Roundup of Thursday's Metro Board of Directors meeting

A few items of interest tackled by the Metro Board at today’s monthly meeting:

•The Board approved Item 16 to provide $1.3 million for improvements to the Branford Street railroad crossing of Metrolink tracks in Los Angeles in the northeast San Fernando Valley. Improvements include pedestrian gates, roadway widening and additional warning signals.

•The Board approved Item 55 to rename the Blue Line’s Grand Station to Grand/L.A. Trade Tech and the Expo Line’s 23rd Street Station to 23rd St/L.A. Trade Tech. The Board also approved Item 56 to rename the Exposition/La Brea station to the Exposition/La Brea Ethel Bradley Station.

•The Board approved Item 58, a motion that asks Metro to implement an online database of previous Board of Director actions. At present, searching for motions and past actions is a crapshoot. The motion also asks for linking audio from Board meetings to reports — something that would, I suspect, be very useful to anyone who cares or is interested in actions taken by the Board of an agency with a multi-billion dollar annual budget.

•The Board approved Item 67, asking the Board to oppose AB 1941, which would add two members to the Metro Board to be appointed by the Assembly Speaker and the Senate Rules Committee, respectively. I included some background and thoughts on this legislation in a recent headlines — see the last item in this post.
•The Board approved Item 18.1, a motion asking Caltrans to report on difficulties that have emerged in the transfer of park-n-ride lots at Metro Rail stations from Caltrans to Metro. The motion begins: “Item No. 18 and Director Najarian’s accompanying Motion underscore the importance of Metro’s increasingly complex relationship with Caltrans.” If I am reading the remainder of the motion correctly, I think “complex” is a perhaps one way of saying “difficult,” at least on this issue.

•The Board approved Item 70, a motion asking Metro to seek ways to improve lighting and pedestrian access to/from the Universal City over-flow parking lot for the Red Line station.

Item 9, a motion to eliminate the monthly maintenance fee for ExpressLanes accounts that infrequently use the lanes and substitute a flat $1 fee on all accounts, was held and will be considered by the Board in April.

9 replies

  1. I also see from the Metro ExpressLanes website that it now says “Attention L.A. County Residents, the monthly account maintenance fee is waived until April 30th, 2014.”

    Sounds only fair to keep the maintenance fee waived until the Metro Board discusses about it.

    However, it is becoming ridiculous that the Metro Board members keep extending the waiver period over and over again. It’s just frustrating and is huge waste of taxpayer dollars to keep repeating this issue over and over again everytime there is a Metro Board meeting.

    We would be better off if the Board Members just stopped wasting everyone’s time and just end the whole drama by saying “no maintenance fee, forever, period, no more discussion about this matter, end of story.”

  2. So is Metro going to change all maps and signage to read “Exposition/La Brea Ethel Bradley”? If so, how is the addition of “Ethel Bradley” on all signs and maps going to help transit riders in any way? And why should taxpayers have to pay for these changes, when they do absolutely NOTHING to improve the transit rider’s experience, and actually may even lead to confusion for some, especially tourists. Where is this “Ethel Bradley”? Transit is for NAVIGATION, and should be based on GEOGRAPHY, not on someone’s desire to honor someone.

  3. Not a good idea to begin charging a monthly $1 fee for the access to the ExpressLanes. That effectively turns the ExpressLanes into a subscription-based service. At least with an inactivity fee, it was theoretically possible to carpool in the ExpressLanes for free (not counting the refundable transponder fee). Not under the proposed policy.

    If 10% of ExpressLanes revenue goes to offset the monthly maintenance fee on inactive accounts so be it. I think that’s entirely fair and appropriate and should be considered an essential cost of running the ExpressLanes program. (As a taxpayer, I know my taxes subsidize the construction and maintenance of all the local roads, not just the roads I use. This is situation is no different.)

    I would further argue that offsetting the $1.6M of inactivity fees *is* an investment in the communities along the ExpressLanes corridors because it encourages use of the ExpressLanes by both frequent and infrequent users. This, in turn, keeps that traffic out of the general lanes and off local streets.

    Assessing a monthly fee on well-intentioned carpoolers who have already put down a deposit on a transponder is not the answer.

  4. I’m in total agreement with Alex Brideau III.

    From what I’ve heard from the mp3 file from the last Board Meeting in October which was the last time the ExpressLanes maintenance fee waiver was discussed, Metro was expecting $16-18 million during the pilot phase. But it went far beyond everyone’s expectations because they were already at $20 million in revenues by October without the maintenance fees.

    If it’s going to cost $1.6 million to run the ExpressLanes which already made $20 million by last October, then so be it. It’s a cost to doing business. Don’t pass this along as BS fees to transponder users.

  5. Transit Rider-
    While I agree the naming the Exposition/La Brea station after Ethel Bradley is unnecessary… there is precedence for it. Here are some “official” station names… 7th Street/Metro Center/Julian Dixon station, Pico/Chick Hearn station, Willowbrook/Rosa Parks station and 103rd Street/Watts Towers/Kenneth Hahn station.

    You can be the judge if these people (including Mrs. Bradley) are deserving of this honor. But here’s the important part… did you know all of these “official” station names before right now? They aren’t listed on the maps, timetable or on most of the signage at the station. At most, there’s a small mention of them somewhere at the station.

  6. instead of adding peoples names to a station on (maps and such) … why not put a plaque in each station commentating said person and maybe a sign that says … “The Tom Bradley Civic Center Station” but not put more names on the maps as that can only add to confusion.

    but a plaque about the person would be really good.

  7. Don’t politicians have anything better to do than immortalize their political buddies into station names?
    This shouldn’t be a communist state where politicians have a yearn for their own cult of personality. Keep it up like this, Los Angeles will soon be Garcettigrad.