Telephone Town Hall Transcript, May 5
Richard F. Clarke, Metro’s Executive Director of Program Management
Pauletta : Good evening everyone and thank you for joining us for this live telephone town hall meeting hosted by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority also known as Metro. I’m Pauletta Tonilas, the Chief Communications Officer for Metro and I will be your moderator this evening as we talk about Metro’s programs and services and our plans to transform transportation all across LA County over the next 40 to 50 years. We call this our draft expenditure plan really that’s just a fancy name for our plan on how we want to ease traffic moving forward for all of us. Joining me this evening are Rick Clarke, Metro’s executive director of program management, our Metro chief planning officer Teresa McMillan also Mark Linton Meyer with our planning department and Mike Baker with our service development division and we thank you for joining us tonight.
The intent of this meeting is for us to talk with you about our plan moving forward and to taking your questions and hear what’s important to you so will be taking your questions live if you want to ask a question, press zero on your keypad and you will be put through to an operator who will take down some basic information and then you’ll be put in the queue and will call upon you to ask your question live to one of our panelists during this evening’s hour-long telephone town hall. When you didn’t get called on we ask that you only ask one question and you keep your question brief so that we can get to as many of our folks out there who are on the line with us tonight as possible.
Your opinions are also very important to us so during tonight’s hour-long meeting we will be asking a couple of electronic polling questions so what you will do is press the number on your keypad that corresponds with the answer that you support and then later on the call, we will tell you how you all collectively as a community responded to those questions. You also can participate tonight online by going to Metro’s website@Metro.net/the plan and clicking on the interactive Townhall link. So that’s another way that you be able to participate with us. Again if you’d like to get in the queue to ask a question press zero on your keypad at any time during this call and you can get put through to the queue and I will call upon you we can get to your question. Starting is often I’d like to turn it over to Rick Clarke who is Metro’s executive director of program management Rick thanks for joining us tonight.
Rick Clarke: Thanks Pauletta and good evening everybody. I want to thank you all for joining us tonight I’m looking forward to your questions but first let me give you an update on what’s going on at Metro. There’s a lot to report. It’s very important for everyone to know that Metro provides 450 million rides a year and that in the past 25 years we’ve gone from having 0 miles of rail transit to more than 100 miles now we also have 2200 buses providing service on 170 routes throughout the County. This year alone Metro is opened the goal line extension from Pasadena to Azusa just last March in the 501 know hope the Pasadena express bus service which connects the San Fernando Valley directly with Pasadena for the first time and especially for West siders and all the rest of us who visit the Westside the Expo line extension from Culver City to Santa Monica will open this may 20th the few weeks away and like downtown Los Angeles with Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean for the first time in 63 years.
Construction on the Crenshaw LAX project is approaching the halfway Mark and will be celebrate and that milestone this weekend Saturday, May 7 in Loomer Park. I invite everyone to join us as we want to thank the public words patients and remind everyone how great it’s going to be to have a new rail line running between the Expo line and the green line along the Crenshaw corridor. The Crenshaw LAX line will also be the first rail line to connect with LAX. With that said I have to tell you, that it Metro were looking forward to the future I’m also looking forward to the discussion tonight so please press zero to ask a question and participate.
Pauletta: Rick, thanks very much. Rick was talking about several of the milestones that were celebrating all across LA County and this is through your local tax investment these are visible signs of our tax dollars at work all for you in how we can improve mobility all across Los Angeles County and it really is all-star finance with you, the public you are our customers and we are here to as best we can put together a plan that provides improvements all across LA County and looks towards the future because in the future we stand to see growth over the next 40 years to the tune of about 2.3 million people that are expected to move into Los Angeles County over the next 40 years. We need to start that planning now. This evening we are going to go to our first question and that is Peter in Culver City Peter what your question for us?
Peter: I was wondering if there is going to be any north-south lines in the future maybe going up La Cienega or that you could take the Expo line maybe connect to the and maybe connect to the purple line or even connect to the redline instead of having to go all the way to downtown and do that?
Mark Linton Meyer: Hi Peter, this is Mark Linton Meyer. We are planning a connection through over the pass largely along Acapulco Boulevard that would help connect the orange line with the future purple line section along with the connection potentially to the Crenshaw LAX corridor and another line along that would accommodate a similar connection.
Pauletta: Thank you very much Mark we appreciate your answer. We are going to go right to our next question and that is Mary in torrent so Mary go ahead and ask your question.
Mary: I was questioning whether in fact there will be a plan for the future connection of the century freeway into the LAX terminals. Whether there is the possibility of moving any freeway system connection into the terminals directly as many European cities provide in order to facilitate the transportation for assistance both east and north into the airport.
Rick Clarke: Mary, this is Rick I’m glad you asked that question because we actually have construction of those connections underway right now. The new Crenshaw light rail line that I talked about will have a new stop by the airport and the green line is also going to be tied into the Crenshaw line.That will serve the same airport station that station will connect with the new automatic people mover that LAX airport will be building to various facilities along there, include in our new light rail line so that’s one of the things in one part of our plan that were really looking forward to is to provide that long-awaited connection to LAX airport and the work for that is underway right now.
Pauletta: Rick thank you very much.Again if you would like to get in the queue to ask a question to us tonight live press zero on your keypad and you’ll go through to an operator and the operator will take down a little bit of information and then put you in the queue and hopefully will get around to your question tonight so again just press zero on your keypad. Rick mentioned that we have two rail lines that we are opening this year one already opened the goal line extension to Azusa and in just about two weeks we are going to be opening up the Expo extension to Santa Monica but we have a lot of other things happening and to tell us a little bit more about what else we can expect , am going to turn it over to Teresa McMillan who is our chief planning officer good evening Tress?
Teresa McMillan: Thanks Pauletta, and it’s really good to be here with all of you this evening. You know Rick just in fact mentioned a major project that is already under construction which is the Crenshaw LAX project to the airport with a connection to the green lines are very excited about the construction that’s underway there. In addition to that we also have the regional connector through downtown LA which will help provide one seat rides on our light rail systems as they come downtown and the purple line subway to the miracle mile and the Eastside of Beverly Hills is another project that is already under construction and we are very excited about that.
There also important road way and Highway improvements going on important to recognize that in addition to transit we also are looking to improve our freeway system. The five freeway widening near orange County line is one of those projects. We would also like to mention our bus system that’s an incredibly important lifeline to a number of people in this County and we have hundreds of new buses that are going to make travel much more reliable and comfortable for the rider to use them. LA County is expected to grow by another 2.4 million people of the next 40 years so there’s a real need for the type investment we doing now and if you want to fund the transportation improvements we need to achieve our goal of building really a world class transportation system for the region, were going to need a combination of a lot of funds from a lot of partners at the local, federal and in with the private sector so we really need to pull together to make these big visions for mobility happen.
In LA County we Spending an average of 81 hours a year stuck in traffic, and we all know time is money and the longer it takes to build out our transportation improvements the more expensive it’s going to be to make those improvements so we are really trying to plan now for future growth and again that’s a really critical reason why we’re considering a ballot measure for this November. For those of you that are familiar with our proposal and those you may not be on the proposed ballot measure would be a half cent sales tax for LA County with an extension of measure are that means about $24 a year out-of-pocket for the average resident , that would really ease traffic and help build this transportation Renaissance for ourselves and our kids. To keep that in perspective buying the fancy coffee drink once a year from your favorite barista would average about $260 a year so it’s good to keep that in mind what we are talking about how people might feel this proposed ballot measure.So that you know some of the things were thinking about in terms of moving forward not only building for the future but continually reinvesting in our current system to make sure it is a state of good repair that it safe and it is reliable.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Tress, a lot of great information and you know when you stop and think about the fancy coffee drinking you buy that want the week for a year your spending $260 a year. What were saying it for this plan for use to ease traffic over the next four years, we are talking about what would be an additional $25 a year out-of-pocket and so that right there I think it is a choice that folks can make if in fact are Board of Directors decides to put this ballot measure on the November ballot and they will make that decision in June so thank you very much Tress,. So again if you would like to get in the queue to ask a question please press zero. We are going to go to our next question right and that is Glenn in Santa Monica Glenn what your question? Glenn are you there? Glenn from Santa Monica are you on the line with us? okay I think we might have lost Glenn you my come back in the queue so were to go to Kathy in Gardena Kathy what your question for a us?
Kathy: My main question I think you already partially answered that is the funding for the new train of expenditures and things like that , also have another question if Los Angeles going to have another 2.4 million extra people what are they going to do about the drought situation and the water rationing will continue I assume and it’s pretty upsetting for people who are say like gardeners like myself?
Pauletta: Well Kathy you are asking a very good question as far as what we are going to do about the drought I think that there folks all across the County actually all across the state of California that are addressing issues related to water and water conservation and that will continue.The fact of the matter is that we know that Los Angeles County will continue to grow over the coming decades and so what are we going to do about that . Well Metro has a plan and this plan has come together with us working with our regional partners all across the County and now we have put together the plan that provides improvements in all areas of the county and within the first 15 years of that plan it would provide major transit in Highway improvements across all areas of the County and so we’ve been very thoughtful about equity making sure that we are having mobility improvement for folks to residents and in every part of the County. We are going to go to our next question We are going to go to our next question now and that is Barbara in Lomita Barbara !
Barbara: Yes, this is Barbara and I like know what system you’re going to use for people who have to travel from LAX to Ontario and also to Long Beach Airport?
Rick Clarke : Thank you Barbara this is Rick again, Ontario airport is in San Bernardino County however part of this initiative is to extend the goal line which just recently opened to Azusa to Claremont which is obviously not quite at Ontario airport but it’s getting closer and ultimately would make any connection to Ontario airport easier in the future.
Pauletta. Thanks very much Rick, also not I’m told that that the 110 express lanes or something want to remind everybody to that, that would be another way to get around that area. Press zero on your keypad if you like to get in the queue to ask us a question. We are going to go right to the next one and that is Mark in Redondo Beach. Hello Mark?
Mark : Hey, how is it going, my question was about the Metro express lanes you were just referring to. I was curious as to where the toll funds are allocated to and who receives those funds. Also curious as to if those lanes were originally funded by taxpayers , why are carpoolers mandated to purchased a monthly fee for transponder box and finally, how are the lanes enforced by the police thank you.
Mark Linton Meyer: Hi, this is Mark at Metro, thanks for the question. it’s rather a simple most of the funding comes back to Metro and to the congestion reduction program which uses the proceeds to not only fund the express lanes the capital build out and the ongoing operations. But they are also there to help supply the Police Department with the enforcement and so a lot enforcement currently come through the Billy County Sheriff’s and the Police Department to the to ensure that those enforcement goals and operations are undertaken and the rest What was the rest of the question?
Mark: The question was, I feel like it’s unfair that taxpayers are mandated by transponder box repair monthly maintenance fee they are just carpooling. The lanes were originally designed for car pooling
Mark Linton Meyer: That’s fair so I think what it is, is the ability to sort of you know continue to use the lanes in the operating cost to maintain the toll gantries and a lot of the electronic communications that go on to that to help ensure with the enforcement and to maintain that. We found out to be the most effective way otherwise we would have to go into some sort of a moral obtrusive means with license plate pictures or other sort of you know less and less sophisticated technology to do it.
Pauletta: Great thanks very much Mark, am going to go ahead and read a question from Maria in Santa Monica and she is listening through our Spanish Tonight so here’s the question from Maria, ΓÇ£are there any programs or services and Santa Monica to help elderly people who cannot walk to the Metro, to a station or how we can help mobility with seniors?ΓÇ¥ and so I’m going to ask Mike from our service development to address that but we do have quite a few programs that assist seniors including teaching seniors how to use our system but I’m going to go ahead and turn it over to Mike in service development to answer this question, Mike!
Mike: I would suggest that may be the taxes might be the most viable option for you because they would be transportation to accommodate your special needs I don’t have their phone number right now but you can reach them they would be able to help you.
Pauletta: One other thing that I will mention about seniors, one part of this plan that we are proposing would identify some funding for 88 paratransit services and also to keep fares affordable for seniors for students and for the disabled this is very important to folks all across the County and we hear that when we have our public meetings and we’ve been out talking with the public we have an aging population and this is going to be significant for us to be able to have funding pool to draw from so that we can continue to provide services that we all get older and we all need more services A.B.A or discounted services and I do have that number for access services that is 1-800-883-1295 again 1-800-883-1295 and that is the number for access services for those of you that would like to use that service. Press zero on your keypad if you like to get in the queue. We are going to go to Sherry next from Palos Verdes Estates. Hello Sherry, go ahead and ask a question.
Sherry: I was wondering if you have studied the m-tax I know that, I know that they have that transportation vehicle going down to Santa Monica, that or is it Colorado Boulevard, I was just wondering if anything they are doing anything about the increasing homelessness, or crime or anything by having that. and, and the well aware I am or anything by having that I wanted I got if you had any plan to have one of the coming down without a
Mike Baker : Hi this is Mike Baker for, Metro, actually I think what you are referring to this is actually a question more for Santa Monica bus lines that’s actually in their area and I would suggest that maybe you get a contact for their office, and I think they be able to help you .
Pauletta: I will go ahead and turn it over to Teresa McMillan she would like to add to that, Tress!
Teresa McMillan: I just wanted to make the observation that one of the important things about providing transit service in LA County if at Metro worked with a lot of new municipal operators we have very important partnership with our transit agencies that are in various cities throughout the County and a big piece of the proposed measure is in increase in transit operation funding to assist not only bus services here operated by Metro but also contributions that would help our municipal operators as well so again I think we recognize important partnership that we have with these operators and recognizing that in our plan.
Pauletta: Thank you very much for mentioning that is a very important component of our plan most of Metro service is bus service and so this is a core operation for us and while that will continue to grow , and our rail will continue, grow bus service is definitely the way that a lot of folks choose to get around the County. We are going to go to our first electronic polling question of the night so how this is going to work is am going to ask a question and then you will respond with the number on your keypad that corresponds with what your preference is. And so we appreciate any participation we can get because would like to get your feedback and so tonight’s question really centers around what we talk about in the industry as state of good repair and what state of good repair is ,is maintaining our system once is built out so we talk a lot about building new rail lines and express lanes and purchasing new buses and such but how do we keep all these things in good working condition after it’s all built out so just like we have to take care of our cars and we have to do oil changes and maintenance we need to do that for our transit system as well. So the question tonight that we are going to ask you to respond to is, After our projects are built out would you support us keeping part of the tax to keep our system in good working condition press one on your keypad if yes and two on your keypad if your answer is no. So supportive would you be about keeping part of the tax after the system is built out to keep the system in good working condition one for yes two for no and we will share your collective responses a little bit later.
We are going to go to our next question now and that is to Arlene in Culver City, good evening Arlene!
Arlene : Good evening my question has to do with the environmental impact of the transportation system and whether there are plans to have the system powered by alternative sources of energy?
Pauletta: Thanks very much I’m going to turn it over to Mark, Mark is in our planning department and he can answer that for you.
Mark Linton Meyer: Thanks for the question beyond solar energy, we do have different project that look so some different opportunities we have for sustainable energy including solar we looked at a number of different projects both in the area Los Angeles as well as the projects in the North County where we would hope to get some collection sites up and available to be able to generate electricity through some solar cells and other things we also have several of our maintenance facilities that are working towards a more sustainable opportunities to fund those in power those through power purchase agreements and another solar activities so we do have a number of different options not just along the of right way but on top of some of the buildings that we maintain.
Pauletta: Thank you very much Mark . Am going to ask a question that came through our Spanish simulcast from Alberto in Lomita and Alberto question is, ΓÇ£what can be done about the problems during peak travel times on lines going toward the valley?ΓÇ¥ So am going to ask Mike if he might respond to that, the question is ΓÇ£ what can we do about the problems during peak travel times going toward the valley?ΓÇ¥ so Mike can you take that one for us
Mike Baker :What we are going to be doing at Metro, will be monitoring all of its lines to make sure that we have service on there so we do not have overcrowding on any of these lines that what we normally do as routine practice so as the systems come online we will be adding service as required to maintain the proper loading and to eliminate the overcrowding that may occur otherwise.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Mike. Whenever we open up a new rail line our new project our service development folks are the folks behind the scenes that look at how often we need to run the train or the buses the inter connectivity between the buses and the train to make for easy convenient connections and so that service development piece is significant when we get ready to open up a new project and so that’s the department that Mike work in.
So I’m going to share with you the results of how you all responded to the question that we just asked a couple of minutes ago, how supportive would you be of us keeping some of the tax money after the system is built to keep the system in good working order. 80% of you said that you would support that and 20% said no. so we really appreciate you guys giving us that input. We are going to go now to Cynthia in Culver City, good evening Cynthia!
Cynthia : Yes, hello,
Pauletta: Yes Cynthia, go ahead and ask a question.
Cynthia: My question is, since Los Angeles Metro system, the train system, is fairly new, why is it that Kiosk is what at the turn spoke so that people wouldn’t be coming in and you would be losing money I think it’s ridiculous that you guys keep saying you you need more money you need to the raise bus fares but a simple thing would be to put a kiosk at the turn spoke with Metro employees there as they have back east in DC in New York and people wouldn’t being the get through without paying.
Rick Clarke : Thank you Cynthia a great question. we are working to step up our security with their share of service department and Metro security officers include in the turnstiles are actually already at are red and purple line stations and the other, the light rail lines relied on enforcement, random enforcement of officers who go through the trains and check the tickets that’s already showing a lot of positive returns when people know that security presence is out there they tend to be more careful about having their tickets were also looking at new technology to assist this and include automatic debiting of tap Cards that are found where people improperly go through the turnstiles and their card. So it is something that Metro has recognize and we are working behind the scenes to improve the enforcement of making sure that people have properly paid for and tapped Their cards.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Rick. You are listening to a live telephone town hall meeting being hosted by LA Metro and tonight I have with me I’m Pauletta by the way, I’m the chief communications officer for Metro and with me tonight on the panel Rick Clarke who is our executive director of program management and Rick is in charge of all the engineering and construction of all Metro’s project on the highway side and on the transit and train side and Rick make sure that these projects get done on time and on budget and he is strict about that in the making sure that the program management is occurring as intended.
Also with me Teresa McMillan and Tress is our new chief planning officer here at Metro and Teresa’s here and when she free to talk a little bit about her area in terms of planning because the planning group here at Metro is the one that really start the foundation for how we put these plans together in what we need for this County how we plan for future growth how we make sure that we are providing the right type of mobility for the right areas and so Teresa’s here with us tonight also Mark Linson Meyer with the planning department who works with Tress and then we also have Mike Beaker who is here with the service development group and Mike as I mentioned earlier his group makes sure that all the trains and that the buses have good connectivity and frequencies based on what our ridership needs are and so were all here to answer your questions and We are going to go to now to Wanita in Hawthorne. hello Wanita!
Pauletta: Hello Wanita are you there okay, We are going to go to Gerald hello there Gerald , are you on the line with us
Pauletta: Yes Gerald are you on the line ready to ask a question
Gerald: I live in the Southbay I live in Torrent and my question is what would it take in order to speed up the timeline for extending rail transportation into Torrent, into SouthBay, that’s question one, question two is are there any plans by Metro two extend in rail service to San Pedro? Those are my questions.
Teresa: Well and Thank you I will answer question and maybe some of the other folks here can jump in there’s a number of improvements that we are planning the Torrent area so maybe start by running to that last. There is a planned green extension of the green line to Torrent, That’s one of the rail improvements that there’s been a live interest to have in that area. We are actually looking you a number street improvements in and around the city we know that there some highly congested areas and we recognize that sometimes so smaller project to have a really big positive impact and so we’re certainly planning on looking at that incorporating back into our investment plans there’s also some improvements to the 405 I think they’re called curb improvements but they are improvements to the existing highway system to make very congested infinitely congested freeway system operate more efficiently and that also includes some on ramp and offramp improvements booths are being studied actually right now, we are hoping to get those going pretty quickly so that some of the things that are on the the plans and radar screen for getting things done in the Torrents arena
Mark Linton Meyer : This is mark, To add to what Tress said the green line is planned to go to Torrent. We are looking at that opportunity to eventually extend down in the San Pedro area so we do have a least an understanding that there’s a need down there that would like to meet and you how we come with the funding in a timely manner to do that those are the next challenge we have and of course we also have a number of areas around the ports that were working with the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to help resolve some of those transportation and congestion issues.
Pauletta: Thanks very much. One of the things that a lot of people don’t realize about Metro is the investment that we provide back to the local communities so that they can use that on transportation projects in their local communities for things like improving Street, repairing potholes, synchronizing signal of producing better bike paths and pedestrian connections in the local community, so we call this local return because we return that money back to the local communities but there’s a substantial part of this ballot measure that we are proposing that would go back to the local community and so this is how a lot of your local projects in your communities are funded by your cities so that money funnels to your cities and then your cities make the decisions on what transportation projects they should spend that money on and so that’s another thing that all communities benefit from when we come forth with a plan like this so that might be helpful for folks to know. We are going to go to Jim in Torrent, good evening Jim
Jim:Hi I have a follow on to the question earlier about Torrent and San Pedro. Where in Torrent is going to be the final stop under your sooner plans and later plans?
Pauletta: Jim is asking what would be the final stop in Torrent and I’m going to ask Mark if he can share some information about that
Mark Linton Meyer: I think the latest plan is to build of the transit center near downtown Torrent to help accommodate the extension of the green line so I think the final location is still to be determined but the but the goal is to have it does were centrally located.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Mark we have another question that came through our Spanish simulcast tonight and that is Francisco in Inglewood and Francisco is asking ΓÇ£is there a Metro line that reaches Santa Monica and if not will there be one?ΓÇ¥ well this is very timely because we actually will be ready to open the extension of our Expo line to Santa Monica in just about two weeks so two weeks from tomorrow on Friday may 20th will be having our grand opening ceremony and that will begin at 10 o’clock on may 20th and then they’ll be free rides on the Expo, the whole Expo line all through that day and night and then the next day on Saturday, May 21 will be station party at the news station stops along the new Expo extension and we will have free ride on that Saturday the 21st as well so you’ll get to ride the train for free take it between downtown and the beach at Santa Monica on that Friday and on that Saturday the we hope that you guys will come out and join us for the opening for the first time in 60 years will be bringing rail to the beach and so that’ll be a major milestone for the whole Metro area. Now We are going to go to Jacqueline from Inglewood, hello Jacqueline What’s your question?
Jacqueline: I wanted to find out where line will start in Crenshaw and where it will end and whether there are plans to expanded to go towards the beach area.
Rick Clarke : Jacqueline this is Rick, on the Crenshaw line that we are building right now will start right near where the exposition Crenshaw station is on the Expo line , so we will have a convenient connection to that line on the south it will go towards Los Angeles international Airport with a stop their and then it will connect with the green line on the south and to provide a seamless connection and that will improve mobility for the green line also . In the future ballot measure and may be more connected this there’s also plans to extend the Crenshaw line further north.
Mark Linton Meyer: Yes so I think the plan for the Northern extension of the Crenshaw is to go up a long sort of an undetermined route to North Hollywood and connect eventually to the purple line, Wilshire area so were trying to connect it all the way from the northern part of the County down to the corridor that Rick had mentioned
Pauletta: Thanks very much Rick and Mark and I want to mention that actually will be celebrating another milestone this Saturday so this Saturday, May 7 is the halfway there event on the Crenshaw line that we were just talking about so were about halfway done on that project already so were going to say thank you to the community and asking folks to come out and celebrate with us it’ll be a community festival free from 10 to 4 this Saturday around Limerick Park along the Crenshaw line there’s so come out and see your tax dollars at work folks. Leon in Torrent what your question?
Leon: My question since we have been for a long time trying to convince people to carpool why can’t The carpoolers share the express lines most of the people I see on the express lanes are one single drivers so that certainly not solving the problem were trying
Rick Clarke: some information if you have a transponder for the express lanes and you have 2+ in your car your trip is free you won’t have to pay, so maybe that’s some good information to get out to the listeners is to get one of the express lanes transponders and car pool and you can ride for free
Pauletta: Thanks very much Rick, We are going to go to our next polling question of the night so get ready folks we want you to press the number on your keypad that basically reflecting your answer and so the question that were are going to ask next is , this sales tax out measure that we been talking to you about tonight to improve transportation all across LA County if the election were to be held tonight, would you vote for this proposed sales tax measure for transportation? Press one on your keypad if your answer is yes and two if your answer is no. so again, if the election were to be held tonight would you vote for this proposed ballot measure? one for yes two for no almost share the responses with you here in just a couple of minutes meanwhile We are going to go to Peggy in Palos Verdes Estates, Peggy!
Peggy: Okay first time a couple comments on anything you do with rail I totally support my son has been to Germany a couple times and can go anywhere for 100 bucks I’d love to be able to go to San Diego and Lake Forest to see him on a train from Torrents but that’s not possible yet. Anyway , I earlier I have not listed to the whole thing a have been babysitting my grand kids but I got the idea that we are really stuck in this paying to travel on the 110. I lived here for 40 years and I’ve been paying for that 110 freeway going into LA and I don’t go there very often , I do go occasionally and most the time with somebody and I like the idea but carpool lane to encourage people to use less gas and is environmentally friendly and has less traffic .It sounds to me like LA is trying to copy orange County which I hate driving in rich people get to go anywhere they want to fast everybody else have go slow afford to go on the 110 okay am not rich I’m retired , but I can manage it I really resent the fact that my housekeeper would have to pay a lot of money also I don’t want to put a stupid transponder in my car when I only go up there may be about five times a year but the other side of it is only use it five times a year I have been paying for 40 years for that 110 freeway I really resent the idea that we are now going to make it a rich people only lane I agree with whoever is been talking before it should be left so carpool get to use it or without having this by a stupid transponder , I mean that is just absurd.
Mark Linton Meyer : Hi Peggy , currently the way the express lane were to is it is still of free carpool lane for those people that do have two or more people in the vehicle I get the catch that Rick mentioned is that it does require a transponder to the we know that you are a free vehicle that should be in that carpool lane on the idea behind express lanes is that they’re not busy with people that have two or more we can sell that excess capacity to people that only have one person in the vehicle are willing to pay to upgrade that to help offset some of the cost of some of the future costs for improvement along that corridor so our plan is to maintain the carpool attribute of that the express lane for people to do have two or more but the charge people at only have one person in the vehicle but are willing to pay up to get into that express lane.
Pauletta: Thanks Mark for that explanation a going to go ahead and let you know the results of the question we just asked you a couple of minutes ago so we asked, if the vote were to be held this evening would you support this potential ballot measure?, 63% of you said yes 38% of you said no. so that valuable input for so we appreciate I you guys taking the time to participate We are going to go to now to Steve in Hawthorne ,hello there Steve
Steve : Okay I travel a lot on Hawthorne either the 40 or the 740 and I usually don’t have a problem with the 740 I’m in a wheelchair I don’t have a problem usually but there have been times when I have to wait for a bus or two to be able get on a bus. with a 40 is a little more difficult and there is lots of people going from, say up by or lets say further north to the south bay Galleria or even further down towards the Torrents like dock work or towards Memorial Hospital or the the little county Hospital, in their wheel chairs is there a way we can put buses on the line that can accommodate the wheel chairs?
Mike Baker: Steve this is Mike Baker from service planning, first of all I want to apologize for this because I know our critical this is for the people who are disabled because you’re right the buses have capacity for two wheel chairs at a time and when they are full driver of course is required to stop at least and alert why he past you but we will look at that is something that comes up from time to time unfortunately I don’t have all the information is actually as when this occurred but this is really unacceptable and we will work on that to make sure that doesn’t happen put to a particular emphasis on the 40 line for .
Steve: Question there was a time not too long ago when the buses going down Inglewood Avenue would go all the way from Manchester all the way down past the green line Marine and now don’t go that far and it’s now one couple of hours in the morning a couple hours in the evening and nothing in between that’s very inconvenient for people trying to get down Inglewood Avenue to save essentially line or something rather than come up to Hawthorne and have to wait wait wait for buses they are very overcrowded at times
Mike Baker: Steve, we will take a look at that and see if it is possible to extend that service as part of your interface with the rail line and everything that is coming up.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Mike and thank you Steve for your question. you know we could do this alone so Metro does not put this plan together in a silo we have a tremendous amount of partnership in this, and Tress when we start this process is all about regional collaboration so can you talk a little bit about that
Teresa: Right thanks Pauletta. I think that’s a really important observation to make not only with respect to the upcoming ballot measure but just how we at Metro have to really work every day to deliver transportation services to the people of the county . You know LA County recognizes that collaboration is the key to success I think our experience in managing the sources and delivering projects is really unique we have a County that have 10 million people in it and it takes a lot to deliver the types of services that those 10 million people deserve and expect Metro together with our area cities County the state of California the business community partners at the federal level we know how important it is that we unify behind common goals and a common vision because unfortunately we don’t always have all the resources we need until we have to be strategic and sometimes make priorities about where we are going to put our dollars.
I think the expenditure plan actually is a great example of the kind of collaboration we need to have .All of our various partners on the Metro board early on establish a process to work with local officials to identify priority projects at the front end of the process to bring together a comprehensive plan that in a potentially will be going to the voters we crafted a list of projects and programs that represent all corners of LA County and again it will be quite a joint effort take this line.
Pauletta: Thank you very much Tress, It’s very important for us to work with all of our partners across County going to our next question now and that’s Gloria in Inglewood, hello there Gloria.
Gloria: Hello thank you, I called to make a comment and also ask a question and thank you for i thank you for your Metro service I was totally dependent on it for 12 years until a few months ago and I still appreciate it so much I did see a lot that I wish were a lot of things that I wish were different and major thing for me was the how the public is things so ,for lack of a better word, so rude to the operators the bus operators are there to serve , they get us where we have to go they are in their seats for us I just wish that somehow there was a way that they could get some kind of backup on the bus so that we don’t get people harassing them for doing their job and they could be concentrating more on traffic just trying to do what they are there to do I appreciate all of you and i thank you so much thank you for taking my question.
Pauletta: Gloria that is so kind and we appreciate your comments and you are right unfortunately there are those times where our operators just doing their jobs are victims themselves and that’s something that bothers us a tremendous amount that’s something that we continue to work on and our security folks are constantly enhancing our system so that they can react quicker and better in these situations so we do appreciate you recognize inanimate turn it over to Mike add to add to this
Mike Baker : Gloria, yes thank you very much for the compliment . You’re right I mean it’s a very difficult job that the drivers have because you never know working with you on that bus are some people are very good and others that are not so good . As was mentioned we do maintain very good security your bus system and rail system and the drivers are never without somebody that they can talk to they have access to the sheriff as well as the central control for the bus facilities so that point, They are never really alone on the bus. If there is a problem they can usually get that but again the sheriff and everything they do, we do have an active program to help monitor the operation and also the what activities that is going on the bus and the train.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Mike We are going to go to now to Lisa in Culver City Lisa what your question?
Lisa: Hi, This is Lisa in Culver City I wondered what you think of the development of these services like Uber and lift and I had heard that there might be some time a partnership or some thing that you worked with them on , my position is, yes it’s cool and you got a smart phone and it’s fast and it’s a people young people love it but then I cringe about the environmental impact in traffic and that are we raising a whole generation of people who are going to be trained not to use public transit so let me get your comments on that
Pauletta: Lisa, That’s a great point and actually we see folks like Uber and lift as partners of ours because have transportation transforms and constantly changes we have to change to and so we are already forging partnerships with ridesharing and ride hailing groups like Uber like lift like ZIP car and what have you because it is so important that we recognize that we have a role in making it easy and convenient for our passengers to get from their home or work to the bus stop or the train station and then once they get to that point where they’re going that there able to get to their final destination and nowadays a lot of people do that by companies like Uber and lift so we are in the process right now of forging partnerships with these folks and others and as transportation changes as I said there is there’s technological advancement we have to plan for and so there are funds that are in this plan that were proposing that will allow for us to continue to be flexible on whatever transportation looks like in 20 years , in30 years in 40 years because they will change and we need to be ready for that change so that the great point that you bring up and I thank you for that We are going to go to ahead and take one more question I think that’s all we are going to have time for tonight so We are going to go to right to Terry in her [?beach], hello Terry!
Terry:Hi, I have two questions one is what are the plans for the rail line following the 405 freeway from the Valley down to Georgia Irvine and the second question is I would like to hear a survey question that takes the feel that the listeners on the change of free carpool lanes to transponder and the addition of single car or single occupancy cars to the carpool lanes
Rick Clarke: Terry the new plan, Metro plan does include the rail line a heavy rail line along the [? Pass] corridor from the San Fernando Valley down towards the LAX area we haven’t ruled out gone farther south we do have a plan to make some improvements on the 405 freeway along the South Bay area however an important part of our plan is to expand both Highway and transit capacity on the 405 in the [? Pass] down south. We’ve had a lot of feedback tonight about carpool lanes and paid lanes and that something will certainly take into account and pass on the feedback that we’ve had from people tonight.
Pauletta: Thanks very much Rick and Terry for your questions by way of the clock on the wall that tells us that our hour-long telephone town hall has come to an end if you did not have a chance to get your question asked go ahead and press zero and you’ll be able to leave us a message if you would like to leave us your email so that you can get information from Metro from this point forward press seven on your keypad and you’ll be able to get in the queue to leave us your email. You also can check the website for other telephone town hall meetings were to be holding over the next couple of weeks because you can also call in to any of the town halls that he’d like to participate in any of those, but we thank you very much for taking the time to join us tonight on behalf of all the folks here in the room Rick, Tress, Mike and Mark and all of us here in LA Metro a good evening to you all thank you.