Preview of This Week’s Metro Board of Directors Meeting

Rendering of the Vermont-Santa Monica Blvd Joint Development Project via The Source
Rendering of the Vermont-Santa Monica Blvd Joint Development Project via The Source

This Thursday at 10 a.m., the Metro Board of Directors will meet for the monthly Board of Directors meeting. With Joe Linton away for the week, I’ll be live-tweeting and covering the meeting for Streeetsblog. Here are some of the biggest items that will be on the agenda. Linton provided much of the research behind this preview.

Fareless System Initiative (FSI)
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti was pushing for a fareless pilot to start next month as students go back to school, but there are no board meetings in August. With just an informational item on the consent calendar for this month, it looks as though an August start is off the schedule. Several boardmembers , including Inglewood Mayor James Butts, County Supervisor Janice Hahn and Glendale Councilmember Ara Najarian are concerned about how to pay for FSI. There are also questions about how Metro can evaluate a pilot program. Metro’s current low-income fare program has few enrollees because the process is too cumbersome. The system remains in place because Butts and other board members don’t want Metro to allow rich people who know how to work the system to ride for free. Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Garcetti, and Supervisor/Board Chair Hilda Solis are comfortable with “self-attestation” to make it easy for people to apply to the FSI.
See the Staff Report here.
Recent Streetsblog Coverage : Metro Fareless Pilot Could Start August 2021, Initially for Students, Coverage of May Metro Board Meeting

Looks like it will be fall, at the earliest, for Metro's Fareless System Initiative to launch its pilot program. Download the full presentation, here.
Looks like it will be fall, at the earliest, for Metro’s Fareless System Initiative to launch its pilot program. Download the full presentation, here.

Federal COVID stimulus
This month, Metro is approving the breakdown of “ARPA” (the Biden stimulus – American Recovery Plan Act) money that goes to various L.A. County transit agencies, mostly to municipal transit agencies such as Foothill Transit, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus, Long Beach Transit and dozens of others.
See the Staff Report here; see Staff Presentations here
Recent Streetsblog Coverage: Scratching the Surface of Metro’s Proposed FY 2021-2022 Budget

Compensating Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC) Members
Metro’s PSAC is a group of appointed volunteers who are coming up with a plan to re-tool Metro’s transit policing contract up for renewal next year. Recognizing that a position on this board requires many hours of work and preparation, and that this can be a barrier for many of the community members most impacted by policing, there is broad consensus on the Board to compensate PSAC members for their time.
See the Staff Report here
Recent Streetsblog Coverage: Metro Hosts First Public Safety Advisory Committee

Commemoration of the Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871
This motion requires Metro to support the Civic Memory Working Group’s planning process for the commemoration of the Anti-Chinese Massacre of 1871. That terrible event saw 18 Chinese people brutally murdered in what is considered the largest mass lynching in U.S. history. The motion also asks Metro to identify land around Union Station that could be used for a memorial both to that history and to Union Station’s own less-than-noble beginnings. Namely, when L.A. decided on where to build Union Station in the 1920s, it was the potential for the razing of a thriving Chinatown community and the displacement of its residents that made the site so attractive to voters.
See the Staff Report here

Vermont/Santa Monica Blvd Joint Development
The Vermont/Santa Monica Boulevard joint development project is developed by the non-profit Little Tokyo Services Center (LTSC) and sits on top of an East Hollywood B (Red) Line station. The project is 100% affordable housing, although it has drawn some controversy because the development could cause the closure of El Gran Burrito. LTSC and El Gran Burritos are still trying to work out a deal for the restaurant to be part of the new development.
See the Staff Report here

South Bay Measure R Highway Funds Moved
Initiated by Inglewood Mayor James Butts, this motion would redistribute some of the South Bay’s excess highway funding from Measure R to go to transit projects. Over half of these funds would would go towards the Inglewood people-mover project. The repurposed funds come to $400M overall, with $233M initially to go to the people-mover.
See the Staff Report here

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