Purple Line Extension: searching for tiebacks under Wilshire Boulevard

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As part of the prep work for building the first phase of the Purple Line Extension, Metro contractors began exploratory work last week looking for tiebacks under Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Tiebacks are underground anchors that help support buildings and other structures. (Here’s the work notice).

The photo above was taken Sunday in Beverly Hills near Wilshire and Le Doux Road — one block west of La Cienega.

Utility relocation work is underway at the site of the future La Brea Station and is expected to begin in 2014 at the Fairfax station area.  You can find copies of work notices on the project web site (metro.net/purplelineext).  Click on the “Field Work” tab.

The first phase of the subway project will extend the Purple Line for 3.9 miles from Wilshire/Western to Wilshire/La Cienega. It is forecast to open in 2023. Reminder: There is a Section I Advisory Group Meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at the Petersen Automotive Museum; project updates will be provided for area residents, business owners and anyone else who is interested! Details here.

More than 300 small business owners attended Crenshaw Summit today

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A huge transit project such as  the Crenshaw/LAX Line — with a $2-billion-plus budget — has the potential to bring economic opportunities along the train’s route, the reason Metro held a Business Opportunities Summit today to ensure local business owners know how they can work with Metro and take advantage of everything the project brings.

More than 300 small, minority- and women-owned businesses, as well as job seekers, attended the summit. They were able to meet with various Metro department heads as well as hear from Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas, Metro Board Member Jackie Dupont-Walker, Metro CEO Art Leahy, the Crenshaw/LAX Community Leadership Council and Danny Bakewell, the L.A. Sentinel Publisher.

Here’s the press release from Metro:

Metro hosted a Business Opportunity Summit today at the California African American Museum in Exposition Park. The goal was to share work and career opportunities with small businesses and individuals along the alignment so that they can take part in the economic benefits created by construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project.

The Metro Crenshaw/LAX Business Opportunity Summit is a partnership between Metro and the Los Angeles Sentinel Newspapers, including the Crenshaw/LAX Community Leadership Council (CLC).

“Thanks to Measure R, Metro is engaged in one of the nation’s largest public works building programs covering dozens of transit and highway projects,” said Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois. “Learning how to do business with Metro will be a critical step for small, minority and women owned business to participate in the economic benefits these projects are creating.”

“Small business owners are the economic engines of our communities,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We must empower them and encourage entrepreneurship for all business owners especially minority and women owned businesses. We must harness the economic opportunity that the Crenshaw to LAX transit project will bring to our region. “

The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the LAX area with eight stations, a maintenance facility for rail vehicles and park and ride lots. Also included in the project will be construction of traction power substations and the acquisition of rail vehicles and maintenance equipment.

The new rail stations will be Expo/Crenshaw, Crenshaw/Martin Luther King, Crenshaw/Vernon, Crenshaw/Slauson, Florence/West, Florence/La Brea, Florence/Hindry and Aviation/Century.

“Metro is transforming the urban landscape of Los Angeles thanks to all the Measure R funded transit and highway projects,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “At the Economic Summit, Metro reached out to small, minority and women owned businesses and individuals to take full advantage of economic opportunities created by these projects today and beyond.”

The summit attracted more than 300 small, minority and women owned businesses, as well as job seekers who were provided information by Metro’s Diversity and Economic Opportunity Department (DEOD), Human Resources and the company that will build the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, Walsh/Shea Constructors

In addition, Metro’s Human Resources staff provided basic information, including how to file a job application and what positions are available, from bus operators to professionals. DEOD staff answered questions about certification and procurement for business owners.

Stay informed by following us on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

Art of Transit: Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors, contracted to build the Crenshaw/LAX Line, at the Crenshaw Business Opportunities Summit. Photo via Metro’s Instagram.

Full I-405 closure in Sepulveda Pass planned Saturday night, Oct. 26

The I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project will be pouring the concrete deck for the new Skirball Drive Bridge in the Sepulveda Pass, work that will require the full closure of both directions of the I-405 in the area beginning this Saturday night, October 26.

Southbound I-405:  Lane closures start on Saturday, October 26 at 10 p.m.  Closure will be from Valley Vista Boulevard to the southbound Skirball Center Dr on-ramp from 1 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Northbound I- 405:  Lane closures start on Saturday, October 26 at 10 p.m. Closure will be from Getty Center Dr to the northbound Skirball onramp from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday morning.

Skirball Bridge:  Skirball Bridge will be closed from northbound Skirball Center Dr off-ramp to Sepulveda Boulevard on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Detours:

  • I-405 southbound closure: exit Valley Vista off-ramp and detour south on Sepulveda Boulevard to the I-405 southbound Getty on-ramp.
  • I-405 northbound closure: exit Getty Center Drive off-ramp and detour north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 on-ramp at Greenleaf Street.
  • Skirball Bridge: To go south: head south on Sepulveda Boulevard to the I-405 southbound Getty on-ramp. To go north: head north on Sepulveda Boulevard to the northbound I-405 onramp at Greenleaf Street.
  • Sepulveda Boulevard will be open northbound and southbound from Getty Center Drive to the U.S. 101. Getty Center Dr. southbound on-ramp and Getty Center northbound off-ramp will be open.

For additional project information or to obtain detour maps, visit www.metro.net/405.  Follow the project on social media at www.facebook.com/405project and http://twitter.com/I_405. For real-time traffic conditions, visit Caltrans web site at www.quickmap.dot.ca.gov.

City of West Hollywood holds ribbon cutting for La Brea Streetscape Project

WeHo officials dedicate the new landscaping. Photos by Joshua Barash.

WeHo officials dedicate the new landscaping. Photos by Joshua Barash.

The city of West Hollywood held a ribbon cutting ceremony Friday morning for the La Brea Streetscape Project. The project includes design, installation and construction of streetscape improvements to a .375 mile segment of La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood.

These improvements include 3 new median islands, added green space to the area, used drought tolerant plants in the medians and parkways, stormwater infiltration parkways, 40 new trees, and 20 new pedestrian level lights. The project makes La Brea Avenue a greener, more complete street that can support more alternative modes of transit.

Metro provided $862, 500 in funding through Call for Projects for the $1.4M project.

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Metro Business Opportunities Summit to be held Monday to help South Los Angeles merchants

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Metro Business Opportunities Summit

The Community Leadership Council (CLC) in partnership with Metro invites you to come learn about business and professional opportunities at the Metro Business Opportunities Summit. The Summit is a forum for Metro to inform and educate local small businesses around South Los Angeles about the broad range of economic opportunities. During the Summit, both Metro and Walsh-Shea Corridor Constructors will highlight the broad range of their respective business opportunities and non-construction-related professional career options that will be available on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project and other transit projects.

The Metro Business Opportunities Summit is taking place on Monday, October 28, 2013, from 9am to 3pm at the California African American Museum located at 600 State Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90037.

For more info contact info@metrosummitla.com.


Roundup of today’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors; here’s what the agency’s deciders decided

A long meeting today clocking in at four hours and five minutes — about 1 1/4 Hobbit movies by my estimation or enough time to watch the new Captain America trailer 180 times or so.

In the order the items were tackled, here are some of the votes and discussion by the Board (full agenda here)

•The Board approved a motion by five Board Members that would have Metro be the lead agency in developing a countywide bike share plan. Here’s a recent Source post about the motion.

•Votes on items 16, 68 and 69 were postponed so the Board could receive more information. The items concern Metro’s ability to issue a series of small contracts for technical work.

•The Board approved a contract modification for the Airport Metro Connector for more work on one project alternative: a rail connection with the airport’s planned Intermodal Transportation Facility (ITF).

As part of that item, the Board also approved a motion by Board Chair Diane DuBois for Metro to perform a feasability study of locating the ITF near the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s maintenance yard at 96th Street and Aviation.

The Board also approved a second motion by Supervisor Don Knabe, L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin and Santa Monica Councilwoman Pam O’Connor asking for monthly updates at Metro Board Committee meetings on Los Angeles World Airport’s and Metro’s ongoing work to connect the LAX terminals to Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line.

Speaking in favor of that motion, both Ridley-Thomas and Bonin said the Airport Metro Connector should be one of the Board’s highest priorities and that more attention needs to paid to it.

Here’s a recent Source post explaining the many issues involved with the Airport Connector.

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Metro applies for federal funding for Regional Connector project

Metro CEO Art Leahy informed Metro staff and Board today that the agency has officially sent in its application for federal New Starts funding for the Regional Connector project to the Federal Transit Administration.

It’s a first step in the process of obtaining a federal contribution for the 1.9-mile underground light rail project to connect the Blue, Gold and Expo Lines in downtown L.A. The full funding grant application for the Purple Line Extension project is planned next.

Here’s the update from CEO Leahy:

Correspondence to FTA – Regional Connector Full Funding Grant Agreement

This morning, I transmitted our Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) application for the Regional Connector to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers.  Over the coming months, the FFGA for the Regional Connector will be fully reviewed and considered by the FTA and the relevant congressional committees.  The FFGA for the Regional Connector includes a federal New Starts commitment of $670 million.  I would like to personally express my appreciation to FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff and his professional staff in Washington, DC and at the FTA’s regional office in San Francisco and local office in Los Angeles for their exceptional efforts in working with our agency’s staff on this planned transit project.  For your review, please find my letter to FTA Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers.

October meeting of Metro Board of Directors is underway

October Board of Directors agenda

Good morning, Source readers! Metro Board Chairwoman Diane DuBois has just dropped the gavel on the October meeting of the agency’s Board of Directors, the 13-member group that serves as the ultimate deciders for Metro.

The agenda is above. It doesn’t quite have the appearance of being a fall classic — but you never know. That’s why they play the game!

Those who wish to listen to the meeting can phone 213-922-6045.

As per usual, I’ll provide updates later on The Source.

Gold Line Foothill Extension kicks off further planning for Phase 2B

Attendees at yesterday's event for the Gold Line Foothill Extension.

Attendees at yesterday’s event for the Gold Line Foothill Extension.

The Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority held held an event Wednesday in Claremont to announce the start of further planning and conceptual for the Azusa-to-Montclair phase of the project.

An 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line between eastern Pasadena and Azusa is currently under construction with Metro forecasting an opening in early 2016. An extension beyond Azusa is in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan but is not funded at this time. The Metro Board earlier this year, however, did approve a concept that allows for up to $36 million of Measure R funding (Measure R is funding the Pasadena-to-Azusa segment plus a new rail yard in Monrovia) to be used for planning, engineering and environmental work for the segment beyond Azusa.

Here is the news release from the Construction Authority, the independent agency building and planning the Foothill Extension:

CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY KICKS-OFF ENGINEERING PHASE OF

METRO GOLD LINE LIGHT RAIL LINE FROM AZUSA TO MONTCLAIR
Local, State and Federal Officials Attend Meeting to Learn What to Expect Over Next Two Years of Design/Engineering

 

CLAREMONT, CA – Today, the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority (Construction Authority) hosted a kick-off meeting for the much-anticipated Azusa to Montclair segment of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail line. The 12.3-mile project will extend light rail service from the current terminus under construction in the city of Azusa, to the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont and Montclair.

“This is an important time for the project,” stated Construction Authority CEO, Habib F. Balian. “Over the next two years, we will take this project from a less than 10% design understanding to a point where we will be ready for a design-build procurement. This will be a period of hard work for the Construction Authority and our partner cities, but it will definitely pay off as we ready the project for construction.”

Presenting to a capacity-filled room of federal, state and local officials, station artists, and key stakeholders, a panel of four speakers provided details on the next steps in the process to advance engineering and station art for the project. The panel – consisting of Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian, Chief Project Officer Chris Burner, Station Environment Coordinator Tanya Patsaouras, and Public Art Program Manager Lesley Elwood – provided the attendees updates on the latest station design criteria, choices cities will have regarding station colors and materials, the schedule for advanced conceptual engineering and station art development, and much more.

 

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Metro Board to consider approval of concept for Union Station Master Plan that would add new concourse and relocate bus plaza

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Work on the Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan has been underway for more than a year, with Metro staff and contractors tackling some big questions about the best way to improve the facility Metro purchased in 2011.

The Master Plan team is asking the agency’s Board of Directors on Thursday for approval to further develop a concept that would construct a greatly expanded east-west passenger concourse while relocating the bus plaza to a north-south configuration closer to Alameda Street that would also consolidate many of the bus stops around Union Station.

The above staff handout includes several good visuals that best explain the concept. It’s important to keep in mind that these are not final designs by any means — in other words, these are not architectural plans. Rather, it’s a chance for the Board to start their process of deciding what-goes-where on the 40-acre Union Station property.

As the staff report below explains, some of the rationale for this approach for the relocated bus terminal are:

• More flexibility to grow and change, if needed;
• Best connections/transfers to other modes;
• Preserve the historic integrity of the station;
• Strongest connection to existing street bus stops including the Silver Line/EI Monte transitway and Alameda and Cesar Chavez bus routes;
• Most successful at minimizing pedestrian/bus conflicts.

The report also explains the reasons for pursuing an East-West Passenger Concourse:

• Creates strong east/west spine across the site both to accommodate transit and knit together the two sides of the property;
• Can be phased to work with SCRIP, leveraging the opportunity to realize improvements in the concourse while accommodating the access changes necessitated by SCRIP [SCRIP is the acronym for the run-through tracks project that will allow trains to arrive and depart from Union Station to both the north and south];
• Allows a reconfiguring of the east side of the property which can promote development;
• Frees up the historic station for re-programming that creates a destination not completely reliant upon the transit uses.

Naturally, a few questions have been raised about two existing current structures — the Patsaouras Transit Plaza and the Mozaic Apartments. Bottom line: Under the new plan, the transit plaza would be relocated and the Mozaic perhaps replaced. The large four-story underground parking garage built as part of the transit plaza would remain.

Of course, it’s still going to take quite some time to finish the master plan, have the new buildings designed, engineered and then secure funding for them. By the time that occurs, both the existing transit plaza and apartment building will have likely been around for quite some time.

One project that is going forward — with federal funding — is the new El Monte Busway station on the south side of the Union Station property along the 101 freeway. In the meantime, Metro is also working on several other fronts, including an effort to better link Union Station to the surrounding area and provide more amenities in the existing station.

Union Station Master Plan item