MTA to provide free bus rides during 405 closure
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Los Angeles County’s transportation authority today expanded its effort to avoid complete gridlock on the Westside during the upcoming weekend closure of a section of the San Diego (405) Freeway.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced that it will offer free fares on a total of 26 bus lines along major Westside and San Fernando arteries.
They include buses along Venice, Wilshire, Santa Monica and Sunset boulevards from downtown to the Westside. A rapid bus connecting the San Fernando Valley and Westwood along Sepulveda Boulevard and east-west routes throughout the Valley will also be free.
Metro is the lead agency on the project to remove part of the historic Mulholland Bridge during the weekend of July 16-17. The northbound 405 Freeway will be closed for a 10-mile stretch between the Santa Monica (10) Freeway and the Ventura (101) Freeway. The southbound freeway will be closed for four miles between the 101 and Getty Center Drive.
The bridge demolition is part of a $1 billion effort to widen the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass and upgrade the freeway to better withstand earthquakes.
The stretch of highway is one of the busiest in the nation, with an estimated 500,000 vehicles on a typical summer weekend.
“Metro will closely monitor traffic congestion on all routes in the I-405 construction area and will make needed adjustments to bus service based on the current traffic conditions,” a spokesman said in a statement.
Metro is trying to avoid massive gridlock by offering free rides on any combination of public transit to and from Westside neighborhoods during the closure many are calling “Carmageddon.”
The authority announced in June it will be adding 61 buses to eight major bus lines, including the 2, which links downtown to the Pacific Palisades along Sunset Boulevard, and rapid buses that travel to Santa Monica along Wilshire and Santa Monica boulevards. It will also add 16 buses to enhance late night service on some of those routes.
The authority is offering free service on the Red and Purple Line subways and the Orange Line through the San Fernando Valley from Woodland Hills to North Hollywood.
A complete list of the free and expanded transit routes during the construction is at www.metro.net/I-405.
L.A. began its first work week of “Ramp Jam”—the three-month closure of the westbound Wilshire Boulevard onramp to the northbound San Diego (405) Freeway and the northbound 405’s offramp to westbound Wilshire.
The ramps were closed Friday night in the first phase of a yearlong effort to demolish and rebuild all eight ramps at the interchange. They are to be replaced with ramps designed to reduce traffic jams and dangerous lane-weaving. The work is part of a project to add a 10-mile carpool lane to the 405 through the Sepulveda Pass.
Now that the parade of labor union members and leaders, bus riders, politicians and ordinary citizens have voiced their overwhelming support for an historic Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved it, the next step [in the process] is to get an OK from the Federal Transportation Administration (FTA).
Once the FTA has signed off on the agreement, the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail line will be the first project to begin construction under the new guidelines.
To promote a safe holiday season, Metro will offer a special holiday free fare program for all Metro Bus and Metro Rail lines operating on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
The free fare program will be in effect between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. on the nights and early morning hours of Dec. 24-25 and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.
Patrons boarding a Metro Bus, including the Metro Orange Line, or the Metro Red, Purple, Blue, Green or Gold rail lines during the hours designated will receive a free ride to their destination.
INGLEWOOD, Calif.—A woman stabbed a man during an argument aboard a Metro bus in Inglewood today.
The stabbing occurred about 10:15 a.m. on a Line 40 bus that was westbound on Florence Avenue at Hillcrest Boulevard, according to Luis Inzunza of Metro.
The injured man, in his 40s, was taken to a hospital for treatment of wounds to his head and abdomen, Inzunza said. His condition was not immediately known. The woman fled the scene.
SANTA MONICA, Calif.—A groundbreaking ceremony was held today in Santa Monica for the Expo Line Phase 2 project, which will extend the light rail line from Culver City to Santa Monica.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was among the dignitaries helping to turn dirt in a ceremonial groundbreaking event at Colorado Avenue and Fourth Street—the planned terminus of the line.