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Welcome to LARHF's METRO MONTHLY

brought to you by LARHF Metro Reporter, Adam Linder

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August 2022 – Metro Monthly

 

Little movement from Metro this month. More stations on the Crenshaw Line are being “honored” as they continue to prepare for the opening of the Crenshaw Line. More correspondence is made public from Fred Rosen of the Bel-Air Association threatening Metro with litigation designed to further postpone the tunneled Sepulveda Transit Project options. Metro has also cancelled the contractor bidding for the Link Union Station project, hoping to restart the process with a new contract later this year, potentially delaying the project by two additional years, pushing it further after the 2028 Olympic Games.

 

Metro also publicly released their draft of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Study showing that adding a congestion pricing model in the county could remove 36 billion vehicle miles traveled “between 2017 and 2037,” while adding new lanes to highways would increase VMT across the county the same amount. The full build-out of Measure M rail projects could potentially reduce an additional 5.5 billion VMT. No decision has been made by Metro regarding the multiple pricing options, though consideration has begun for either/or West LA or Downtown LA pricing zones.

 

Speaking of long-term studies, ex-Metro Board Member Joshua Schank has published a perspective on Metro’s current trend of studying transportation equity and argues that these studies are only long-term bureaucratic delays further increasing the inequity in disenfranchised communities, such as the lack of movement on the Vermont Transit Corridor. The document can be read at on the website for MINETA TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE, at transweb.sjsu.edu.

 

Metro still hopes to announce the opening date for the Crenshaw Line “soon,” but the public is only now being made aware that the line will open in phases, first only to Westchester/Veterans until the Metro Transit Center Station at LAX is capable of allowing trains to pass through, and at which time a new traffic pattern could be announced interlining either the southern or eastern legs of the current C Line. Studies were made available to those options in 2018.

Adam G. Linder

LARHF LA Metro Reporter

Metro Monthly - July 2022

 

As part of the opening celebrations for the new K (Crenshaw/LAX) Line, Metro has scheduled monthly ribbon cutting ceremonies for each of the stations scheduled to open for service by the end of the year. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg was on site for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the Expo/Crenshaw Station this month. Seven new stations are slated to open by the end of the year. Trains will turn back after the Westchester/Veterans Station and return to Expo/Crenshaw. The Aviation/Century Station and connection to the C (Green) Line will open for service in 2023 once construction in the guideway of the LAX/Metro Transit Center Station is clear. The LAX/Metro Transit Center Station is slated to open for service in 2024.

 

The West Santa Ana Branch has released recommendations in order to build the northern phase more quickly and cheaply. Options range from running at-grade, or in a trench, downtown along Alameda to constructing the Little Tokyo transfer station as an aerial option. One of the more interesting proposals interlines the new rail with the A Line tracks into Union Station, eliminating conflicting construction with the LinkUS project at Union Station, but requiring another reconstruction of the tracks near Little Tokyo. 

 

In Metro-adjacent news, the Riverside County Transportation Commission approved a plan for a rail extension connecting LA Union Station with the Coachella Valley with up to five new stations: the Loma Linda/Redlands area; near the communities of Beaumont, Banning, and Cabazon; near Cathedral City, Thousand Palms, Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, and Palm Desert; in the City of Indio; and in the City of Coachella. It is not known yet if this would be an extension of Metrolink or infill Amtrak stations.

 

LA Metro has decided not to exercise their option from CRRC for up to 218 additional subway vehicles for the opening of the later D Line Extension phases. They say that their base order of 64 vehicles will be enough for minimum operational requirements for the first extension. Delays in vehicle procurement are being blamed on supply chain issues, COVID, and tariffs/restrictions on Chinese state-based manufacturers. The first new cars from the initial order are due to be delivered to Metro in August.

Adam G. Linder

LARHF LA Metro Reporter

Metro Monthly - June 2022

 

As “June Gloom” wraps up and the summer heat moves in, Los Angeles Metro is also making moves. In addition to announcing an increase in bus service for June 26th, Metro held community updates for a few of their high-profile rail projects in development.

 

First off, Metro released their Scoping Report for the much-anticipated spine of the San Fernando Valley, the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor. Despite very vocal opposition from a few homeowners in Bel-Air, the results overwhelmingly showed that Angelenos prefer the heavy-rail option between the Valley and the Westside, in lieu of a monorail running in the median of the 405 Freeway. 93% of comments supported Metro’s heavy-rail alternatives similar to the subway technology running on the B (Red) and D (Purple) Lines. The most referenced concerns specified the need for an on-campus station at UCLA, equity, and integration/connectivity with Metro’s existing bus and rail lines. The Draft EIR period, which is mandated by California to analyze impacts to the environment, will lead the Metro Board to a selection of a “Locally Preferred Alternative” at a later date.

 

In addition, Metro hosted a Project Update for the Crenshaw North Extension. After the Scoping Meetings last year, Metro has refined the project for clarification. In addition to adding the Hollywood Bowl station as a potential northern terminus, they have decided to eliminate the La Cienega/Santa Monica Station at the behest of the City of West Hollywood who has claimed multiple portals to the station at San Vicente/Santa Monica 0.5 miles away would provide sufficient coverage to the area. In addition, a much-discussed “spur” option was decided against. The “spur” would see the Crenshaw North Extension travel the La Brea alternative in 13 minutes, shaving off an additional 7 minutes of travel time the “hybrid” alignment would require if traveling towards West Hollywood. The “spur” would have also created a WYE junction at La Brea/Santa Monica allowing trains to travel both towards West Hollywood and north and south down La Brea. That junction would have allowed a future extension east on Santa Monica Boulevard through the transit-dependent communities of East Hollywood, eventually traveling along Sunset through Silver Lake, Echo Park, connecting Dodger Stadium to Union Station and eastwards towards La Puente. The City of Los Angeles has expressed interest in that line, but since it was not included in Measure M’s passage in 2016, no funds from this project can be used for it. That necessary junction will have to be rebuilt in the future if such a project comes to fruition.

 

This Summer we anticipate more information on the Universal City Red (B) Line Station Development, an update to the Vermont corridor project in August, and the Draft EIR for the Arts District Station that will see the Red (B) and/or Purple (D) Lines extended to the new 6th Street Bridge. That bridge is slated for its Grand Opening Ceremony on Saturday, July 9th. 

 

Adam G. Linder

LARHF LA Metro Reporter

Metro Monthly - May 2022

Our Metro Monthly column returns in our April edition as Los Angeles Metro prepares for a year of project completions. Earlier this month, journalists and politicians were able to ride a test train between two of the new Regional Connector stations, “Bunker Hill/Grand Av Arts” station and “Historic Broadway” station. Photos from the event confirm the designations of the new E Line, in a gold color, which will travel from Santa Monica to East Los Angeles, and the A Line, in its signature blue, traveling from Downtown Long Beach to Azusa. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was in attendance, confirmed the lines will open by the end of the year, also ending a two-year gap in service between East LA and the rest of the system.

 

In addition, the San Fernando Valley Transit Project on Van Nuys Boulevard held a ceremony with Senator Alex Padilla confirming additional federal funding for the future light-rail line, scheduled to break ground in 2023 and open for service prior to the Olympics in 2028. This project will connect the G (Orange) Line station, up to San Fernando Blvd. A second phase is planned to connect the Sylmar-San Fernando Metrolink Station.

 

As Vermont Ave is the region’s second most traveled corridor, a recently studied bus-rapid transit line would improve travel times for many historically disadvantaged transit-dependent riders. The same study offered a preliminary look at options for a subway in the corridor, either as a stand-alone line, or as an extension of the B (Red) Line. Considering limited funds to the project, a new “listening session” next month will offer offers Angelenos these options: add mixed-use bus lanes and improve bus frequencies, but no dedicated BRT lanes; plan for BRT-only, to open by 2028; plan for BRT and rail, despite the funding constraint; or plan for rail only, seeking alternate funding opportunities. 

 

Regarding cleanliness and safety on the system, Metro has announced plans for expanded cleaning, renovation to five aging stations, as well as a transit-ambassador program focused on mental health training. Since 2017, Metro’s policing contract has been split between LASD, LAPD, and LBPD. Earlier this month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva offered Metro an ultimatum that unless LASD is offered the full policing contract by the end of June, his department will refuse to participate in split policing coordination and he will withdraw his law enforcement entirely.

 

Adam G. Linder

LARHF LA Metro Reporter

Metro Monthly - April 2022

Our Metro Monthly column returns in our April edition as Los Angeles Metro prepares for a year of project completions. Earlier this month, journalists and politicians were able to ride a test train between two of the new Regional Connector stations, “Bunker Hill/Grand Av Arts” station and “Historic Broadway” station. Photos from the event confirm the designations of the new E Line, in a gold color, which will travel from Santa Monica to East Los Angeles, and the A Line, in its signature blue, traveling from Downtown Long Beach to Azusa. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was in attendance, confirmed the lines will open by the end of the year, also ending a two-year gap in service between East LA and the rest of the system.

 

In addition, the San Fernando Valley Transit Project on Van Nuys Boulevard held a ceremony with Senator Alex Padilla confirming additional federal funding for the future light-rail line, scheduled to break ground in 2023 and open for service prior to the Olympics in 2028. This project will connect the G (Orange) Line station, up to San Fernando Blvd. A second phase is planned to connect the Sylmar-San Fernando Metrolink Station.

 

As Vermont Ave is the region’s second most traveled corridor, a recently studied bus-rapid transit line would improve travel times for many historically disadvantaged transit-dependent riders. The same study offered a preliminary look at options for a subway in the corridor, either as a stand-alone line, or as an extension of the B (Red) Line. Considering limited funds to the project, a new “listening session” next month will offer offers Angelenos these options: add mixed-use bus lanes and improve bus frequencies, but no dedicated BRT lanes; plan for BRT-only, to open by 2028; plan for BRT and rail, despite the funding constraint; or plan for rail only, seeking alternate funding opportunities. 

 

Regarding cleanliness and safety on the system, Metro has announced plans for expanded cleaning, renovation to five aging stations, as well as a transit-ambassador program focused on mental health training. Since 2017, Metro’s policing contract has been split between LASD, LAPD, and LBPD. Earlier this month, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva offered Metro an ultimatum that unless LASD is offered the full policing contract by the end of June, his department will refuse to participate in split policing coordination and he will withdraw his law enforcement entirely.

 

Adam G. Linder

LARHF LA Metro Reporter