Blue Line Police In Long Beach A Start On Improvements

Release Date: 2017-03-03

For almost a decade, Long Beach, the second largest city in LA County, has had no seat on the Metro Board of Directors. When I was elected to join the Metro Board a couple of months ago by local mayors, I made fixing the Blue Line a top priority.

The Blue Line, the oldest line in the LA County Metro system, has been plagued with failing infrastructure, underinvestment, slow trains, and the worst crime of all the rail lines. To make matters worse, the Long Beach Police Department has had no policing responsibility over the Blue Line. For years, Metro has contracted with the LA County Sheriff to provide security and policing in our city.

This needed to change.

I’m proud that last week, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously approved my motion to contract with the Long Beach Police Department (LPBD) to patrol the Blue Line and the eight platform stations in our city. This would not have been possible without the incredible support of LA Mayor Eric Garcetti, Metro staff and our own LBPD.

This $30 million contract over a five-year period will allow Long Beach to hire approximately 30 new police personnel to patrol

the Blue Line. In Long Beach, this means law enforcement response times will improve dramatically as Metro predicts they could fall from 14 minutes to less than five.

In addition, Metro also has contracted with the Los Angeles Police Department to expand policing once the Blue Line leaves Long Beach and heads toward LA. This new safety plan will begin in a few months and will transition throughout the system over the course of this year

In the months ahead, you will also see new investments and dramatic improvements to the Blue Line. Metro will spend more than $1 billion in upgrades and enhancements to improve reliability, as well as safety, on the Blue Line.

Over the course of the next year, we will replace the entire fleet of Blue Line trains with new trains, we will re-signal traffic lights to save riders time between Long Beach and Los Angeles. We will also be improving the rail infrastructure and adding a fare compliance system at four Long Beach stations.

And as part of our top down review of the Blue Line, we are also exploring the feasibility of new innovations including an express line from Downtown LA to Downtown LB, connecting the Blue Line to a new planned rail system that stretches from Artesia to LA, and a reimagining of local platform stations at Wardlow and at our Downtown transit mall station.

There’s much work to do to make the Blue Line safer and a better experience for riders. I am hopeful that in my new role as a Metro Board member, I can serve as a strong advocate for the Blue Line and Long Beach.

I want to thank our Long Beach Police Department, the City Council, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the numerous supporters and residents who have supported me in these efforts.

Let’s all work together to make the Blue Line a world-class riding experience.