The Metro Board meets virtually at 11 a.m. this Thursday for their regular monthly meeting — please note the start time, which is an hour later than usual. The live webstream will appear here shortly before the meeting begins and the agenda is posted above.
This is Metro CEO Phil Washington’s final Board meeting after six years at the agency’s helm. Stephanie Wiggins takes over the job next week.
To offer public comment:
Live public comment can only be given by telephone.
The Board Meeting begins at 11:00 AM Pacific Time on May 27, 2021; you may join the call five minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
Dial-in: 888-251-2949 and enter English Access Code: 8231160 or Spanish Access Code: 4544724
Public comment may be taken at the beginning of the meeting or as the Board takes up each item. To give public comment on an item, enter #2 (pound-two) when prompted. Please note that the live video feed lags about 30 seconds behind the actual meeting. There is no lag on the public comment dial-in line.
Written public comments must be received by 5 p.m. today (Wednesday, May 26) and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the item number in your comment (see the above agenda).
Among some items of interest on the agenda:
•The Board will consider approving a budget of $8 billion for the 2022 fiscal year that runs from this July 1 through June 30, 2022. The big item in the budget is restoration of bus and rail service to pre-pandemic levels during the coming fiscal year. Bus service will get a bump in late June. Staff report, proposed budget and Source post.
•The Board will consider two motions by Board Members concerning Metro’s Fareless System Initiative. As we posted earlier this month, Metro staff had proposed launching a pilot program that would begin with providing fareless transit to K-12 and community college students, and then expand to low income riders.
The second motion calls for postponing the implementation of a fareless program until certain conditions are met — including giving the same subsidies to other transit agencies that want to participate in the program and ensuring that a fareless program doesn’t impact funding to Metro’s ongoing transit service.
The staff report details the route in each city the BRT travels through. The route would use dedicated bus lanes and general purpose lanes, depending on the location.
In Eagle Rock — where there has been significant public interest in the project — the bus would operate in side-running lanes from Broadway to just west of Eagle Rock Boulevard. East of Eagle Rock Blvd., the BRT would operate in center/median-running bus lanes to Linda Rosa Avenue via one of two potential design options. One option maintains the two existing travel lanes in each direction while the second option reduces the number of travel lanes to one in each direction in this segment.
The project is funded by Measure M. Metro’s goal is to open the project in 2024 — the reason it’s important to select a route and move forward with designing the project and beginning the process of hiring a contractor to build it.
Here’s the link to the staff report, as well as summaries of public feedback on the project, renderings and the exec summary of the project’s draft environmental project.
•The Board will consider approving $2.1 billion in funding over the next five years for Metro’s Better Bus program that seeks to make meaningful upgrades to Metro’s bus system, including:
–Faster bus trips via new bus lanes, traffic signal priority and sidewalk extensions that allow buses to stop without having to pull in and out of traffic.
–Clean, comfortable and safe bus stops with better lighting that are more usable by all riders including people with disabilities.
–The funding Metro’s bus service needs to return to pre-pandemic levels of bus service, in addition to fully implementing our NextGen Bus Plan to offer more frequent service on most routes.
•The Board will consider approving $150 million to the budget for the Purple (D Line) Extension Section 1, bringing the total budget to $3.128 billion. The funds cover the cost of dealing with obstacles and anomalies found while digging the twin four-mile tunnels between Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/La Cienega. Staff report.
•The Board will consider approving an introductory fare of $1 for Metro Micro on-demand service for the remainder of 2021. The regular fare of $2.50 — which will include a transfer to Metro Bus and Rail — would begin on Jan. 1. Here’s the staff report.
The $1 fare will remain for some communities. From the staff report: “To ensure that community members are served in areas that have seen reductions in bus service under NextGen, passengers in Equity Focused Communities in Metro Micro zones will continue to be charged the $1 rate through December 31, 2022.”
Metro Micro is currently available in five service zones — Watts/Willowbrook, LAX/Inglewood, Compton/Artesia, El Monte and North Hollywood/Burbank. Four more service zones are planned to be added later this year: Highland Park/Eagle Rock/Glendale, Pasadena/Altadena/Sierra Madre, Northwest San Fernando Valley and UCLA/Westwood/Century City.
•The Board will consider a pair of motions concerning the South 710 Corridor project between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and State Route 60. The project — approved by the Metro Board in 2018 — has been in the news lately (Streetsblog LA and LAT) with state and federal officials raising questions about impacts to air quality and the many communities along the 710.
The first motion, among other things, asks for Metro to immediately cease further work on the project’s environmental work. The second motion, also among other things, asks Metro staff to report back on what elements of project may be able to move forward.
Metro CEO Phil Washington said recently that the agency plans to work with the community to reframe the conversation about the 710 and helping improve air quality and traffic congestion.
In 2018, the Board approved the project’s Alternative 5C along with motions that prioritized local interchange and arterial road upgrades, new pedestrian and bike crossings and more funds for near-zero and zero emission trucks on the 710. The freeway suffers from heavy traffic due in part to trucks coming and going from the ports.