Below are some of the highlights from this morning’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors. The full agenda is here.
•Item 23. The Board approved exercising an option with New Flyer to purchase an additional 350 new buses for $195 million on top of the 55o previously ordered. These buses will replace 40-foot buses due to reach the end of their useful lives with expiring compressed natural gas fuel tanks; it’s illegal to continue to operate such buses and most will be 14- or 15-years-old by the time they’re retired. This option is part of an ongoing Metro bus replacement project with some of the New Flyer buses being put into service in recent months.
•Item 21. The Board approved a motion by four Board members (Eric Garcetti, Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, Don Knabe and James Butts) asking Metro to study possibly extending the Silver Line south to the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The Silver Line’s current last stop in the South Bay is the Harbor Gateway Transit Center. The motion also asks Metro staff to study ways to improve transfers to the Silver Line from Metro Bus Lines 246 and 344.
•Item 50. The Metro Board heard an oral presentation on the agency’s latest customer survey, which included a question about sexual harassment experienced by bus and train riders. Twenty-two percent of riders reported experiencing some unwanted form of sexual behavior.
Metro officials said that the agency has a zero-tolerance policy toward sexual harassment and is a preparing a public awareness campaign with the group Peace Over Violence and working with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to better police the system and crack down on harassment.
Several Board Members voiced their concern over the issue while recognizing it’s hardly limited to transit. Board Member Sheila Kuehl said that a staff member had recently been harassed on an escalator in a Metro station. Staff report and recent Source post with reader comments.
•Item 52. The Board approved a motion by Board Members Michael D. Antonovich and Hilda Solis asking Metro staff to develop a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to Red Light violations by Metro trains (i.e. trains not stopping at train signals telling them to stop). The motion also asks Metro to hire an independent consultant to study the issue and determine its root cause. There have been 38 Red Light violations in the past 24 months, according to Metro data.
•Item 12. The Board approved seeking funds from the California cap-and-trade program for two projects: 1) Improvements to the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station on the Blue Line, along with Blue Line signal and track upgrades to improve rail service, and; 2) Track improvements to the Red/Purple Line adjacent to Union Station that would allow trains to enter and exit the station more quickly. Staff report
•The Board approved a motion by three Board Members (Eric Garcetti, Diane DuBois and Don Knabe) to rename the Division 3 bus yard in Cypress Park to “Leahy Division 3” as a tribute to the family of outgoing Metro CEO Art Leahy. Art’s parents both worked in transit and drove streetcars and met at Division 3 in the years after World War II. Art was born in 1949 and later became a bus operator with the RTD before jobs as CEO of OCTA, General Manager of Metro Transit in the Twin Cities and then CEO of Metro for the past six years. Art’s wife and brother are also transit veterans with many years of service. Here’s a good Steve Lopez column that ran recently in the LAT about Art.