Other actions taken Thursday by the Metro Board

The Metro Board of Directors wrapped up its final meeting of 2012 on Thursday. Here are a few other items of interest the Board took action on:

•At the direction of Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich, The Metro Board heard a presentation on the safety culture at Metro, specifically focusing on creating an environment in which issues would be prevented ahead of time.

Much of the discussion focused on issues confronting the Washington D.C. Metro after a subway crash killed nine there in June 2009; in particular how to encourage employees and managers to give safety the first priority without fear of repurcussion.

Here are some charts that provide information about Metro bus and train incidents.

•The Metro Board approved a motion by Richard Katz and Mel Wilson to study the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor as a potential public-private partnership (PPP). One option for the project is to use toll lanes to fund a rail tunnel under the pass. An amendment by Don Knabe was also approved and would also study the Metro Airport Connector as a potential PPP.

•The Board approved spending an additional $6.8 millioin on pedestrian swing gates along the Blue Line corridor to enhance safety. Please see this staff report for more information about gates and Metro's response to Board requests on informing the public about delays.


Categories: Transportation News

7 replies

  1. The comment made by Warren, I fully agree with what he said about the light rail between the Westside and the San Fernando Valley. Building one or more tunnels through the Sepulveda Pass is ridiculous and a huge waste of taxpayers money. Like was stated by others, if you have vehicle tunnels through the pass most people will continue to use the 405 to avoid tolls. HOWEVER, I fully expect one day the carpool lanes on the 405 will become express toll lanes.

  2. @AD

    The example that I should have used would have been Concept 4 Tolled Highway Tunnel with BRT that is projected to cost 10 Billion Dollars for Sepulveda Pass only (10 miles) and up to 13 Billion Dollars for a full corridor (28 miles).

    I understand your point in start up costs etc. but that is beyond being just a huge difference in price per mile of construction.

    Ultimately this study by Metro is focusing on the most costly and complex projects that will have both astronomical bills and Tolls not to mention the political fights and lawsuits over the “Big Dig”. This will probably make the 710 extension look like a pool fight between friends.

    I don’t doubt that a few people will pay the toll, but the highway projects are Tens of Billions of dollars and will be so expensive that the tolls will be unaffordable for most people. I have driven the 405 in the morning and evening rush hours and the heavy tolls will not be worth it and I suspect most drivers will not pay the tolls either. When the Toll Road is unable to pay the bills the taxpayers will be responsible.

    The simple and least costly option for moving over 90,000 fares is a single line running north and south from the Valley into and possibly through West LA. I might be able to support a higher fare for this line but it seems Metro like you say is intent on spending pennies for the Valley or dreaming so big that it is doomed for failure.

  3. I think we would get more bang for our bucks with a light rail going north and south on the West side and into the valley. I believe the light rail terminus in the valley would be in Sylmar and at LAX in the city.

  4. @in the Valley

    A big cost for construction is “mobilization” or setting-up. That is why construction cost are front loaded. It’s like pharmaceuticals, each pill cost pennies to make, but the first pill cost millions to develop.

    The one thing to consider is that car tunnels can come with heavy tolls. Imagine having 8 toll lanes: 4 each way with half them in the tunnel. With the 405 being the 3rd worst commute in America, there will be a lot of people willing to pay a lot of money to use those extra lanes. That is also why they can consider charging more for a train ride on this line then every other line.

    Hopefully people don’t allow the exploitation to happen. But if the Lankershim bridge idea and the bus picture on the Metro website are any indication of the future, the Valley will continue to receive pennies in services for every dollar they give to Metro.

  5. Appears that the Katz motion supports a proposal to begin a Big Dig style highway Toll Road Tunnel from Roscoe Blvd and the 405 freeway into West LA.

    If there was a rail component it would start at the Van Nuys Metrolink station. Also, if there is rail, it would not connect to either the Orange line or the potential East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor.

    Another option in Metro’s November report is that the 405 freeway be expanded at Victory Blvd, a tunnel built to connect the freeway to the Big Dig Tunnel and then it could be connected to the Orange line so that the buses could run with traffic through the tunnel.

    Here is the report:

    Concept 4 Tolled Highway Tunnel with BRT is projected to cost 10 Billion Dollars for Sepulveda Pass only (10 miles) and up to 13 Billion Dollars for a full corridor (28 miles). Concept 6 Combined Highway and Rail Tunnels with Demand Pricing is estimated between 20 Billion Dollars (10 miles) or between 30-38 Billion Dollars (21 miles).

    A SIMPLE subway tunnel linking LA through the mountain would be faster, cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

    Page ES-18 of the report states that LRT would have over 90,000 boardings a day.

    Page ES-26 (concept 5) has the cost of the LRT Sepulveda Pass rail tunnel at 5 Billion dollars and running 10 miles or 7-8 Billion for a 28 mile corridor. If this was combined with the ESFTC this number should be reduced because the amount of tunneling would decline.

    This is a mess. We have seen the fiasco that is the 710 Freeway extension. The LA Times reports this week that the State of California has doubts about the financial survivability of the Orange County toll roads (no mention of that on the Source).

    And now a proposal to do a huge tunnel through the San Fernando Valley. We don’t need more freeways. How does a project cost 20 Billion Dollars for 10 miles of work but cost 30-38 Billion Dollars for 21 miles of work??

    Taxpayers are ultimately going to be responsible for any toll roads and the fares on this will not be cheap. Traffic is going to continue to stay on the “Old 405”.

    A simple subway tunnel is all that is needed. Engineers are told to remember the KISS principle but it seems the Metro planners didn’t get the message. Metro and Mr. Katz should read this:


  6. I was going to comment and say “$6.8 million is way too much for pedestrian swing gates…” but then I skimmed the report and saw that it’s actually including: “Items under consideration as part of this scope of work include painting, refinishing platform surfaces, installing enhanced lighting, improved signage, closed circuit television cameras, platform canopies, and a variable messaging system.”

  7. The Sepulveda Pass PPP rail option says “P3 sets tolls at proportionate cost to highway tolls.” If that means that Sepulveda Pass transit riders will be paying more then what every other line charges, then lets hope that that option is not used; it would be an expanded exploitation of the people who live north of the basin.

    My opinion is that LACMTA should impalement toll roads on the 405 to help cover the cost of the initial segment of the HRT tunnel. That initial rail segment will miss its chance to be a real ‘game changer’ just as the red line stopping in North Hollywood failed to be a driving alternative to most people commuting into Downtown. But just like the red line, it is a start and we can expand it as funds become available. It could one day be the invaluable transportation backbone of West Los Angeles.

    The last thing we need is to build another a bus lane that will eliminate all hope of having a driving alternative. The Orange Bus has taught us that buses cannot meet the demand of a 2 million person community, with hundreds of thousands of those people commuting through bottlenecks each day/