A new parking garage next to the Gold Line Station in Chinatown officially opened, making available 175 spaces for transit riders and the public.
The city-owned Blossom Plaza parking facility, at 900 N. Broadway, opened this weekend. Starting Monday, the regular hours will be from 8 a.m. to midnight.
Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents Chinatown, noted the garage will be open in time for the start of the Chinatown Summer Nights festival series and the Father’s Day weekend.
The garage has 344 spaces, with 169 reserved for people who live in nearby residences. The remaining 175 spaces include 100 for the general public and 75 for Metro riders.
The facility also offers bicycle parking space.
The garage can be entered from Spring and College streets, and is next to the Gold Line Station. Parking is $1 per hour for the first two hours, and increases to $2 for the third hour.
Every additional half hour will be $1, with the daily maximum set at $8. After 6 p.m. the flat rate is $3. Transit users with validation pay a $2 daily rate.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is holding a series of community meetings in April to discuss a draft expenditure plan that could be part of a $120 billion ballot measure in November to fund transit and highway projects.
The plan is based on input from the public, according to Metro, and includes nearly 40 major projects in 40 years countywide, including commuter rail; transit operations and projects to keep buses, trains and facilities in good repair; pedestrian and cycling connections and funding to support affordable fares for students, seniors and the disabled.
It would also return revenues to local cities on a per capita basis – money those cities could then spend on their own local transportation improvements.
The first three of 10 public meetings have already been held in Agoura Hills, Van Nuys and El Monte. Additional meetings have been scheduled for Carson (April 14). Palmdale (April 19), West Hollywood (April 21), Downtown Los Angeles (April 23), Paramount (April 26) South Los Angeles (April 28).
A virtual/online meeting will be held April 30, 10am-12pm. Log in at metro.net/theplan.
For additional information on locations and time, www.metro.net .
County Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials have unveiled details of a proposed ballot initiative calling for increasing the sales tax by a half-cent for 40 years in order to raise about $120 billion for transportation projects over the next 45 to 50 years.
The measure could potentially fund the Crenshaw/LAX Line station connecting to the Los Angeles International Airport people mover, the completion of the Purple Line Extension subway to Westwood project a decade earlier than planned, and a transit corridor in the San Fernando Valley between the Orange Line Van Nuys Station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station.
The initiative also calls for an extension of Measure R by another 18years, so that both half-cent increases to the sales tax would last until 2057.
The list of projects and the proposed sales tax measure would need final
approval by the Metro board of directors. The public will also have the opportunity give input on the measure before the board decides in June whether to move forward with it.
Other projects that are tentatively included in the measure are:
– High Desert Corridor right-of-way acquisition,
– Sepulveda Pass Busway/ExpressLanes from the Valley to the Westside
– Orange Line grade separation improvements
– West Santa Ana Branch Corridor from Artesia to just north of the ,Green Line
– I-710 South Corridor truck lanes Phase 1
– Vermont Transit Corridor improvements between the Expo Line and the Red/Purple Line
– New lanes for the 71 Freeway between the 10 and Rio Rancho Road
– 105 ExpressLanes between the 405 and 605
– I-5 North enhancements between the 14 Freeway and Lake Hughes Road
– An extension of the Gold Line east from Azusa to Claremont
– Bus rapid transit connector between the Orange Line/Red Line and the Gold Line
– LA River Bike Path connecting downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley
– LA River Waterway & System Bike Path connecting Canoga Park to Elysian Valley
– Crenshaw/LAX Track Enhancement Project
San Fernando Valley transit boosters hailed the tentative plan for its inclusion of a project to build a north-south light rail along Van Nuys Boulevard, the transit tunnel between the Valley and the Westside and improvements to the Orange Line.
“This is a banner day for the Valley, as we, along with many elected officials representing the Valley, organized for a long time to ensure inclusion of the projects on the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments’ priority list in the Expenditure Plan,” Valley Industry and Commerce Association President Stuart Waldman said.
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents a San Fernando Valley district, said the area “has waited far too long for its fair share of transportation investment, and now we are on track to getting it.”
“This proposal gives the Valley a golden opportunity to transform its transportation network and relieve congestion, and we should seize it,” he said.
Mayor Eric Garcetti said the list represents “an unprecedented level of investment to every corner of Los Angeles County.”
“It would build on our current rail and transit system to finally deliver the connected, comprehensive transportation network our region deserves,” he said.
He added that “with the County’s population expected to grow by 750,000 over the next decade, we cannot afford to be in chronic gridlock. We must act now.”
Variations in the plan to extend Metro’s Gold Line Light Rail down two of the busiest streets in East Los Angeles would further divide a community that has for decades already shouldered more than its share of transportation projects in the region, eastside residents told Metro officials Tuesday.
“Every community must share the burden of traffic,” said Martha Hernandez, who last year advocated against a light rail being included in plans to alleviate traffic congestion between the 710 Long Beach and 210 freeways, from East Los Angeles to South Pasadena.
“East L.A. has no more land to share,” Hernandez said firmly.
Lea este artículo en Español: Línea Dorada ‘Divide’ al Este de Los Ángeles
The Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project aims to extend the Gold Line east from where it currently ends at Atlantic Boulevard in East Los Angeles. The two alternatives Metro is considering include a light rail line along the SR-60 Pomona Freeway that ends in South El Monte, or a north-south connection to Washington Boulevard, which would then travel east with a final stop in the city of Whittier.
Both proposals are similar to the alternatives presented nearly two years ago to residents and the business community, but have now been tweaked to reflect comments received from the community and regulatory agencies, according to Eastside Phase 2 Project Manager Eugene Kim.
The SR-60 NSDV alternative would travel for 6.9 miles along the southern edge of the Pomona Freeway, transitioning briefly to the north side of the freeway, stopping at the Shops of Montebello before continuing on to its final stop on Peck
Road in the city of South El Monte. The cost for this plan is estimated at $1.3 billion.
The Washington Boulevard alternative now includes Arizona Avenue, Atlantic Boulevard and Garfield Avenue, three variations for the north-side connection to Washington Boulevard in the city of Commerce, with a potential stop at the Citadel Outlets. The route would travel 9.5 miles and is estimated to cost up to $1.7 billion.
Metro officials pointed out that unlike two years ago when an aerial rail line was proposed, an underground subway would be used for the new Garfield route.
Kim stressed that no determination has been made on whether the light rail would travel at grade, above grade or below ground in the Arizona and Atlantic variations.
Metro has hosted public meetings on the revised plans in East Los Angeles, Montebello and Whittier. An additional meeting will be held Thursday at the South El Monte Senior Center at 6pm.
On Tuesday, the Washington Boulevard alternative proved to be the most controversial for attendees at the meeting at the East Los Angeles Library. Many of the participants recalled how business suffered when the Gold Line was first extended to the eastside along 3rd Street.
To this day, many in the community to this day say the community and businesses have still not recovered.
“Our businesses will suffer, our kids will suffer while Montebello or Commerce benefit,” complained East L.A. resident Raul Daniel Rubalcaba.
Meeting participants, from East L.A., South El Monte, Montebello, Pico Rivera and other areas were broken up into small groups where they discussed possible benefits and their concerns for each of the alternatives.
What came across loud and clear Tuesday, was East L.A. residents do not want a light rail that travels above ground.
“If a subway is good enough for the people on the Westside, it’s good enough for us,” said Clara Solis.
Most cited the loss of business among their greatest concern.
“We don’t want to transport our customers to the Citadel or The Shops at Montebello,” said Eddie Torres, the owner of a sign company and member of the East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
If the Washington Alternative moves forward, argued Torres, the Citadel and Commerce Casino would be the winners in the long-run, while eastside residents, forced to live through the construction, traffic and noise would be negatively impacted for the rest of their lives.
“I’ll be dammed if I help send business their way on my grass,” Torres said.
Ben Cardenas, president of the Montebello Unified School District and assistant city manager for the city of Pico Rivera, told residents at his table that the community should really be advocating for both alternatives, something Metro is also considering.
“The goal is to bring mass transit” to the area, said Cardenas. “The bottom line is, are we willing to compromise short term for a long term benefit?”
He said another light rail could bring a new tax base to the eastside community, but only if riders get off and shop.
“These streets are already congested, the alternatives would just kill business,” countered Lily Hernandez.
Opponents of the SR-60 alternative pointed out the list of regulatory agencies that could complicate efforts to move forward. The SR-60 alternative travels near the EPA Superfund site, Southern California Edison transmission lines and near a flood control basin at Whittier Narrows. The north side variation could prevent any plans for widening the Pomona Freeway in the future, they argued.
Nothing has been set in stone, representatives for Sup. Hilda Solis and Metro assured residents.
“Before recommitting to an environmental process we want to get feedback from the community again,” Kim explained.
Kim told EGP the agency has allocated $1.7 billion in Measure R funds for the project. He said the board is looking to allocate additional funds if voters approve a new transit sales tax in November.
Rubalcaba pointed out that when the Montebello residents and business owners complained two years ago that an above grade or at grade route would devastate their community, Metro listened and came back with a less intrusive option. He told the East L.A. residents in the room it was their turn to unite and demand what they want instead of allowing transportation projects to divide their community any further.
“Our grandparents may have let it go, our parents were too busy raising us, but this is where we draw the line.”
After about 10 weeks of construction work, Metro Gold Line service between Union Station and Little Tokyo in downtown Los Angeles is scheduled to resume Sunday.
Metro officials said crews have completed track-relocation work at First and Alameda streets as part of construction on the Regional Connector, a subway designed to provide seamless connections between the Expo, Gold and Blue lines. The connector is scheduled for completion in 2020.
The work began in early January, forcing the closure of the Little Tokyo Gold Line station and requiring passengers to take shuttle buses between Union Station and the Pico-Aliso station. With the work completed, rail travel will resume at the beginning of service Sunday morning.
“This was intense construction work that needed to be done to prepare the area for the insertion of the tunnel-boring machine later this year to begin actual tunnel mining for the project,” Metro CEO Phillip Washington said. “We want to thank the businesses, residents, motorists and Gold Line riders for their patience during this critical work and are pleased to once again restore Metro Gold Line service to the Little Tokyo area.”
Metro officials noted that the First and Alameda intersection will likely be closed for three 55-hour weekend periods in May to prepare for construction of the First Street/Central Station. Plans for those closures have not been finalized.
The Metro Gold Line grew by 11.5 miles last week, extending through Arcadia, Irwindale, Monrovia, Duarte and Azusa, making it the transportation agency’s longest rail line and pushing the overall rail system close to the 100-mile mark.
The Foothill extension of the Gold Line, which opened to commuters last Friday, brings the route to 31 miles overall, connecting the San Gabriel Valley with downtown and East Los Angeles.
A host of elected and transportation officials — County Supervisors Hilda Solis, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Mike Antonovich, along with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Duarte Mayor John Fasana and Metro CEO Phillip Washington — took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Duarte/City of Hope station where they touted the new service as an important step in reducing traffic congestion in the region.
“Whether you live in the San Gabriel Valley or downtown L.A., easing congestion is a goal shared by everyone in our region,” said Garcetti, who is also the second vice chair of the Metro board. “The Gold Line Foothill Extension is the first Measure R rail project to enter service, and it embodies our dreams for the future of L.A. County — a place with a truly comprehensive transit system that gets us around faster, helps us breathe easier, and moves our economy forward.”
The $1 billion extension includes six new rail stations, providing access to locations such as City of Hope hospital, Azusa Pacific University, Citrus College and Santa Anita Racetrack.
Metro spokesman Dave Sotero said the opening of the line will push the overall Metro rail system to 98.5 miles. The system will cross the 100-mile mark on May 20, when the Expo Line is extended 6.6 miles from Culver City to Santa Monica.
Metro officials noted that shuttle buses are still being used between the Union Station and the Gold Line’s Pico/Aliso station due to construction on the Regional Connector rail project in downtown Los Angeles.
Metro officials also reminded San Fernando Valley residents that they can take advantage of the new 501 Line express bus connection the Metro Red/Orange Line station in North Hollywood with the Gold Line’s Del Mar and Memorial Park stations in Pasadena. The buses will run every 30 minutes, and cost $2.50 per trip.
The opening of the new rail line, however, faced an unexpected setback just one day after opening when both sides of the Metro Gold Line were forced to shut down after a truck crashed and burned on the Foothill (210) Freeway near San Gabriel Boulevard and came to rest on the tracks in the center of the freeway, officials said.
The crash damaged the wires that power the trains, said Lt. J. Wargo of Sheriff’s Transit Services, suspending service for about 24 hours. The wreckage was cleared from the tracks, but shuttles were used to get Metro riders around the closure, spokesman Dave Sotero said.
Service was restored in time for the Monday rush hour commute.
The Gold Line extension is expected to carry 13,600 passengers per day by 2035.
Boyle Heights resident Leticia Andrade last Saturday said she would like to see affordable housing built on an empty lot located behind Mariachi Plaza. Restaurant owner Armando Salazar wants a grocery store or a public parking lot, and senior Carmen Fuentes thinks a center offering services to seniors and children would be a good fit at that location.
Andrade told EGP she knows of families that have “up to seven people living in a one bedroom apartment” and building more affordable housing would help alleviate some of the overcrowding.
Lea este artículo en Español: Metro Recibe Ideas para la Plaza del Mariachi Plaza
Hers and other views were expressed during the first of two public workshops being hosted by Metro to gather input from Boyle Heights residents and stakeholders on what the transportation agency should do with two empty lots it owns adjacent to Mariachi Plaza, on Bailey Street between Pennsylvania and 1st Streets.
The design workshops are being facilitated by Metro’s urban design/architectural consultant team, with the objective of creating a project that will reflect “community goals” for the space.
Mariachi Plaza is an iconic place for Boyle Heights, Metro Director of Planning Vivian Rescalvo told EGP, explaining that Metro wants to hear directly from the community how they would like see the space used, whether it’s for housing, public space, retail or any other ideas.
This is not the first time Metro has traveled down this road. Past proposals for developing the lots were met with strong community opposition ultimately scrapped.
Metro is starting all over with new ideas and community input, Rescalvo said.
“We are ready to hear from the community based on what Boyle Heights has, what do they feel it needs and what do they think is the right use for these properties immediately adjacent to Mariachi Plaza,” she said.
Salazar owns the Santa Cecilia Restaurant at Mariachi Plaza and thinks the community needs a grocery store. “We used to have a market and it was demolished when Metro started building,” he told EGP. “A parking lot for Boyle Heights visitors would also be a good idea,” he added.
Saturday’s workshop kicked off with a presentation by the Las Fotos Project – a community based photography program for girls and young women— which the group said highlighted the needs of the community as captured through the lens of their cameras:
A photo of a large group of people gathered on a sidewalk on Cesar E. Chavez Avenue, showcased the need for more open spaces with benches; a photo of a graffiti covered wall called attention to the need for more recreational areas to prevent tagging of existing murals; and a photo of street vendors on a local sidewalk suggested the empty lots could be used as a place for street vendors to sell their wares.
Las Fotos Project member Jennifer Bermudez said her photo of cars parked on the street shows there is a need for more public parking.
“We live in a dense area, and especially in Mariachi Plaza and Cesar Chavez where a lot of events are going on, there’s no parking,” she said. “That’s always a struggle [to find parking] and that creates [more] traffic,” Bermudez said.
The workshop included opportunities for the 100 or so people in attendance to meet in small groups with Metro planning representatives to discuss the ideas for the land they believe to be the best fit for the eastside neighborhood —whether taken from the photos they had just seen or based on what they see in their everyday life.
They were encouraged to “dream big.”
“A pool,” suggested one resident. “A skate park,” said another.
Rafael Chagoya is a member of the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council and he thinks public restrooms at Metro’s Gold Line station at Mariachi Plaza is what’s needed.
Many other Metro stations have public restrooms, but there are none here, he told the group at his table.
Chagoya also supports creating a space where street vendors can do business in a “dignified way,” without being kicked out every time they try to sell their goods.
Andrade agrees. If new affordable housing makes it into Metro’s plan, she suggests the housing include street level retail space, which could be a good rental option for local street vendors.
At the end of the workshop, participants were given green stickers to vote for their four favorite ideas presented and red stickers for the two options they most opposed.
Among the top options were a grocery store, parks, affordable housing or public parking. Getting the highest number of no votes were proposals for commercial use, such as offices, a healthcare clinic, bank or gym, and for civic spaces like a library or city/county/state agency.
A second community workshop will take place March 9 at Bishop Mora Salesian High School from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to attend. For more information, visit, https://www.metro.net/projects/jd-boyle-heights/upcoming-meetings/.
La residente de Boyle Heights Leticia Andrade dijo el sábado que le gustaría ver un edificio de vivienda asequible construido en un terreno baldío ubicado detrás de la Plaza del Mariachi. Armando Salazar dueño de un restaurante quiere un supermercado o un estacionamiento público, y la señora Carmen Fuentes cree que un centro que ofrezca servicios para las personas mayores y niños sería un buen uso de ese lugar.
Andrade le dijo a EGP que ella conoce a familias que tienen “hasta siete personas viviendo en un apartamento de una recamara” y la construcción de más vivienda asequible ayudaría a aliviar un poco la sobrepoblación.
Read this article in English: Metro Takes In Ideas for Mariachi Plaza
Su punto de vista junto al de otras personas fueron expresados durante el primero de dos talleres públicos que están organizados por Metro para obtener opiniones de los residentes de Boyle Heights y otros interesados sobre lo que la agencia de transporte debe hacer con los dos lotes vacíos que posee junto a Plaza del Mariachi, sobre la calle Bailey, entre las calles Pensilvania y Primera.
Los talleres de diseño están siendo facilitados por el equipo de consultores urbanistas y arquitectos de Metro con el objetivo de crear un proyecto que refleje “los objetivos de la comunidad” para llenar el espacio.
La Plaza del Mariachi es un lugar emblemático en Boyle Heights, dijo a EGP Vivian Rescalvo, directora de planificación con Metro. Explicó que Metro quiere escuchar directamente de la comunidad cómo les gustaría ver el espacio utilizado, ya sea para vivienda, espacio público, negocios al por menor o cualquier otra idea.
Esta no es la primera vez que Metro ha viajado por este camino. Propuestas anteriores para el desarrollo de los lotes se encontraron con una fuerte oposición de la comunidad que terminaron finalmente siendo desechadas.
Metro está empezando de nuevo con nuevas ideas y sugerencias de la comunidad, dijo Rescalvo.
“Estamos dispuestos a escuchar a la comunidad basado en lo que Boyle Heights tiene, qué es lo que sienten que necesitan y qué es lo que piensan que es el uso correcto de estas propiedades inmediatamente adyacentes a la Plaza del Mariachi”, dijo.
Salazar es dueño del restaurante Santa Cecilia en la Plaza del Mariachi y piensa que la comunidad necesita un supermercado. “Antes teníamos un mercado y fue demolido cuando Metro comenzó la construcción”, le dijo a EGP. “Un estacionamiento para visitantes de Boyle Heights también sería una buena idea”, agregó.
El taller del sábado se inició con una presentación de Las Fotos Project—un programa comunitario de fotografía para niñas y mujeres jóvenes—donde el grupo dijo que a través del lente de sus cámaras recalcó las necesidades de la comunidad:
Una foto de un grupo de personas reunidos en una acera de la avenida César E. Chávez, mostró la necesidad de más espacios abiertos con bancas; una foto de una pared cubierta de graffiti llama la atención acerca de la necesidad de áreas recreativas más para prevenir el graffiti en los murales existentes; y una foto de los vendedores ambulantes en una acera local sugirió que los lotes vacíos podrían ser utilizados como un lugar para que los vendedores ambulantes puedan vender su mercancía.
Jennifer Bermudez, miembro de Las Fotos Project dijo que su foto de vehículos estacionados en la calle muestra que hay una necesidad de más estacionamiento público.
“Vivimos en una zona densa, y especialmente en la Plaza del Mariachi y Cesar Chávez donde ocurren muchos eventos, no hay estacionamiento”, dijo. “Eso es siempre una lucha [para encontrar estacionamiento] y crea [más] tráfico”, dijo Bermúdez.
El taller incluyó oportunidades para que las mas o menos 100 personas que asistieron se reunieran en pequeños grupos con representantes de planificación de Metro para discutir las ideas que ellos creen sería la mejor opción para el terreno en el barrio del lado Este—ya fuera tomando ideas de las fotos que acababan de ver o basándose en lo que ven en su vida diaria.
Se les animó a “soñar en grande”.
“Una piscina”, sugirió una residente. “Un parque de patinetas”, dijo otro.
Rafael Chagoya es miembro de la Junta Vecinal de Boyle Heights y piensa que se necesitan baños públicos en la estación de la Línea Dorada de Metro en la Plaza del Mariachi.
Muchas otras estaciones de Metro tienen baños públicos, pero no hay ninguno aquí, le dijo al grupo en su mesa.
Chagoya también apoya la creación de un espacio donde los vendedores ambulantes puedan hacer negocios de una manera “digna”, sin ser expulsados cada vez que tratan de vender sus productos.
Andrade está de acuerdo. Si la nueva vivienda asequible se aprueba en el plan de Metro, ella sugiere que la localidad incluya espacios de ventas al pormenor en el primer piso, lo que podría ser una buena opción de alquiler para los vendedores ambulantes locales.
Al final del taller, los participantes recibieron stickers verdes para votar por sus cuatro ideas favoritas presentadas y stickers rojos para las dos opciones que menos deseen ver en esa localidad.
Entre las principales opciones estuvieron un supermercado, un parque, vivienda asequible o un estacionamiento público. El mayor número de votos con stickers rojos o no votos en general fueron para el uso comercial, tales como oficinas, una clínica de atención médica, banco o un gimnasio, ni para espacios cívicos como una biblioteca o agencia de la ciudad/condado/estado.
Un segundo taller de la comunidad se llevará a cabo el 9 de marzo en la escuela preparatoria Bishop Mora Salesian de las 6:30 a 8:30pm. Residentes e interesados están invitados a asistir.
Para obtener más información, visite, https://www.metro.net/projects/jd-boyle-heights/upcoming-meetings/.
El director general ejecutivo de Metro, Phillip Washington entregó la semana pasada su primer reporte del Estado de la Agencia a la Junta Directiva de Metro. En su discurso, dijo que la agencia enfrenta muchos retos pero que se están abordando y que existen también muchas oportunidades que se pueden lograr.
Entre los puntos que destacó en su reporte se encuentra la estabilidad fiscal con la creación de una Matriz de Asignación de Riesgos (RAM) para lidiar con futuros déficits operativos y con la optimización de los servicios de Metro y el pago de pasajes en los próximos años.
La mejora de la experiencia de los pasajeros fue también un punto focal de su discurso, con la meta de incrementar los abordajes como una prioridad para la agencia. Los esfuerzos que ya están en marcha incluyen ofrecer servicio celular en el tren subterráneo, tener un mejor entendimiento de las comunidades a las que sirve Metro, aumentar la seguridad y la protección y los avances tecnológicos para beneficio del pasajero.
Sobre el asunto del declive en los abordajes, Washington dijo que es una tendencia nacional pero no inesperada dada su naturaleza cíclica. LA Metro se está enfocando en una visión de largo plazo con un horizonte de planeación de aquí a 30 años. Se destacó también que se pronostica que 750,000 personas más se reubiquen en el condado de LA en la próxima década.
“Esto no es sólo un problema de Metro, es una tendencia regional y nacional,” dijo Washington. “El descenso en nuestros abordajes está en línea con lo que pasa en la nación. La transformación a través del transporte toma tiempo y paciencia. Debido a que el condado crecerá en los próximos 10 años, ahora es tiempo para planear para el crecimiento futuro y para colocarnos en una posición que nos permita invertir en las necesidades de transporte para la próxima década”.
Washington agregó que “estamos construyendo no sólo para mañana sino para los siguientes 100 años”.
“Si miramos en retrospectiva, hemos visto un significativo crecimiento en los abordajes en el transporte público a lo largo de corredores que se han convertido en vías de trenes”.
LA Metro creó el año pasado el Equipo de Trabajo de Abordajes para estudiar el asunto del descenso en el número de pasajeros, tanto en el condado de LA como a nivel nacional. Metro busca ahora acelerar y optimizar el servicio de autobús y está a la mitad del camino para implementar la tecnología que mejorará la experiencia de los pasajeros con el fin de atraerlos.
El reporte del Estado de la Agencia destacó que los retos y prioridades de 2016 incluyen un manejo del programa del presupuesto con dos nuevas extensiones de trenes que se abrirán a tiempo, la Extensión de la Línea Dorada a Azusa, en marzo, y la Extensión de la Línea Expo a Santa Mónica en mayo, una verdadera visión para Union Station, y la implementación de Operation Shovel Ready, en la que el personal trabajará en proyectos por anticipado desde la fase de la planeación hasta que comience la construcción.
Otros retos incluyen el desarrollo de la fuerza laboral y el manejo del desempeño, fortalecer la cultura de la seguridad de la agencia, así como la implementación de la innovación en todas las áreas.
Despite declining Metro ridership, plans to build more rail is necessary to accommodate a projected population growth in Los Angeles region, Metro CEO Phillip Washington said last Thursday.
Agencies nationwide are seeing lower ridership, not just the Los Angeles County, Washington said in his State of the Agency report to the Metro Board.
Meanwhile, Metro must plan for a projected 750,000 more people in the Los Angeles County area over the next decade, Washington said.
“Our ridership declines are in line with the nation as a whole. Transformation through transportation takes time and patience,” Washington said. “As the county grows over the next 10 years, now is the time to plan for future growth and now is the time to position ourselves to invest in transportation needs for decades to come.
“We are building not just for tomorrow but rather for the next 100 years,” with “significant” transit ridership growing in areas that have been converted to rail.
Washington said Metro began studying the declining ridership last year. The Metro board ordered a report on ridership last March after observing a 5 percent decline in ridership compared with the previous eight months.
More recent figures have Metro boardings declining 10 percent from 2006 to 2015, even as about $9 billion has been invested into in new light rail and subway lines.
Washington said Metro is working to making its bus service more attractive by speeding it up and making technological enhancements.
Washington also reported that the agency is preparing for the opening of two rail line extensions. The Gold Line Extension, which runs from Pasadena to Azusa, is scheduled for March opening, while the Expo Extension from Culver City to Santa Monica is set to open in May.
Washington also said Metro’s Operation Shovel Ready effort will expedite more projects still in the planning stages so that they are ready for construction.
In other Metro news, the Board approved a motion to improve riders’ experience by speeding up the installation of cell service and wifi in underground stations and tunnels.
The motion also directs Metro staff to improve real-time arrival information and to set a goal to fix broken displays at stations within 24 hours, a frequent complaint from riders, according to The Source, Metro’s web-based blog.
The Board’s motion, also calls on staff to develop a TAP card that can be used to pay for such things as Metrolink, taxis, ride-hailing, bike share and parking garages, as well as rail and bus transportation.