The Metro Board of Directors have their monthly full Board meeting this Thursday, Oct. 26, at 10 a.m. The full agenda with links to staff reports is here.
A link will also appear on that same page to watch/listen to the livestream shortly before 10 a.m. on Thursday. The public is welcome to attend in person; meetings are held in the 3rd floor Board Room at Metro headquarters next to Union Station’s East Portal.
Here are a few of the items on the agenda of interest:
•The Board will consider receiving an evaluation of the Metro Ambassador pilot program thus far and also giving Metro’s CEO the authority to make the program permanent and bring it in house. Two contractors currently provide the Ambassadors, which are overseen by Metro staff. Staff report is here.
Quick background: the pilot began in Sept. 2022 as part of our broader effort to reimagine and improve public safety and provide a better customer experience. The Metro Ambassadors help riders navigate our system, connect and greet customers, report issues to appropriate Metro staff and help connect vulnerable riders to the resources they need.
Important to know: the Metro Ambassadors are not replacing law enforcement, which still patrol our system. One very important goal of the Ambassador program, in fact, is to provide more visible staff on our system. That’s something riders have told us over and over they want to see.
The Ambassadors are hard to miss — they wear bright green shirts. We currently have about 350 Ambassadors overall and about 236 are deployed on the system daily, including weekends. The Ambassadors have so far had more than 502,000 interactions with our riders (yes, we count!).
Here’s a presentation on a survey done of riders about the Metro Ambassadors. A little more than half the riders surveyed (52%) have seen Ambassadors on the system. Of those, the majority have found them to be informative, friendly and made them feel safer.
Here’s a recent L.A. Times article on the program.
•The Board will consider a motion directing Metro staff to develop a comprehensive Social Resources and Homelessness Action Plan.
As the motion makes clear, Metro is already heavily involved in providing help to the unhoused, including outreach we do to connect unhoused riders with social services they need. The plan would include more data gathering, performance indicators, progress updates — and would seek more coordination with local cities, L.A. County and other organizations that provide aid to the unhoused.
•The Board will consider authorizing Metro’s CEO to transition our Adopt-A-Bike pilot program to a permanent program. Staff report.
The program allows unclaimed bikes left on our system to be given to county residents in need of a bicycle, free of charge.
•The Board will consider staff recommendations on spending $124 million in toll revenues generated in the past several years from the ExpressLanes on the 10 and 110 freeways.
State law requires that tolls be reinvested in the freeway corridors where the tolls were generated. Forty percent of the tolls are required to go to transit programs/projects, 40% to active transportation/system connectivity and 20% to roadway programs/projects.
•The Board will consider approving implementation of a Bus Lane Enforcement Pilot Program, as well as a contract up to $11 million with the firm Hayden AI Technologies, Inc.
Metro now has more than 40 miles of bus priority lanes in operation. The lanes help speed up buses and keep buses on schedule.
Problem: private vehicles sometimes park or block the lanes.
Solution: we’re going to test automated camera enforcement (the cameras are mounted on buses), with the pilot forecast to begin next spring. Other cities, including San Francisco, New York, Washington DC, Philadelphia and Oakland have had success with similar enforcement.
Key sentence from our staff report: “As Metro’s primary objective is to improve bus lane compliance to deliver faster and safer transit service to riders, Metro only intends to recover a cost-neutral portion of potential citation revenue, with the City of Los Angeles receiving the remainder of potential revenue, pursuant to their existing bylaws.”
Translation to English: we’re not doing this to make money. We’re doing this because a bus full of riders shouldn’t suffer slower commutes because someone parks in a bus lane.
•The Board will consider adopting the five-year assessment of our Measure M sales tax program.
The assessment can be viewed online here. The Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee met earlier this month to discuss the report. A web stream of the Committee’s meeting earlier this month is here.
We’ll have a longer Source post later this week that looks at the report.