The May meeting has concluded, clocking in at a swift 3.5 hours.
Audio and video of the meeting will be posted online here in the next day or so. The above agenda has links to staff reports and presentations.
Among the items approved today:
•The Board approved a new pilot program beginning in the upcoming fall quarter/semester to help get more Metro reduced fare passes into the hands of college students. The big improvements:
-Students will be able to register for transit pass when they register for classes. If your college participates in the program, no more having to send an application to Metro and wait several weeks for a student TAP card.
-A small sticker that includes a TAP chip will be distributed on campus and placed directly on student IDs. No need to get a TAP card — it means a student ID card becomes a TAP card.
-Schools will pay a reduced fare per boarding for actual rides taken. That means the most students will pay is $43 a month if they attend a college participating in the program. If the college is willing to kick in some money, students will pay less.
-Students taking eight units per quarter or semester are now eligible for the discount. Students previously needed to take 12 credits per quarter/semester, meaning part-time students were precluded from the program.
Why is this a big deal?
One, there are a lot of colleges near major transit lines. Two, as the staff report explains, “”Currently, there are more than 1.4 million public college students in Los Angeles County, and only 14,000 (1%) are actively participating in Metro’s reduced fare college pass programs, the College/Vocational (C/V) Pass and Institutional Transit Access Pass (I-TAP) programs.”
Several large colleges have already signed up to participate, including CSUN, UCLA, Trade Tech, Pasadena City College and there will possibly be a few more. Here’s the staff report.
•The Board approved a $5.6-billion budget for the agency for the fiscal year beginning July 1. Staff report. We previously posted three short-ish podcasts about the budget: overview, the capital program and four key numbers.
•The Board approved $11 million in funding to do the environmental and design work on raising the barriers between some or all of the 210 freeway and the Gold Line tracks. Why? From the staff report:
Since the opening of the Metro Gold Line, there have been six accidents in which a big rig vehicle, traveling on the 210 Freeway, has entered into the operating Right-of-Way. The latest incident occurred on Sunday, March 6, 2016. During the incident, the tractor caught fire causing damage to the Gold Line system and a major disruption. The Gold Line required immediate repairs which were not complete until early the following morning. Staff proposes to develop design options for barrier improvements for the Pasadena Gold Line and effectively mitigate the risks of future breaches into Metro’s Gold Line Right-of-Way. Once the barrier improvements have been approved by Caltrans, Metro will procure a construction contract for installation of the improvements.
Metro staff told the Board that the current barriers can stop a vehicle up to 4,000 pounds whereas the new barriers will stop a vehicle up to 80,000 pounds. Keep in mind that the Board will eventually have to approve funds to construct this project. But this is a good start and may also help shelter the three stations in the middle of the 210 (Lake, Allen and Sierra Madre Villa) from noise and vehicles.
•The Board approved six-month, $56.2-million extension of the current contract with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to patrol Metro buses, trains and facilities. Metro is currently accepting bids for a longer-term policing contract. Staff report
•The Board approved an active transportation strategic plan, which outlines how Metro will help fund walking, biking and transit improvements to make streets safer for everyone — and to build these type of improvements into transit projects. Think of it this way: it’s a plan that helps identify where Metro could help cities fund improvements — and it also includes potential funding strategies. Wonky, yes. But you’ve got to start somewhere, people. Staff report and here’s a presentation that helps explain it:
•The Board approved a motion asking Metro staff to report back to them on all upgrades to the Blue Line in terms of safety and security and state of good repair projects, including the art work.
•A presentation was given on outreach efforts for Metro’s potential ballot measure. Bottom line: a lot of people attended meetings or listened to the Telephone Town Halls; and there were also a lot of public comments received on what they would like the spending plan for the ballot measure to look like. News release
•What’s the Office of Extraordinary Innovation been up to? Here’s the presentation they provided the Board: