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Traffic jam from hell this weekend DTLA

February 5, 2016 in Downtown, Driving, Mass Transit, News, Transportation

Detour route outlined around DTLA starting tonight.

Detour route outlined around DTLA starting tonight.

I know they’re calling it #101slowjam where a section of the 101 on the east side is closed for the demo of the 6th street bridge.  However, last I took the 110 around DTLA, which is their intended detour route, things were at a standstill crawl and it wasn’t even a peak drive time.

My suggestion is if you need to be downtown this weekend during the 40 hour closure you use metro trains and buses as its going to be a hellish drive.  If the intent is catch the 5 or 60 from there find a better spot to grab it and avoid the congestion downtown.  This is going to be a long 40 hour closure.

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Happy New Year Los Angeles

January 3, 2016 in Driving, Entertainment, Mass Transit, News, Seasonal

B2 Bomber buzzes my 'hood

Its that time of year again.  The SGV just KNOWS its the New Year when a B2 bomber flies down over the Rose Parade route and on down the 210 before they turn it to its home base.  The rest of you get to watch it on TV.  Yeah, we’re special.

A lot of cool stuff is happening in Los Angeles this coming year.  Sometime this month the NFL is meeting to talk about moving not one but THREE teams to Los Angeles.  Feetball isn’t my thing except for the odd Packers game and the Superbowl but a ton of Angelenos are terribly excited by the prospect so I am for them.

The iconic 6th street bridge falls this month sometime to be replaced by something new spanning the Los Angeles River.  On the topic of the river…the Corp of Engineers signed off on a plan to turn the river back into a natural stream bed replete with trees and parkways along its course to the sea.

The Gold Line extension opens all the way to Azusa March 5.  The Expo line this spring makes it all the way to SaMo.  Progress in spite of ourselves.  Personally I can’t wait as it will be possible to make a quick jaunt to SaMo from the SGV to lunch with a dear friend instead of spending hours on the 10 trying to get there.

Of course this is a big city and room for lots of voices telling what they saw or did.  Care to join me in sharing your L.A stories?

 

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What you missed at L.A Auto Show Press Days

November 22, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Seasonal, Shopping, Technology

One the things you get in Press Days of the Los Angeles Auto Show that you don’t get in the public days is the grand reveals and Green Car Drives. It is physically impossible as a party of one to hit every press conference so I have to pick and choose which to attend so I can get in and see all the cars on display and photograph them.  Trust me its a lot of work and not all party and booze and great food.  There is some of that, but the thrust of the 2 day event is press conferences and not all are wowsers.

Audi was a real surprise.  Instead of the ususal hype and bluster, they started with an apology for the current diesel kerfuffle with fudged testing vs operation parameters.  They promised to earn their customers respect back.  Then they went into the discussion on the future of Audi relying on electric cars, first to come is the A3 E-tron and soon to follow an all electric SUV the E-tron Quattro in a few years.  By 2025 Audi expects 25% of all cars they sell to be electric. Read the rest of this entry →

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2015 L.A. Auto Show Highlights

November 21, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Technology, Transportation

First up…Chevy’s Volt took the green car of the year award in a ceremony held Thursday Morning.  Later I got to drive it and was impressed.  Smoother ride, smoother transition back and forth between EV and gas mode, with much more time in pure EV mode than the prior version.  Add in a much more refined, high end materials and fit in finish inside this car is nothing like its hard edged predecessor.  I can see easily why it won “Green Car of the Year” for its technilogical and creature comfort advancements.  Nice job Chevy.

Read the rest of this entry →

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Elio P5 best kept secret to be revealed at L.A Auto Show

November 6, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, News, Shopping, Technology, Transportation

We know little of this car other than an entry on the schedule of premieres during Press Days of the L.A. Auto Show coming up in 2 short weeks.  Elio is a new car company the P5 is their debut car.  Little is known.  Rumors abound.  Its a 3 wheel car, .9liter 3 cylnder, 80+mpg, 0-60 in under 10 seconds, top speed over 100. This is either going to be the greatest thing since the Tesla to make us change how we think about cars or will will be another blip on the radar that we snicker over like the Dale.  I fear the latter as with “cheap” gas again and a resurgance of guzzing SUV sales and falling hybrid sales, but we’ll see.  It may just wow us.

The L. A. Auto Show is open to the public 11/20-29 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  Buy your tickets now and avoid the lines at the ticket booths.  While there judge for yourself if the Elio Motors P5 is the future or a blip.

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L.A. Auto Show teasers….it opens next month

October 15, 2015 in Downtown, Driving, Entertainment, Events, Seasonal, Shopping

Alfa Romeo 4c - click to embiggen

Alfa Romeo 4c – click to embiggen

Where to start…something new or something old?  Let’s start with the super new Alfa Romeo that is to be revealed at this years 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Will it be as sexy as the 4c they pulled the curtain from in Detroit in January?  My guess is yes.  My guess is that it will be a BMW 3 series competitor, because that’s what they all wanna have.  We shall see won’t we?  Lord knows a sexy 2 door sports car is a nice way to relaunch a brand, but they need more to sustain one.

To kick off the new Alfa the Motor Press Guild is organizing a retrospective of 35 collectible concours quality Alfas from the past to be displayed in the Gilbert Lindsay Plaza of the convention center. Those cars will be driven to the show from the Palm Springs Concorso held the weekend prior.  Additionally Alfa Romeo is bringing a few cars from their private collection to show there as well.  This will only be available to the press so I’ll take lots of pics for you.

The other news is that the Green Car of the Year finalists were named.  This goes to the car, usually a hybrid, though a traditional gasser was included one year and a now not so clean we learned the hard way diesel.  But I digress, the field this year is interesting and I’m not sure how it will go.  They’re all familiar names, two got complete makeovers.  Volt by Chevy is more mainstream looking and has doubled electic range, Prius…gets the funky face front intakes seen on their fuel cell car, not functional, funky for the sake of funky with the promise of better driving dynamics.  That’s like asking a toaster not to be a toaster.  The finalists up for judging by the Green Car Journal:

  1. Honda Civic
  2. Hyundai Sonata
  3. Chevy Volt
  4. Toyota Prius
  5. Audi A3 e-tron (my personal favorite)

Tickets are on sale now, grab yours early and avoid the crush outside waiting insufferable minutes in the ticket lines.  ORDER HERE.

Los Angeles Auto Show, Los Angeles Convention Center. November 20-29, 2015.  Check web for daily times.

Pic by me.  I’ll be at the show for press days 11/18-19 and share with you the winners and losers.

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C’mon Metro we only scored a C?

October 6, 2015 in Mass Transit, Transportation

metro logoI’m gonna snark on this one a bit.  We have to consider the source first.  Its based on a report from a Bay Area based firm and we know how they are loathe to say anything nice about us ever.  So a “C” rating for one station may be signs of the second coming or at least a thaw.

I do however take exception to their finding only one station in all of metro that fit their metrics to give it a good rating.  I’m no expert, not even a daily rider, but when I do use Metro I get where I need to be timely and hassle free.  Everything works.  Multiple lines from the SGV to the Science center as a snap to navigate and on time less than 45 minutes door to door. Ditto to Hollywood/Highland.  Ditto Olvera Street.  It just works well.

My wife travels the Red/Gold Line and loves it.  Easy way to her station from her office DTLA and quick connections most of the time at Union Station.  She’s been doing it since January and loves it…how bad can it be?  Plus we’re saving a solid $150 month on our fuel bill after you deduct out the cost of the monthly TAP car fill.  No small change.

Plus its not all grafitti covered…well the Red Line has its moments. But I digress, my last time around SF on BART the cars were dirty and graffiti filled.  Not a nice impression. My wife travels the Red/Gold Line and loves it.  Easy way to her station from her office DTLA and quick connections most of the time at Union Station.  She’s been doing it since January and loves it…how bad can it be?  Plus we’re saving a solid $150 month on our fuel bill after you deduct out the cost of the monthly TAP car fill.  No small change.

I’m not saying we’re perfect, but we’re growing and I like the direction we’re taking.  By Spring I’ll be able to metro it from my house in the SGV when the new gold line station opens, couple of train swaps and be in SAMO in time for lunch way faster than I can drive it.  Plus I don’t have to pay for parking to do it.

The full press release that triggered my praise of Metro after the jump.  I get it has a TOD bias, but not everyone wants to live that way like rats compressed into a cube and never drive a car again.  Read the rest of this entry →

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10th Annual Cruz’n for Roses classic car show in So Pas Sunday 9/27

September 24, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley

1965 Thunderbird...and example of what you may find there...click to embiggen

1965 Thunderbird…and example of what you may find there…click to embiggen

There are a few hundred classic cars expected to line South Pasadena’s historic Mission Street for their 10th Annual Cruz’n for Roses classic car show. Car owners pay a fee to enter their cars and the proceeds go towards the cities Rose Parade float.

Also for the day the South Pas Fire and Police department will be hosting an open house if you want to check out their latest gear, cars and of course fire trucks.  The open house will take place at their station located at 1422 S Mission from 10AM-3PM

 

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Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance 2015 the overview

September 23, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, History, South Bay, Transportation

By far my most favorite auto show in the Los Angeles area has got to be the Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.  This is a tightly curated show, few if any basic rides, it focuses on the premiere rides of days gone by.  Two categories, restored and survivors that they call “Preservation” that are all original and just detailed out to show quality.

Make the jump for a few of my favorite cars of the day. Read the rest of this entry →

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Souvenir from the ’32 Olympic games

September 21, 2015 in Driving, LA, Transportation, Vintage

License plate ornament from the 1932 games, click to ebmiggen

License plate ornament from the 1932 games, click to ebmiggen


Its no secret that I love to go to car shows, doesn’t matter what kind, new, old, collectible or survivors its all good.  Of late I’ve been into capturing details, mostly pot metal nomenclature as back in the day cars were named and the script font fulfilled the imagery.  One of the other details I like is grill badges and plate ornaments.  Imagine if you will the squeel I let out when I spotted this gem on a ’32 Franklin at yesterdays Rancho Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance.

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DiMora Vicci 6.2 to Highlight Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance 9/20

September 16, 2015 in Driving, Events, LA, News, South Bay, Transportation

High Res photo attached. Picture credit: DiMora Motors

High Res photo attached. Picture credit: DiMora Motors

Only 25 examples of this car will be hand crafted.  Its Los Angeles showing will be at the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance on September 20.  (Full details on the car after the jump).

The Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance is one of my most favorite shows in all of Southern California.  IT IS without a doubt the best curated show out there and you can’t go wrong with the location –

General Parking for Concours d’Elegance

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20, 2015

  • General Parking is Free
  • Location: Promenade Shopping Center & Peninsula Center – Rolling Hills Estates
  • See map, below for parking entrances
  • Shuttle access is at the Peninsula Center parking area.

We are happy to be able to provide FREE general parking for this year’s Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance through the generosity of Promenade on the Peninsula and Peninsula Shopping Center. Constantly running buses, courtesy of L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, will shuttle you to and from the Concours venue—about a 7 minute drive.

DIRECTIONS

From either Hawthorne or Crenshaw Blvds., turn onto Indian Peak Road.

  1. Signage will direct you to parking entrances
  2. Volunteers will help guide you to a parking spot.

At Promenade on the Peninsula parking structure:

  • Please use ONLY the parking entrance next to the Norris Theater.
  • Please do not use any other parking entrance for Concours parking. These areas are reserved for shopping center patrons. Be courteous.
  • After parking, walk across the street to Peninsula Shopping Center to board the Shuttle.

Pics from last years show in my Flickr Album.  Now make the jump and read about that car!   Read the rest of this entry →

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BMW Loans i3 EV to Los Angeles Police Department for Evaluation

September 14, 2015 in Crime, Driving, environment, News, People, Transportation

A detective loses his Dodge Patrol car with a hemi and cries…

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck announce a year long test of a BMW i3 electric vehicle at a City of Los Angeles press conference in Los Angeles, Sept. 11, 2015. Photo by Danny Moloshok/Newscast courtesy BMW PR

I could add a few more snarks, but bottom line a few electric cars in the LAPD make sense in the right applications.  No I can’t imagine them used in a high speed pursuit, but contrary to local TV that is not a constant occurrence.  There’s plenty of things they do that involves just slogging around town and idling in traffic that an electric car and its zero emissions at the tail pipe make sense.  Detectives cold calling witnesses and victims on follow up doesn’t need speed nor lights flaring.  Parking meter slugs idling around town issuing tickets is another area that kinda makes sense.

Regardless of what you think of the EV, they make sense in some applications and if we can save some gas money swapped for electrons cheaper off the grid to power these little beasts its better for the cities bottom line.

Personally, I like the BMW i3,  Drives very much like what you expect from BMW, with its aggressive regeneratvie braking systems a quick lift of the throttle feels more like downshifting a gasser than just idle coasting.  My full review from a few years ago HERE that included an interview with the BMW i project manager.

Free subscription to blogging.la for the first person who captures a pic of the BMW i3 in action on the streets of L.A.

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25th Annual Monrovia Custom Car Show recap

September 13, 2015 in Driving, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation

custom ford coupe

Ford Custom Coupe…my personal best of show, click to embiggen

Yesterday was the 25th annual Monrovia Car Show and it wasn’t a disappointment.  No sirree.  It was side by side both sides of the street and some side streets in Old Town Monrovia jam packed with more old cars in every stage of repair and customization you could imagine.  Focused primarily on domestics, there were the few odd imports…a Pantera here, an Anglia there, an Austin Healy there…you get the idea.  A car show.

Of course there were all sorts of cars and trucks that defied description and you have to see them in person to grasp their importance.  Or silliness.  to see them you need to make the jump. Read the rest of this entry →

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25th Annual Monrovia Street Rods Forever Car Show Saturday 9/12

September 9, 2015 in Driving, Entertainment, Events, San Gabriel Valley, Transportation

Show Poster...click to embiggen

Show Poster…click to embiggen

The cars start lining up at 8AM and by 10AM  South Myrtle Avenue in Monrovia from Palm to Olive is a massive sea of cars.   MASSIVE.  As in hundreds of classic cars in every state of restoration, customization or just in need of some TLC and stock original.   Its limited to pre-malaise era cars so pretty much anything prior to 1980 is there.

With Myrtle Avenue blocked I’d suggest getting off at Myrtle Ave and head north from the 210.  At that point turn right at Huntington Drive and then left at Ivy and park in a free city parking lot off Ivy.  Or…turn left then right up Primrose and park in one of the free lots off that street.

Arrive early and do dress for heat. Crowds peak around the lunch hour and if its too hard to see the cars, well pop into Jakes Roadhouse or one of the many other restaurants in Old Town Monrovia, grab a bite and wait for the crowds to die down.

You don’t have to take my word for it that this is a not to be missed classic car show.  Check my flickr albums from 2013 and 2014 from the event as a good teaser and prep of what to expect.

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ICME refugee from the Mad Max set?

August 22, 2015 in Art, Driving, ICME, San Gabriel Valley

click to embiggen and not miss a detail

click to embiggen and not miss a detail

I see the most amazing stuff when I meander off the beaten path. This refugee from the Mad Max set, an art car gone mad if you will, was spotted in an alley just off Myrtle/Lime in Old Town Monrovia. Too bizarre for words.

Pic by me with my phone.  Click to embiggen.