To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Roundup of today’s meeting of the Metro Board of Directors; here’s what the agency’s deciders decided


By Steve Hymon, October 24, 2013

A long meeting today clocking in at four hours and five minutes — about 1 1/4 Hobbit movies by my estimation or enough time to watch the new Captain America trailer 180 times or so.

In the order the items were tackled, here are some of the votes and discussion by the Board (full agenda here)

•The Board approved a motion by five Board Members that would have Metro be the lead agency in developing a countywide bike share plan. Here’s a recent Source post about the motion.

•Votes on items 16, 68 and 69 were postponed so the Board could receive more information. The items concern Metro’s ability to issue a series of small contracts for technical work.

•The Board approved a contract modification for the Airport Metro Connector for more work on one project alternative: a rail connection with the airport’s planned Intermodal Transportation Facility (ITF).

As part of that item, the Board also approved a motion by Board Chair Diane DuBois for Metro to perform a feasability study of locating the ITF near the Crenshaw/LAX Line’s maintenance yard at 96th Street and Aviation.

The Board also approved a second motion by Supervisor Don Knabe, L.A. Councilman Mike Bonin and Santa Monica Councilwoman Pam O’Connor asking for monthly updates at Metro Board Committee meetings on Los Angeles World Airport’s and Metro’s ongoing work to connect the LAX terminals to Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line.

Speaking in favor of that motion, both Ridley-Thomas and Bonin said the Airport Metro Connector should be one of the Board’s highest priorities and that more attention needs to paid to it.

Here’s a recent Source post explaining the many issues involved with the Airport Connector.

•With no discussion, the Board approved the concept of an east-west concourse and north-south bus terminal as part of the ongoing Los Angeles Union Station Master Plan. Here’s a recent Source post explaining the concept.

•The Board also voted to approve a $7.8-million price increase for a pedestrian bridge over Lankershim Boulevard which would connect the Metro Red Line Universal station to Universal City. NBC Universal is paying half the cost of the increase. STAFF REPORT

Public testimony ran strongly in favor of the bridge, with several residents of the area saying that the crosswalk on Lankershim is dangerous because it’s very busy and many users cross against the ‘walk’ signal, thereby almost getting hit by cars.

Board Member and L.A. Councilman Paul Krekorian raised the possibility of removing crosswalks so that people had to use the bridge. The Board discussed the bridge and how it would comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act; it will have elevators.

Supervisor Mike Antonovich raised the question: what if the elevators were broken? How would a disabled person get across the street? Metro officials said that there would be every effort to keep the elevators working and to quickly repair them; the agency also plans to consult with consultants on making the bridge as disabled-friendly as possible.

•The Board voted to approve including the SR-710 North project in the acceleration framework the Board approved in June on a 10 to 3 vote with the no votes from Board Members Eric Garcetti, Ara Najarian and Zev Yaroslavsky. Here’s the motion by five Metro Board members.

Najarian told the Board that he would not have voted for the strategy in June — which excluded the 710 North project — if he had known the Board would later add it.

Please keep in mind these three things: 1) the Board in June only changed Measure R to make funds available sooner for five projects; it was not an officially binding acceleration plan; 2) the SR-710 project is in the midst of its draft environmental study and is yet to be defined, and; 3) Metro would need to find additional funding to build some of the options under study.

The five alternatives under study: a freeway tunnel, light rail between East L.A. and Pasadena, bus rapid transit between East L.A. and Pasadena, intersection and road improvements and the required no-build option.

Bottom line: there are quite a few balls that have to line up before any project gets accelerated.

•In a long and winding discussion, the Board voted to extend the waiver of the account maintenance fee for ExpressLane customers through February. The $3 fee was initially waived for six months by the Board in April; the fee only applied to those who used the ExpressLanes three times or less each month. STAFF REPORT

The Board also decided to discuss permanently getting rid of the fee after the ExpressLane pilot program ends near the end of February. Of course, the Board will also have to first discuss and decide whether it wants to continue with the ExpressLanes.

In the meantime, it appears the fee waiver has helped attract new customers. About 225,000 transponders have been issued for the ExpressLanes, greatly exceeding the expectation that 100,000 would be issued during the pilot program. In addition, about $18 million to $20 million of revenue from the ExpressLanes was expected to be generated during the pilot program; Metro staff now estimates that number will exceed $20 million, creating funds that can be invested back in the 10 and 110 freeway corridors. STAFF REPORT

•The Board agreed to postpone implementing new public testimony rules for Metro Board meetings to do more research on the issues involved. STAFF REPORT

•The Board voted to place a monument for Sen. Alfred Hoyun Song on the plaza for the Purple Line’s Wilshire/Western plaza. STAFF REPORT