Regional Connector PPT
Metro is holding a round of community meetings this week to seek community input on a plan to extend work hours for specific activities requiring limited periods of overnight work to construct the Regional Connector underground light rail line through Downtown Los Angeles. (See community presentation above).
The plan is expected to give the future project contractor and its third-party vendors the tools needed to shorten the duration of construction-related impacts to the community and help bring the nearly two-mile, $1.366 billion project in on-time on and on-budget.
Currently, Metro has issued its Request for Proposals to a group of pre-qualified design/builders, and expects to receive proposals in July. The contract is expected to be awarded at the end of 2013.
Night-time operations may include station box decking cut and cover operations, which both consist of temporary deck that maintains traffic flows while tunneling and other construction activities take place underground.
Metro plans to apply for three types of permits from the City of Los Angeles:
- Extended Work Hours. Metro’s request for extended work hours requires Metro to comply with night-time noise limits established in the environmental documents.Variance approval only extends allowable night-time work hours Monday through Friday from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., with additional weekend work-hour periods.
- Peak Hour Exemption. The exemption will enable crews to work between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
- Holiday Moratorium. The permit will exempt work restricted from before Thanksgiving to after New Year’s Day holidays.
If approved, the permits would give the contractor immediate flexibility to work extended hours if required, but would have to be renewed by the contractor. Renewal is based on compliance.
Metro’s project team says that community support for the extended work hours is essential. The support for extended work hours does not change how the project is constructed. Metro is still required to abide by the environmental documents and required mitigation, monitoring and reporting efforts.
The project team also says that it will continue its commitment to working with the community to further identify ways to reduce construction impacts and expedite construction work. All work will be scheduled with plenty of advance notice to the community.
2013-05-31 Request for Qualifications (RFQ)
Metro’s highway program quietly reached a milestone on Friday when the agency officially posted online a solicitation to firms to be considered to both build and help finance a project that would add 13.5 miles of HOV/toll lanes to the 5 freeway between the 14 freeway and Parker Road.
I know. The release of “request for qualifications” is not the sort of thing that inspires a lot of jumping and down and such. Let me try to explain in plain English why this matters and what it means for the project. The RFQ is posted above not because I expect you to read all 100-plus pages but to show the considerable work that the agency must do to release these things and what’s involved for private firms who respond to them.
First, a brief look at the project (a lot more info here in an earlier post
). It’s actually six different projects, the foremost being the construction of an HOV lane for 13.5 miles in each direction on the 5 freeway between the 14 freeway and Parker Road. A toll for vehicles with one or two occupants (at peak hours only for vehicles with two occupants) would be charged to use the lanes — with the tolls being used in part to finance the construction of the carpool lanes about 30 years earlier than planned in Metro’s long-range plan. Four general purpose free lanes would remain in each direction in this stretch of freeway; the idea is to add capacity to the freeway.
This is a significant break from the traditional way that transportation projects are funded and built. Most often, government agencies either save money to pay for big projects, or pay for them as money becomes available (pay as you go), or borrow money to pay for the upfront costs and then pay off those loans (usually in the form of bonds) over many years. Think of it like taking out a loan to re-do your kitchen. Except most transportation projects are like simultaneously re-doing a a few thousand kitchens.
The Regional Connector project plans to hold meetings this week for residents and stakeholders near the site of planned light rail stations in Downtown Los Angeles. The team will provide a project update and discuss night-time construction activities. Here’s the meeting notices for Monday through Wednesday.
The above is a summary of the 44 public comments received after the community meeting earlier this month on the draft alternatives for the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan. Please scroll to page three to see a breakdown of the comments. Comments run the gamut from the need for more restrooms in the station to concerns about cost.
The plan is seeking to improve Union Station for decades to come by making transit access easier and better using space at the facility. In addition, the plan is also trying to identify the best place to accommodate the high-speed rail project that is planned to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Here is an earlier post on the draft alternatives, as well as a Q&A on the ongoing plan process. This post from April features a few dozen photos of the station both in its current form and some historic pics. And here are a pair of videos of meeting attendees commenting on the draft alternatives.
Photo by Metro
Commuting in the City of Lancaster just got a little bit better with the recent opening of the Avenue I/SR-14 interchange.
Here’s the press release from the City of Lancaster:
Today, the City of Lancaster, California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) officials commemorated the recent opening of the new Avenue I/State Route 14 interchange.
“With The BLVD transformation downtown, as well as the addition of new hotels and entertainment venues along the Front Row Center complex near Lancaster Municipal Stadium, the need for an improved freeway interchange at Avenue I became very apparent,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “This new interchange paves the way for continued development in these areas.”
The fourteen-month construction project increased the capacity of the interchange, solved previous safety and visibility concerns, and provided easier access to popular destinations.
“To enhance mobility for commuters, reduce congestion and improve air quality for the residents of the Antelope Valley, Metro has committed over $5 million to the SR-14/Avenue I interchange,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich.
A collaborative effort between the Los Angeles County Metro, the City of Lancaster, and Caltrans, the $12 million project involved the widening of Avenue I to three lanes in each direction, while providing dual left turn lanes onto State Route 14 from both the eastbound and westbound directions. The project also replaced the problematic stop-sign controlled southbound off ramp with a new loop ramp which now intersects with Avenue I at 23rd Street West.
“The City of Lancaster is experiencing tremendous growth in population and in the movement of goods, so Caltrans and its partners have designed an interchange that accommodates this growth, enhances safety and improves mobility to improve access to State Route 14 at Avenue I and to the surrounding communities of the Antelope Valley,” said Michael Miles, District 7 Director for Caltrans.
Here’s a new graphic from Metro showing the growing support for the bond part of the America Fast Forward program that Congress will hopefully adopt this year. And here’s the update from Metro’s government relations squad:
Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined over 100 mayors from across the United States in encouraging the United States Congress to back our agency’s America Fast Forward Transportation Bond initiative. America Fast Forward Transportation Bonds represent a new class of qualified tax credit bonds that would, if enacted into federal law, significantly increase transportation infrastructure investments across the nation. Support for the initiative is bi-partisan in nature, including from Scott Smith, the Vice-President of the Conference of Mayors. Mayor Smith is a Republican who is currently the mayor of Mesa, Arizona. Please find here a map that illustrates the broad array of America’s mayors in support of America Fast Forward Transportation Bonds.
Here’s an earlier post that better explains the bond program. The gist of it: these are bonds that would come without interest for transit agencies, a potential savings of millions of dollars on big projects.
In case you missed it, the Union Station Master Plan team held a community meeting earlier this month to discuss the draft alternatives for the plan to transform and prepare the region’s transit hub for the 21st Century — and perhaps beyond.
The above videos feature some thoughts on the plan from those who attended. If you would like to watch the Metro staff presentation from the meeting, please click here.
Here is an earlier post on the draft alternatives, as well as a Q&A on the ongoing plan process. This post from April features a few dozen photos of the station both in its current form and some historic pics.
And here’s the news release from Metro:
In time for the upcoming Memorial Day travel weekend, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have officially opened an additional general purpose lane on the northbound I-405 between the I-10 and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Los Angeles.
The new 1.7-mile lane, which opened early Friday morning, May 24, is expected to provide congestion relief benefits for motorists navigating the northbound I-405 at the I-10 interchange, one of the most congested freeway interchanges in the nation.
“This is a major milestone for transportation in Los Angeles, especially for our Westside residents and commuters,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Member. “As one of our most congested interstate freeways, the opening of this nearly two-mile lane on the I-405 is both welcome and necessary. In 2008, with the passage of Measure R, we demonstrated a shared vision to build Los Angeles a world-class transportation system. This is only one step toward the completion of significant improvements to Los Angeles’ interstate freeways and public transportation networks.”
The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements contractor has completed major structure and widening work to allow the opening of an additional lane of traffic, including paving and lane striping that required a series of recent sequential night-time freeway closures at Santa Monica Boulevard.
The project team anticipates releasing another 1.4 miles of general purpose lane to reach north of Wilshire Boulevard in a second opening phase next month, June 2013.
The No. 1 lane closest to the freeway median will later be converted into the future High Occupancy Vehicle Lane.