Tonight is the first community meeting for Metro's Draft 2014 Short Range Transportation Plan, which outlines the next decade of priorities for the transit agency (Metro has a 30-year Long Range Transportation plan of which this is part). While there are few surprises in the short term plan, there are a few nuggets. The juiciest, via the report's technical document and Streetsblog: Metro is phasing out articulated and extended length buses over the next decade. Those include many of the Rapid buses that have the accordion in the middle and fit dozens more people in them than regular buses. "Metro is standardizing on 40-foot buses as the maximum vehicle size," the plan reads. "While this will increase operating costs, it is expected to be offset by a reduction in acquisition and maintenance costs."
Other big news in the plan:
· The short term plan gets specific on all the upcoming rail projects opening in the next decade. Expo Phase II and Gold Line Foothill all appear later than initially expected (which could have something to do with a delay in light rail car procurement; see below).
- Gold Line Foothill Extension
opens November 2016
- Exposition Transit Corridor Phase II
opens December 2016
- East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridors
opens June 2018
- Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor
opens April 2019
- Regional Connector
opens May 2021
- Westside Purple Line Extension, Section 1
opens May 2024
· Light rail car procurement is in the works, though maybe not as fast as necessary. "The light rail car procurement consists of a $342.35 million base order of 78 cars and $396.65 million for two options for 97 vehicles. The base order cars are for the Gold Line Foothill Extension and the Exposition Phase I and Phase II projects and are funded with state and local funds. The option cars are for replacements and the Crenshaw/LAX project and are funded with Measure R 35 percent, Proposition A 35 percent, and federal funds." Another 35 light rail cars will be bought between 2021 and 2024 for $149 million, while 16 new subway cars will be purchased between 2016 and 2018.
· There's funding for converting polluting buses and facilities to clean fuel. Smoggy, older buses will be phased out and municipal bus operators "using diesel fuel have been programmed to receive funds for converting fueling facilities and transitioning buses to cleaner burning fuels in the event such decisions are made."
· The high-speed rail bond money, currently in limbo, includes a healthy chunk for the Metrolink commuter rail ($63.5 million) and the Regional Connector ($114.9 million).
· Metro's "Short Range Transportation Plan" Meetings Start Today [Streetsblog]