It was a fairly quiet meeting Thursday of the Metro Board of Directors, the 13-member body that decides many issues large and small at the agency.
In his opening remarks, Metro CEO Phil Washington did briefly respond to the L.A. Times article on Thursday on declines in ridership at Metro and other transit agencies. Phil’s three main points:
•Metro created a ridership task force last year to work on ideas to retain riders and attract new ones.
•Transit ridership is cyclical and he expects it to continue to go up and down in future years — and that declines at Metro are similar to declines at other agencies.
•Phil also said that Metro is taking a long-term view and preparing for a growing population in Los Angeles County. “Now is the time, we believe, to invest in transportation needs for decades to come,” he said.
As for the Metro Board meeting, the Board took action on these items that may interest everyday riders:
•The Board approved a technology motion (below) by Eric Garcetti, Hilda Solis, Mike Bonin and Ara Najarian that directs Metro:
-Accelerate the installation of cell service and wifi in all underground stations and tunnels.
-Improve real-time arrival information, including a goal of fixing all broken displays at stations within 24 hours (an issue we frequently hear about from riders).
-improve bus speeds by better utilizing traffic signal priority technology.
-begin development of next generation TAP that would allow TAP to be used for payment of such things as Metrolink, taxis, ride-hailing, bike share and parking garages.
Here’s the entire motion:
•The Board approved a motion asking Metro by Mike Antonovich, Hilda Solis and John Fasana to study potential express bus lines between the new Gold Line Foothill Extension stations and other transit lines/stations in the area. Here’s the motion:
•The Board approved a motion by Mark Ridley-Thomas, James T. Butts, John Fasana and Mike Antonovich to create a “Metro Line to Goal Line” task force to study the best way to use transit to get fans to Rams games at the Coliseum beginning this August and, after 2019, the new stadium in Inglewood, which supporters say could host 50 to 60 games and events a year.
The Coliseum is, of course, is a tight spiral from the Expo Line. The new stadium and surrounding development in Inglewood will be about a 1.5-mile walk from the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Downtown Inglewood Station. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is also forecast to open in 2019.
In addition, the Board approved a second motion — by the same authors above and Don Knabe and Sheila Kuehl — asking Metro to study building a rail line or spur to the Inglewood Stadium, possibly using Prairie Avenue. Board Members added a friendly amendment to clarify that this project is not intended to replace a possible South Bay Extension of the Green Line to Torrance, which is a project with Measure R funding (and not due to be finished until the 2030s).
Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey told the Board that he supports the study and looks forward possibly to a “Torrance to Florence” rail line — the Crenshaw/LAX Line runs along Florence through Inglewood.
Here’s the second motion about the rail study:
•The Board approved an ExpresssLanes toll policy that would allow Metro to increase tolls on segments of the 10 or 110 by increments of 10 cents when speeds repeatedly fall below 45 mph. Several Board Members said they would like a clearer explanation from staff on how tolls are set so they can pass along information when asked.
Here’s the new policy: