Other actions taken by the Metro Board at their meeting today:
•The Board approved a motion by Board Members Paul Krekorian, Eric Garcetti, Michael Antonovich, Zev Yaroslavsky, John Fasana and Ara Najarian directing Metro staff to study potential upgrades to the Orange Line, including adding more articulated buses, grade-separated crossings, improved traffic signal priority and rail conversion. The motion also calls for the study of extending the Orange Line to Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena, where it would connect or offer a transfer to the Gold Line.
As I’ve noted before, this is an unfunded project and that converting the Orange Line to rail is not in Metro’s short- or long-range plans at this time.Metro Board Member Paul Krekorian noted that only two of Metro’s 80 rail stations are in the San Fernando Valley, where nearly 20 percent of county residents live. He said that the Orange Line’s ridership demonstrates that Valley residents are willing to take transit. Metro staff said they will return to the Board this fall with more details on how they plan to proceed with the Orange Line study. Motion
An amendment to the motion by Board Members Pam O’Connor and Don Knabe directs Metro staff to develop protocols for adding unfunded projects to the long-range plan — a need brought in part by Metro studying future ballot measure that could potentially fund new projects. As the amendment notes, some Measure R road and transit projects remain underfunded or are facing higher expenses to build, adding to the difficulty of building projects that are not set to receive Measure R funds. Amendment
•A separate motion by Board Members Michael Antonovich, Ara Najarian, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Ara Najarian directs Metro to continue the planning process for expanding bus rapid transit to eligible corridors, including Vermont Avenue and a line connecting the Orange Line to the Gold Line. The motion asks for a report from Metro staff this fall with a staffing, funding and implementation plan on expanding BRT. Motion
In an amendment to that motion by Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, Metro was directed to make such BRT projects the first priority when Metro pursues federal Small Starts or Very Small Starts funding. The amendment also asked for a center-running alternative where feasible in the study of the Vermont and Burbank-Pasadena BRT.
•The Board approved a motion by Board Members Eric Garcetti, Mike Bonin, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Diane DuBois, John Fasana and Jackie Dupont-Walker to begin environmental studies of adding ExpressLanes to the 105 freeway between the 605 and 405 freeways. Motion and earlier Source post
•The Board approved Metro’s short-range transportation plan, which looks at transportation funding over the next decade. The plan basically echoes the same priorities and timelines laid out in the 30-year long-range plan approved by the Board in 2010. It’s important to understand that the plan does not fund any transit projects that are not already funded.
The Board also approved a motion by Board Members Mike Bonin, Pam O’Connor, John Fasana and Mark Ridley-Thomas directing Metro to build a strategy that would provide a regular funding stream for active transportation projects — i.e. pedestrian improvements and bike lanes and other infrastructure. Motion
•The approved a Small Business Pilot Assistance Program for merchants between 48th and 60th streets along the Crenshaw/LAX Line alignment. The motion “Authorize[s] the CEO to execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department to create a Business Solutions Center providing staff and one-on-one case management for technical assistance and access to capital services for approximately 120 small businesses between 48th and 60th Streets, as well as information and referrals for businesses along the entire alignment at a walk-in location.” Staff report
•The Board approved a motion by Board Members Eric Garcetti, Gloria Molina, Don Knabe and Jackie Dupont-Walker to allocate $4 million within the Regional Connector’s existing budget to build a pedestrian bridge from the 2nd/Hope Station to street level at Grand Avenue. The motion asks Metro staff for a report back this fall on efforts to ensure the bridge is built. The Board approved the bridge concept as part of its approval in April of a contractor to build the 1.9-mile underground light rail line in downtown Los Angeles that will connect the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines. Motion
•The Board approved a contract amendment up to $3 million with Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors to make modifications to the Crenshaw/LAX Line to accommodate the eventual construction of a new station at Aviation/96th Street. The station would be built to connect to the LAX people mover that will take passengers to the airport’s terminals. Staff report. The Board also approved a motion by Board Members Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas asking for a plan by Metro to accelerate construction of the new station to 2019.