Last Measure J update of the evening

The results are still trickling in — it’s even slower than usual this time around. Below is the latest from the County Registrar below. Obviously Measure J has an uphill battle at this point to reach the two-thirds threshold needed for passage.

As I noted earlier this evening, more than three million votes were cast in the Measure R election in 2008. It doesn’t appear there will be anything close to that in the Measure J election.

J – MTA SALES TAX CONTINUANCE – YES 818,403 64.63
NO 447,852 35.37

Registration 4,593,621
Precincts Reporting 2,782
Total Precincts 4,993
% Precincts Reporting 55

Remember, you need to refresh this page to ensure that you have the latest results.

Last Updated: 01:40 11/07/2012

Work starting on other bridges for Gold Line Foothill Extension

Here’s the good word from the Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency building the 11.5-mile light rail line from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border, funded by Measure R:

Throughout the 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa construction project now underway, there are a total of 17 existing bridges that must be altered or replaced to accommodate the dual-track light rail system. Although we have focused much attention on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge over the last year, there will be many stories to tell about these other bridges that support our project and require significant work in the coming months and years.

[Above] is a map of the existing structures along the corridor and photos of the first three that FTC crews are preparing for construction. Lead paint removal on the 700-linear-foot San Gabriel River Bridge (top left), built in the early 1900s, is now complete. The bridge will soon be demolished and a new dual-track light rail bridge will be constructed. Two single track bridges within the Azusa shared corridor – at Palm Drive (bottom) and Citrus Avenue (top right) – will be renovated. Two additional single track bridges will be built alongside the existing bridge in these two locations to support two light rail tracks and one freight track.

Also, here’s the latest video update on the construction of the bridge for the Foothill Extension over the eastbound lanes of the 210 freeway:

All structural work complete for I-210 bridge for Gold Line Foothill Extension!

Here's the news release issued today by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which is building the 11.5-mile line from eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border:

MONROVIA, Calif. – After more than one year of intense activity, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority) announced today that all structural work has been completed on the I-210 Gold Line Bridge. This announcement follows the recent completion of post-tensioning activities (internal strengthening of the structure through tensioning of supportive steel bands) and grouting of all internal ducts – the last steps in the process to complete the structural elements of the 584-linear foot, $18.6 million rail bridge.

“The bridge can now stand on its own,” said Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian. “This is an important milestone in our progress to complete the bridge, and we commend Skanska USA for their hard work and ability to meet the project deadlines while providing excellent craftsmanship.”

With the structure now fully secure on its own, the temporary support structure will now be removed. The “falsework,” which was installed in a series of nighttime closures in February and March 2012, has supported the bridge while under construction. Up to 20 nighttime closures of the eastbound I-210 Freeway will take place over the next six weeks to safely remove this temporary structure.

“The removal of the falsework is even more challenging than the installation,” said Balian. “When Skanska installed the support structure there was nothing around. Now they need to work around the bridge, as well as over an active freeway.”

To safeguard the traveling public, full closures of the eastbound I-210 Freeway are planned. For each of these consecutive closures, the eastbound I-210 Freeway will be closed between Baldwin and Santa Anita Aves. from Midnight until 5:00 a.m. The first closures will occur starting late Tuesday, Sept. 4, and include closures on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Closures will continue the following week, starting late Sunday, Sept. 9, and continue through early morning Friday, Sept. 14. Additional dates will be announced as they are scheduled, with work expected to continue through mid-October.

“We understand that these closures can be inconvenient and we appreciate the community’s patience,” added Balian. “We encourage motorists and truckers who can use other routes to do so.”

When finished, the bridge will feature columns designed to resemble Native American baskets, in recognition of the first residents of the area – the Gabrieleno/Tongva Tribe. The baskets are under development now, and will be installed after the falsework removal process is complete.

The bridge is on schedule to be completed in December 2012. In addition to the upcoming basket installation, additional work to be completed on the bridge includes: concrete placement for the barrier walls on either side of the deck, building retaining walls on the ingress and egress to the bridge, landscaping and lighting. In December, the bridge will be turned over to the Construction Authority, and future work to add the utilities, track and other light rail features.

To learn more or receive construction alerts and project updates, sign-up at: http://www.foothillextension.org/ or follow the project on Facebook and Twitter. To receive text alerts about freeway closures, text from your cell phone “GOLDLINENEWS” to 888777.

About the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority)

The Construction Authority is an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1999 by the California State Legislature. Its purpose is to extend the Metro Gold Line light rail line from Union Station to Montclair, along the foothills of the San Gabriel Valley. The Construction Authority built the initial segment from Union Station to Pasadena and is underway on the Gold Line Foothill Extension. The Foothill Extension is a nearly $1.6 billion extension that will connect Pasadena to Montclair in two construction segments. The first segment, Pasadena to Azusa, is funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R and currently underway. The 11.5-mile Pasadena to Azusa segment will be completed in late 2015 and includes future stations in the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa. Three design-build contracts, totaling more than $500 million will be overseen by the Construction Authority to complete the Pasadena to Azusa segment, including the $18.6 million I-210 Gold Line Bridge, awarded to Skanska USA in June 2010 and a $486 million contract awarded in July 2011 to Foothill Transit Constructors (FTC). The Azusa to Montclair segment is currently undergoing final environmental review.

For more information, visit: www.foothillextension.org.

 

Recap of today's Metro Board meeting

The Metro Board approved amendments to the Measure R ordinance and its extension, which included the motion by Director John Fasana to allow for the transfer of funds between the transit capital and highway capital subfunds within the same subregion.

Board members voted 10 - 1 to approve the Fasana amendment and to integrate the amendment into the existing Measure R Extension Ordinance, with Board Chairman Antonovich voting against and Director Mark Ridley-Thomas abstaining. The remaining portions of the item to place the amended Ordinance on the Nov. 6 ballot passed 9 – 3, with directors Antonovich, Knabe and Ridley-Thomas voting no. Mayor Villaraigosa was absent from today’s proceedings.

The amendments will be considered by voters with the Measure R extension language on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Board Chairman Antonovich proposed that members consider items 4 and 5 together within the context of a reevaluation of safety procedures. Here are links to the individual items:

  •  Update on the Expo Line / BLue Line junction, regarding Metro and CPUC investigation of an alignment issue on the junction at Washington Boulevard and Flower Street, where the Blue and Expo Lines merge. The report from the Metro Inspector General is still in progress and should be completed in the fall. 
  • And the Yaroslavsky motion to convene a Metro Blue Line Task Force to examine safety procedures and strategies for the Blue Line operation.

Directors approved the Yaroslavsky motion as amended by Director Mark Ridley-Thomas to establish public information protocols to report accident and service disruption information when incidents occur and regularly report the information to news media and via social media.

A few more points on America Fast Forward

As many of you know, President Obama last week signed a two-year federal transportation spending bill. In recent decades, Congress has usually approved bills that cover more years but in these hyper-partisan times, and after nine extensions of the bill that expired in 2009, this definitely was a victory.

In addition, the bill contained part of the America Fast Forward program that has been created by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and backed by the Metro Board of Directors for the past couple of years.

America Fast Forward (pdf) originally called for expansion of both a federal bond program called QTIB and a federal loan program called TIFIA. The bond part of the program didn’t get traction in Congress — it involved some serious federal spending — but a hefty increase in TIFIA did make it into the bill. And that’s good news for Metro and transit agencies across the land who want to borrow money to build projects now rather than wait years or decades.

In particular because the bill greatly expanded the federal TIFIA program that provides loans, loan guarantees to local transportation projects around the country at competitive interest rates (today’s interest rate is 2.63 percent for a 35-year loan, by the way). As the TIFIA website puts it, “Each dollar of Federal funds can provide up to $10 in TIFIA credit assistance – and leverage $30 in transportation infrastructure investment.”

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Gallery: Metro Orange Line Extension on opening day

On board the Orange Line bound for Chatsworth

On board the Orange Line bound for Chatsworth

June 30, 2012: Scenes from opening day of the Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth. Click on images below to view.

Photos by Gary Leonard

Orange Line festivities, free rides draw midday crowds

Metro Orange Line extension to Chatsworth construction chief Hitesh Patel, center, and John Parker, chairman of United Chambers of Commerce, join the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon-cutting at Canoga Station as the community welcomes the new four-mile extension of the Metro Orange Line. Photo by Dave Sotero.

Metro Orange Line extension to Chatsworth project manager Hitesh Patel, center, and John Parker, chairman of United Chambers of Commerce, join the Canoga Park/West Hills Chamber of Commerce for the ribbon-cutting at Canoga Station as the community welcomes the new four-mile extension of the Metro Orange Line. Photo by Dave Sotero.

Metro and the West Valley communities are celebrating the opening of the Orange Line Extension today. Festivities continue to 4 p.m. and include food trucks, live music and community booths.

Chatsworth folks staged a ribbon cutting with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, center, and Orange Line Transportation Manager Gary Spivack. To Spivack's right is Hitesh Patel, who directed the construction of the Orange Line Extension, and, at far left, is California Congressman Howard Berman. Photo by Dave Sotero.

Chatsworth folks staged a ribbon cutting with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, center, and Orange Line Transportation Manager Gary Spivack. To Spivack’s right is Hitesh Patel, who directed the construction of the Orange Line Extension, and, at far left, is California Congressman Howard Berman. Photo by Dave Sotero.

At the Canoga Station, check out the community booths, food trucks, a group bicycle ride with Valley Bikery and live performances by Vocal Percussion Radio, Two Dogs Band, Tripletrouble, West 79th Street Funk Jazz Band

At the Chatsworth Station, there’s community booths, food trucks, a petting zoo and pony rides for children provided by The Farm. Also, live performances are presented by Cowboy Palace – Country Gone Awry and Coldwater Canyon – and Metro Express.

Rides on the Orange Line Extension from Canoga Station to Chatsworth Station are free both today and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Regular fares apply on all other Metro Rail, Metro Rapid and Metro Local lines.

Online: All about the Orange Line Extension

Ready to Roll: Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth


Video of today’s event in Chatsworth by Mario Noriega.

Metro Orange Line bus breaks through banner at dedication event held at the new CHatsworth Station. Yes, that's Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the operator's cab. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Metro Orange Line bus breaks through banner at dedication event held at the new Chatsworth Station. Yes, that’s Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in the operator’s cab. Photo by Gary Leonard.

Here’s the news release:
June 29, 2012
CONTACT: Dave Sotero/Marc Littman– Media Relations
213.922.3007/213.922.2700

Measure R Project Success:
Officials Celebrate Completion of Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth Ahead of Schedule, Under Budget

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), joined by city, county and state officials, today celebrated the completion of the Metro Orange Line Extension, a four-mile addition to the wildly popular dedicated busway that will enhance regional transit connections to and from the Western San Fernando Valley.

The first transit project identified in Measure R to begin construction in 2009 has been completed ahead of schedule by three and a half years, and its original $215.6 million budget is currently forecasted to come in at approximately $154 million, $61 million under budget. The final project savings will depend on the closeout of the project, including the resolution of any final change orders with the contractor. Prior to the passage of Measure R, this transit project was scheduled to open in 2016.

The brand new north/south busway extension from Canoga Park to Chatsworth was built on a Metro-owned, former Union Pacific railroad right-of-way and adds four new stations, three new or reconfigured parking lots, a new busway bridge over active railroad tracks, two new busway bridges that cross waterways, new signalized busway/street crossings, street resurfacing improvements, new bicycle/pedestrian path, and landscaping similar to the original Metro Orange Line.

Now at 18 miles, the busway and its adjacent pedestrian/bikeway are the longest of their kind in Los Angeles County.

“Today we celebrate yet another Measure R transit milestone in Los Angeles with the opening of the Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair. “The busway extension will greatly expand the connectivity of the region’s transportation network, creating new linkages between Metro, Southern California’s Metrolink system and the statewide Amtrak network. It is the latest example of how Metro is creating a world class 21st century transportation system in Los Angeles County.”

The official opening of the line will be Saturday, June 30. Community festivities will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday only at the Canoga and Chatsworth Stations and will include food trucks, live music, group bike rides and much more. Free rides on the extension are planned both Saturday and Sunday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Regular fares will apply on all other Metro Rail, Metro Rapid and Metro Local lines.

“The Orange Line is the most successful busway in America,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Director. “With the opening of this new segment, the northwest San Fernando Valley will now be served by this very popular mass transit line.”

Metro’s Congestion Management Plan reports that nearly 50 percent of San Fernando Valley home-to-work trips are made to destinations outside the Valley. The extension of the busway to the Chatsworth Metrolink/Amtrak Station, which also serves several Metro and municipal bus lines, is expected to offer these residents more public transit options for these trips. The Chatsworth Station is one of the busiest stations on Metrolink’s Ventura County Line. Amtrak’s San Diego to San Luis Obispo Pacific Surfliner also makes stops at Chatsworth.

“The Orange Line Extension is a project that improves L.A.’s transportation system by connecting different modes of public transportation to entertainment venues and employment centers,” said Richard Katz, Metrolink Board Chair and Metro Board Director. “Metrolink customers will now have a direct connection from the Chatsworth station to the Warner Center, a major employment and retail shopping destination in the San Fernando Valley and can take advantage of the Metro Orange Line connection at no additional cost with their Metrolink ticket.”

By the year 2030, the extension is expected to generate 9,000 new average weekday boardings. Metro projects the entire Metro Orange Line including the extension will generate 45,000 daily riders by 2030. When originally opened in October 2005, Orange Line ridership immediately exceeded Metro forecasts, with nearly triple the amount of daily boardings. Most recent ridership figures for May 2012 were 26,670 average weekday boardings.

“The new four mile Orange Line extension is the latest addition to Metro’s rapidly expanding transit system,” said State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). “The Orange Line extension is a huge plus for people living and working in the San Fernando Valley, as well as improving the quality of life of residents throughout our region.”

New platforms have been added at the Canoga Station for Metro customers heading north on the extension, and a new 207-space park and ride lot has also been built at the Sherman Way Station. There will be a total of 1,075 parking spaces available at all three park & ride lots on the extension, and more than 4,000 parking spaces throughout the line.

“The Orange Line Extension is a tremendous benefit for valley commuters,” said Rep. Henry A. Waxman. “It is clear evidence of the major transit improvements Measure R is enabling us to achieve for the greater LA region.”

The travel time for the busway is approximately 51 minutes from North Hollywood to the Chatsworth Station. Service will be split between North Hollywood/Warner Center and North Hollywood/Chatsworth. Peak weekday shuttle service will operate between Warner Center and Chatsworth approximately every 15 minutes.

“Bumper to bumper traffic should not be an inevitable part of our daily routines in Los Angeles where we are always one highway closure away from Carmageddon,” said Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley). “We are one step closer to providing real transit alternatives for the Valley so that people can get of their cars and on with their lives.”

Several contributing factors led to the project being completed ahead of time and under budget: a low bid during a significant economic downtown, good project management and cost savings associated with early completion.

The Metro Art program has installed art works at all Metro Orange Line stations. Tours of the stations along this line, as well as all Metro Rail stations, are available by arrangement for groups of 15 or more. For more information, visit metro.net/art.

The Orange Line Extension is a Measure R project. Fortunately, Metro was able to secure other funding to help pay for busway construction. Measure R taxpayers will benefit from $182 million that was earmarked for this transit project which can be applied to another San Fernando Valley transportation improvement in the future subject to Metro Board approval.

For additional information, visit metro.net/projects/orangeline.

Assembly approves bill that would allow Metro to seek Measure R extension

The bill, AB 1446 (by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles), still needs to be approved by the State Senate and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. And a majority of the Metro Board of Directors also need to approve sending the issue to Los Angeles County voters.

The Metro Board is scheduled to discuss the issue at their meeting on Thursday morning. The Board may take a vote as early as next month. Here’s a recent post on a Metro staff report about how such an extension may work to accelerate transit and highway projects. Measure R is due to expire in mid-2039; an extension could allow Metro to bond against future revenues to build projects quicker.

Below is the news release from Assemblyman Feuer:

ASSEMBLY APPROVES FEUER LEGISLATION TO EXPEDITE L.A. COUNTY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

AB 1446 Authorizes L.A. County Metro to Seek Voter Approval for Extension
Of Existing Measure R Sales Tax for Infrastructure Projects

May 21, 2012 (Sacramento) – The California State Assembly has approved AB 1446 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) on a bipartisan vote.  The measure would, with voter approval, fund Los Angeles County rail, highway, bus and local transportation improvement projects more quickly, jumpstarting those projects and getting Angelenos back to work.

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