Here is a recap of today’s actions — it was a fairly subdued meeting with the public session clocking in at under a rare three hours:
•The Board approved a $37.3-million contract with CH2M Hill to perform the environmental studies for the 710 gap contract. After some discussion, the Board also decided to allow the environmental studies to consider a surface freeway as one of the options to improving traffic in the 710 gap. It is important to note, however, that Metro highways chief Doug Failing said that he wants to study that option in order to demonstrate that it would have a signficant impact and to get it off the table as a possible project. In addition, Failing said that not studying all options could lead to a lawsuit challenging the environmental studies.
•The Board approved a $17-million contract with PB Americas to advance the preliminary engineering and final design for the Westside Subway Extension. The contract is in addition to the existing $73-million contract with PB Americas to help plan the subway and perform the necessary environmental studies.
•The Board approved a contract worth up to $58.8 million with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to continue law enforcement with Metro through June of next year.
•The Board approved a motion by Supervisor/County Mayor Michael Antonovich calling for the agency to perform an extensive safety review of its operations and to hire an independent consultant to perform a full review of Metro’s safety culture.
•The Board approved a motion to continue testing locking the turnstiles at six additional stations, including 7th/Metro in downtown Los Angeles and the North Hollywood Red Line station. The motion also asks that some of the tests — unlike the ones done last month — come at peak hours. On a related note, Metro staff told the Board that they will have a report with data from the October tests within two weeks.
•In a discussion about TAP, Metro staff told the Board that they are continuing to work to get more municipal operators into the TAP system, including Metrolink. They also had a graphic that showed that within Los Angeles County there are 3,276 buses that accept TAP cards, the equipment is being installed on 409 more buses and 523 have yet to be converted to taking TAP. Board Member John Fasana also asked about timelines for a possible regional fare system. Metro staff said that there is no formal timeline but Metro CEO Art Leahy did say that staff will return to the Board within the next year with a discussion about regional fares, including distance-based fares.
•The Board approved a life-of-project budget of $1.715 billion for the Crenshaw/LAX Line plus $31.3 million to $34.4 million in re-programmed State Transportation Improvement Program funds, bringing the budget to $1.749 billion.
•The Board approved hiring a consultant to identify potential bus rapid transit corridors in Los Angeles County.
•And the Board approved changing the names of six rail and bus stations:
A. “Imperial/Wilmington/Rosa Parks” to “Willowbrook/Rosa Parks;”
B. “103rd Street/Kenneth Hahn” to “103rd St/Watts Towers/Kenneth Hahn;”
C. “Vermont Av/I-105″ to “Vermont Av/Athens;”
D. “Hawthorne Bl/I-105″ to “Hawthorne Bl/Lennox;”
E. “Venice/Robertson” to “Culver City;”and
F. “Artesia Transit Center” to “Harbor Gateway Transit Center.”
Here is a link to the full meeting agenda.