Why Are Metro Station’s “No-Man’s Lands?”

9_15_09_hollywood_and_western.jpgSherrifs’ lack of action takes the glitter off Metro’s luster. Photo:Patrick Cates/Flickr

Last Saturday night, transportation activists Stephen and Enci Box arrived at the Hollywood and Western Metro Red Line station and found the station in shambles.  A homeless encampment had moved onto the top floor, five of the six escalators were out of order and the "emergency intercom" was broken.

After assisting an elderly "reluctant pedestrian" up the steps, the Box’s began a series of phone calls to try and get some rectification to the situation and discovered a bureaucracy that is unable to deal with problems on a Saturday night.

I called the LASD Watch Commander at Metro Rail HQ to let him know of
the five inoperative escalators, the broken emergency intercom, the
stench of urine and feces, the overflowing trash cans, and the homeless
encampment, pointing out that they all indicate a significant failure
on the part of the LASD.

Sgt. Bedogne explained that staffing
was thin on Saturday nights and that their focus was fare evasion. I
pointed out this seems to be in sharp contrast with the Metro’s
position as articulated by CEO Art Leahy who has indicated that public
safety and customer service are his priorities for the Metro.

Crickets chirped.

It
took 28 minutes for the LASD to arrive at Hollywood & Western, four
cars with five Deputies. They descended into the station, returned to
street level, chatted with the two armed Metro Officers who joined
them, hung out some more, and then they all left. Net result of the
visit, 22 minutes of scratching, spitting and huddling together on the
mean streets of Hollywood and Western.

Anyone that’s read one of Stephen’s postings at either Soap Box or City Watch knows that every story reveals a larger lesson.  In this case he hammers the point that nobody is willing to take responsibility for the land surrounding Metro train stations that is owned by Metro.  The LAPD wipe their hands of all Metro property and the Sheriff’s, who operate as Metro’s private para-military security firm, seem to think that their responsibilities only include the stations.

I’m going to take a different angle.  While I found my interview with Art Leahy an enjoyable conversation, the proof of Metro’s priority is in their actions and the actions of their contractors.  If the Sheriff’s have the staff to do "random" bag searches at stations and to watch people try and figure out what to do with the turnstiles being seemingly randomly placed; they should undeniably have the staff to respond to emergencies on a Saturday night.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Transit Coalition Backs Cyclists Right to Rail Cars

|
(Stephen Box has been leading the charge for a better bike plan on Metro trains than the "two bikes per car " rule that was proposed earlier this month.  In this post he updates us on his efforts to build consensus for a better plan.  Over the weekend he got a bevy of support from […]

Bike to Work Wrap – Thanks to Metro and LAPD…But Where’s Our Bike Plan?

|
Playing the part of Gallant is the LAPD. At Soap Box, Stephen Box outlines several important policy changes announced last week by the LAPD/Cyclist Task Force. The LAPD committed to filing reports when Metro buses are involved in crashes and enforcing parking policy when cars or trucks are clogging bike lanes. They debuted training materials that lay down the rights of cyclists so that there is no confusion. And, they clarified once and for all that crosswalks are an extension of a sidewalk.

The Problem(s) with Westlake MacArthur Park

|
Photo:High Snobiety Last week, Metro Chair Ara Najarian penned a piece for The Source announcing that bicycle parking is coming to the Westlake/MacArthur Park T.O.D. at some point in the future.  It’s not everyday that the Metro Board Chair responds to something written on Streetsblog (although Stephen Box and I are debating which one of […]

TAD or TOD? A Look at the W at Hollywood and Vine

|
Nice car advertisement at the billboard. Photo: Erik Oginski/Flickr One of my favorite transportation rhetorical devices has always been the relationship between Transit Oriented Development, or TOD, and its evil brother, Transit Adjacent Development, TAD.  TAD breaks all the rules that make TOD work, but because they can look similar they often get confused.  Unfortunately, […]