Reconstruction of the 405/Wilshire Boulevard on- and off ramps will begin June 22 and it’s sure to make a mess of traffic. But Metro is reaching out to commuters who live in the area or commute there, suggesting options to help them leave their cars at home and avoid traffic caused by the ramp closures.
Among the choices: carpools, vanpools and mass transit paid for by the Transit Access Pass program supported by local employers.
“Neighboring businesses are concerned with how their employees are going to get to work and get there on time,” said Sarah Zadok, with the Metro Commute Services program. Zadok and her team are contacting area businesses to tell them about the pass program as well as other options, including alternate work hours and telecommuting.
“We’re not just going out there and saying there is only one option,” Zadok said. “We’re saying try one: the Transit Access Pass (TAP) programs, carpool options or vanpooling. So if one program doesn’t work, we can help you with another.”
Have you figured out your ramp jam escape plan? If not, call (213) 922-2811.
Metro Board of Directors adopted the budget for fiscal year 2013. It is Item 54 on the consent calendar of Board meeting underway.
Here is the news release:
Metro Adopts Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
Metro’s Board of Directors today adopted a $4.5 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 at the board meeting held May 24 at Metro headquarters.
Metro’s FY 2013 budget, which is balanced with no shortfall, does not propose raising fares, which already rank among the lowest in the nation. Metro’s farebox recovery will stay at 28 percent, again near the bottom of any major operator, and passenger loads also will be low compared to other transportation agencies in the same range.
The FY 2013 budget includes the following: $1.467 billion for transit operations, $278.5 million for deferred maintenance of Metro’s rolling stock of buses and trains, $1.084 billion for construction of Measure R transit projects, $134.5 million for other capital improvements, such as bus maintenance facilities, $236.5 million for a robust highway program; $339.5 million for debt service obligations and $974.7 million in subsidies distributed by Metro to fund Metrolink, regional operations and transit projects throughout Los Angeles County. Continue reading
ALAN THOMAS: The slaying of Metro bus operator Alan Thomas on Sunday was — like so many crimes — beyond senseless. Alan was driving a bus in West Hollywood detoured by a bike race when a lone passenger, for reasons we may never really know, fatally shot him.
Public transportation is like so many other public spaces. It relies on public trust to work. To see that trust violated is enormously dispiriting.
It’s perfectly natural in the wake of such a crime to try to put it in a larger context.
Many bus operators have spoken to the media about the inherent dangers of their jobs. Their concerns cannot be taken lightly. It’s also important for the public to know, however, that Metro does take steps to ensure operators are well trained and have the tools needed to quickly summon help.
As for the public conversation, it’s hard to know where to start in the wake of a crime that was apparently random and happened on a quiet Sunday morning in West Hollywood — not exactly a place known as being dangerous.
That said, I think Alan’s death is a reminder that the prevalence of mental illness and the sheer number of deadly weapons in our society are a combination that have already led to too many similarly sad outcomes in too many schools and workplaces.
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.
Metro’s Board of Directors previously asked staff to prepare a report on the cumulative impact of bus service changes made by the agency between 2007 and 2011. A preliminary report by staff is now available and concludes:
Based on the data collected to date, overall there was a negligible cumulative impact on boardings as a result of the service changes since June 2007, with weekday boardings increasing 1%, Saturday decreasing 1%, and Sunday remaining neutral. Minimizing impacts is largely due to listening to and incorporating public concerns during the planning process, and ensuring there are viable alternatives for existing riders.
A more complete assessment will be presented to the Board in June. I encourage you to read the report – there are a lot of good statistics in there, showing how bus service overall has grown in the county over the past 25 years — in particular service offered by cities and other agencies in L.A. County.
Here is a pdf version for download or you can read the report below.
Service changes report
This Metro staff proposal to seek voter approval for an extension of the Measure half-cent sales tax past its 2039 sunset was briefly discussed by the Board of Directors’ Executive Management committee on Thursday morning, including some interesting morsels on the Gold Line Foothill Extension project.
Supervisor and Board Vice Chair Mike Antonovich asked for clarification if the extension, as proposed by staff, would fund the Foothill Extension all the way to Claremont. Measure R is currently providing $735 million to fund the first phase of the Foothill Extension from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border.
Metro CEO Art Leahy responded by saying that the language in the existing Measure R ordinance and funding plan is somewhat ambiguous — on one hand defining the Foothill Extension as a project to Claremont but on the other hand only funding it as far as Azusa.
Ultimately, Leahy said, it would be up to the Board of Directors whether to include the second phase to Claremont as part of a Measure R extension. As proposed by staff, a Measure R extension would be used to expand the agency’s ability to sell bonds to accelerate the building of the transit projects funded by the original Measure R.
The Board is likely to vote on whether to take the issue to voters at their June meeting. Here’s a pdf of the most recent staff report, which is also posted below using Scribd.
Measure R extension report
The Beverly Hills Courier on Friday published a story alleging that Metro is preparing to pay $38.7 million to JMB Realty for land to use as part of the Westside Subway Extension project. The Courier said the information came from a Metro report.
The Courier also alleged that the large payment is much more than the assessed value of the land and implied that the $38.7 million was a payment to a politically-connected developer.
Metro’s response: The story is completely erroneous.
Metro documents and studies do not in any way detail a $38.7-million payment to JMB, nor is the agency planning a $38.7 million payment to JMB.
In fact, with the Century City station at the proposed Constellation and Avenue of the Stars location, the entire subway project with the station entrance and construction area using JMB property would cost $38.7 million less than another alternative not using JMB property.
Where does the $38.7 million number come from? It appears the Courier made an incorrect assumption and a math error.
We frequently hear from readers and riders who want to know if Metro will be providing cell phone service and/or wi-fi in the Red and Purple Line subway.
Answer: the agency is working on it and has recently received proposals from several firms. The hope is to choose a winning firm in late summer.
The Metro staff report to the Board of Directors is below (pdf here):
Cell service in subway report
As many of you know, there have been discussions underway to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax past its expiration date of July 1, 2039, to accelerate transit and highway projects that are funded in part by Measure R.
Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa proposed such an extension in his State of the City speech last month. But the Metro Board of Directors hasn’t taken any action yet; their approval plus state legislation is needed to send the issue to Los Angeles County voters.
With a big election approaching in November, Metro staff have issued the following report on Measure R and are asking the Board to adopt a set of principles that, in essence, amounts to an agreement that Measure R should be extended. Staff are not asking the Board this month to decide whether to put the issue on the ballot. That is expected to happen in June.
The report discusses the financing options that a Measure R extension would make possible. The gist of it: a Measure R extension plus an expanded federal loan program known as TIFIA would make it possible to build the 12 Measure R transit projects in the next decade or so — instead of waiting until 2039. TIFIA loans could also add $3.7 billion in funding to the Measure R highway program, which is needed because many of the projects are only partially funded by Measure R.
The full staff report is below and here is the pdf version of the report. The staff report is scheduled to be discussed by the Board’s Executive Management committee on Thursday at 9 a.m. at Metro headquarters. If you can’t attend, the meeting can be heard over the phone by calling 213-922-6045.
Measure R staff report