The Petersen Automotive Museum is auctioning cars to fund major renovations to the museum building. However, when most museums sell items, funds are typically directed toward expanding its collections. According to museum experts, the Petersen goes against standards that are central to most museums’ missions set by accrediting associations that aim to maintain historical preservation for public interest. So far, the museum has sold $8.5 million in cars. As the Petersen is celebrating its 20th anniversary next year, Bruce Meyer, vice chairman of the Petersen board, said the building needs to undergo improvements, which requires money. Not everyone is happy about these changes.
Two new Hollywood skyscrapers may be in the works, so long as the proposed site isn’t located near a fault line. Known as the Millennium project, the towers would be constructed near the Capitol Records building. One would be 35 stories high, while the other would be 39. Opponents of this proposal have cited that the Hollywood fault may still be active. John Parrish, chief of the California Geological Survey, said the study on the fault may take up until 2014 to be completed. Caltrans is also concerned about the effect this development could have on traffic on the 101 Freeway.
Councilmember Mike Bonin of the 11th district appears ready to tackle transportation issues facing the Westside of Los Angeles. Bonin, who is also Vice Chair of the Expo Construction Authority and Chair of the City Council Transportation Committee, acknowledged the need of more ways for commuters on the Westside to move north and south. He does not particularly support the 405 expansion, and said what should have been done instead is work on the LAX rail connection into the San Fernando Valley. Bonin, along with San Fernando Valley Councilmember Paul Krekorian, were appointed to the Metro Board of Directors by Mayor Eric Garcetti along with affordable housing advocate Jacqueline Dupont-Walker. Listen to the LA Streetsblog interview here.
The CSUN Tiger Team met with community members this past week to seek support by presenting transportation projects in progress. Last week they met with businessman Victor Griego; On Monday, with Councilmember Felipe Fuentes of the 7th district. On Wednesday, students met with San Fernando businessman Ralph Torres at his restaurant, Casa Torres in Sylmar, who generously provided lunch to those in attendance; They also ran into Maria Townsend from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s housing department by surprise while waiting to meet with Torres on Wednesday. Among projects in the works, spearheaded by the interns include an extension of the Metro 741 to Sylmar and the addition of bike storage on the Metro Orange Line.
Finally, graduates from the College of Charleston in South Carolina bandied together to create a new website that brings multiple bus companies together to sell seats. Known as Bustripping, the website offers online ticket sales where users can compare prices and schedules. However, two of the biggest intercity bus operators, Megabus and Greyhound, opted not to participate on account of the risks involved and will instead view things from afar, limiting travel choices.
Last week, the Metro Board approved a plan to accelerate Measure R transit projects but did not include a bid to update the financial picture for completing the Gold Line to Claremont. This left state lawmakers, Congressmembers and representatives from San Gabriel Valley cities steamed. These groups formed a coalition to support a request made by Boardmember Mike Antonovich to essentially include the project in the final list. That request failed to muster the necessary votes by the Board to pass, which means that Metro will not accelerate completion of the Gold Line to Claremont.
In other automotive news, a Northwestern University study revealed that auto repair shops charge women more than men, with proprietors perceiving that women are not as informed of repair costs as men. Notably, however, when prospective clients started bargaining for a better price, 35% of women attained the lower price, while only 25% of men succeeded. Researchers caution that drivers of both sexes must call in to various repair shops, compare quotes and learn as much about their vehicles as possible so as to be better prepared to demand a more reasonable price.
Returning north, officials announced that the new Oakland Bay Bridge will not open on Labor Day as scheduled. Engineers last March discovered that 32 bolts used on the bridge had fractured because the steel bolts had become brittle, necessitating a $15 million retrofit on top of the $6.3 billion spent on the new bridge. The retrofit calls for installing so-called saddles to supplant 96 bolts now (including the 32 bolts that failed) and another 192 bolts after the bridge opens. The process is expected to last until December 10, meaning that the new bridge will not open until then.
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin staff writer David Allen shared his experiences on Metrolink during the final weekend of the $10 Weekend Pass, which previously covered both weekend days but now covers just one. Metrolink explained that the change reflects the reality that less than 25% of passengers use the pass for multiple days. Thus, the $10 Weekend Day Pass, as it is now known, more appropriately matches existing travel behavior on the system, therefore, hardly anyone will notice.
Now that the Metro Board doled out the contract for construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line, citizen advocate Damien Goodmon remains flustered from the failure to move a portion of the route underground. While Goodmon admits that the best chance to stop the project without the subway was at the Metro Board meeting last month, he remains hopeful that Metro will reconsider its decision as the Crenshaw Subway Coalition lawsuit goes before the courts. Goodmon also believes that Metro has various avenues of financing that the agency can pursue to make a subway through Park Mesa Heights happen. In response, upon receiving the CEQA lawsuit, Metro asked a state judge to toss it.