The Metro Board of Directors meets Thursday morning in what should be a doozy of a meeting with lots of interestingness on the menu. The agenda is above (pdf here) and includes links to staff reports. The meeting will be webcast as soon as it begins (scheduled for 9 a.m.). Listen and watch online here.
The main attraction will be the Metro Board’s consideration of a new policing contract for the Metro system.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is currently the sole provider of such services. The Metro staff proposal seeks to break the contract into three, with the LASD, Los Angeles Police Department and Long Beach P.D. each getting a slice of the pie. The three contracts together are worth up to $641.1 million and it’s a big deal besides the big money because riders often express concerns about safety and security on our system and how often they do — or do not — see police.
The Board considered the item at their Dec. 1 meeting but ultimately decided by a 7 to 4 vote to delay voting until tomorrow. In the time since, the Board has three new members, so that could change things. I’ll be blunt: the gorilla in the room is this: all the above police agencies want as big a slice of the contract as they can get and police agencies hold political power in terms of endorsements. That is not an original observation, btw.
Among other items, the Board will consider:
•Making all-door boarding on the Silver Line a permanent feature. Staff report. In addition, this item calls for planning to put all-door boarding on the 754 Rapid Bus on Vermont Avenue and planning to roll out all-door boarding eventually to a number of other bus lines. That should hopefully help buses get from A to B a little faster.
•Approving a motion to study possible improvements to the Blue Line, including grade separating the Washington-Flower junction with the Expo Line and express tracks south of Washington Boulevard. It should be noted that this is a study and funding would need to be secured for such a project(s). Measure M did not include funding for a specific Blue Line improvement project. An amendment to the motion also calls for studying the possibility of building a Blue Line station closer to the shore in Long Beach.
•Approving the official names for the three new stations being built as part of the Regional Connector project, a 1.9-mile rail tunnel that will link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines in downtown Los Angeles. The stations are:
The proposed names are:
•Little Tokyo/Arts District, located between 1st, 2nd, Central and Alameda. It will be nice not having to cross Alameda or 1st to reach the station.
•Historic Broadway, located at 2nd and Broadway. It will be a one block walk of about .2 miles to get to Grand Central Market, which is also near the Pershing Square Red/Purple Line station. So if you think the line for Egg Slut is long now…
•Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill, located at 2nd and Hope — on the backside of Disney Concert Hall and the Broad. The station will include elevators to bring people up to a walkway level with Grand Avenue.
Oh, and here are some fresh pics of the Grand Av Arts/Bunker Hill Station, including this one:
•Approving development guidelines for a 1.56-acre site in Boyle Heights near the Gold Line. Staff report.
•Approving a motion to prioritize first mile/last mile improvements to the Norwalk Station serving the Green Line. Motion. The station is surrounded in part by the 105 and 605 freeways, as seen below:
•Approving the alternative below for further environmental review as part of the Link Union Station project that will add run-through tracks so that commuter and Amtrak trains can enter and exit Union Station from both the north and south.
The idea is to increase Union Station’s capacity to handle more trains, speed up train travel, accommodate high speed rail eventually and to accommodate a new passenger concourse that would replace the existing pedestrian tunnel under the Union Station tracks. Staff report and post on Streetsblog LA.
Point of emphasis: the Board today is choosing an alternative to be scrutinized further in a formal environmental study, as required by law. And then the really hard work begins: finding the funding for a project that will surely cost many tens of millions of dollars.
The project proposes to build the platforms at Union Station at a higher elevation and then run them across and along the 101 on an aerial structure. Not cheap! Raising the tracks also creates more room for a new expanded passenger concourse below the tracks, as was envisioned during the Union Station Master Plan process. This would replace the dreary and crowded tunnel now in use to travel between the Alameda Street side of the station and the Patsouras Transit Plaza.
And here’s a presentation with some good visuals (pdf here):
•Extending the negotiating and planning window with Trammel Crow and Greenland USA for 90 days for the North Hollywood Joint Development. Long story short: Metro owns four parcels totaling 15 acres adjacent to the Red Line and Orange Line stations in NoHo and is seeking to pick a developer to build on the site.
Trammel Crow and Greenland USA submitted two plans last summer — both would make big changes to the area, with new buildings and parking underground. Here are the development guidelines, which have some interestingness in them.