buses and shuttles, bike paths, and pedestrian walkways.

“Starting in the mid-’90s, we started to see a structural shift in what the market wants. Unfortunately, how we fund the infrastructure system, the subsidies, the land-use laws—everything is geared to just delivering drivable suburban. The cards are stacked,” said Christopher Leinberger, a visiting fellow with the Brookings Institution.

“It’s because we have been subsidizing huge industries. You’ve got all the road builders, you’ve got the National Association of Realtors, the homebuilders, the office- and business-park people, and they all like their subsidies,” he said. “They fight back.”

Public-transit systems—which are often viewed as a public service, providing a low-cost way to get people to work, school, and essential services like grocery shopping—often have a substantial chunk of their capital costs subsidized by the federal government.

But this model comes under scrutiny when budgets are tight. Because transit systems often charge rates that are barely high enough to cover operating costs, the subsidies can be a sore spot for fiscal hawks, particularly amid the influx of tea-party members in the House, who want to shrink the federal government and rein in spending.

“One of the big challenges is just the kind of political inertia or a sense that entrenched interests continue to do things the way they always have done things,” said Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

U.S. PIRG released a study recently showing that the trend of falling driving mileage is continuing as baby boomers shift into retirement and driving-averse millennials, who rely more heavily on public transportation than their parents did, swell the workforce.

Transit systems tend to proliferate in larger urban areas, are often relied upon by poorer and working-class passengers, are expensive to develop, and often do not break even, much less turn a profit.

Unsurprisingly, many of the political fault lines break down between Republicans and Democrats, and rural versus urban lawmakers, meaning transit supporters are outnumbered in the House.
Last year, under then-Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica, R-Fla., House Republicans attempted to push a surface-transportation bill that would have stripped out dedicated funding for mass transit. The bill came under attack and failed to make its way out of the House, but it illustrated the pressure conservatives are under to find ways to slash spending.
Democrats credit current Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., with making transportation—including mass transit—a priority, but he hopes to streamline and eliminate some transit programs in the next transportation bill.

“Transit plays an important role in urban, suburban, and rural communities across the nation,” he said, adding that priorities for the highway bill will focus on “federal transit policies and programs to make the most effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars.”

Federal funding for mass transit remains in serious jeopardy. Under a Reagan-era policy, roughly 20 percent of a gas tax that funds the Highway Trust Fund is dedicated to mass transit, providing resources for capital investments.

But that fund—which mostly goes to highways, roads, and bridges—is facing a severe shortfall, as drivers continue driving less and shift to more fuel-efficient vehicles. The Highway Trust Fund is on track to go into the red in fiscal 2015, spelling problems for all surface-transportation investments. And mass transit is perhaps the most vulnerable.

“The biggest problem transit has is, its costs are out of control,” said Wendell Cox, visiting fellow with the Heritage Foundation. “One of the big problems, and one of my great frustrations, has been that the answer to every question in transit is more funding.”

Congress is unlikely to tackle the issue until it takes up the surface-transportation reauthorization, which expires at the end of next year.

“Now they are on a track to strangle [transit] to death, just a little bit more slowly than what they actually proposed previously,” said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the ranking member on the Transportation and Infrastructure Highways and Transit Subcommittee.

“If you look at what’s going to happen to the trust fund and what’s proposed in the Ryan budget, given the realities of the trust fund, transit would go to near zero in the year 2015. I can’t even envision how catastrophic that would be.” {…}

Exploring the Metro Green Line: From Nowhere to Nowhere and All Points in Between


By Eric Brightwell, August 12, 2013

Pendersleigh map of the Green Line.jpg

On July 26, 2013 the Metro Gold Line celebrated its tenth birthday, an occasion that did not go unreported by much of the local media, who in some cases described the line as the Metro's "most lovable light rail line" as well as its "most picturesque." August 12 is the 18th birthday of the Metro Green Line, an event that I suspect will likely receive comparatively muted fanfare. The Green Line, when mentioned at all, is most often disparaged as "the train from nowhere to nowhere."

The Green Line was, until recently, the only Metro rail line of which I had not ridden the entire length. When I mentioned my intention to write about it most friends told me that they'd never been on it, and several even asked where it was. For those who are familiar with the Green Line, they likely know it as the rail that doesn't quite reach either the ocean or LAX. If they think about it further, they might realize that it's also the only Metro rail line that doesn't connect to Downtown Los Angeles.

It might come as a surprise then that according to Metro's most recent figures, more people ride the Green Line than the Gold. It's also the fastest of the light rail lines, due to its not intersecting with any streets. Finally, although it doesn't connect to anything that most would consider to be major tourist traps, it does carry commuters not just between home and work, but also to shopping and dining destinations, as well as lesser-known attractions.

The existence of the Green Line is indelibly tied to that of the 105 Freeway, a roadway whose march to the sea destroyed more than 8,000 homes and displaced more than 25,000. As a conciliatory gesture, the middle of the freeway was left open for some form of rapid transit. For most of its route, the Green Line thus passes between the lanes that connects the South Bay cities of Southwest Los Angeles County to the Gateway Cities of Southeast Los Angeles County, and neighborhoods of South Los Angeles between. Construction of the Green Line began in 1987 when those regions were home to a massive aerospace industry and much of its workforce. However, the end of the Cold War and the L.A. Riots radically altered the character of South Los Angeles and neighboring communities of Los Angeles County (although the aerospace industry still employs a massive, if reduced, workforce).


The Green Line's eastern terminus is in the suburban city of Norwalk, in the Studebaker neighborhood, at the eastern terminus of the 105 Freeway where both the Green Line and freeway abruptly end. The freeway was originally designed to connect to the 5 Freeway but reports suggested that that freeway couldn't handle the additional traffic. On the other side of the freeway is Metrolink's Norwalk/Santa Fe train station, just over two and a half miles east from the Green Line's easternmost station, and frustratingly unconnected except by surface streets.

Norwalk Station seems oriented toward bus riders and motorists, but pedestrians schlep along the sidewalk-less landscape along the freeway on an improvised trail. Most of the rest of the lot serving the station is walled off from Norwalk, and the only official pedestrian exit is north on Hoxie Avenue toward a quiet neighborhood. Nearby to the west are the San Gabriel River Mid Trail and the cities of Downey and Bellflower.

Bee hive theme
Bee hive theme
Is this transit oriented development?
Is this transit oriented development?
Makeshift bridge and pedestrian path
Makeshift bridge and pedestrian path


After crossing the San Gabriel River the Green Line reaches Lakewood Boulevard Station in Downey, near the cities of Bellflower and Paramount (traversed by the rail line but not home to any stops). Downey was the home of The Carpenters, and is also famed as the birthplace of Taco Bell. The area north of the station was formerly the home of a Rockwell plant, which assembled air and spacecraft until its closure in 1999. The property is now home to a hospital, a park, a shopping complex, and the Columbia Memorial Space Center, a learning center geared towards children. South of the station is the old Downey Cemetery.

Columbia Memorial Space Center
Columbia Memorial Space Center
Downey Wall of (Un)Fame
Downey Wall of (Un)Fame
Train leaving the station
Train leaving the station


After crossing the Los Angeles River, the Green Line arrives in the city of Lynwood at Long Beach Boulevard. South of the station there's a small, circular park called Rose Park. North is a park of similar shape and size called Carnation Park. Both were originally landscaped with their eponymous flowers, but are currently dominated by grass and palm trees. The biggest attraction near the station is Plaza Mexico - a theme park version of a Mexican pueblo with loads of statues, shops, music and dining, including the charming, and delicious La Huasteca.

Plaza Mexico
Plaza Mexico
Mostly naked hot dog applying condiments
Mostly naked hot dog applying condiments
Olmec colossal head
Olmec colossal head


Willowbrook Station (aka Willowbrook/Rosa Parks fka Imperial/Willmington) is located on the border between the Los Angeles neighborhood of Watts and the unincorporated county community of Willowbrook. Willowbrook is probably best known locally for being home to the scandal-plagued King/Drew Medical Center, nicknamed "Killer King." Just south of the station are the Kenneth Hahn Plaza shopping center and the small Willowbrook Library. Just west of the station are the Nickerson Gardens, the largest housing projects in the west, designed by pioneering black architect, Paul Revere Williams, and completed in 1955. Just east are the older Imperial Courts, built in 1944. Watts's most iconic feature, Simon Rodia's Watts Towers, are located one stop north on the Blue Line, which shares service with the Green Line at Willowbrook.

Public Library
Public Library
Willowbrook Station
Willowbrook Station
Kenneth Hahn Plaza
Kenneth Hahn Plaza


West of Compton Creek is Avalon Station, located in Harbor Gateway North, part of Los Angeles's 1906 shoestring strip annex that connected the city to the Harbor in the south with a narrow strip of land. Just north are Century Cove and Century Palms, two recently named neighborhoods of South Los Angeles. The area around the station is almost entirely residential, with the notable exception of a few schools, churches and restaurants, including the strikingly-painted Bernard's Burgers. A little bit further southeast is the pretty, 96-acre Earvin "Magic" Johnson Park, which was known as Willowbrook Park until 1994.

Bernard's Burgers
Bernard's Burgers
Stanley Wilson's Bridge of Culture
Stanley Wilson's Bridge of Culture
Morocco Inn, built in 1906
Morocco Inn, built in 1906


Harbor Freeway Station is located at the massive Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange, the intersection of the 110 and 105 freeways, the Green and Silver Metro Lines, numerous bus lines, and a Union Pacific railway. It's located in Harbor Gateway North near the border of another newly-designated neighborhood, Magnolia Square. The area around the station is mostly residential and, due to the presence of the interchange, somewhat desolate.

For those who don't live or work in the neighborhood, the interchange itself is probably the most interesting feature of the area. When completed in 1993, the 120 foot high interchange was the "biggest, tallest, most costly traffic structure yet built by California Department of Transportation." Two years later it won an Award of Merit at the Excellence in Highway Design awards ceremony. Although no longer exceptional (Houston now has more than a half dozen similar interchanges), it's still an impressive bit of design and engineering. It also includes, as do all the Green Line stations, station art -- in this case Steve Appleton's "City Imprints."

The 105 Freeway and the Green Line
The 105 Freeway and the Green Line
Union Pacific railway tunnel and the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange
Union Pacific railway tunnel and the Judge Harry Pregerson Interchange
Steve Appleton's ''City Imprints''
Steve Appleton's ''City Imprints''


The Vermont/Athens Station along Vermont Avenue is located near the intersection of the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Magnolia Square and Harbor Gateway North, and the unincorporated county communities of Athens and Westmont. Although Vermont is one of Los Angeles's grandest north-south corridors, the section near the freeway is nowadays fairly barren. Its wide median was once home to an interurban rail line that connected the once busy commercial center around Vermont and Manchester with more distant corners of the city. Southside Christian Center first opened in 1950 as a 1,466, single-screen movie theater, the Southside Theatre. A little further north is one of the last Jim Dandy Fried Chicken restaurants, once part of a large national fast food chain. Nearby too is L.A. Scooters, which has an interesting selection of two (and in a few cases, four) wheeled vehicles.

Local art by Kim Yasuda, Michelle T. Clint, and Rubén Martinez
Local art by Kim Yasuda, Michelle T. Clint, and Rubén Martinez
Vermont Boulevard median -- formerly an interurban rail path
Vermont Boulevard median -- formerly an interurban rail path
One of the last two Jim Dandy restaurants
One of the last two Jim Dandy restaurants


Crenshaw Station is located in the city of Hawthorne, just south of the city of Inglewood. Both communities are historically associated with the South Bay despite being located rather far from the Santa Monica Bay, and since its completion, further separated from the Beach Cities by the 405 freeway. Nonetheless, the air here is noticeably cooler and sea gulls and descending jets both occupy the sky above. The adjacent area of Inglewood and its stretch of Crenshaw Boulevard is mostly residential, although Crenshaw Imperial Shopping Center is located just north.
The neighboring area of Hawthorne is dominated by big-box stores and parking lots east of Crenshaw, and Hawthorne Municipal Airport/Jack Northrop Field, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX), and a large industrial warehouse area to the west. The airline's Jet Center has recently also become the home to a Eureka! Tasting Kitchen. Just north of the airport next to the Dominguez Channel is the Beach Boys Historic Landmark, marking the site of the Wilson brothers' childhood home that was demolished in the 1980s to make way for the 105 freeway.

Welcome to Hawthorne
Welcome to Hawthorne
Hawthorne Municipal Airport Jet Center
Hawthorne Municipal Airport Jet Center
Beach Boys Historic Landmark
Beach Boys Historic Landmark


After crossing over the Dominguez Channel, the Green Line arrives at a station on the border of the city of Hawthorne to the south and the unincorporated community of Lennox to the north. The area of Hawthorne near the station is mostly residential with the notable exception of a large dead mall, Hawthorne Plaza Shopping Center, built in 1977 and abandoned in 1999. On the other side of the freeway in Lennox, Hawthorne Boulevard is oriented toward motorists, featuring auto repair shops, car washes, car dealerships, drive-thrus, etc. Lennox Boulevard, which intersects it, is more pedestrian-oriented with its sidewalks more crowded than the street both by shoppers and merchandise. This is also the closest station to Inglewood's Hollywood Park Casino.

Lennox Car Wash
Lennox Car Wash
El Zorro Market
El Zorro Market
Jet descending
Jet descending


Aviation/LAX is located, as the name suggests, at LAX -- albeit at a corner of the property located about three miles from the nearest passenger terminal. When the Crenshaw line and people mover begin operations in 2019, another station will provide access to the airport and this station will thus be renamed. For the time being, there is a free shuttle connecting the terminals to the station (although the Green Line doesn't run between 12:55 am and 3:35 am should your plane arrive then). Although not the closest Green Line station to the beach, LADOT's Commuter Express 438 also connects passengers from here to the coast in about fifteen minutes.
To the southwest is an area of the city of El Segundo dominated by Northrop Grumman, which, even from the station's elevated vantage, seems to stretch all the way to Palos Verdes in the distance. To the southwest is the mostly residential, unincorporated community of Del Aire, which is home to a few restaurants and shops. Nearby to the north, in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester, is Proud Bird, an aviation-themed restaurant and air museum. To the west is another flight-themed destination, Flight Path Learning Center and Museum.

Aviation-LAX Station
Aviation-LAX Station
Flyaway shuttles
Flyaway shuttles
Ye Old Shack La Cantina in Del Aire
Ye Old Shack La Cantina in Del Aire


After the Green Line departs from the 105, it winds leisurely southward through El Segundo. The first El Segundo Station is Mariposa, close enough to the ocean that one can smell it, but still more than two and a half miles away. Nearby is a park popular with soccer and lacrosse players, Campus El Segundo. There's also the Toyota Sports Center, a practice facility for several professional sports teams and a public skating rink. A little further west is the Automotive Driving Museum, which houses an impressive collection of classic cars. Closer to the station, a mid-century office building at Mariposa and Nash is home to several pieces of public art made by Gidon Graetz and Mark Stasz, whose work I recognized from having seen other examples along the Downtown Los Angeles's Calvin S. Hamilton Pedway.

Inside the Automobile Driving Museum
Inside the Automobile Driving Museum
Public art in El Segundo
Public art in El Segundo
Campus El Segundo
Campus El Segundo


El Segundo Station is located about half a mile from Mariposa in another part of the aerospace hub that's home to Raytheon Space and the Aerospace Corporation (home to Charles C. Lauritsen Library). The aerospace industry is given a sly nod by the station art, Daniel J. Martinez's "For Your Intellectual Entertainment," which depicts a large set of hands poised to launch a small, paper airplane. There's little in the immediate vicinity for explorers besides tidily-landscaped business campuses, vast parking lots, and anonymous, mid-rise skyscrapers. A little west of the station is a golf course, The Lakes at El Segundo. South of that is the large Plaza El Segundo, the property of which includes ten salvage sculptures made by Phillip Glashoff.

Station art
Station art
Statue at Plaza El Segundo
Statue at Plaza El Segundo
The Lakes at El Segundo
The Lakes at El Segundo


A mile south of El Segundo Station is Douglas Station, located near the city of Manhattan Beach and numerous shopping centers, including Beach Cities Plaza, Manhattan Gateway, Manhattan Village, the mixed use Continental Park, and coming soon - The Point (why not "The Point at El Segundo," I wonder). Across from the Manhattan Towers office complex is an Air Products and Chemicals plant. At two-and-a-half miles from the coast, Douglas Station is also the closest Metro stop to the ocean.

Train bridges
Train bridges
Manhattan Towers
Manhattan Towers
Future site of The Point
Future site of The Point


Redondo Beach Station is located in the city of Redondo Beach, on the border with Hawthorne and the city of Lawndale. Though one of the South Bay's so-called "Beach Cities," the station is located in landlocked North Redondo Beach near yet more Northrop Grumman properties. The air eerily crackles with electricity from Southern California Edison's large El Nido Substation, also located near the station. Beneath the buzzing transmission lines are the popular Aviation Park (including a large gymnasium) and the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.

End of the line
End of the line
Northrop Grumman
Northrop Grumman
Aviation Park
Aviation Park


The plan is to extend the Green Line further south to Torrance Prefecture's planned Torrance Regional Connector. Its construction is set to take place on a larger, former industrial site located near Honda and Toyota's North American headquarters. Further down the line the Green Line will likely extend either to Long Beach or San Pedro. When that happens, exploring the totality of the metropolis will get that much easier... and enjoyable!

End of the line
End of the line
Photos by Eric Brightwell