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.

Metro staff report on recommendation for Crenshaw/LAX Line contract is now posted online

Crenshaw/LAX Line contract report

Above is the Metro staff report to the agency’s Board of Directors recommending that Walsh/Shea be contracted to build the Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail project.

Here is our post from Friday explaining the recommendation along with background about the project.

Metro Board OKs plan to continue planning of second and third decade Measure R projects

The Metro Board voted Thursday morning to direct staff to continue planning on second- and third decade Measure R projects — the idea is have projects ready to be constructed if funds become available to accelerate them.

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.

The Board also approved the following amendment by Board Members Diane DuBois, Gloria Molina and Mel Wilson:

Here is a recent post about this item, along with the staff report.

Agenda for Thursday's Metro Board meeting

And the usual reminder that the Metro Board of Directors is back in action Thursday for their first full meeting since early August. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Board Room on the 3rd floor of Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. It is, as always, free and open to the public.

If you would like to listen in by phone, please call 213-922-6045.

The meeting agenda is below or download here (pdf). The item that seems to be getting the most attention is the contract with CBS Outdoor to supply advertising on Metro buses, trains and other properties.

Sept Metro Board Agenda

Metro report offers initial look at impacts of bus service changes

Metro’s Board of Directors previously asked staff to prepare a report on the cumulative impact of bus service changes made by the agency between 2007 and 2011. A preliminary report by staff is now available and concludes:

Based on the data collected to date, overall there was a negligible cumulative impact on boardings as a result of the service changes since June 2007, with weekday boardings increasing 1%, Saturday decreasing 1%, and Sunday remaining neutral. Minimizing impacts is largely due to listening to and incorporating public concerns during the planning process, and ensuring there are viable alternatives for existing riders.

A more complete assessment will be presented to the Board in June. I encourage you to read the report – there are a lot of good statistics in there, showing how bus service overall has grown in the county over the past 25 years — in particular service offered by cities and other agencies in L.A. County.

Here is a pdf version for download or you can read the report below.

Service changes report

Hearing concludes on Westside Subway Extension route and station location in Beverly Hills and Century City

The hearing requested by the city of Beverly Hills on the Century City station location for the Westside Subway Extension has now concluded. As expected, the Board of Directors did not take any action on selecting a route for the subway and station location in Century City.

The basic dispute: In order to avoid active earthquake fault zones under Santa Monica Boulevard, Metro staff are recommending a subway route under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus to reach a Century City station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.

Beverly Hills officials oppose that route, saying it could harm students and would hinder future underground development at the school. Metro says that tunneling can be done safely and would not interfere with future development.

Most of the hearing was dedicated to presentations by Beverly Hills’ consultants, who disputed many of Metro’s studies.

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Measure R extension discussion on Foothill Extension project

This Metro staff proposal to seek voter approval for an extension of the Measure half-cent sales tax past its 2039 sunset was briefly discussed by the Board of Directors’ Executive Management committee on Thursday morning, including some interesting morsels on the Gold Line Foothill Extension project.

Supervisor and Board Vice Chair Mike Antonovich asked for clarification if the extension, as proposed by staff, would fund the Foothill Extension all the way to Claremont. Measure R is currently providing $735 million to fund the first phase of the Foothill Extension from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border.

Metro CEO Art Leahy responded by saying that the language in the existing Measure R ordinance and funding plan is somewhat ambiguous — on one hand defining the Foothill Extension as a project to Claremont but on the other hand only funding it as far as Azusa.

Ultimately, Leahy said, it would be up to the Board of Directors whether to include the second phase to Claremont as part of a Measure R extension. As proposed by staff, a Measure R extension would be used to expand the agency’s ability to sell bonds to accelerate the building of the transit projects funded by the original Measure R.

The Board is likely to vote on whether to take the issue to voters at their June meeting. Here’s a pdf of the most recent staff report, which is also posted below using Scribd.

Measure R extension report

Update on effort to provide cell service in subway

We frequently hear from readers and riders who want to know if Metro will be providing cell phone service and/or wi-fi in the Red and Purple Line subway.

Answer: the agency is working on it and has recently received proposals from several firms. The hope is to choose a winning firm in late summer.

The Metro staff report to the Board of Directors is below (pdf here):

Cell service in subway report

Metro to hold budget workshop and public hearing on May 16

Proposed Fiscal Year 2013 Budget

Here’s the news release from Metro — the most newsworthy item, I think, is that the $4.5-billion budget does not propose raising fares for the 2013 fiscal year:

Metro will conduct a budget workshop and public hearing on a proposed $4.5 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2013 on Wednesday, May 16, at 2:30 p.m. in the third floor Board room at Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza, Cesar Chavez & Vignes, next to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

The budget can be viewed online by clicking here. The public can view a copy of the balanced budget proposal at Metro.net. Request copies via e-mail at rmc@metro.net or by calling Charlene Williams in Metro Records Services at 213.922.2342.

Metro’s Board could consider adopting the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012 at the board meeting that starts at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 24, at Metro headquarters.

Metro CEO Art Leahy’s budget proposal, which is balanced with no shortfall, does not propose raising fares, which already rank among the lowest in the nation. Metro’s farebox recovery will stay at 28 percent, again near the bottom of any major operator, and passenger loads also will be low compared to our peers.

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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