Blog

Forward Motion, October 2014

Officials break ground on Metro’s Regional Connector light rail project to link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines. Click here to watch a video from the ceremony.

Metro Breaks Ground on New Regional Connector
Light Rail Project in Downtown Los Angeles

From Metro’s “The Source”

Metro joined U.S Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx along with state and local elected officials late last month to officially break ground on the $1.420 billion Regional Connector Light Rail Project in downtown Los Angeles that will better connect the Metro Blue, Gold and Expo lines with the rest of the region.

“This project will mean people can take a one-seat ride through Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Monica, the Eastside and points in-between,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “Bringing our rail lines together and making transfers simpler will make it easier for people to use rail and will help take more cars off the road.”

The Regional Connector Project completes a 1.9-mile segment between the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

“The Regional Connector will dramatically improve passengers’ daily commutes,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina.”It will provide them with better connections to the rest of the Metro Rail system without requiring them to transfer from one line to another. The Regional Connector is a major step forward in transforming Los Angeles County’s mass transit network into a truly world-class system.”

The Regional Connector Project is an important rail connection project overwhelmingly approved by the voters and funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax ordinance for LA County transportation improvements. In addition to Measure R funding, a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the federal government secures $670 million for the project. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Metro a loan of $160 million for the Regional Connector project from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan (TIFIA) to complete the project.

“Los Angeles is a world-class city and deserves a world-class transit system. Today’s groundbreaking for the Regional Connector represents the coming together of federal and local efforts to invest in our rail system and put Angelenos to work building our city. These new improvements will provide significant economic and environmental benefits for Angelenos not just in downtown L.A., but throughout Los Angeles County,” said Congressman Xavier Becerra.

“The Regional Connector is an example of our commitment to develop transportation projects that serve the entire County,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe. “This project will make it easy and seamless for commuters to get to their destination, which has a huge impact on their quality-of-life. Linking lines that cover nearly every corner of the County will vastly improve Metro’s network and the experience of our riders. This is exactly the type of project voters asked for when they approved Measure R – expanding transit to serve all residents.”

The Regional Connector Project, expected to be completed in 2020, will attract nearly 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to more than 88,000 passengers saving commuters up to 20 minutes off their daily commutes. It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.

“The groundbreaking for the Regional Connector is another welcomed step in increasing the efficiency of our Metro system,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. “When the Regional Connector is completed, many of my constituents commuting through Downtown will have a chance to reduce their commuting time by 20 minutes. I hope that Metro Rail’s expansion plans will continue to bring rail service to new parts of L.A. County. Many of the communities I represent, including the Southeast cities, would benefit greatly from further Metro expansion.”

The new Metro Rail extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout the County. Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.

“While its execution will be grand in scale, the Regional Connector’s true aim is simply to make the lives of those who depend on public transit better,” said Los Angeles Councilmember and former Metro Board Member José Huizar. “From helping parents get home sooner to be with their children, to taking the stress out of being stuck in traffic, to reducing pollution so the air we breathe is cleaner – these quality of life attributes will be the true legacy of this great project and I am proud to help bring the Regional Connector to Downtown L.A.”

In April, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors approved a $927.2 million contract to Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc. and Traylor Brothers Inc. to design and build the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project.

In awarding the contract, it was noted that Skanska/Traylor had the overall highest ranking including the highest technical score and the highest evaluated score for pricing, based on the criteria in the request for proposals. In recommending the award of the contract, staff noted that Skanska/Traylor indicated that they plan to finish construction 115 days early and will absorb the cost of any delays caused by Metro or subcontractors.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
Kris Murray

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Government Affairs
Willdan

Kris Murray serves as a Senior Vice President for Willdan Group, a national firm headquartered in Southern California providing professional consulting services in the areas of civil engineering, energy efficiency and sustainability, financial services, and homeland security.

Kris Murray is also an elected member of the Anaheim City Council and serves on the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) Executive Committee, Transportation Committee, and Regional Council, the board of the Orange County Council of Governments (OCCOG) and recently stepped down after five years as a Director of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. During her tenure on the City Council, Kris has been a strong advocate for transportation projects including Anaheim’s new intermodal transit center, ARTIC, Anaheim’s planned street car, ARC, a stalwart supporter of the California High Speed Rail project, as well as an advocate for regional goods movement, transit and mobility programs.

Kris has more than 20 years professional experience in the public and private sectors representing the transportation industry. Prior to joining Willdan, she served in a dual role as Executive Director of the Orange County Council of Governments and as Executive Director of the Orange County Transportation Authority, overseeing the authority’s local, state and federal government relations programs. Prior to OCTA, Murray served as Vice President of Government Affairs for the Orange County Business Council. One of the programs Kris helped to develop during her tenure at OCBC is OCMoves, a public-private initiative led by business leaders, public agencies and elected officials dedicated to improving county and regional transportation infrastructure. In addition to her work in Orange County, Kris previously served as Director of Legislative and Government Affairs for the San Bernardino Associated Governments, where she worked closely with transportation officials in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Kris began her career in Washington, D.C. as a senior legislative aide to U.S. Representative Steve Horn (CA-38) serving his office as the staff liaison to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Murray earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from California State University, Long Beach and a Master’s Certificate in Transportation Management from the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University.

Murray and her husband, Steve Murray, live in Anaheim, and have one young son, Garrett Murray.


Ventura and Santa Barbara County Residents
and Leaders Celebrate La Conchita Project Completion

A cooperative effort between Caltrans, the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) and Santa Barbara has made a day at the beach much brighter for residents of La Conchita and cyclists wishing for a safe coastal ride. On Sept. 29, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Caltrans and its local transportation partners joined La Conchita residents and cycling enthusiasts for the opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new bike lane and pedestrian undercrossing along Highway 101.

The new undercrossing is an 8-foot wide well-lit tunnel with a ramp on either side that provides La Conchita residents direct access to the beach. It runs underneath the highway and the 10-foot wide paved bike path provides two-way bicycle access from Mobil Pier Road on the southern end to Bates Road at the northern end.

VCTC Board members Supervisor Steve Bennett and Citizen Representative Jim White used the new lane to cycle to the ribbon cutting. Supervisor Bennett was elated by the potential of the newly acquired lane and expressed his commitment to make Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties an international biking destination.

In 2006 voters approved transportation bond Proposition 1B, which provided the funding for these projects, as well as the additional carpool lanes, which are expected to be completed by, next summer.

Visit www.GoVentura.org to download VCTC’s free mobile bikeways application for Apple and Android platforms.


Platinum Summit Sponsor Spotlight:
Transpo Group

Transpo Group is committed to making transportation work for the communities we serve. A full service transportation consulting firm, we are built around “plangineers” who value providing tailor-made solutions to the unique challenges our clients face. We bring a fresh perspective to each project, and it shows in the way we deliver our services. Case in point: the unique ViaCity software we have developed to help our clients create better travel options and a more sustainable transportation network. ViaCity can provide data to help determine the best multimodal projects, best transit hubs, and barriers to active modes. ViaCity can also visually represent how a project improves connectivity to key destinations. Kind of like having your own personal crystal ball.

One recent ViaCity example comes from the I-880 Broadway-Jackson Interchange project in Oakland, California. Local transportation agencies are looking to improve vehicle interchange operations as well as improve neighborhood connectivity between each side of the interstate including downtown, Chinatown, and Jack London Square. Transpo used ViaCity to highlight which businesses and residences would have improved pedestrian mobility (green), and which would have degraded mobility (red), repeated for each interchange improvement scenario. This analysis is helping weave multimodal community benefits into a previously auto-centric congestion improvement.

Want to learn more about how ViaCity can help you plan to connect? Transpo will be presenting at the upcoming Focus on the Future conference Nov. 16-18 in Santa Clara. Or you can visit our website: http://www.transpogroup.com/m21viacity.


Business 2 Business Expo Highlights
Opportunity in San Bernardino County

In an effort to highlight how businesses can thrive in San Bernardino by discovering new resources, interacting with public agency representatives, and networking with prime contractors, project managers, and other small businesses, the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) held its 2nd Annual Business to Business Expo on Oct. 7 to a crowd of more than 300 attendees.

This annual event provided an open forum that focused on three primary access points for successful engagement in the contracting opportunities at SANBAG:

  • Learning how to do business with San Bernardino and Riverside Transportation Commissions
  • Gaining insight on upcoming Capital Improvement Projects within the Inland Empire
  • Understanding strategies for being part of a prime contractor’s team

“Open dialogue with the business community increases their chances for understanding how our processes work; and our chances for improving the product we provide the citizens of San Bernardino County,” SANBAG President L. Dennis Michael said.

A competitive, diverse group of bidders helps create a healthy business environment and SANBAG wants to be a part of helping every business realize their goals for growth and strength.  Outreach Events like the “Business 2 Business Expo” are just one more way that the agency is using to improve the business climate in San Bernardino.   Whether you’re a small business, specialty contractor, or large prime contractor, the expo had something for everyone.

For more information on this event or any of SANBAG’s upcoming projects, visit them on the web at www.sanbag.ca.gov.


Click here to watch an entertaining video on the new 3 Feet for Safety Act. Beginning Sept. 16, 2014, drivers must give people riding bikes at least 3 feet of clearance when passing in the same direction.

3-Foot Bike Law Video Entertains and Educates

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) kicked off the new 3-foot bicycle law with an entertaining and informative video and an interactive campaign.

In September, OCTA launched the “I Give 3 Feet” bike safety campaign to educate Orange County residents about the new law requiring drivers to give bikers 3 feet of clearance when passing. The campaign includes bus wraps, posters, window clings and television and radio announcements. The most popular piece of the campaign has been a 30-second public service announcement.

The video features comical, yet frustrating situations that are too close for comfort. These laughable scenarios remind viewers to give bicyclists the space they need on the road.

“We hope the video makes people laugh, while at the same time raising the level of awareness of the Three Feet for Safety Act,” said OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson. “Bike safety is an important issue that OCTA is committed to working on as we encourage alternate forms of getting around the county.”

The video has received more than 76,000 views on YouTube and more than 325,000 views on Facebook. The video can be viewed at http://youtu.be/9JJ-JHrT2E8.

For more information on the 3-foot rule or the bike safety campaign, visit www.octa.net/bikesafe.


A simulation shows the station at the VA Medical Center in San Diego as part of the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project.

San Diego County’s Mid-Coast Trolley Project Achieves Major Milestone

Earlier this month, the Mid-Coast Trolley project in San Diego County reached a significant milestone when the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) signed the Record of Decision for the federal environmental document on Oct. 15. Called the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS), the approval of this environmental review is an important step forward in the effort to extend Trolley service to the northern part of San Diego. The Final SEIS will be available on the project website in early November.

“This is great news for our region,” said Supervisor Ron Roberts, a member of the (San Diego Association of Governments) SANDAG Board and champion of the Mid-Coast Trolley. “Obtaining the Record of Decision from the FTA brings us closer to providing fast, reliable transit service to dozens of communities and regional assets like the VA Hospital and UC San Diego.”

The next step will be for the SANDAG Board of Directors to certify the state environmental review, called the Final Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR). This is anticipated to happen in November.

The Mid-Coast Trolley is one of the region’s highest priority transit projects and is included in the TransNet Early Action Program. As an extension of the Trolley’s Blue Line, when complete, it will provide a one-seat (no transfer) ride from the international border and communities south of Downtown San Diego all the way to University City. It is projected to increase daily transit ridership by 21,000 people.

Construction on the Mid-Coast Trolley is anticipated to start in late 2015, with service beginning in 2019. In May, the SANDAG Board of Directors selected Mid Coast Transit Constructors, a joint venture firm of Stacy & Witbeck, Inc., Skanska USA, and Herzog Contracting Corporation, to serve as the construction manager/general contractor for the project.

Visit sandag.org/midcoast for more information about the project. For information about contracting opportunities within the project for small businesses, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), and Underutilized Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (UDBEs), please visit sandag.org/contracts.


Transportation Events in the Community

Nov. 2-5 
CalCIMA: 2014 Annual Education Conference
More info | Register

Tuesday, Nov. 4 
OCBC: Chairman’s Breakfast Featuring The Boeing Company
More info | Register

Tuesday, Nov. 4 
OCBC: Election Day Lunch
More info | Register

Wednesday, Nov. 5 
CMAA So Cal: Transportation California – Capital Program Updates
More info | Register

Wednesday, Nov. 5 
ACEC-LA: Luncheon Featuring Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
More info | Register

Nov. 12-14 
California Transit Association: Annual Fall Conference & Expo
More info | Register

Wednesday, Nov. 12 
LA Chamber: State of LA Infrastructure
More info | Register

Thursday, Nov. 13
WTS-LA: 28th Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner
More info | Register

Saturday, Nov. 15 
WTS-SD: Professional Development Workshop
More info | Register

Nov. 16-18 
Self-Help Counties Coalition: Focus on the Future Conference
More info | Register

Thursday, Nov. 20 
OCBC: 4th Annual Turning Red Tape Into Red Carpet Awards and Reception
More info | Register

Thursday, Dec. 4
WTS-OC: 26th Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner
More info | Register

Thursday, Jan. 22 
WTS-IE: 10th Annual Scholarship & Awards Dinner

Jan. 29-31 
New Partners for Smart Growth Conference
Baltimore, Maryland
More info Register

May 4-7
ACT Expo 2015
More info

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