Help L.A. students name the Crenshaw/LAX tunnel boring machine

A soon-to-be-named tunnel boring machine (TBM) similar to Seattle's Pamela, pictured in blue, will carve out the Crenshaw/LAX line's twin tunnels.

The Crenshaw/LAX line’s twin tunnels will be carved out by a soon-to-be-named tunnel boring machine (TBM) similar to Pamela (pictured in blue), which was used to carve out the Northgate Link Extension in Seattle, WA. | Sound Transit, Flickr Creative Commons.

In keeping with a 700-year-old mining tradition, Metro plans to give a female name to the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will excavate the twin tunnels for the Crenshaw/LAX line.

But it needs the public’s help.

Metro is requesting public participation in voting to select the LAUSD student-submitted name and artwork to be featured on the machine during an early 2016 lowering ceremony.

Although the TBM has “boring” spelled out in its moniker, the process of keeping with mining history has been anything but. Rather, it’s been a creative process.

LAUSD students in sixth to 12th grades submitted their choice of either a 200-word essay or two-minute video outlining why a suggested name would best suit the 950-pound, 400-foot-long machine.

Additionally, students in kindergarten through fifth grade entered artwork to be featured alongside the winning name.

Representatives from Metro, the office of L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas, Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors and staff, and the Crenshaw Community Leadership Council selected the finalists from a pool over more than 200 entries submitted since June.

The top 10 name finalists are Lorena (Lorena Weaver), Sojourner (Sojourner Truth), Maya (Maya Angelou), Eleanor (Eleanor Roosevelt), Harriet (Harriet Tubman), M.A.C. (Make A Change), Sally (Sally Ride), The Africana, Rosa (Rosa Parks), and Athena.

Three student contest winners from each category will be awarded with a $100, $200 or $300 TAP card during the lowering ceremony. Voting for the favorite name and artwork is open now through Dec. 1.  

Digging 60 feet per day, it will take a year for the TBM to excavate the 1-mile twin tunnels beginning at the northeast corner of Crenshaw Boulevard and Rodeo Road and will connect the Crenshaw/Expo, Martin Luther King Jr. and Leimert Park underground stations.

The tunnel boring is a part of the construction of the more than $2 billion Crenshaw/LAX light-rail project that will connect the Green and Expo lines. The new route will consist of eight new stations to serve the Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX communities. It is expected to open in 2019.

Construction churns on with full street closures along Crenshaw/LAX line

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd.

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd.

Street closures, which include some that stretch into the night, are continuing along the route of the Crenshaw/LAX line as the city constructs multiple tunnels for the project. Construction on this area is beginning on Friday.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX rail line is one of 12 projects funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008 to pay for transportation projects and improvements.

The project is slated to be completed in 2019 and have eight stations.

Metro says road closures could branch into two weekends in October.

Here is the information about the street closures:

  • Crenshaw Boulevard between Coliseum Street and Exposition Boulevard will be completely closed. 
  • In addition,on the east side of Crenshaw Boulevard at the north side of Rodeo Road
  • All of Crenshaw Blvd. will be closed between 48th and 43rd streets. Vernon Avenue between Crenshaw Blvd. and Leimert Avenue will also be closed from 9 a.m. to 6 a.m. this weekend and next weekend.
  • A detour will redirect north and southbound traffic around the center of Crenshaw Blvd. between 59th and 67th streets. 
  • La Cienega Boulevard at Florence Avenue will be closed at night from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Monday.
  • La Brea Ave. will close down on the weekdays from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Sunday, Oct. 6.


Crenshaw/LAX light rail construction to expand road closure

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd.

Construction for the metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd. (April 2014)

The final phase of the Crenshaw/LAX line construction will close down roads around Crenshaw Boulevard and Vernon Street starting June 7.

Excavation and decking for the underground Crenshaw/Vernon station of the newest Metro line will be taking place. [Read more…]

Crenshaw Boulevard traffic detoured this weekend

Construction for the new metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd. (April 2014)

Construction for the new metro rail line on Crenshaw blvd. (April 2014)

Construction on an underground rail station for the Crenshaw light rail line will shut down Crenshaw Boulevard for 12 days, beginning Sunday at 9 p.m. until Mar. 27.

Crenshaw Blvd. will be inaccessible to motorists between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Stocker Street, and from King Boulevard from 43rd Street to Vernon Avenue.

Vehicles can cross Crenshaw Boulevard at King, at Vernon Avenue, Stocker Street and 43rd.

Detours will direct south-bound drivers east on King Boulevard, south on Western Avenue and west on Vernon back to Crenshaw. Northbound commuters will detour along the same route in the opposite direction, according to Metro.

The Crenshaw light rail line will have eight stops, connecting South Los Angeles neighborhoods to a final stop near Los Angeles International Airport. The line is scheduled to be completed by 2019.

Metro fare hike hits South LA

Metro Local

Day passes have risen by two dollars. | Amanda Scurlock/Neon Tommy

The Los Angeles Metro increased the fares for its one-way, weekly and monthly passes last week. A one-way pass went from $1.50 to $1.75, a day pass rose by two dollars while the weekly increased by five dollars. The monthly pass has now reached the triple digits, according to a news release on Metro’s website.  In exchange for raising prices, Metro will give riders two hours of free transfer rides for one-way travel if they use Tap cards.

“We have some of the lowest fares in the country, even with the change,” said Dave Sotero, a spokesman for Metro.

In order to raise the fees, Metro conducted several public hearings before presenting the recommendation to the board of directors. The public transportation company raised the fees in order to gain revenue.

The majority of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, including Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Mayor Eric Garcetti, approved of the increase, which effects both buses and rail lines.

“We currently get about 26 percent of our revenue from the fare box,” said Sotero. Part of that money will go to the operating deficit. Metro needs funding to maintain 2,228 buses and 87 miles of rail within the county, according to Sotero.

“As we continue to expand the transit system and make transit more useful for more Angelenos, our operating costs increase accordingly,” he said.

Click to hear the opinions of South L.A. bus-goers:

However, Metro has long needed to persevere through deficits according to Lisa Schweitzer, Associate Professor of the Price School of Public Policy at USC.

“They’re always scrambling for revenue,” she said. “Raising fares can be a dangerous thing to do.”

Eric Romann, an organizer at the Bus Rider’s Union believes the raise will have a negative impact on working class people.

“It will hit hard for people who are earning less money,” he said.

The fee hikes could encourage people to opt out of taking the bus, he added, which could boost street congestion, he added.

“It’s essentially discouraging people from using mass transit.”

Sotero, however, predicts that even people who stop taking the bus due to the cost increase will eventually gravitate back to Metro.

“I anticipate a dip in ridership for about six months,” he said. “Ridership has traditionally come back normal after a six month period.”

See also from Intersections: Bus Riders Union superhero El Pasajero protests proposed fare increase

This article was originally published on Neon Tommy. Reach Staff Reporter Amanda Scurlock here. Follow her on Twitter here.

MyFigueroa could bring bike lanes to Figueroa near South LA


L.A. cyclists, drivers and pedestrians are reacting to the L.A. City Council’s MyFigueroa project, an initiative to create more bike lanes, cycle tracks and pedestrian walkways on Figueroa Street from Exposition Park through Downtown L.A.

“If you’re adding more bike lanes … You’re just going to increase the congestion,” said Christina Ramsey, an L.A. native who drives on Figueroa every day.

“I can potentially get somewhere faster for less money and breathe in fresh air while doing so,” said Asha Anderson, a college student who bikes near Adams Boulevard and in downtown L.A.

One in ten households in L.A. does not have a car, according to the L.A. County Bicycle Coalition. The group is pushing for city planners and politicians to change the way they look at transportation in the city as a whole.

Learn more in an audio story from Annenberg Radio News:

Bus Riders Union superhero El Pasajero protests proposed fare increase

Subway and bus rides could soon cost significantly more, if Metro carries out its new budget proposals.

Under one plan, the $1.50 base fare would rise to $1.75 in September, and increase to $2 by 2017 and $2.25 by 2021. An alternative plan would lift the fare at peak hours to $2.25 in September, and $2.75 in 2017 with fares reaching as high as $3.25 in 2021. Visit Metro’s website to see other fare increase proposals.

According to the Los Angeles Bus Riders Union, the increases will have dramatic consequences for L.A.’s low-income communities.

Metro has reported that its riders earn an average income of $16, 250 — just one third of the average across the county.

Last week, we witnessed one particularly creative way of protesting the potential rise in public transportation fares on a street in South L.A. … click play to watch.

Transforming lives of Watts kids: one bike ride at a time

Javier Partida

Javier Partida, founder of Los Ryderz. | Astrid Solorzano

On Sunday, May 5, Javier Partida rode his bike around Watts with a group of 30 young adults that live in the area.

While approaching a red light at the intersection of 108th Street and Compton Avenue, Partida lifted his fist in the air to direct the rest of his bike squad behind him.

As the bikers behind him came to a stop, a man in a black Impala with tinted windows and silver rims stopped next to Partida.

“You’re doing a great thing for these youngsters, man,” the driver said. Partida nodded his head and replied, “I appreciate it, man. Good looking out.”

The light at the intersection turned green and the Impala sped off. “Everybody let’s go,” said Partida. “Don’t stay behind!”

[Read more…]

CicLAvia extends route to South LA

The city’s 6th CicLAvia, an open-streets biking event, will extend its route to incorporate more of South Los Angeles on Sunday April 21.

Bikers at the last CicLAvia event.

Bikers at the last CicLAvia event.

This marks a significant expansion for the event, which began with a smaller route in 2010.

“What we wanted to show was that CicLAvia wasn’t just about being in downtown Los Angeles,” said Aaron Paley, executive director of CicLAvia.

Sunday’s route will stretch 15 miles, from the city’s historic center El Pueblo de Los Angeles all the way to Venice Beach.

Bikers are encouraged to stop along the way to explore the city at local restaurants and shops.

The event is not a race, but rather an immersive Los Angeles experience. [Read more…]