COVID-19 update and Metro News; March 26, 2021

•Metro’s statement on yesterday’s virtual Board meeting in which the audio kept dropping whether you were trying to watch the webstream on a computer or listen via phone:

Due to a piece of malfunctioning equipment, the audio is continuing to drop frequently during today’s virtual meeting of the Metro Board of Directors. That has made it very difficult for the public and stakeholders to follow discussions and the voting on key items involving policy and the expenditure of public funds.

Metro deeply apologizes for this failure. Unfortunately, we will not be able to replace the malfunctioning equipment today. We are, however, preserving sound from the meeting and we will post the full web stream of the meeting — with complete sound — as soon as possible.

The full meeting with sound should be posted to the Metro Board page on our website on Monday.

•Metro continues to provide essential service. Friendly reminder: Metro and the federal government require all riders wear a face covering unless there is a medical reason for not wearing one. Metro also continues to install mask dispensers on the system.

•COVID-19 cases remain low in L.A. County and at Metro. Vaccinations continue to ramp up across the county.

In agency news….

•The Purple (D Line) Extension continues to make progress. Some news from Section 2, which will run between Wilshire/La Cienega, downtown Beverly Hills and Century City.

•Metro is hiring bus operators. Nice video below.

 

In the media…

NYT takes a look at the decline in transit ridership on big systems around the world. Most are carrying under 50 percent of their regular pre-pandemic ridership. Metro’s been running mostly 40 to 50 percent of pre-pandemic ridership during the pandemic. Metro buses are carrying a higher percentage of our riders than they did prior to March 2020.

We’ve been running about 80 percent of our pre-pandemic since last June. The plan is to restore more bus service in June and then return to full bus service in September.

 

•There are two bills in the state Legislature that would allow automatic speed enforcement cameras in California, reports LAT columnist Steve Lopez. As Lopez mentions, it’s a NASCAR race on many of our local roads. I don’t know what you see in your neck of the woods, but in My Neck (western San Gabe Valley) there’s little to no enforcement of traffic laws. And it’s been that way for quite some time. Might be an interesting story to explore for intrepid young reporters out there.

•President Biden’s $3-trillion infrastructure plan — if it gets through the gauntlet that is Congress — could be very good for rail projects in California, reports the LAT.  Excerpt:

Metrolink Chief Executive Stephanie Wiggins has a $10-billion program to upgrade its passenger rail service through 75 different projects across six counties — all before the 2028 Olympics. So far, the agency has secured $2 billion in funding, leaving a big gap that the Biden program could help fill. Wiggins notes the federal government has always funded transportation and other infrastructure programs in Olympic host cities. Her target for funding from the Biden plan is $3 billion to $4 billion.

Among the most important ideas is to build an electrified high-speed line between Burbank and Anaheim, using battery or fuel cell powered locomotives. The plan would relieve traffic on the busy I-5, reduce pollution and drive up ridership through better service. The line would eventually be part of the bullet train system, but Wiggins said Southern California can’t wait a generation for it to get built by the state.

Hasan Ikhrata, executive director of the San Diego Assn. of Governments, wants Biden’s help to electrify the Los Angeles-to-San Diego passenger rail system. He also wants to smooth out curves, so it could operate at 110 miles per hour and cut travel time between the state’s two largest cities to two hours from the current three and a half. It would also include a one-mile tunnel to relocate track on an ocean bluff that is in danger of collapsing.

The size of the infrastructure plan is in flux, reports the LAT. Another big question: how much funding would go to the state bullet train project, which will need more money to reach L.A. or S.F.

And because it’s the weekend and it’s cool…

2 replies

  1. The Covic pandemic is almost over. Discard with the Computer Geek On Line Meetings and conduct them with those of the public who wish to attend in person. If Social Distancing is the problem, the MTA has a huge train station with much of it unused. Then a simple mic and amplifier will be all they need.

  2. “The Covic pandemic is almost over.”

    – uhh, no it’s not. Not everyone wants to go out and congregate in large groups in closed spaces yet nor is it even recommended to do so. But based on the tone you have, by all means please share with us the guaranteed end date for this pandemic.