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Purple Line Extension Coming to Westwood

Photo by Visitor7
Photo by Visitor7

Tired of that super long trip on transit between Westwood and Downtown LA?

Well, how does 25 minutes sound?

The Purple Line Extension will add nine miles of track between its current endpoint at Wilshire/Western in Koreatown and the Westwood area. And it may just be hitting the streets 10 years before its initial target date! As projected by the draft spending plan, this new rail line will be in service between 2024 and 2027.

The following Metro stations will be built:

  • Wilshire/La Brea
  • Wilshire/Fairfax
  • Wilshire/La Cienega
  • Wilshire/Rodeo
  • Century City/Constellation
  • Westwood/UCLA
  • Westwood/VA Hospital

The Westwood/UCLA stop, which will be located at the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood, plants you 1.1 miles away from the heart of campus. The Westwood/VA Hospital Station will be located in front of the Veteran Administration’s West Los Angeles Medical Center.

Plus, think of all the places you'll be able to venture to along the Purple Line Extension. Hop off the Wilshire/La Brea Station and visit the La Brea Tar Pits, or step off Wilshire/Fairfax and cross the street to LACMA. The Wilshire/Fairfax stop is about a mile from the Farmers Market and the Grove, and the Wilshire/La Cienega Station is 0.75 miles from the Beverly Center and Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

Imagine what your commute could look like when this project is finally completed. So just sit tight: It might even be done before 2024 if UCLA is picked to host the 2024 Summer Olympics!subwaymap

 

Expo Line To Santa Monica Opens in One Month

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expolinePhoto by Steve Hymon/Metro

Exactly one month from now, the Expo Line extension will be opening. This is great news for UCLA commuters, who will now have a good alternative to the oft-congested Santa Monica Freeway.

The current Expo Line only runs to Culver City. The 6.6-mile extension adds seven new stations:

  1. Palms: At the intersection of Palms Blvd. and National Ave.
  1. Westwood/Rancho Park: This is the best transfer point for buses headed up Westwood Blvd. to Westwood Village and UCLA. It’s less than a 10-minute drive from campus.
  1. Expo/Sepulveda: Just south of Pico Blvd. Near Sawtelle Japantown.
  1. Expo/Bundy: About 1.5 miles from the Santa Monica Airport.
  1. 26th/Bergamot: Adjacent to the Bergamot Station arts complex in Santa Monica.
  1. 17th Street/SMC: About half a mile from Santa Monica College.
  1. Downtown Santa Monica: Steps away from the Santa Monica Pier, the beach, Santa Monica Place, the Third Street Promenade, the Palisades Park, Tongva Park and the Santa Monica Civic Center.

Those heading to UCLA should step off the Westwood/Rancho Park station. Beginning June 11, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus will operate its new Rapid 12 service, a more direct route between the Palms station, the Westwood station and UCLA. According to Big Blue Bus, it will run every seven to eight minutes during peak times throughout the school year.

“It was closely replicate the experience of an end-to-end shuttle, and with virtually no wait time at either end due to high frequency,” said Edward F. King, Director of Transit Services at Big Blue Bus, in a Daily Bruin Letter to the Editor.

The new Culver CityBus Rapid 6 will offer a near-direct route between the Sepulveda station and UCLA.

Additionally, UCLA Housing is offering  a Saturday BruinBus shuttle—operated by UCLA Transportation—to Santa Monica. BruinBus shuttles are free not just to students but also to Westwood visitors.

UCLA Transportation subsidizes 50% of the BruinGO! Flash Pass, which provides unlimited rides on an Santa Monica Big Blue Bus and Culver CityBus. The pass only costs $33 per quarter or $0.50 per ride.

Amid requests to have UCLA Transportation offer a free shuttle from campus to the Expo Line’s Westwood station—which will likely prove to be cost inefficient—King countered that while “having to pay any fare does discourage ridership, we don’t agree that the solution is to overlap service that is already planned to handle the large loads of students. It would waste resources on both sides.”

expo2map1

 

Breathe Well: UCLA’s Tobacco-Free Initiative

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700x240-01Here at UCLA Transportation, we're all about being healthy. We encourage the UCLA community to commute sustainably not just to avoid LA traffic, which is the worst nationwide, and to save money on gas, parking and other vehicle costs. We want you to try biking, walking or taking public transit because it facilitates a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically. So it makes sense that when you're on campus walking to your bus stop or cycling down a bike lane, we want you to Breathe Well.

That's what UCLA's Tobacco-Free Initiative is all about. It creates a img_ts_breathewelllogo_105x105healthier, more breathable and environmentally green campus for our entire community. Whether you're a visitor, student or UCLA employee, if you're on any part of the campus, smoking is not allowed, including electronic cigarettes and vapes. There is no risk-free level of second-hand smoke. By creating a tobacco-free environment, Breathe Well saves lives and cuts down on the leading worldwide cause of preventable death.

Check out this cool, student-produced video designed to raise awareness about Breathe Well.

Green Ways to Get Around Campus in Style

For SoCal college students meandering through campus, walking is typically the most common mode of transportation. But arriving at point B from point A at UCLA on two feet can become cumbersome. The trip to campus from dorms or apartments day after day can feel more like a trek than a walk. And if you ever want to venture beyond campus for an internship or Santa Monica beach day, driving in L.A. traffic can appear especially grim.

Here's how you can minimize travel time throughout campus and even the city while looking good and reducing your carbon footprint (since going green is a trend that's always in style).

Bike

Biking is the fastest way to maneuver around Westwood Village and the UCLA campus. If biking is your thing, then you have two options. Your first option is to invest in your own bike to fit your lifestyle. Do you want a durable mountain bike to take offroading or a fun fixie to ride while dodging traffic? Buy one at the UCLA Bike Shop or at Helen's Cycles in Westwood.

You second, more convenient and affordable option is to rent a Bruin Bike from the UCLA Bike Library. Students only pay $60 per quarter. Employees get free two-week rentals through our Commuter Bike Loaner Program. You'll ride a deluxe hybrid city-style 8-speed cruiser, even equipped with a cup holder for your coffee. Don't forget a Herschel messenger bag to store all your books and belongings as you ride around campus.

Longboard

"Longboarding is a quick and cool way to get around in the SoCal sunshine," says the Daily Bruin. On a longboard, you can cruise around campus with better balance because of its larger size. Traveling to and from class is just another way to enjoy the California breeze while gliding along the streets. Think of longboarding as surfing on wheels and riding the waves of concrete hills, so make each ride an enjoyable — and stylish — one.

To look the part, longboarders need a solid pair of Nike sneakers for maintaining that comfortable stance. The right hat and sunglasses are also required (for safety reasons, of course) to keep the sun out of your eyes and to prevent hitting pedestrians. You'll have to carry the board to take the stairs and head into buildings; just consider the extra exercise as a bonus.

Razor Scooter

If locking up a bike or carrying around a longboard is too much of a hassle, resort to the razor scooter. It's lightweight transportation, and it transfers you faster than walking. Scootering also has charming appeal as you zigzag through campus. Reminiscent of childhood, the scooter is a fun and amusing way to travel. It even offers enhanced safety with its adjustable handlebars and rear wheel brake. You maintain greater control, especially during lunch rush hour when foot traffic throughout campus is heavy.

Public Transit

For those times when a longboard or scooter won't get you to downtown or over to West L.A., various types of transportation are available without using your car and gas. These can take you to your destination on campus or to city hotspots. Plus, we've made it even easier to get around the city with this guide.

For more information on green transportation at UCLA, check out the UCLA Transportation website.

Study Shows Vanpools Drastically Lower Stress

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Vanpool_poolparty001For stressed-out commuters, joining a vanpool might be one step toward a more relaxed 2016. A UCLA study shows that vanpooling drastically lowers the stress of commuting.

“Riders indicated that participating in a vanpool was a source of dramatic reduction in stress and some even said that it was therapeutic,” said Wendie Robbins, the study’s lead researcher and a professor in the UCLA School of Nursing and in the Fielding School of Public Health. “Riders said that their time on the van was restful and provided a chance to meditate, relax, listen to music or just be at peace.”

Vanpooling has long been touted as a way for riders to reduce pollution and traffic while saving money. While there have been studies on the health benefits of active commuting — walking or bicycling — as well as those of taking a bus or train, the health impact of vanpooling hasn’t previously been studied.

“Health Effects of Vanpooling to Work,” published in the journal Workplace Health and Safety, looked at passengers’ and drivers’ perceptions of how vanpooling affected their health and well-being.

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UCLA carpool and vanpool participants commute from far and wide

Participants were recruited through the UCLA Vanpool Program, which has nearly 1500 participants and is one of the largest employer-based vanpool programs in California. Researchers conducted focus groups with 40 vanpool riders and two drivers.

“We know that driving alone is very isolating and creates stress,” said Penny Menton, director of communications and commuter services for UCLA Transportation. “When you ride with others, you become connected and create an environment of relaxation and interaction.”

UCLA carpool and vanpool participants commute from far and wide.

The researchers were surprised by riders’ fierce commitment to vanpooling, Robbins said. “You have to give up independent choices – when you leave, the temperature in the van, who you ride with. Riders are willing to compromise for the reduced stress of not having to drive.”

Menton, one of the original creators of the UCLA Vanpool Program, agreed. “We started this program almost 32 years ago to help reduce traffic during the 1984 Summer Olympics. We have riders who have been with the program since the beginning, including two drivers, and the only way they leave is when they retire. The vanpool becomes like family.”

UCLA vanpool

UCLA Vanpool

One of these longtime fans is Stan Paul, who works at the UCLA Lu
skin School of Public Affairs and commutes more than 160 miles round-trip each day from the Inland Empire. Paul has been a volunteer driver for most of that time. His vanpool gets 10 other UCLA employees to work and back, and takes that many cars off the road.

“For me, there really hasn’t been any other viable alternative since I started,” Paul said. “I would give up the commute in a second, but not the vanpool as long as I do have to commute.”

Riders did mention a few downsides, including disturbed sleep patterns and the risk of illness, but they saw these as relatively minor issues.

“For many of the vans, napping has become a norm, something that many riders actually look forward to,” Robbins said.

The next steps in the research are to quantify the health impacts of vanpooling, both positive and negative, and potentially to develop strategies to address them. For example, if some vanpoolers experience resultant sleep issues, employers could develop programs for employees to improve sleep habits.

The study’s other authors were Barbara Berman, professor emerita in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, and Dawn Stone, a Ph.D. candidate in the UCLA School of Nursing.

The study was funded by the UCLA Foundation/Mary Ann Lewis Enhancement, the UCLA Center for Occupational and Environmental Health, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and the Southern California Education and Research Center.