Other actions taken Thursday by the Metro Board of Directors

It was a mostly quiet agenda, but these three items may be of interest:

•Item 20. The Board approved a motion by Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas to provide $2.8 million in funding to continue environmental studies and planning work for a walking and bike path on the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way that Metro owns. The path would run between the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Florence/West Station and the Los Angeles River. The project is not funded at this time. Several Board Members said that they hoped to attract funding by further refining plans for such a project. Here’s more information from a Source post earlier this year.

•Item 7. The Metro Board adopted a Complete Streets policy. Metro doesn’t manage or maintain streets in our area — that’s up to local cities and the county in unincorporated areas. But there are some types of project in which Metro can influence what gets done to roadways and this policy is designed to ensure that safety, pedestrian, cycling and environmental improvements are considered by the agency in conjunction with those projects. Metro staff report

•Item 40. The Board approved a contract amendment with New Flyer to add two video monitors on the final 128 buses on order from the firm. The monitors can show images captured by cameras on board the buses — the idea is to remind Metro bus riders that security cameras are installed on the buses and criminal acts will likely be caught on video at multiple angles. Metro staff report

 

Metro Board approves Union Station Master Plan, allowing near-term projects to go forward

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors today approved actions to officially move the Union Station Master Plan, an ambitious long-range roadmap for L.A.’s single largest public transit hub, from planning to implementation.

Metro can now pursue its initial implementation strategy for near-term projects, which includes a programmatic environmental review of the recommended transit improvements as well as the commercial development program. Metro can also seek immediate funding opportunities for improvements to the station’s perimeter, and will form partnerships with the city and county, real estate and investment communities to support related implementation efforts.

“Today is a milestone day in our goal to bring ‘America’s Last Great Train Station’ into the 21st century,” said Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair. “Metro is now on the move to make Los Angeles Union Station a world-class transit hub.”

Planned improvements to Union Station’s perimeter include a series of streetscape, open space and transit stop improvements that soften the edges of the station, improve the pedestrian and cyclist experience, strengthen connections to and from the station’s entrances and create a more welcoming environment to transit riders and visitors. Foremost among these improvements is the planned removal of the surface parking lot on the northern side of the forecourt and the creation of a public plaza. This and other improvements will directly link with the El Pueblo Historic Monument, where apprxoimately $1 million in local open space funds has been identified to support the design and implementation of these improvements.

Metro was recently awarded other grant opportunities to improve four bus stops along Cesar Chavez between Alameda and Vignes, which includes creating shelters, additional seating and information, and bike facilities.  Metro has also received a grant from the Congestion Reduction ExpressLanes Net Toll Revenue Project and is providing matching funds to create a Metro Bike Hub on the west side of Union Station that will offer parking for about 300 bicycles, 24-7 secure access control, a space for bike retail and repair services, and a meeting/training space to conduct bike safety training workshops. This bike hub is expected to open in 2017.

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Metro Board awards contract for Business Solution Center for Crenshaw/LAX Line

Here is the Metro staff report and below is the news release from Metro:

In another unprecedented step today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors awarded a two-year contract for $646,462 to Del Richardson & Associates, Inc. (DRA) to operate Metro’s pilot Business Solution Center (BSC) to help small businesses impacted by Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project construction. The contract includes two one-year options for $349,682 for total of $996,144.

“We’re finally making desperately needed investments to our public transportation system in South Los Angeles, but construction simply cannot come at the expense of our businesses,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “This Business Solution Center will ensure that businesses along the Crenshaw Line will be able to thrive despite any temporary inconveniences to customers and employees.”

“Rail construction is always challenging and it’s particularly difficult for nearby businesses, that’s why we are committed to standing with these merchants during the whole construction process,” said Metro Board 1st Vice Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This Business Solution Center – while not solving all problems – is an important first step toward helping the local business community survive and thrive during the difficult days. We are happy that we could make this happen.”

The Business Solution Center is expected to open in November, 2014 and will be located at the Los Angeles Urban League, 3450 Mount Vernon Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008.

The Metro pilot Business Solution Center (BSC) will provide hands-on case management services for small businesses along the Crenshaw corridor between 48th and 60th streets.
Services will include marketing help, business plan development, financial planning, small business operations advice and legal assistance counseling. In addition, BSC will help small businesses apply for capital via existing loan programs. It also will help them gain certification as small, disadvantaged, disabled, veteran-owned, minority-owned and/or woman-owned businesses.

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Metro Board of Directors meets Thursday — here’s the agenda

UPDATE: Good morning! The meeting began at 9:15 a.m. and the Metro Board just voted to approve the items on the consent calendar.

The Metro Board of Directors gathers Thursday at 9 a.m. for its regular monthly meeting. The agenda is above.

The meeting, as always, is open to the public and will be held on the third floor of Metro Headquarters adjacent to Union Station. You can also listen to the meeting online by clicking here.

Or, you can listen over the telephone by calling 213-922-6045.

Alameda Corridor-East holds groundbreaking for Puente Avenue roadway underpass

Photos: Joe Lemon/Metro

The Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) Construction Authority broke ground today on a four-lane roadway underpass of Puente Avenue that will be built beneath a Union Pacific railroad line that runs along Valley Boulevard in the City of Industry. The $99.6-million project will support 1,780 jobs over four years of construction with completion scheduled for early 2018, according to ACE.

The Puente Avenue project will eliminate crossing collisions, vehicle queuing and congestion, train horn noise and reduce emissions from vehicles waiting for trains to pass through the intersection. Metro is the largest single financial contributor to this project, providing more than 50 percent of the program funding through Measure R sales tax and Prop C funds.

Here’s the press release from the ACE Construction Authority:

(City of Industry, CA) – Officials gathered today to kick off construction of a four-lane roadway underpass on Puente Avenue and Workman Mill Road that will be built beneath a Union Pacific Railroad line in the City of Industry. A railroad bridge and loop connector road between Workman Mill Road and Valley Boulevard will also be constructed.  The $99.6 million project will create 1,780 jobs over four years of construction with completion scheduled for early 2018.

“The Puente Avenue project will eliminate crossing collisions, vehicle queuing and congestion and train horn noise and reduce vehicle emissions,” said El Monte Councilwoman Norma Macias, Chair of the Alameda Corridor-East (ACE) Construction Authority Board of Directors. “We appreciate the support for this project from our funding partners.”

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Final ‘e-clip’ marks completion of track work for Gold Line Foothill Extension!

A big milestone for the Gold Line Foothill Extension project on Saturday: the final piece of track was installed on the 11.5-mile line that will extend the Gold Line from its terminus in eastern Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border. The project includes six new stations in downtown Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, downtown Azusa and adjacent to Citrus College and the Rosedale development.

The Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent agency, is building the project and will turn it over to Metro, which will operate it. Metro currently forecasts the project to open in early 2016. Here’s the news release from the Construction Authority:

FOOTHILL GOLD LINE CELEBRATES MAJOR PROJECT MILESTONE WITH TRACK COMPLETION CEREMONY

Hundreds of community members, project stakeholders and elected officials celebrate completion of the light rail track system for 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa light rail project

AZUSA, CA – The Foothill Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa today held a Track Completion Ceremony which celebrated construction completion of the light rail track systems needed for the 11.5-mile Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Pasadena to Azusa. The event took place near the future Azusa Downtown Station in the City of Azusa with more than 300 community members, project stakeholders, and elected officials in attendance. The event culminated in the installation of the last of nearly 300,000 e-clips (e-clips permanently attach the steel rail to the concrete railroad ties), marking the permanent connection between the cities of Pasadena, Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa, via this new light rail line. A sidewalk marker was also unveiled during the ceremony, recognizing importance of the day to these corridor cities.

“Installing 28-miles of light rail track is an enormous milestone for our project,” stated Glendora City Council Member and Chairman of the Foothill Gold Line Board of Directors, Doug Tessitor. “It took many months and the hard work of many talented people to get to this point. It is a major achievement and I am glad we took the time to celebrate.”

Congress Members Grace Napolitano and Judy Chu joined Azusa Mayor Joseph Rocha; Glendora City Council Member and Foothill Gold Line Board Chairman Doug Tessitor; Claremont Councilman and Foothill Gold Line Board Vice Chair and Joint Powers Authority Chairman Sam Pedroza; City of Duarte, Metro and Foothill Gold Line Board Member John Fasana; Metro Board Member AraNajarian; State Senator Norma Torres; State Assembly Member Roger Hernandez; City of Azusa Council Member Uriel Macias; Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Michael Antonovich; among many others in the celebration.

“The community is realizing that the dream of having the Foothill Gold Line in their town is quickly becoming a reality,” added Tessitor. “A project that has been nearly four years in the making is now less than a year away from completion. The on time, on budget project will forever change the transportation and economic landscape of the San Gabriel Valley and Greater Los Angeles region.”

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About the Foothill Gold Line – The Foothill Gold Line is a nearly $2 billion, 12-station extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail system, being overseen by the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature. The project is planned in two segments – Pasadena to Azusa and Azusa to Montclair. The Pasadena to Azusa segment is fully funded by Los Angeles County’s Measure R and is on budget and on schedule to be completed in late-September 2015 when it will be turned over to Metro for testing and pre-revenue service. Metro will determine when passenger service begins on the line. The Azusa to Montclair segment is currently undergoing advanced conceptual engineering, and will be shovel-ready in 2017. The Construction Authority is currently seeking $1 billion to construct the Azusa to Montclair segment.

Metro unveils new Kinkisharyo pilot rail car

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Metro unveiled the first of 78 Kinkisharyo P3010 rail cars this morning. The first pilot car will be used for testing to ensure it is fully compatible with Metro’s system and that there are no safety or technical issues before the remaining cars are delivered.

If all goes according to plan, Metro will receive its first production car in the summer of 2015. That car will be used for testing and training on the Metro Expo Line Phase II and Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension, and then placed in service when the two lines open in 2016. All 78 cars are expected to be in service by January 2017.

Take a brief tour on the pilot car with this video:

Source writers Anna and Joe, both transit system connoisseurs, were able to take a tour inside the pilot car this morning. Their thoughts:

Joe: The first thing I noticed when I got on the train were the blue floor decals and blue seat designs that marked the disabled/priority seating areas. I’ve seen the blue seat design on our new buses and they’re hard to miss. There’s no doubt that this area is reserved for passengers with special needs and you should be prepared to move if you’re sitting in one of the seats.

I also see potential for the monitors that were located at the front and rear of the train. If they’re ultimately used for something informational such as digital signage, it would be an excellent and efficient use of the space.

Anna: Love the shiny new yellow, it’s very eye-catching. The seat arrangement also makes the train car feel more spacious, and more similar to the Nippon Sharyo cars on the Blue/Expo Line. I agree with Joe on the designated priority seats and can’t wait to see them in use. Not sure how I feel about the emergency door open handle being lower and located on the car wall behind the priority seating. On the one hand, it’s more accessible, which is good in case of emergency. But on the other, it’s located behind priority seating…which is reserved for those who may have mobility issues.

Thing I love the most? The extra large decal showing where the designated bicycle/luggage/stroller area is. It’s impossible to miss and makes it super easy for bicyclists to know where to go when they bring bikes on board.

Keep reading after the jump for the press release on the pilot car from Metro:

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