Actions taken today by the Metro Board of Directors

You can also download or print a pdf of the agenda from this link.

I’ll update this post as the meeting continues.

•The Board Approved the final environmental study for the Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Station, which will serve the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Green Line, many bus lines and serve as a dropoff point for private vehicles. The station will be the transfer point to the automated people mover that Los Angeles International Airport will build; the people mover will include three stations serving LAX terminals. Here’s a map that shows how it will all come together:

•The Board approved increasing the budget of the Regional Connector project by $199 million to a total of $1.751 billion. Staff reports.

•The Board approved a motion by Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts asking Metro staff to provide a report on building a grade separation for the future Crenshaw/LAX Line crossing of Centinela Avenue in Inglewood. As Butts explained, the new NFL stadium — which will be home to two teams — and the Forum will greatly increase traffic on Centinela, as well as residential and commercial development that he said will be three times the size of Century City.

The motion asks for a staff report next month that shows how a grade separation could be built without impacting the planned Oct. 2019 of the Crenshaw/LAX Line along with cost estimates for building it before the line opens versus after. The motion also calls for a list of potential funding sources as well as any environmental studies that would be needed. The motion was seconded by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.

•The Board by a vote of 8 to 0 with one conflict (Kathryn Barger) to approve a $1.376.5-billion contract with Tutor Perini/O&G to build the second phase of the Purple Line Extension between Wilshire/La Cienega Station and Century City Station. Staff reports and blog post.

•Items on the consent calendar were approved by the Board. That includes a motion calling for further study of potential Red/Purple Line street level stations in the Arts District. See this post for more about that.

•As part of his Board Chair report, John Fasana mentioned Metro’s service to the Women’s March on Saturday. “I think we provided great service, but learned some things as well.” Board Member Sheila Kuehl added, “and there were no instances of sexual harassment!”

•Metro CEO Phil Washington gave his annual State of the Agency report and CEO update. A few things that might interest you:

—He said the agency’s Office of Extraordinary Innovation has now received 54 unsolicited proposals, including nine for major capital projects. Of those, 14 are in the second phase of being reviewed and the agency will decide by the end of January whether to do more study of proposals for public-private partnerships for the Sepulveda Pass and West Santa Ana Branch (Union Station to Artesia light rail) transit projects.

—He said that Metro wants to launch studies this year for a number of projects that will receive funding from Measure M.

—He said the agency would like to study the possibility of an express train between Union Station and LAX. Readers with long memories will recall there was an alternatives analysis study done years ago on using the Harbor Subdivision for such a service. But it never went anywhere and the project never had funding.

—He said that Metro needs to improve on time performance, speed up service on the Blue and Expo Lines and needs better signalization at intersections.

—He said that the National Governor’s Association is compiling a list of infrastructure projects to submit to the Trump Administration for consideration as part of a potential federal plan to fund more projects. Among projects that meet the criteria of being at least 30 percent designed and that could begin construction in 2017 are the Airport Metro connector, the 710 South Corridor project’s first phase, SR 57/60 interchange improvements and the Purple Line Extension’s third phase.

—He said that Metro has met with the Labor Strategy Center as part of its civil rights complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation over fare enforcement and has made a settlement proposal. Among some things Metro is doing: transferring fare compliance from the Sheriff’s Department to civilian fare compliance staff and that should be complete by April, transferring jurisdiction for young offenders from Superior Court to Metro’s Transit Court, independent observations through a “mystery shopper” that Metro has hired and changing the term ‘fare enforcement’ to ‘fare compliance.’

•The Board approved development guidelines for three parcels at Mariachi Plaza Station (Gold Line) in Boyle Heights. Metro is encouraging 4o to 60 units of affordable housing and up to 12,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as open space and public art.

 •The Board delayed a vote on amending Metro’s advertising policies to allow advertising on the side of Orange Line buses and Rapid Line buses.

17 replies

  1. Express train from LAX to Union Station? Which right-of-way? Isn’t this now going to be the Crenshaw Line? I’m up for that idea.

    • Crenshaw Line isn’t going into Downtown, much less Union Station. The way things are now, it will require 3 trains to get from LAUS to LAX (2 Trains after Regional Connector).

      • Not necessarily. If there is a service heading down crenshaw that ends up going east on the current green line, then it could be done with 1 transfer. That probably wouldnt be the fastest route, but could be the least transfers.

        When the northern extension of the crenshaw line is completed it will be possible with 1 transfer to purple.

        • You will need to transfer between airport connector (people-mover) and Green or Crenshaw Line, and then a second time between Green and Blue or Green and Expo or Purple.

    • This would use the harbor subdivision, which metro already owns. I actually attended a recent community meeting on Slauson to voice my support for such an express train, in addition to the planned bike/pedestrian infrastructure already planned and funded.

  2. “He said the agency would like to study the possibility of an express train between Union Station and LAX. Readers with long memories will recall there was an alternatives analysis study done years ago on using the Harbor Subdivision for such a service. But it never went anywhere and the project never had funding.”

    I guess my question is why (in lamest terms) didn’t it go nowhere??

    This rail line will connect the Gold Line, Expo Line, Blue Line, Silver Line, Vermont BRT, Crenshaw Line, Sepulveda Line, and the Green Line. The slauson corridor definitely has a lot of potential for a rail line, especially since there is no east-west line between Expo and I-105, but more than a handful of north-south lines.

    However, if it were to be Metrolink (the term “Express” kind of hints that), then at least add 2-3 stops in between so the communities can have the option actually use it.

    • I feel like politically they’d have to add at least a limited number of stops on any line between LAX an Union Station, at least two I would think. The reason is simple, if there were a line that simply ran from Union Station to LAX with no stops in between there almost certainly would be mass local comunity opposition to the project. The local communities the corridor ran through would have to deal with all the negative features of having a frequent passenger rail line run through there communities but would have none of the benefits as the train service wouldn’t serve them with local stations to allow them to access the train. I just dont think such a situatuion is tenable, especially since h a large percentage of communites along the corridor are disadvantaged. One possible solution in my mind is perhaps putting in 2 or 3 intermediate stations and allow those who board the train at those stations to board at the price of a standard metro ticket (or even cheaper if need be), while i’m sure those taking it from Union Station would be charged a price closer to Metrolinks rate structure.

  3. Is there really any demand for getting from Union Station to LAX?
    More than the current airport buses can handle?
    LA County is so big and defuse that such a niche segment–Union Station to LAX–does it deserve
    a new, hitherto unthought of solution to a problem that doesn’t really seem to be needed.

    “•The Board Approved the final environmental study for the Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Station, which will serve …………..the people mover will include three stations serving LAX terminals. ”

    Just curious. How is this solution better than what currently exists?
    Three stations–not at the terminals. How is this better?
    Especially for disabled persons? We all are getting older and many of us
    will become increasingly infirm. I predict for people with wheelchairs and
    walkers will be using something very similar to what currently exists with the shuttles
    from the Greenline. Oh, well. Progress.

  4. Cool that the LAX express train idea is gaining ground. With the amount of unused or lightly used ROWs, seems like a no brainier. Commuter rail would probably be best for this. Lightweight DMUs (used on the the san diego sprinter) would be a cost effective approach for vehicle and power type (if funding is particularly limited) without negatively affecting the quality of service.

    For expo/blue speed and reliability, I hope metro seriously considers grade separating the expo/blue junction on through the Pico Station/subway portal. It seems that this segment is particularly under-designed and under-built now given the increasing capacity it has to handle between multiple rail lines at higher frequencies and traffic signals for cars and pedestrians. Signal preemption would be great but this would allow for much faster, safer, and more cost effective service in the long term. More accidents and delays seem to happen on this at-grade stretch than any other single part of metro rail. Trench or elevate it! It’s time!

    • LAX Express train has no chance, which is why it went no where when discussed a few years ago. Communities of color along the ROW would never allow an express train to cut through. Also, there is the little matter of no funding.

      Connecting the Crenshaw Line to the Purple Line effectively does the same thing, albeit with a transfer, but unless you are living or working at Union Station then you are going to have to transfer anyway.

      • LAX to Union doesn’t necessarily have to have funding the same way the other lines do. The Flyaway bus currently charges about $10 for that route. If a train is faster/more reliable/more comfortable than the bus it could capture a higher share of the traffic between the two. With $10-15 per head and a fair sized ridership it could actually turn a profit that could be used to leverage construction bonds.

        It’s very unlikely to happen, but it’s a possibility that no standard metro line charging $1.75 will ever have.

    • yup I completely agree. The final segment of the Blue Line in Long Beach also could use some grade seperation in my book, but the tracks leading to the blue/exp junction and the junction itself leading all the way to the subway portal should be big priorites for grade seperation. When Metro announced over a billion dollars in improvements for the blue line I was hopeful that some of that money could go towards grade seperation in this area, but that wasn’t to be. I also feel like Metro should eventually start to worry about the Pico station, there is a ton of develpmont going on in that area of downtown and I wonder about the current stations capacity, I think AEG was gonna fund millions of dollars in improvements for the pico station but that went out the window when the downtown stadium they wanted to build never happened.

      • I too was hopeful and was very sad that nothing was done. It’s the most congested part of the MetroRail system and not going to get any better when more trainsets are delivered and both lines start running at 5 minute headways.

  5. Steve,
    I looked through the ExpressLanes executive summary and also the larger package showing the three different tiers and when other HOV lanes might be converted to ExpressLanes. What seems to be missing is any reference to extending the 110 ExpressLanes from the current terminus that ends about 1.5 miles from downtown L.A., all the way to downtown. Given the large amount of money that is going to be generated by Measure M, how could doing this not be part of the plan? I did see plans for a short extension beyond Adams, but that was only to address the bottleneck at the current terminus. I can’t seem to locate a link to those plans right now.

    After the HOT lanes merge with the normal traffic, there is still that one short section that reduces down to 3 lanes. Why can’t the HOT lanes be extended the additional 1.5 miles to downtown? And if you are going to do that, might as well have at least a single lane that continues all the way through past downtown for those going up to Pasadena.

    Robert

    • Hi Robert;

      I’m unaware of plans to extend the 110 ExpressLanes north into DTLA. I think the problem there is space — it would very expensive to build more elevated lanes over the freeway (and deal with the 10 junction) and it would be very difficult to widen the freeway further in DTLA proper, which I think would be essential unless you know how to win the political support to take away general lanes there and convert them to ExpressLanes 🙂

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. You don’t have to have just a non-stop express or a 3 or 4 stop local – you can mix. Charge a premium fare on the fast train, maybe use different vehicles with bigger luggage stacks and better seats and let people choose which they want.