Among the actions taken yesterday:
•The Board approved a receive-and-file on the aerial tram that a private firm proposes to fund, build and operate between Union Station and Dodgers Stadium. The news: Metro will be the lead agency on the environmental review for the project. Here’s a presentation that was shown (pdf here):
•An item on advancing a mostly street-running route for the North Hollywood-to-Pasadena bus rapid transit project into environmental review was pulled from the agenda for further discussion on the route. Here’s the staff report and here’s a recent Source post and here’s a story that ran yesterday in the Star-News.
•The Metro Board advanced two Metro staff-recommended concepts for the Vermont Bus Rapid Transit project into the next study phase, the formal environmental review.
One concept would have buses running on the side of the street for the entire 12.4-mile length of the project between Hollywood Boulevard and 120th Street. The other would have 4.2 miles of center running dedicated BRT lanes between 120th Street and Gage Avenue and 8.2 miles of side-running dedicated BRT lanes between Gage and Hollywood Blvd.
As part of the item, the Board approved using a technical study to look at an option that would be completely center-running — the idea being this would be a higher form of BRT. The one condition: the project must fit within the Measure M expenditure plan, which allocates $522 million for this project.
A Board motion was also approved that asks Metro to advance technically-feasible rail options into environmental review and to develop a public-private partnership business case to fund a rail option. The big challenge here is money — the rail options could cost multiple billions of dollars. Staff report and executive summary of the rail feasibility study.
Board Member Eric Garcetti noted that money for a rail option was not included in Measure M and that finding money would be a “tough hill to climb” but perhaps possible. He also said that Metro still must find the best way to do BRT so that it’s actually more than slightly better than existing bus service.
•The Board voted to increase the design life-of-budget for the I-210 Barrier Replacement Project from $11.4 million to $22.5 million. This is the project that will raise the barriers between the Gold Line and the 210 freeway.
There have been 10 accidents on the freeway since 2003 that have resulted in cars or trucks ending up on the Gold Line tracks and/or damaging rail equipment. The staff report has some good info on the challenges of this very important safety project.
•The Board approved this update on the Congestion Pricing Feasibility Study, with the attachments explaining the scope of work for the contractors who will compete to do the study. An amendment was added asking that the Board have the ability to appoint the stakeholder panel and expand the number of seats, as well as asking the study to consider lanes or different pricing models for zero emission vehicles.