Some of the issues tackled by the Metro Board at today’s meeting:
•The Board approved a budget of $30 million for a project that will add pedestrian gates on both sides of the tracks — Metro and the Union Pacific — at 27 intersections along the Blue Line. This is a separate project than the ongoing Blue Line improvements which involves renovating stations, reworking sections of track and overheard wire and, ultimately, adding new light rail vehicles to Metro’s busiest light rail line. Staff report
•The Board approved a $17.8-million contract with Gruen Associates to design the Aviation/96th Street Station that will be along the Crenshaw/LAX Line and will serve as the transfer point to the LAX automated people mover to be built. The people mover will also have three stations near airport terminals, a station at a new ground transportation facility and a station at a new consolidated rental car center. Staff report
•The Board pushed back making a decision on a parking ordinance until its September meeting. The ordinance gives Metro legal authority to set particular rules for its parking lots, including the legal right to impose fees. A later study will look harder at the issue of parking fees. To make it perfectly clear, the Board has NOT made any decision yet whether to impose fees at Metro lots beyond the fees already in place. Staff report
•The Board adopted the official names for the stations along the Crenshaw/LAX Line that is currently under construction. The names, from north to south: Expo/Crenshaw, Martin Luther King, Jr., Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Fairview Heights, Downtown Inglewood, Westchester/Veterans and Aviation/Century. Staff report and motion
•The Board approved a motion designed to encourage cities who pursue bikeshare on their own to use the vendor chosen by Metro for the regional bikeshare program, which begins next spring in downtown Los Angeles. As part of the motion, Metro staff will report back to the Board every two months on expediting the regional bikeshare program to other communities/cities. The Board also made clear that it needs to have a firm definition of interoperability to understand how the regional bikeshare program will mesh with bikeshare in Long Beach and Santa Monica; those two cities have chosen a different bikeshare vendor.
As part of the Board conversation, Director John Fasana asked if perhaps Metro — if truly convinced that its vendor is best — should “buy out” other systems so there is only one bikeshare system. Board Chair Mark Ridley Thomas then suggested to Metro CEO Phil Washington that would be a good thing to explore and then get back to the Board. Motion
•The Board approved a motion asking Metro to conduct a study on how best to resume operations of Angels Flight in downtown L.A.; the funicular has been closed for several years due to a regulatory issue. Metro Board Member Eric Garcetti — who proposed the motion — said he is not asking for Metro to take over Angels Flight, which is currently operated as a nonprofit.
Several public speakers and Board Members pointed to the importance of Angels Flight, saying many downtown residents and workers use it go up and down Bunker Hill and to reach jobs, dining and businesses. Motion
•The Board approved an update to Metro’s joint development policy, most notably establishing a goal that 35 percent of all residential units developed on Metro land qualify as affordable housing. About 31 percent of units thus far developed in Metro joint properties qualify as affordable. Staff report
•The Board approved a $52.8-million contract for design and construction of a new subway vehicle maintenance facility at the Red Line yards in the Arts District. In addition, the Board approved a motion to establish a Design Advisory Committee for the facility to help resolve ongoing concerns by the Arts District about the facility interfering with new open space planned near the Sixth Street Viaduct.
This was Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ first meeting as Board Chair, a role he will fill through next June. Please see this earlier post for more about his agenda during his tenure.