The Metro Board held their final meeting of 2014 this morning; audio of the meeting can be heard by clicking here. It was a short agenda with three receive-and-file items (in other words, items that serve as reports and don’t require a Board vote) on areas of reader interest:
•The Board received an update from Los Angeles World Airport officials on their Automated People Mover project (known as APM) that will include a transfer to the Crenshaw/LAX Line at Aviation/96th Street.
The current airport plan is to build three APM stations in LAX’s central terminal area. One station would serve Terminal 1, 6 and 7, the next station would serve Terminals 5 and 6 and the last station would serve the Tom Bradley International Terminal and Terminals 3 and 4. Moving sidewalks would be used to help passengers get from the stations — which would be within the terminal horseshoe road — to the terminals. Another nugget: officials said that they want APM vehicles to be large enough to accommodate passengers with luggage on SmarteCartes.
The current plan, according to LAWA, is to start construction of the APM in 2017 or 2018 with construction taking five to seven years. Airport officials say they are mindful of one potential deadline: the 2024 Summer Olympics. The Los Angeles area is preparing a bid and is vying with three other cities — San Francisco, Boston and Washington D.C. — to represent the U.S. in the international competition to determine which city will host the Games.
As for the APM, it will also stop at a new Intermodal Transportation Facility that will have parking, serve as a shuttle bus stop and pickup and drop-off area for passengers. The next APM station would be at the Aviation/96th Station for the Crenshaw/LAX Line — a station that Metro will build that is planned as being terminal-like and much more robust than the usual light rail platform.
The final APM station would serve a consolidated rental car facility to be constructed east of Aviation Boulevard. As the name implies, the facility would bring together the more than a dozen rental car companies that serve LAX. Airport passengers would use the APM to reach rental cars, thereby removing the need for shuttles from rental car companies to endlessly circle the horseshoe road serving the airport terminals.
•The Board received a Metro staff report on the budget development process for the 2015-2016 fiscal year that begins July 1. The report looks at both Metro’s short/long-range revenues and expenses and suggests that the Metro Board at some point will have to revisit the question of fare increases (the Board approved the first of three increases recommended by Metro staff last year) and trimming operating expenses, perhaps through transit service changes. Metro staff is scheduled to give another financial update in February. Point of emphasis: nothing happens fare-wise or service-wise without a civil rights analysis (and hearings for a fare increase) and final approval of changes by the Metro Board — the 13-member body of mostly elected officials that oversees Metro.
•The Board also discussed a receive-and-file report from Metro staff on a change in policy that would allow all police officers to ride Metro for free whether on- or off-duty and whether in uniform or not. During the discussion, Board Members said there was a need to increase police presence on transit but some Board Members questioned whether police in plain clothes would serve as a useful deterrent. The item will likely be revisited in 2015.