Roundup of today’s Metro Board of Directors meeting

Here are some of the more interesting items tackled today by the Metro Board of Directors at their January meeting:

•Item 76, the Board approved a public hearing on March 29 to review two fare restructuring proposals released by Metro staff on Friday. At this point, the Board is scheduled to vote on the changes at its meeting on May 22. Source post including charts and staff report.

•Item 15 on options for further study for the Airport Metro Connector: The Board approved a substitute motion by Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas for more study of two alternatives that would run light rail directly into the LAX terminal area; however the Board did not vote to include those alternatives as part of the project’s draft environmental study. I’ll have a post up with more info tonight or tomorrow. Staff report and earlier Source post with the four proposals favored by Metro staff and another Source post on the original Knabe-Ridley-Thomas motion that was tabled in favor of the substitute motion.

•Item 6, the Board approved a motion by Board Members Paul Krekorian and Zev Yaroslavsky directing Metro to investigate adding gates or partial gates to the Orange Line to reduce fare evasion. Motion and Source post with staff report on two December crackdowns on fare evasion on the Orange Line.

•Item 67: the item on possible ballot measures in 2016 was withdrawn by Metro staff. However, staff will continue to work with local COGs (Council of Governments) and other stakeholders on developing a list of local transportation projects that need funding. Staff report and earlier Source post.

•Item 39, the Board on consent approved a $33.4-million budget to refurbish Blue Line stations, including new canopies. Staff report.

•Item 53, the Board on consent approved a motion asking the Board to give Metro permission to seek a state bill that would allow the ExpressLanes program to continue. Here’s what you need to understand: the Board will not decide whether to continue the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways until this spring. If they decide yes, Metro would need state legislation to continue the program — and now is the time to submit bills in the Legislature for consideration this year. Staff report.

•Item 74, the Board approved the motion posted below involving a business mitigation program for the Crenshaw/LAX Line. Staff report

•Item 58, the Board approved a motion directing Metro to study of how a countywide bike share program could be developed and implemented. Staff report

•Item 44, the Board on consent approved increasing the budget of the Silver Line bus platform at Patsaouras Plaza from $16.8 million to $30.9 million. Staff report

•Item 75, an oral report on issues involving the Orange Line’s Pierce College station and lack of restrooms at stations was not heard. It will be heard at a later date. Motion and earlier Source post

•Item 71, the Board approved a motion by Board Members Ara Najarian and Zev Yaroslavsky directing Metro to work with UCLA and USC on commemorative TAP cards. Motion

Agenda for Thursday’s Metro Board meeting: it’s going to be a long one, folks

UPDATE: The gavel has dropped on the meeting and it’s now underway.

This is a big meeting, folks, with tons of interestingness (relatively speaking) and a lot of important items. For those attending and media: might be a good idea to have a few Red Bulls along with your coffee for breakfast.

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Three of the tall ones, please!

You can also view the agenda with hyperlinks on metro.net or view or download it as a pdf. The meeting is, as always, open to the public and begins at 9:30 a.m. at Metro headquarters adjacent to Los Angeles Union Station. To listen to the meeting on the phone, please call 213-922-6045.

Some of the more interesting items on the agenda:

•Item 76, asking the Board to set a public hearing on March 29 to review two fare restructuring proposals released by Metro staff on Friday. Important to note: THE BOARD IS ONLY CONSIDERING SETTING A PUBLIC HEARING; THEY ARE NOT VOTING ON THE FARE CHANGES. At this point, the Board is scheduled to vote on the changes at its meeting on May 22. Source post including charts and staff report.

•Item 15, asking the Board to narrow the list of options to four for the Airport Metro Connector, the project that seeks to connect Metro Rail to the airport terminals via a combination of light rail and people mover. A motion by Board Members Don Knabe and Mark Ridley-Thomas seeks to restore two options that Metro staff wanted to eliminate that would build light rail directly to the airport terminals. Staff report and earlier Source post with the four proposals favored by Metro staff and another Source post on the Knabe-Ridley-Thomas motion.

•Item 6, a motion by Board Members Paul Krekorian and Zev Yaroslavsky directing Metro to investigate adding gates or partial gates to the Orange Line to reduce fare evasion. Motion and Source post with staff report on two December crackdowns on fare evasion on the Orange Line.

•Item 67, asking the Board to approve the development of two options for ballot measures to take to voters in 2016 to accelerate existing Measure R projects — either an extension of Measure R or a new sales tax, which may also include new projects. Staff report and earlier Source post.

•Item 39, establishing a $33.4-million budget to refurbish Blue Line stations, including new canopies. Staff report.

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Groundbreaking for the remainder of the Wilshire Boulevard peak hour bus lanes held this morning

Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LeBonge, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Deputy CEO Paul Taylor, Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Matt Szabo, Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering Interim City Engineer Doborah Weintraub and Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri at the groundbreaking for Wilshire BRT lanes. Photo: Paul Gonzalez/Metro

Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LeBonge, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Deputy CEO Paul Taylor, Los Angeles Board of Public Works Commissioner Matt Szabo, Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering Interim City Engineer Doborah Weintraub and Los Angeles Department of Transportation General Manager Jon Kirk Mukri at the groundbreaking for Wilshire BRT lanes. Photo: Paul Gonzales/Metro

Although the project was approved by Metro and the Los Angeles City Council in spring of 2011, ground was broken Wednesday on the remainder of the Wilshire Boulevard Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes. The first 1.8 miles of bus only lanes opened last June between South Park View and Western Avenue; the city of L.A. has been working on design and such since ’11.

The Wilshire Boulevard BRT is a $31.5-million project that will ultimately add 7.7 miles of peak hour bus lanes to the portions of Wilshire Boulevard between Valencia Street (west of downtown Los Angeles) to Centinela Avenue in Santa Monica. By early 2015, there will be 9.9 miles of street, signal and signage improvements along with 7.7 miles of the bus lanes.

Only transit buses will be allowed in the lanes between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., with exceptions in some places for vehicles making right-hand turns. 

Metro operates buses every two minutes on Wilshire Boulevard west of downtown during peak hours. There are 53,000 daily boardings with 44 percent of them occurring during rush hours. On average, peak hours bus commutes from Valencia Street to Centinela Avenue are 52 minutes in the morning and 64 minutes in the afternoon. The BRT lanes will hopefully reduce commute times by 24 percent.

One thing to consider: the Purple Line Extension will one day mostly follow Wilshire Boulevard to Westwood. At that point, the subway becomes a much better and faster choice for any kind of long-distance travel on Wilshire. Buses would help fill the gaps between the subway stations and serve also as first-mile/last-mile options for riders trying to reach rail stations.

Here’s the project map that shows the improvements that have been and will be made:

wbrt-with-text-bubbles_2013-02-08-1

Video of this morning’s groundbreaking event for the Crenshaw/LAX Line

And here is video of this morning’s groundbreaking for the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

There are nice comments about mobility — and the need for more of it — from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Metro would like to extend a special thank you to Secretary Foxx and Senator Boxer for making the trip to Los Angeles on Tuesday and for their help — and they were both personally involved — in getting this project off the ground.

RELATED POSTS:

And so it begins: ground is broken for the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line

Social media roundup for Crenshaw/LAX Line groundbreaking

Crenshaw/LAX Line groundbreaking roundup on social media


And so it begins: ground is broken for 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line

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The groundbreaking of the Crenshaw/LAX Line was held Tuesday morning adjacent to the Expo Line’s Crenshaw station. Video is coming later today and we posted to our Twitter and Instagram feeds during the event; see this post for social media coverage of the event.

Here is Metro’s news release:

Construction began Tuesday morning on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, an 8.5-mile, $2.058-billion light-rail line that will run between the Metro Expo and Green lines and is expected to open in 2019. The project will also bring Metro Rail closer to Los Angeles International Airport.

The groundbreaking bought together top officials from federal, state and local government, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and California Senator Barbara Boxer.

One of the old Yellow Cars at Crenshaw & 54th in 1954. Photo by Alan Weeks via Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

One of the old Yellow Cars at Crenshaw & 54th in 1954. Photo by Alan Weeks via Metro Transportation Library and Archive.

The event was held at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, where the first of the project’s three underground stations will be built. Demolition of some existing structures will be among the first work done, with heavy construction expected to begin this spring.

“Thousands of hard-working families and seniors living in Crenshaw depend on public transportation every day to get to work, to school, and to obtain medical care,” said Secretary Foxx.  “Bringing light rail to this community will create jobs, spur local economic development and make it easier than ever for residents to access downtown Los Angeles and beyond.”

The new Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project will be the first rail line to serve Crenshaw Boulevard and the city of Inglewood since the streetcars of the Los Angeles Rail Line (known as the “Yellow Cars”) stopped running in 1955. In some places, the new light rail line will use the old alignment for the streetcars.

“The Crenshaw Line is a top priority for me because it will provide a crucial transportation link, create over 18,000 jobs, help connect communities, reduce air pollution, and provide economic development and economic opportunities,” said Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The new light-rail line will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the area around Los Angeles International Airport with eight stations, a maintenance facility and park-and-ride lots.

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Suspect arrested in fatal stabbing on Red Line last week

Here is the news release issued earlier by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department:

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau detectives are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding the stabbing death of an adult male at 9:20 AM on Monday, January 13, 2014, on the Metro Red Line at the Vermont/Santa Monica Station, 1015 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles.

Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators have arrested a suspect for the January 13th murder of Mr. Velasco-Alvarado (MH/34), which occurred on the Metro Red Line rail.

Sheriff’s Homicide Investigators received an anonymous tip which enabled them to establish the identity of the suspect and determine the location of his residence. On Friday, January 17th, investigators executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence in North Hollywood, where they arrested Suspect Angelo Correia (M/B-25) for Mr. Velasco-Alvarado’s murder.
Suspect Correia was booked at West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station and is being held in lieu of one million dollars bail.

The case will be presented to the District Attorney’s office on Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org

Photos of this weekend’s work in preparation of the Gold Line Foothill Extension

Above are a few photos of this weekend’s work to prepare the existing Gold Line to be extended as part of the Gold Line Foothill Extension project. This is the reason that the Sierra Madre Villa station was closed this weekend.

Most of the work involves building and/or reworking the overhead wires and infrastructure that delivers electricity to light rail trains. Thanks to riders for the patience with the station closure — the Foothill Extension project is moving along at a steady clip and will extend the Gold Line for 11.5 miles to the Azusa/Glendora border with new stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and two in Azusa.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: The urban transit revolution depends on federal dollars

The following op-ed was written by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also serves as the Vice chair of the Metro Board of Directors: 

The Urban Transit Revolution Depends on Federal Dollars 

By: Eric Garcetti

Too often, the story of Los Angeles is written by pundits who are focused on talking about this city as the car capital of the world;  there are a few storytellers, however, that have begun to tell a different story.  Last month, the L.A. Times featured a story on a new L.A., a city with a new identity and with an evolving network of transportation options creating the so-called “urban reawakening.”

CroppedHeadshot_qualityIn my first six months of office, I laid the foundation for an agenda that is focused on a “back to basics” approach.  It prioritizes the basic delivery of those city services and policies that improve our neighborhoods – including the creation of more sustainable, walkable, and transit-connected communities.

In the U.S., 81 percent of our people now live in urban areas — a number that has grown in recent times.  In California, 95 percent of us live in cities.  Mobility is the lifeblood of cities.  The ability to move people and goods allows us to compete for jobs with cities across the global economy.

On my first trip to Washington D.C. as Mayor, I met with President Barack Obama and with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx to advocate for nearly $2 billion of transit funds from a federal program called New Starts.  These funds would help pay for the construction of the Regional downtown Connector and the first phase of the Purple Line projects.  They will transform Metro’s growing transit system, making it easier for riders to reach jobs and popular destinations along Wilshire Boulevard, to and from downtown and across Los Angeles — the underground Connector will tie together the Blue, Expo, and Gold lines for a one-seat ride connection.

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Reminder: Metro Gold Line will be closed between Sierra Madre Villa Station and Allen Station Jan. 18 – 19

The Metro Gold Line will be closed between Sierra Madre Villa Station and Allen Station this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18 – 19. Bus shuttles will replace train service between the two stations.

Trains will operate normal service between Atlantic Station and Allen Station on this weekend.

During the closure, crews will be working to tie the existing Gold Line to the Gold Line Foothill Extension. Most of the work involves building and/or reworking the overhead wires and infrastructure that delivers electricity to light rail trains.

All work is subject to weather postponements. Get the latest alerts and news by following Metro on Twitter @metrolosangeles or @metroLAalerts.