A few notes from Board of Director committee meetings the past two days:
•As part of the proposed financial agreement with AEG to expand the Blue and Expo lines' Pico Station to handle Farmer Field crowds, ramps for both the existing and new platform would be widened and lengthened. In addition, to free up space on both platforms, ticket machines will be moved to the street. The financial agreement part is very easy to understand: Metro builds the platform, AEG pays for it as well as other crowd control costs for Farmers Field events.
•The Board's Executive Management committee asked that a proposal to rename the Universal City station as the “Universal City/Studio City” station be sent back to the San Fernando Valley Service Council for their consideration. The Studio City Neighborhood Council backs the name change, saying they were previously unaware that the station was within the boundaries of what's considered Studio City.
•Metro planning officials responded to a motion by Supervisor and Metro Board Member Don Knabe asking for ways that the Metro Airport Connector project could be accelerated with or without the Measure J ballot measure seeking to extend the 2008 sales tax increase for 30 years until 2069.
Metro staff explained that if Measure J is approved, the best case scenario for finishing a project would likely be 2023. Without Measure J, the planned completion date would be in 2028, the designated date in Metro's long-range plan.
The foremost issue on the table is that the Federal Aviation Administration doesn't want Metro to begin its draft environmental study until Los Angeles World Airports — a city of Los Angeles agency — completes an ongoing specific plan update for the airport. That update considers transportation and other improvements for LAX. Another issue is that completing the project — alternatives under study include a light rail extension, people mover and bus rapid transit — will require a financial contribution from LAWA and possibly other funds.
Two Board Members — Mark Ridley-Thomas and Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich — made it clear they consider this a priority project that can't be built soon enough.