Blog

Forward Motion, June 2020

The Summit is Going Virtual!

Preview the 3D Expo and Ballroom Now!

We are pleased to provide a “SNEAK PEEK” of the all-new, completely custom virtual conference and expo hall experience Mobility 21 is designing. Additional features are being developed such as a virtual business card exchange, expo booth chat function, video chatrooms with agency leaders, hidden “Easter eggs” throughout the expo for chances to win prizes, and more!

Click the buttons below to preview the Summit!

Virtual Summit Highlights:

  • Full educational content with broadcasts of 3 General Sessions and 8 Breakout Sessions
  • 3D Virtual Expo with special prizes
  • Opportunities for Virtual Networking
  • Mailed to you before the Summit:*
    • Summit Bento Box with curated conference info, snacks and mementos to match program highlights
    • Conference bag with promo items and printed event program

*Depending on ticket eligibility

Registration:
Early Bird: $210 (until July 31)
Student/Military Personnel: $165
Late registration is $325 after July 31. Don’t delay!


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
F
rank Lopez
Senior Government Affairs Manager
SoCalGas

Frank Lopez is the senior government affairs manager for SoCalGas, the largest natural gas distribution utility in the United States, where he represents the utility on legislative and regulatory issues before Los Angeles City and County.
Over the last 10 years, Lopez has built a career in public affairs and policy, advocating specifically for regional transportation, energy, and environmental policies and infrastructure projects at the local, state and federal levels.
Prior to joining SoCalGas, Lopez served as director of public policy at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, overseeing the development of the Chamber’s policy and advocacy agenda. During his tenure, Lopez led several key initiatives, including annual advocacy trips to Sacramento and Washington, D.C. and an annual conference that provided Southern California public and private infrastructure providers a platform to discuss and collectively advocate for critical projects.

Previously, Lopez was social equity caucus coordinator for Urban Habit, an environmental justice non-profit organization based in Oakland, California that advocates for low-income communities and communities of color throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In this role, Lopez led a coalition of 75 non-profit organizations focused on regional transportation, housing, energy, and environmental policy issues.

Before joining Urban Habitat, Lopez served as a Bohnett Fellow for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, where he helped develop and implement a clean technology economic development strategy.

Prior working for Mayor Villaraigosa, Lopez interned for the U.S. Treasury Department, Financial Management Service in Washington, D.C. through the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities National Internship Program.

Lopez serves on the boards of the Project Restore, Koreatown Youth Community Center, Los Angeles Conservation Corps, and Mobility 21. He also co-chairs the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce’s Energy, Water & Environmental Sustainability Council.

Lopez holds a master’s degree in public policy from University of California at Los Angeles and an undergraduate degree in business economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara.


Mobility 21 Advisory Board Member Spotlight:
L
isa Maurath
Mobility Solutions Senior Vice President
Parsons Corporation

Lisa Maurath serves as the West Region Manager for Business Development for Parsons (NYSE: PSN), where she is responsible for the continued growth and development of their Mobility Solutions sector on the West Coast. This focus includes providing customer solutions in the transportation and water/wastewater markets.

“This is an exciting time in the mobility market as infrastructure owners and operators integrate smart solutions, and consumers embrace the benefits of improved mobility and safety,” said Maurath.
“Throughout the region, hundreds of thousands of drivers interact with Parsons’ solutions every day, including our dynamic tolling technology, Intelligent Networks® solutions, and the new decision support system that will be implemented for the I-405 Sepulveda Pass corridor. Commuters benefit from light rail options and positive train control. Travelers benefit from landside access improvements at Los Angeles International Airport; and the region benefits from the water infrastructure projects we manage” Maurath added. “Parsons began in Los Angeles and has been helping to develop its infrastructure for 75 years.”

Lisa has more than 30 years of experience in project and program management, business development and operations, project controls, construction management, engineering, and procurement in the infrastructure business.

Born and raised in the Boston area, she graduated from Worcester Polytechnic Institute with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and holds a certificate in business management from the UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management.

In addition to serving on the advisory board of Mobility 21, she is also on the Dean’s Advisory Board for California State University, Los Angeles College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology.

Lisa is a member of the board of directors for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and is a past president for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Consulting Engineers Council. She also served on the board of directors for the national Women’s Transportation Seminar Foundation for six years.


AECOM is leading the joint venture providing construction management support services for Section 2 of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Purple Line Extension.

Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
AECOM

TRANSIT AGENCY RETURN TO SERVICE (R2S)
Powered by AECOM MobiliticsTM
Transit agencies are facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. Across the world, transit operators are managing drastically reduced ridership and farebox revenues while delivering a vital service that not only enables essential travel but keeps staff and passengers safe.

Looking ahead, agencies will have very difficult choices to make—where, when and how will service resume? What short, medium and long-term strategies are needed for the safe return to operations? What oversights will be implemented to sustain continued success and support resilience in the face of future shocks and stressors?

AECOM has the expertise and technologies needed to provide a rapid assessment of data sources to help you better understand your current situation and enable confident decision-making. We employ comprehensive scenario planning tools and techniques that test “what if” assumptions to inform critical strategies and approaches around immediate actions, and longer-term solutions for service planning and infrastructure design. Our professionals can also help you access, manage applications for, and oversee funding and financing. As transit service resumes, our team can deliver the on-going monitoring needed to support operations and safeguard your progressive return to full service.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
The Lane Construction Corporation

The Lane Construction Corporation Continues to
Bring Progress and Innovation to Southern California

Through the recent challenges facing our world, The Lane Construction Corporation (Lane) continues to transform and elevate the communities of Southern California. Over the past 130 years, we have been a national leader in design-build and public-private partnerships on some of the most renowned infrastructure projects in the country. Lane’s expertise lies in the fields of construction project management, engineering, and procurement, and we are currently #3 on ENR’s list of Top Highway Contractors. We provide innovative solutions with an emphasis on safety and quality control, which produce high-quality results.

Lane’s work on the Gerald Desmond bridge and the 1-10 Corridor Express Lanes in Southern California promise to bring critical relief to increased traffic volume in the area as a result of a significant increase in population. The new Gerald Desmond Bridge raises the vertical clearance over the Inner Channel, allowing the latest generation of large cargo ships to enter the Port and provides an essential upgrade to the Port of Long Beach, a central hub in the nation’s trade system. The I-10 Corridor Express Lanes will help control traffic congestion, commuter safety, and trip reliability by acting as a critical link within the Inland Empire serving local and interstate travelers.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
Mott MacDonald

Less Stress, Less Pollution, and Quicker Connections

Over the years, four light rail transit (LRT) lines have been built to serve the city of Los Angeles, each one ending at the edge of the downtown area. Since the 1980s, plans have been discussed for a rail link that would provide easy transfers between the city’s north-west and east-south LRT systems.

The Regional Connector is a 1.9-mile trunk line that will run from the Little Tokyo/Arts District Station on the Gold Line to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station in downtown LA. LA Metro selected the Contractor Joint Venture of Skanska/Traylor with Mott MacDonald as the prime designer for this complex design-build project.

Mott MacDonald saved $10 million by raising the alignment, reducing the depth of stations, and reducing the vertical travel distance for customers. We used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to design stations and cut-and-cover tunnels, helping meet the contractor’s accelerated schedule.

Scheduled to open in 2022, the Regional Connector will handle 60,000 or more trips each weekday. It will allow for a single-seat ride throughout Los Angeles County and will link LA Metro’s 80-station system to Southern California’s regional passenger rail system (Metrolink), which services 55 stations.


Summit Platinum Sponsor Spotlight:
RailPros

Rail isn’t a part of our business, it IS our business. Since 2000, RailPros has grown to six California offices with 150 staff, and 14 national offices with 700 staff total. RailPros is the leading rail services provider on commuter and freight rail projects. Many of our staff worked for railroads and are industry experts on projects such as:

  • Project/Program Management: We have helped deliver projects such as the SANDAG LOSSAN corridor, the Metrolink Rehabilitation Program, the $360 million SBCTA Redlands Passenger Rail Project, and 250 UPRR public projects.
  • Engineering Design: Our staff in track, civil, structures, traffic, crossings, stations, and systems disciplines deliver projects like the Vista Canyon Multi-modal Station and UPRR at-grade crossings.
  • Construction Management: Providing oversight for projects including the $70 million Union Station Rehab, BART Measure RR, LA Metro’s Blue Line systems, and dozens of BNSF public projects throughout the West.
  • Safety Management: The top firm in the country with 450 staff working for all seven Class 1 freight railroads, 15 other clients, and local work for UPRR, SCRRA, Sacramento RT, and BNSF LA to Fullerton HSR.
  • Training: A full suite of contractor and client training classes, both online and in-person. Current clients include e-BART, SCRRA, and NCTD.


Click here for Metro’s Recovery Task Force progress report.

Metro’s Recovery Task Force Releases Early
Recommendations to Improve Mobility in Wake of Pandemic

The progress report is the first from Metro’s Recovery Task Force, formed this spring to develop a plan on how Metro can best serve the public moving forward from the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The report includes a dozen early action recommendations.

Before we go further: we understand the terrible impacts the virus has had on people lives’ and on our local economy. Metro, too, has also been profoundly affected. Employees have fallen ill, ridership has plunged, bus and rail service has been reduced and our finances eroded.

But, like everyone else, we also have seen byproducts of the safer-at-home orders that have shown progress on some of our region’s most intractable problems. Specifically, there has been far less traffic congestion, much improved air quality and safer conditions for walkers and cyclists.

The Task Force’s mission is to help Metro respond to and recover from the pandemic while also finding ways to smartly preserve these gains – and to help guide Metro on how to truly best serve those who need us the most. A final comprehensive report will eventually be issued by the Task Force.

Decisions on whether and how to implement recommendations will be made by a combination of the Board of Directors, Metro’s Senior Leadership Team and responsible departments. The task force will track decisions and steps taken on these recommended early action items and will include updates in future progress reports.

I highly encourage you to check out the entire report – it’s not a long read and it includes some ideas that could net the kind of results many of this blog’s readers have long wanted to see.

Here are the Task Force’s 12 Early Action Recommendations:

  • Survey Metro customers on their transportation needs and experiences. The idea is to get a handle on what ridership will look like in the coming months, figure out what customers want and best understand what would make customers feel safe using our services now and in the future.
  • Authorize cities that received 2020 Open Street Grants – i.e. for events such as CicLAvia – to use that money for projects to slow traffic and/or expand walking and biking opportunities on local streets. The Metro Board approved this in late May.
  • Test and implement new cleaning practices to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other germs on our transit system. We’re currently relying heavily on disinfectants, but the agency will be looking at the use of ultraviolet light as well as cleaning frequencies.
  • Find ways to provide face masks to our riders. We’re requiring face coverings to ride, and the vast majority of riders seem to be wearing them as far as we can tell. As long as the requirement is in effect, we want to help riders access masks to avoid enforcement becoming an issue.
  • Partner with local cities to accelerate projects that speed up buses – for example, bus lanes or projects that help buses get quickly through intersections. The goal is to make transit more appealing and useful in the future so people don’t feel they have to drive everywhere.
  • Matching our service levels with demand. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been running about 70 percent of our pre-pandemic service levels for about 30 percent of our pre-pandemic ridership. The plan is to restore bus and rail service in stages and keep rear door boarding on buses to improve service, allow for physical distancing and – beyond the pandemic – help reduce overcrowding. Once upon a time, that was a common complaint.
  • Begin engaging major employers to allow more telecommuting or to stagger work hours to reduce traffic. This includes modifying Metro’s telecommuting policy to set a good example. Pretty simple idea here: less traffic is good for everyone, including those who still must commute to work.
  • Put a contactless payment system in place as part of the Transit app– the agency’s official app. This is a good way to reduce touchpoints and make transit more convenient to use.
  • Re-imagine projects. It will be difficult for Metro to recover all the costs of the pandemic and our funding – which is heavily dependent on sales tax revenues – will likely be down for quite some time. The Task Force thinks this is a good time to take a look at the many projects in the planning phase at Metro and think about how they can cumulatively deliver the most positive impact to our region.
  • Study options to improve the Metro Bike Share program – specifically to increase the number of locations.
  • Expand social services to help find housing for homeless who use the Metro system.
  • Testing new ways to help people get around – for example, through on-demand vehicles that provide rides in particular communities or to and from transit stations.


OCTA recently approved a $1.4 billion budget that reflects reduced Measure M revenues but keeps important transportation improvements moving for Orange County. Photo courtesy of OCTA.

OCTA Approves $1.4 Billion Balanced Budget for FY 2020-21

Budget was revised with lower anticipated spending due to effects of COVID-19 pandemic but keeps advancing transportation improvements for Orange County

The Orange County Transportation Authority approved a budget of more than $1.4 billion for the upcoming fiscal year – a balanced budget that makes conservative assumptions due to the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping important transportation improvements moving forward.

The OCTA board OK’d the balanced budget, down more than $98 million compared to last year’s OCTA budget, for the 2020-21 fiscal year that begins July 1.

Major initiatives for the budget include advancing capital improvement projects, including the I-405 Improvement Project, I-5 projects in South County and Central County, the OC Streetcar, improving local streets and continuing to serve Orange County’s transit needs, while keeping health and safety as the top priority.

The budget underwent several revisions in recent months based on revenue estimates that show sharp declines in funding from both Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation and state sales-tax funding, in the wake of the ongoing public health crisis. No plans for new hiring or salary increases for administrative and professional staff are included in the budget.

“We clearly had to make some difficult decisions because of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this budget demonstrates OCTA’s ongoing commitment to improving the lives of residents through transportation,” said OCTA Chairman Steve Jones, also the Mayor of Garden Grove. “We’re happy to continue on the path to delivering a balanced and sustainable transportation system for Orange County.”

The FY 2020-21 budget encompasses all services, projects and programs that are administered by OCTA. The budget reflects a significant investment in capital projects.

Measure M, also known as OC Go, will continue to fund improvements to freeways and streets throughout Orange County, along with multiple transit programs. Included in the budget is $418 million to help fund freeway improvements and $32 million for the OC Streetcar now under construction, which will be the county’s first modern electric streetcar in Santa Ana and Garden Grove.

Additionally, approximately $146 million will go toward improving streets and roads, including more than $56 million to provide more traffic capacity and $36 million for traff ic-signal synchronization.

The budget also included funding that would keep OC Bus fixed-route service at up to the same levels as before the pandemic, with 1.6 million revenue hours made possible with additional funding from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Actual OC Bus service levels will be added back as demand increases and with the health and safety of the public and employees as the top priority.

On June 14, OCTA restored some of its bus service to meet the demand as Orange County business and activity center gradually began reopening. OCTA is operating on a modified Saturday service level that is about 60 percent of regular service. Updates on route information are available at www.OCBus.com.

The 2020-21 budget is a result of OCTA’s mission to deliver innovative, long-term sustainable transportation solutions for the residents of Orange County.


Construction crews continue to carve out the roadbed to prepare for new lanes on Route 60 in the Badlands of Riverside County between Moreno Valley and Beaumont.

Route 60 Truck Lanes Construction Marks One Year

With a year of construction under their toolbelts, the Riverside County Transportation Commission’s Route 60 Truck Lanes project team is looking ahead to roadway paving.

During the first year, crews focused on excavating the steep hillsides through the Badlands between Moreno Valley and Beaumont, moving nearly 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt within the project limits, about 70 percent of the total to be excavated. From August to March, one westbound lane was fully closed to allow crews to safely excavate the dirt.

Other Year 1 highlights include placing 5,000 feet of pipe for drainage systems and completing the first of three stages to build 20-foot by 20-foot wildlife crossings beneath the roadway.

The work was completed in conjunction with heavy rainstorms last winter that caused roadway damage, requiring ongoing repairs on both eastbound and westbound Route 60. Barring any substantial weather delays, the new lanes are expected to open in 2022.

With the hillsides significantly cut back, there is now space to build the new truck lanes, which will stretch 4.5 miles from Gilman Springs Road to 1.4 miles west of Jack Rabbit Trail. Crews have placed sub-base material for the westbound lanes and are preparing to place hot-mix asphalt and then concrete pavement this summer.

A weekend full closure of westbound Route 60 may occur in July or August to prepare for a traffic shift; please watch for details. Following the traffic shift, work will begin in the highway median, and then move to the eastbound lanes.

The team and the San Gorgonio CHP remind motorists to follow the 55 mph speed limit and to watch for changing conditions.

Stay connected through social media @60trucklanes and sign up for construction updates.


Demolition of Sultana Avenue Bridge

SB Express Lanes rendering

SB Express Lanes in Construction

Construction has begun on the nearly $1 billion SB Express Lanes project from the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County Line to the I-15.  On June 6, one of the first major efforts of the project occurred, the Sultana Avenue Bridge was taken down and full reconstruction of the bridge began.  Through 2022, eighteen bridges throughout the 10-mile corridor will be replaced, widened, or improved.

With county growth expected to increase by more than half a million people – and a quarter million jobs – over the next 25 years, the number of vehicles registered in the county will grow by 370,000, all traveling on today’s infrastructure.

In addition, growth forecasts in the 2016 RTP/Sustainable Communities Strategy show that for cities along this 10-mile corridor (Montclair, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, and Upland), population will grow by 38 percent between 2012 and 2040, and employment will grow by 54 percent.

“The SB Express Lanes project in addition to the SR 210 Lane Addition, the Base Line Interchange project, the widening of US 395, the 9-mile Arrow project, and several interchange projects throughout the county are being built to serve the needs of our county’s traveling public and goods movement,” said SBCTA Board President Darcy McNaboe. “Preparing for future demands will require innovation.  So, in preparation, SBCTA has many new and exciting transportation ideas in the works that will reshape the future of our County, stay tuned.”

SB Express Lanes creates connectivity to other express lanes throughout the region and will address the most significant bottleneck for people and goods in San Bernardino County.  Serving as an integral part of the framework for the east-west corridor that includes three major freeways (I-10, SR 60, and SR 210) and three Metrolink commuter rail lines (San Bernardino Line, Riverside Line, and Inland Empire/Orange County Line), it will offer choices, ease congestion, and provide trip reliability.

All 33 miles of SB Express Lanes were environmentally cleared in 2017.  Funding to build this first phase from the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County Line to I-15 has been secured from federal, state, and local resources including $83.5 million from Measure I.  Measure I is the ½ cent sales tax collected through San Bernardino County for transportation improvements.  Voters first approved the measure in 1989, and overwhelmingly its extension in 2004 with more than 80 percent voting to extend the measure through 2040.  SBCTA administers Measure I revenue and determines which projects receive Measure I funding.

For SB Express Lanes project and construction updates and to learn more about what SBCTA is working on, visit goSBCTA.com/planbuildmove.


Click here to watch the video.

Metrolink Enhances Cleaning to Protect Riders

At Metrolink safety is our foundational value. As the world continues to change around us, the work we must do to protect your safety evolves and expands. Here is how we protect our riders – from added cleaning staff to enhanced cleaning tech — and how you can contribute – from giving fellow riders space to wearing face masks.

ENHANCED CLEANING

In March 2020, Metrolink enhanced cleaning and other safety procedures on our trains and at the locations where our employees work.

  • We updated our nightly deep train cleaning routine to include disinfecting high touchpoint surfaces such as doors, restrooms, headrests, armrests, handrails, tables and trash areas.
  • We added more staff that performs touch-point cleaning on our passenger cars more frequently throughout the day.
  • We use electrostatic sprayers that apply nontoxic disinfectant on all areas of our passenger cars every day.
  • And every day we disinfect the locations where our essential employees work – including crew bases, dispatch centers and the downtown office.

RIDE SMART, RIDE SAFE

When riding our trains, please follow recommended guidelines to reduce the possibility of infection transmission, flatten the curve, and protect the most at-risk members of our communities. For example:

  • Adapt your commute time to off-peak periods if you can.
  • As safety is a shared responsibility, riders are expected to wear a face covering at stations and on board trains. We are all in this together so if you forget to bring one, the conductor will provide one for you.
  • Please stay at least six feet apart from others whenever possible.
  • We know you’re happy to see your friends, but instead of shaking hands, find ways to say hello that you can do six feet from one another.
  • Avoid grabbing handrails unless it is for your stability and safety.
  • Give your fellow riders plenty of space to enter and exit the train.
  • Use our onboard hand sanitizer, and wash your hands as soon as you reach your destination.
  • For contactless ticketing, download the Metrolink mobile app to buy, store and show your ticket.


Connect SoCal – The 2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy is a long-range visioning plan that balances future mobility and housing needs with economic, environmental and public health goals.

Updates on Connect SoCal

SCAG is happy to report that Connect SoCal, the 2020-2045 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy, has demonstrated federal air quality conformity. SCAG received a letter of joint approval of Connect SoCal from both the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration indicating that Connect SoCal successfully meets all federal provisions as defined under the Clean Air Act. The conformity determination ensures that the region’s 4,000 transportation infrastructure projects in the plan can be approved and/or funded.

In response to stakeholder feedback, SCAG has delayed submittal of Connect SoCal to state agencies and is following through on several Regional Council directives, including identifying and restoring any locally-approved entitlements as conveyed by local jurisdictions and seeking input on the impacts of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the plan and its implementation.

As part of this effort, please join us for a virtual townhall meeting on Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on your community and help us learn how Connect SoCal can contribute to recovery. This meeting will include breakout sessions to hear about important topics and issues facing your community. This event will be held virtually via videoconference. Please register here for more information. If you cannot make it to the listening session, we are also offering a short survey to share your input on the implications of Connect SoCal considering the impacts of COVID-19. Take the survey here. SCAG staff will provide a progress report on these efforts at the July meeting of the Regional Council. For more information and updates on Connect SoCal, please visit connectsocal.org.


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