LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Karen Bass, put forward a motion with 15 specific instructions to help Metro promote ridership, expand service and improve regional coordination in direct response to the I-10 freeway closure. Mayor Bass is leveraging the nation’s second largest public transportation system to help continue to alleviate the freeway closure’s impacts on commuters and communities. This is part of her continued, urgent focus to support Angelenos during this time.
“The closing of a portion of the I-10 Freeway impacts not only the City of Los Angeles but the entire region,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “Metro has reported that ridership on the E Line is up 10% which runs parallel to the freeway. This shows that our message to take Metro during the closure is resonating, but we have an opportunity to do more to address the impacts for communities and commuters during the closure and beyond, and that is what we will continue to urgently work toward.”
Mayor Bass’ motion directs Metro to:
Speed up buses and trains near the impacted area
Make Metro free and unlimited for LIFE Program riders, who rely most on transit to get around
Increase the number of Transit Ambassadors on the system to support a safe and welcoming travel experience
Reduce future risk at any sites leased from Caltrans, among other actions.
The motion was co-authored by Metro Board Vice Chair and County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Metro Board Second Vice Chair and Whittier Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Dutra, Board Director and Supervisor Hilda Solis, Board Director and Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, and Board Director and Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian. Read the full motion below.
“This is about common sense solutions to help more people get where they need to on the bus or train while we fix the I-10 as quickly as possible,” said Metro Vice Chair and County Supervisor Janice Hahn.
“I’m proud to support Mayor Bass’s motion. The I-10 is a major artery in the heart of Los Angeles. When the I-10 suffers, all of L.A. suffers. With this motion, Metro once again demonstrates our commitment to our riders and to L.A. County,” said Whittier Mayor Pro Tem Fernando Dutra.
“I am honored to join Mayor Bass in prioritizing transit services for residents to help mitigate traffic caused by portions of the I-10 being closed,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “Transit is a critical service for many Angelenos and this motion invests back in them by providing unlimited free rides for Metro’s LIFE enrollees, exploring bus priority infrastructure, additional Transit Ambassador presence, and much more.”
“While the severe fire damage to the I-10 freeway and subsequent closure continues to disrupt daily travel and goods movement across our region, a silver lining in this ordeal has been our renewed appreciation and desire to promote the impressive public transit options Metro has to offer,” said Metro Board Director and LA County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis who represents the communities of Downtown LA, Boyle Heights, East LA, and the San Gabriel Valley. “I am proud to partner with Mayor Bass on this motion that ensures Metro can help manage regional travel demands while freeway repairs are underway by providing easy-to-access, quality alternatives to driving to keep people and goods in the region moving during the I-10 freeway closure.”
“The committee’s action today outlines a comprehensive approach to alleviate the impacts caused by the closure of the 10 freeway, especially Metro’s roll in incentivizing the use of public transit. I fully applaud and support Mayor Bass’s leadership on this issue,” said Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian.
Yesterday morning, Mayor Bass rode the Metro E line to work as she continues to encourage Angelenos to consider public transportation as an alternative to driving. Earlier today, the Mayor’s Office announced the following additional actions to alleviate traffic impacts on commuters and communities as they continue to navigate the impacts of the 10 freeway shutdown and forecasted rain:
The Mayor has directed the Department of Transportation to make the CommuterExpress buses free to help Angelenos safely and quickly get to Downtown via public transportation. LADOT DASH buses remain free as well.
Beginning today, the City is addressing a major bottleneck on the Alameda corridor by creating an additional turn lane in each direction to improve traffic flow.
Additional white-glove traffic officers continue to be stationed throughout the closure area.
More information will be made available on emergency.lacity.gov as the situation evolves.
The full motion reads:
Metro’s Response to I-10 Freeway Fire & Subsequent Closure
Just after midnight on Saturday, November 11th, a destructive fire erupted below the Interstate-10 freeway (I-10) in a pallet yard in the 1700 block of East 14th Street on the outskirts of Downtown Los Angeles. This fire has resulted in a full freeway closure of the I-10 between Alameda Street and Santa Fe Avenue, stretching nearly two miles within the City of Los Angeles. This freeway closure, although temporary, has substantial impacts on travelers by severely impacting access through the core of downtown Los Angeles for the entire Southern California region. It is estimated that over 300,000 motorists traverse this corridor daily, and until this two-mile stretch of the I-10 is reopened, people who live, work, and travel in the region will have to adjust their travel patterns and commutes.
While there is good news regarding expected build times, the urgency that we must continue to bring to our ongoing efforts to help mitigate the traffic impacts on communities and commuters will remain the same. Caltrans is working around the clock with CAL FIRE, California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County, and local agencies to reopen the I-10 as quickly as possible. Governor Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency in Los Angeles County to facilitate clean-up and repair work to support this critical transportation corridor's timely re-opening and directed Caltrans to formally request assistance through the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief Program, as appropriate. Additionally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is anticipated to take action to activate County Departments to support Caltrans and the City of Los Angeles in their efforts to conduct freeway repairs, and support impacted communities in the recovery phase as well as direct inter-jurisdictional integrated corridor management planning to proactively integrate existing or future infrastructure and strengthen collaboration on operations and incident response.
While we continue to work to expedite the I-10 repair, we can encourage Angelenos to take public transportation to save time, alleviate traffic congestion, and help people consider more sustainable modes of transportation. Metro, the second largest transit agency in the nation, continues to build a world-class transit system with the ability to move millions of riders daily, and we are continuing to add bus and rail services onto the network. As such, Metro will continue to have a significant role to play in ensuring people and goods can move safely and efficiently across Los Angeles County during the closure of the I-10 freeway by providing quality alternatives to driving, especially reducing the number of single-occupancy vehicle trips people take to get around during the closure.
WE, THEREFORE, MOVE the Board to direct the CEO to:
Amend goal #4 of the 2024 Legislative Program’s State Goals to include provisions for the reimbursement of transit-related services/expenses incurred during a federal or state emergency declaration.
Promote ridership through regional coordination:
Coordinate with the City, County, State, and Federal agencies to take the necessary action to support the recovery phase for the communities impacted by the I-10 freeway fire and subsequent closure.
Collaborate with Tier 1 transit operators and Metrolink to expand and coordinate services affected by the freeway closure to encourage and promote ridership.
Collaborate with local jurisdictions to increase opportunities for bus priority lanes and bus signal prioritization on lines affected by the closure.
Collaborate with local jurisdictions and Caltrans on E-Line & A-Line signal prioritization, including but not limited to closing the eastbound I-10 on-ramp that crosses the A & E Lines right-of-way at Flower Street.
Coordinate with local jurisdictions and special traffic operations to support reliable travel for major and special events.
Develop a strategy to prepare and implement Integrated Corridor Management (ICM) plans for major freeway corridors in partnership with Caltrans, Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and additional local jurisdictions.
Provide incentives for public transportation and enhance services:
Lift the monthly cap on transit rides for participants of the Low-Income Fare is Easy (LIFE) program for the duration of the freeway closure.
For Metro riders, reduce daily parking rates to 10 cents at Metro’s Park and Ride lots, excluding NFL Game Day promotions, for the duration of the freeway closure.
Provide fare-free rides on Metro Bike-Share for the duration of the freeway closure.
Launch a marketing campaign to encourage transit ridership while the I-10-freeway is undergoing repairs.
Beginning November 23, 2023, work to enhance station services and amenities by deploying additional Transit Ambassador teams at key origin stations around the entire system to ensure adequate coverage is available to serve additional transit riders using the system for the duration of the freeway closure; expanding cleaning services at Metro-owned stations and platforms as needed; and improving lighting at Metro-owned parking lots, bus stations, and station platforms, as necessary.
Assess impacts of the freeway closure and ensure reimbursement of eligible expenses:
Instruct Metro Real Estate to prepare an inventory of Caltrans-owned properties leased by Metro to ensure compliance with the lease terms and recommend corrective action if needed.
Report back to the Board within 30 days of the freeway reopening, on the effectiveness of various travel demand management strategies utilized during the I-10 freeway closure, including a separate report back on how to improve the transponder technology to provide accurate arrival at transit stations, starting with lines affected by the closure.
Report back to the Board within 30 days on ridership changes related to the freeway closure.
Submit grant applications and conduct any necessary actions, including negotiating and executing grant agreements and signing requests for reimbursements to the California State Transportation Agency, California Department of Transportation, California Office of Emergency Services, and other pertinent agencies to secure State funds for emergency operations and infrastructure protection services, as necessary.