Actions taken at Metro Board’s May meeting

The Metro Board held its May meeting last Thursday. There was no shortage of interestingness on the agenda (also embedded above) with the meeting stretching to more than six-and-a-half hours, including two-plus hours of public testimony.

Here’s the webstream:

Among the items tackled:

•The Board voted to continue further developing a fareless pilot program. Please see this Source post for more.

•The Board approved Metro’s $8-billion budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which runs from July 1 through June 30, 2022. The most notable item for riders is the budget returns Metro bus and rail to pre-pandemic service levels.

•The Board approved the route for the North Hollywood to Pasadena bus rapid transit project (BRT). Below is the map of the route:

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 study. 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 on Colorado Boulevard from Broadway to just west of Eagle Rock Boulevard. East of Eagle Rock Blvd., the bus 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.

As the project evolved, the study looked into putting the project on the 134 or Colorado Blvd. through Eagle Rock. Colorado won out because of its better raccessibility to the community.

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.

•The Board approved $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.

Here’s a recent Source post with more details and here’s the staff report.

•The Board approved adding $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. The excavation of those tunnels, by the way, was recently completed. Staff report.

•The Board approved a motion on the 105 ExpressLanes project, asking staff to report back in September on how best to fund the project in order to preserve funding resources for upgrades to the C Line (Green).

•The Board approved two motions (see below) concerning the South 710 Corridor project between the ports and State Route 60.

As part of the approval of Item 47, the Board agreed to suspend further work to advance the environmental study for the project (see the first recommendation). The original motion used the word “cease” but the Board amended that to “suspend.”

Some quick background: 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.

State and federal officials this year raised questions about the project’s impacts to air quality and the many communities along the 710. Metro officials said recently that the agency plans to work with the community to reframe the conversation about the 710 and how a project could help improve air quality and ease traffic.

•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.

Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

4 replies

  1. It was made clear by an earlier study that nobody used the NoHo to Pasadena trans valley line as an Express service nor for any trans valley travel. The vast majority of users were for local transportation. Let’s call it a day and the MTA should just design this line for local users because of the following: in Los Angeles there are certain facts of life such as no one is interested in taking a trans valley trip by bus, but they will be willing to board a train for trans valley travel, but a rail line between NoHo and Pasadena isn’t going to happen and it would have to be part of an extension of the Orange line being converted to rail and that isn’t going to happen just isn’t going to happen in my lifetime.

    As for the sepulveda the line, this is supposed to be one of those private public ventures which means that we should not expect the MTA base fair whatever it may be when it opens to be the fair to write it, on the other hand it’s going to be a premium service as a almost always the case for these private public dentures because the private companies want to get their money back. I’d like to hear from those in the know at the MTA if this sepulveda rail line will be in fact the same fare as all the other MTA rail lines base Fair. I guarantee we will hear no guarantees about what the fare for the support of the rail line will be. Frankly dump this public private taxpayer waste to become double the triple fare of Base fare to use that supposed to line and just build it like we have the others so that everyone can afford to write it.

  2. Hey Metro, I honestly hope this comment reaches the people in charge of the money and those planning the Pasadena to Noho.

    Please stop being reactive and start being proactive.
    I get that currently commuters along this corridor do not travel from one end of the route to another, and rather will only travel 66% of the route at best.

    The problem however, is that once new projects like these are up and running, people change their commute patterns, people realize there are better options if a job or other opportunities arise a certain corridors they will look into those alternatives but May completely overlook them because it is simply too slow.

    Right now, it takes the 501 to go end to end in About 35-45 min, mid day. This bus will still take 20-30 min longer than that even mid-day, and that is just simply inexcusable. Metro needs to get into the idea that once a new BRT Line or rail line opens, they may consider it as an alternative, but also expect it to try and be competitive. That’s why I look forward to the Sepulveda Line opening in the somewhat distant future, because for once there will be a rail line in LA that can compete with the automobile during daylight hours and even at night in some instances.

    Please take serious consideration to what I have recommended in the past, including the 3 emails I sent regard this manner as well.

    Implement 3 levels of service on the Noho-Pasadena BRT as the following.

    Limited Stop service – serving all stops along the route and operate during all hours of service.

    Rapid Stop service – a faster options servicing those stops that people use more often similar to the Rapid Express in the Late-2000s (service only 8 to 12 of the 21/22 total stops). This can even operate as a Hybrid Freeway service to get to the major stops sooner (Like use the freeway between Downtown Glendale and Downtown Burbank for example). Operate this service in hours similar to the current Rapid Lines as well (6AM-10PM), and adjust accordingly if necessary.

    Rush Hour Freeway Express service – This is basically the current 501. No changes to the route except operate during rush hours only, or if ridership from the LA zoo actually justifies more service hours, then operate 45-60 min frequency during the off-peak and weekend hours. Again, that’s if ridership from/to LA Zoo would justify operating a Freeway Express service outside of Rush Hour.

    Please don’t botch this one Metro. Thank you!!

  3. My god the Noho to Pasadena BRT is going to be slow. It’s supposed to take over an hour end to end. How can LA expect to ever have good regional transit connections that get people out of their cars with travel times like that. Seriously this a joke. I understand that this is meant to serve more local areas but I presume metro is going to cut the 501 express which means there is literally no transit option between Noho and Pasadena that will be able to take less than an hour. Incredible. Even in heavy traffic one can still drive end to end a bit faster. Not to mention that this doesn’t even function as an extension of the orange line (while it’s still a bus). Perfect example of Metro’s line by line planning without much network context. There’s literally no master plan for Metro. We need real regional rapid transit that mirrors the connectivity of our freeway network with seamless, easy transfers and consistent modes, rather than this patchwork of different lines and modes that loosely tie in and often have inconsistent and inadequate frequencies. The fact that metro is considering sometimes 30 minute headways off peak for this already slow line adds insult to injury.

  4. Per the EPA, their concerns weren’t raised “this year” but last year. Per the March 25, 2021 EPA letter : “Please see the attached Technical Response supporting this position, the details of which were also shared verbally during our November 20, 2020 senior leadership meeting with Caltrans, Metro, and the Federal Highway Administration.”