Metro issues response to FTA letter on civil rights compliance

Below is Metro’s statement concerning a letter received today from Peter Rogoff, the head of the Federal Transit Administration:

Today, Metro received a letter from FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff concerning the ongoing civil rights compliance issues.  The letter recognizes that Metro has successfully resolved two of the five deficiencies identified in the 2011 compliance review, and that a great deal of work has been done towards reaching the goal of full compliance.  The letter and attachment also acknowledges the errors in the final compliance review report and introduces a new requirement for Metro to conduct an equity analysis of the cumulative impact of all service changes since 2009. Metro must receive approval from the FTA for the methodology prior to undertaking this new requirement.The letter does not make any new findings and does not document any Civil Rights violation. The FTA raises the potential for federal funds to be withheld if the necessary tasks to reach full compliance are not completed in a timely manner.

Metro staff will be meeting with the FTA on May 7th to review the methodology for the cumulative impacts analysis and other outstanding issues. Metro will comply will all FTA directives and expeditiously complete the analysis being requested.

 

The FTA letter is posted after the jump.

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Report on Blue Line delays and maintenance issues

As many readers already know, this has been a challenging few months for the Blue Line, which has seen some major delays due to problems with the overhead wires that power the trains, rail car breakdowns, Expo Line construction, police activity and a few accidents.

The following report [pdf here] was prepared by Metro staff for the agency’s Board of Directors, whose Executive Management Committee will review it as part of a receive-and-file action this morning.

I encourage commuters along the Blue Line corridor to give it a read as it explains some of the multi-million dollar efforts that have been underway to address maintenance issues along the corridor — specifically upgrades to insulators on the overhead wires and an overhaul of substations that deliver power to the trains.

In addition, here’s a recent Source post on the work being done to maintain rail vehicles used on the Blue Line.

Blue Line report

Every transit rider is a pedestrian

Image provided courtesy of Los Angeles Walks

Ask anyone smart enough to get off the tour bus at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and they will mention something many people don’t know about Los Angeles. This is a city made for walking. Albeit not along every street, but think about those stars on the sidewalk on Hollywood Boulevard. The fact is that the best way to see Hollywood, and countless other parts of the city, is on foot.

But that doesn’t mean walking doesn’t face an uphill battle getting the attention of policy makers, planners and others involved in shaping the built environment.

Enter urban designer Deborah Murphy, Safe Routes to School advocate Jessica Meaney and Alexis Lantz of the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition. Murphy, with the blessing of her sister complete streets advocates, recently started volunteer-driven Los Angeles Walks, to promote a more pedestrian-friendly Los Angeles. According to Murphy — though all of us are pedestrians to a greater or lesser degree — we have not been terribly well represented to date in the sprawling county we call home.

The group is holding a fund-raiser this Saturday night; details are after the jump.

When I spoke with Murphy about Los Angeles Walks, we kept the conversation focused on how every transit rider is a pedestrian. In turn this means addressing the so-called first mile, last mile problem — or how we get between the train and bus and our final destination.

For Murphy, promoting transit ridership goes hand-in-hand with having a good, safe trip to and from the bus stop or train station. The challenge for pedestrian improvements has been funding, with pedestrian projects receiving a fraction of the money allocated to road or transit construction. Less than one percent of the national transportation budget goes to pedestrians projects, according to Los Angeles Walks.

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Court affirms ruling against neighborhood group's challenge to Expo Line's second phase

Below is the news release from the Expo Line Construction Authority, the independent agency building the second phase of the project between Culver City and Santa Monica. And here is a link [pdf] to the court ruling.

The California Court of Appeal yesterday ruled unanimously in favor of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority (Expo Authority) in litigation brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail (NFSR) against the Expo Line Phase 2 project. The Court affirmed the judgment of the Superior Court and held that the Expo Authority complied with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in the Expo Authority’s certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) and approval of the project.

The Court rejected all of NFSR’s challenges to the Final EIR and concluded that the Final EIR adequately evaluated potential impacts of the project, including potential traffic impacts on Sepulveda Boulevard, growth inducing impacts and potential cumulative impacts, among others. The Court concluded that the Authority complied with CEQA in evaluating the significance of potential traffic and air quality impacts of the project against projected future traffic and air quality conditions in 2030.

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Light rail car contract to be considered by Metro Board at special meeting on April 30

The Metro Board of Directors will meet at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 30, at Metro headquarters to consider a contract to purchase new light rail vehicles.

The Board’s regular monthly meeting is at 9 a.m. on Thursday, April 26, also at Metro HQ. That meeting already has a couple big issues on the agenda — namely consideration of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the Westside Subway Extension and the Regional Connector.

Metro staff have recommended a $299-million contract with Kinkisharyo International, LLC, for the purchase of 72 new rail cars, along with four options for the purchase of an additional 157 light rail cars for $591 million. After protests from other light rail car manufacturers, the Metro Board decided in March to postpone their vote for one month.

Here’s an earlier post on The Source with more renderings and information about the new rail cars.

State bill to authorize vote on Measure R extension approved by Assembly committee

The bill, AB 1446, was approved yesterday by the state Assembly’s Committee on Local Governments. It still must be considered by two other Assembly committees — Transportation and Appropriations — and, of course, would need approval of the state Senate and the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown to become law.

The bill gives the Metro Board of Directors the authority to put a Measure R extension before county voters. That could — emphasize could — happen as soon as this November.

It is important to emphasize that the 13-member Board has not yet made this decision, nor is there a vote yet scheduled. A Metro staff report is expected to be delivered to the Board next week outlining different funding scenarios for a Measure R extension and how revenues may be used to accelerate Metro projects by bonding against future Measure R receipts.

The news release about yesterday’s committee approval from Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), who wrote the bill, is posted after the jump. (Click here for pdf version).

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Metrolink implementing $1.6 million system upgrade to improve communication with customers

Here’s the news release Metrolink, the commuter rail agency partially funded by Metro:

Los Angeles – This month, Metrolink will complete the first phase of implementation of a $1.6 million upgrade to its communication system that will provide passengers with more timely train schedule information and status updates at Metrolink train stations. The new system is now installed and operational on Metrolink’s San Bernardino, Orange County, Inland Empire-Orange County and 91 lines.

“We are making this investment in customer service, so our passengers have more ways to get information when and where they need it most,” said Metrolink Board Chairman Richard Katz. “This upgrade is a response to our customers’ request for more and timelier communication at the stations and during any service interruptions.”

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