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Metro Board Updates: 210 Freeway Barrier, Vermont Transit, and More

Metro voted to fund next steps to fix the unsafe freeway conditions that result in crashes repeatedly shutting down the Gold Line. Photo via CBS

Here are some brief updates from yesterday's Metro board meeting:

Approved: 210 Freeway barrier to keep vehicles from crashing on to Gold Line (staff report)

To keep errant vehicles off the tracks, Metro is planning to improve the barriers between the Gold Line and the 210 Freeway. This key safety project has been delayed by Caltrans and by last month's lack of a quorum of non-conflicted board members in attendance. Yesterday, the board approved an additional $11 million to finish design and environmental clearance.

Approved: Vermont transit corridor studies (staff report, amending  motion)

Metro is planning on improving transit on Vermont Avenue, one of the highest bus ridership corridors in the U.S. Metro has been studying some rather tepid Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) concepts which would actually cost less than the funding specified in Measure M. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has been pushing for higher quality "best in class" BRT for the corridor - or rail "if additional funding materializes." The board approved both the staff recommendation and a motion by boardmember Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker; this means the agency will study center-running BRT, proceed with environmental studies including rail options, evaluate extending the project further south, and consider public-private partnership opportunities.

More coverage of today's Vermont corridor project vote at Curbed and Urbanize.

Approved: South Bay using Measure M funds for fiber optic communications lines (staff reportamending motion)

Metro approved a proposal for the South Bay to use $4.4 million in Measure M sub-regional transportation funds for the South Bay Cities Council of Governments (SBCCOG) to build a "South Bay Smart Net broadband fiber optic lines" in support of "future communications for any related Intelligent Transportation Systems." The expenditures have been justified on the grounds of setting up infrastructure for autonomous vehicles and telecommuting. This approval represents a potentially bad precedent for using transportation funding for a project that is only marginally transportation-related.

Postponed: North Hollywood to Pasadena Bus Rapid Transit (staff report)

The board continued (postponed) an item that would have proceeded with environmental studies for the NoHo-Pasadena BRT project. This may have been to work more with the city of Pasadena, whose mayor expressed concerns last week.

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