2014: A milestone year for Metro

Click on photos to see larger versions please

By almost any measure, 2014 was a pretty remarkable one for transportation in Los Angeles County. In the past year, Metro’s ambitious Measure R program gained major momentum with three rail projects breaking ground as two other rail projects reached their final phase of construction. Federal dollars didn’t just flow to our county — they practically poured here thanks to matching dollars from the Measure R half-cent sales tax approved by 68 percent of voters in 2008.

The ExpressLanes on the 10 and the 110 went from a pilot program to a permanent one. The 405 improvements project over the Sepulveda Pass was completed. The Master Plan for the future of 75-year-old Los Angeles Union Station was completed and adopted by the agency’s Board of Directors. Free transfers — gone since 2007 — were restored as part of a fare increase.

The photos above and text below covers a good deal of what happened in 2014. Please enjoy the look back and feel free to add anything you think we missed mentioning in the comments section!

January

Metro announces that it will be spending $1.2 billion in upgrades to the Blue Line, a price tag that includes purchasing new rail cars, refurbishing others, rebuilding sections of track and overhead wire, rebuilding parts of the power supply system and renovating and upgrading train platforms. Source post

Metro breaks ground on the Crenshaw/LAX Line, an 8.5-mile light rail line that will run between the Expo Line and the Green Line, including a stretch under and along Crenshaw Boulevard.

February

The Los Angeles region survives Jamzilla, when lanes on the northbound 405 over the Sepulveda Pass were either entirely closed or reduced for repaving work on the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project. The successful Jamzilla operation, which compressed major paving work into a single weekend, helped enable Metro and Caltrans to meet their pre-Memorial Day Weekend opening date for the northbound 405 carpool lane.

The U.S. Department of Transportation approves a $670-million grant and $160-million loan for the Regional Connector project.

March

The Metro Board of Directors holds a public hearing for fare increases and changes that were proposed in January. The big change: The regular fare would increase from $1.50 to $1.75 but would include 90 minutes of free transfers (later changed to two hours). Under the then-current system riders had to pay $1.50 every time they transferred.

The exploratory shaft constructed for the first phase of the Purple Line Extension reaches 65 feet below ground and more fossils are found and identified.

April

Major construction begins for the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

The first segment opens of the new northbound HOV lane on the 405 freeway.

The Metro Board approves a $927-million contract with Connector Constructors (a Joint Venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc., and Traylor Bros. Inc.) to build the Regional Connector project.

The Metro Board voted unanimously to continue the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways after the initial pilot project is deemed a success.

We post our first podcast on filming at Union Station over the decades.

May

Tens of thousands of people descend on Union Station to celebrate the building’s 75th Anniversary with music, kids’ activities, historic trains on display and numerous other events throughout the day.

The new northbound HOV lane on the 405 freeway fully opens between the 10 and 101. Here’s a good rundown of the project.

The Purple Line Extension secures a $1.25-billion federal New Starts grant and a federally-backed $856-million loan for construction of the project’s first phase.

The Metro Board votes to raise and change the agency’s fare structure in September but postpones consideration of two other increases in 2017 and 2020. The new $1.75 fare includes two hours of free transfers.

Metro releases a new Bike Map.

The first appearance of one of Metro’s new light rail cars under order from Kinkisharyo comes with a run on a test track in Osaka, Japan.

As part of a partnership with Metro, Zocalo Public Square holds the first of several public forums, this one on the 710 gap and possible remedies to traffic in the area.

June

The Metro Board approves adding a station at Aviation/96th Street to the Crenshaw/LAX Line where passengers will transfer to an Automated People Mover that will connect to airport terminals. Metro will build the new rail station while LAX will build the people mover.

New video monitors debut on new Metro buses that show riders that security cameras are recording activities on the bus. Metro officials say the monitors will serve as a deterrent to crime.

The U.S. House approves an amendment that would allow agencies that receive federal funding to also have local hiring provisions. Metro had been advocating for a change to the law as a way to help boost job creation in Los Angeles County.

July

The Metro Customer Center at Wilshire and La Brea closes to accommodate future construction of the Purple Line Extension’s first phase. The Customer Center relocates to Wilshire and Vermont (3183 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 174) and the lost and found is now adjacent to the Gold Line’s Heritage Square Station.

The intersection of Aviation and Century boulevards is closed for a weekend to allow Metro to demolish the old railroad bridge over the intersection, clearing the way for the new elevated Aviation/Century Station for the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

The Metro Board approves a $1.6-billion contract with Skanska, Traylor and Shea, a Joint Venture (STS) to construct the 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway between the existing Wilshire/Western Station and the future Wilshire/La Cienega Station. The first phase also includes stations at Wilshire/La Brea and Wilshire/Fairfax.

The Metro Board approves a motion asking Metro staff to study ways to speed up and expand capacity on the Orange Line, including possibly an upgrade to rail (even though there is no funding at this time).

Details on the Connect US project are released to better connect Union Station to surrounding neighborhoods via bike lanes and pedestrian improvements.

August

Metro retires its last high-floor bus, making it easier for passengers to board and depart the agency’s fleet of more than 2,000 buses.

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez tours the Crenshaw/LAX Line project.

Congress patches the depleted Highway Trust Fund until May 2015 when the issue of how to pay for new road and transit projects around the country must be again confronted.

September

A groundbreaking ceremony is held in Little Tokyo for the Regional Connector project to link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines, making travel to and through downtown Los Angeles easier and quicker.

The tunnel boring machine to be used to construct the portion of the Crenshaw/LAX Line under Crenshaw Boulevard arrives in the Southland on board a ship from Rotterdam.

The Metro Board approves going forward with an application for federal funds for the second phase of the Purple Line Extension to Century City.

Pasadena ARTS buses begin accepting TAP cards.

Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill supported by Metro to allow bike rack that can hold three bikes on its 40-foot buses.

The replacement of tracks and other work begins in the Long Beach Loop section of the Blue Line as part of the Better Blue Line project.

The Metro Board approves a lease for a new gastropub run by Cedd Moses and Eric Needleman in the Fred Harvey Room at Union Station. The beautiful space last served as a restaurant in the 1960s and has since been used for special events and as a filming location.

October

Metro and Caltrans release the draft environmental study for the High Desert Corridor project, which proposes a new freeway between the 14 freeway in the Antelope Valley and SR-18 and Bear Valley Road in San Bernardino County. Measure R supplied some of the funds used to study the project.

Work is completed on the long-awaited renovation of the historic Lankershim Depot adjacent to the North Hollywood Station. Metro will eventually be seeking a tenant for the building.

The first of the new Kinkisharyo light rail vehicles is delivered to Metro’s Division 22 facility.

The Metro Board approves the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan.

A new study ranks the Los Angeles area as third in the nation when it comes to jobs located near transit.

November

After roughly 50-plus years of talk and an early 1960s groundbreaking in Beverly Hills, a groundbreaking ceremony is held in front of LACMA for the first phase of the Purple Line Extension.

The tracks for the first phase and second phase of the Expo Line are joined together at Culver City Station, a big milestone for the project.

The Metro Board approves moving ahead with a technical study to refine two rail alternatives for the Eastside Gold Line Transit Corridor Phase 2 project. One alternative would go to South El Monte, the other to Whittier.

The Metro Board approves a motion asking Metro staff to study freeway corridors in Los Angeles County that may be suitable for ExpressLanes expansion.

The Metro Board approves the process of acquiring new subway cars for the Red/Purple Lines.

The Palos Verde Peninsula Transit Authority joins the network of muni agencies that accepts TAP cards.

December

Clearance testing begins for the Gold Line Foothill Extension. In addition, the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority releases a very cool video of a ride along most of the 11.5 miles of track for the project that runs from the existing Sierra Madre Villa Station in Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border.

The new Valley-Westside Express service begins between the San Fernando Valley and Westwood using the HOV lanes on the 405 freeway for part of the trip.

Big Blue Bus announces it will begin accepting TAP cards in March 2015.

The Los Angeles World Airports Board approves a ground transportation plan that includes a people mover that will make three stops at airport terminals and also stop at a new Intermodal Transportation Facility, a station at Aviation/96th along the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line and a consolidated rental car center. Here’s the news release.

The Business Solutions Center to help small businesses along or near Crenshaw Boulevard opens in late December. Meanwhile, work to finish the decking on Crenshaw Boulevard for the Crenshaw/Expo Station continues — check out this video.

 

 

 

6 replies

  1. Metro Milestone 2014: Doing absolutely nothing again, to update and fix the clunky TAP website that was promised to be done end of last year. Stuff that can take less than week to do by any web programmer, Metro can’t do. And it’s frustrating everyone. Seriously Metro, get with the ballgame, we’re living in 2014 and you can’t even update a website? What’s wrong with you? Do you have no funding to do this? Lazy web programmers? Not a high priority issue? C’mon, give us some answers why it’s taking forever to do something so simple!

    http://itbutler.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/1-Frustration_with_website.jpg

  2. Hopefully, in 2016 elections the voters would approve an extension prop 8 and/or a new tax to speed up the completion dates of the projects on the planing board.