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.
•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.