Transit Briefs: Calgary Transit, LACMTA, NYMTA, SMART, Irwin/GMIWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
An SNC-Lavalin-led consortium lands a contract for the Calgary Green Line LRT project. Also, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) releases its Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the C Line (Green) Extension to Torrance Project; New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) debuts accessibility and circulation improvements at Penn Station in Manhattan; Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) reports that a recent California Supreme Court ruling will help advance plans to construct its northern extensions; and Irwin Transportation Products acquires Hornell, N.Y.-based Gray Manufacturing Industries (GMI), a railcar component supplier and technical consultant for the transit industry.
SNC-Lavalin on Jan. 26 reported that its consortium has been appointed delivery partner for Calgary, Alberta’s Green Line LRT (light rail transit) project, whose first phase will connect southeast Calgary to downtown—11.18 miles (18 kilometers) from Shepard to Eau Claire (see map, left)—and link to the existing Red and Blue lines and four MAX BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) routes. It includes 0.93 miles (1.5 kilometers) of tunnel under Beltline and Downtown (6th Street S.E. along 11th Avenue to 2nd Street S.W. at the planned Eau Claire Promenade); four LRT bridge structures that span the Elbow River, Bow River, Deerfoot Trail and Blackfoot Trail; 13 stations; and an LRV maintenance storage facility. The second phase will run 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) from Eau Claire to 16th Avenue North.
The project has C$4.9 billion in commitments from the governments of Canada and Alberta and the city of Calgary. Railway Age in 2018 called it the “largest-ever infrastructure investment made by Ottawa in the province of Alberta.”
The CSIX Partners consortium—led by SNC-Lavalin and including Aldea Services Inc., Altus Group, Mott MacDonald, and Turner & Townsend—will support delivery of the first project phase and provide commercial management, technical support, project controls and construction management services.
“The Green Line LRT is a historical project that will change the face of transit in Calgary,” said Ben Almond, CEO, Engineering Services Canada at SNC-Lavalin. “Not only will it connect entire communities and improve mobility for people, organizations, businesses and future investors, it will also unlock vital transit oriented development, thus contributing to the city’s economic growth.”
In related developments, CAF in November 2022 supplied a mock-up of the new Urbos 100 LRV for the Green Line project.
LACMTA on Jan. 26 reported issuing a DEIR for its light rail project that would extend the C Line for 4.5 miles from the existing Marine Station in Redondo Beach to the new Torrance Transit Center (see video above). The extension would travel through Lawndale, Redondo Beach and Torrance, and include two new stations to connect the South Bay to the LACMTA system, including connections to the K Line, J (Silver) Line, and A (Blue) Line.
According to LACMTA, the project is funded by the Measure M and R sales tax measures approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 and 2016, respectively, with $891 million.
The DEIR studies three potential routes for the extension (see map above), as well as the environmental impacts associated with each, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). They are:
- Metro ROW Elevated/At-Grade Alignment: Follows the Metro (LACMTA) ROW (right of way) for the length of the project from the existing Marine Station to the Torrance Transit Center, with an elevated segment, followed by an at-grade segment.
- Trench Option: Follows the Metro ROW for the length of the project, with below-grade trench segments between Inglewood Avenue and 182nd Street.
- Hawthorne Option: Leaves the Metro ROW to run along Interstate 405, then turns onto Hawthorne Boulevard near 162nd Street to travel in the center median of the street, before rejoining the Metro ROW south of 190th Street. The entire alignment is elevated.
For the purposes of the CEQA, LACMTA said it must define one of the three routes as the proposed project: Metro ROW (Elevated/At-Grade). This is referred to as the proposed project in the DEIR “as it is alignment that has been studied and advanced over the years,” the agency reported. “This term does not convey any preference or recommendation by the Metro [LACMTA] Board of Directors, who will ultimately vote on a preferred route for the project called the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA).”
The public review period for the DEIR will run through March 31, 2023.
New York MTA on Jan. 26 unveiled station improvements at Penn Station that include a new fully accessible street entrance and fare control area for MTA New York City Transit subway riders at 7th Avenue and 33rd Street; modernization of four existing elevators, three of which serve the subways and one serves MTA Long Island Rail Road (LIRR); replacement or repair of five platform stairs serving LIRR customers; and station circulation, lighting and wayfinding upgrades.
According to MTA, each new elevator offers an emergency elevator two-way communications system to facilitate communication in case of emergency between rescue workers and passengers, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or have speech disabilities. The new fare control area provides customers with better access to subway service and includes information screens that will display service alerts and customer communications.
The new station entrance also features artwork by Diana Al-Hadid (pictured above). MTA said “The Time Telling” glass mosaic “is inspired by Alfred Eisenstadt’s iconic photograph of the famed clock that hung at the entrance of the original Pennsylvania Station.” The large-scale work stands 14’x9” high by 14’x1” wide.
“Accessibility is such an integral part of mass transit, and these improvements will increase reliability for thousands of riders,” NYCT President Richard Davey said. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to inclusive public transit and expanding accessibility throughout the region.”
SMART on Jan. 26 reported that a recent California Supreme Court ruling has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Regional Measure 3 (RM3), which was approved by voters in July 2018, to help solve the Bay Area’s growing congestion problems through bridge toll funds collected and applied toward construction of highway and transit improvements. The RM3 toll revenues will be used to finance $4.45 billion of planned highway and transit improvements, including $40 million allocated for extending the SMART rail system and bicycle/pedestrian pathway to Windsor and to Healdsburg, according to SMART, which last year marked its fifth year operating a 45-mile, 12-station DMU (diesel multiple unit) passenger service from Larkspur north to Sonoma County Airport.
“The funding not only secures our ability to provide passenger rail service to Windsor, but also positions the agency to go further north to Healdsburg and Cloverdale,” SMART Board Chair David Rabbitt said.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) “is awaiting final procedural instruction from the California Court of Appeal on how to begin releasing RM3 funds,” according to SMART, which noted that while “MTC hopes to move quickly to put those dollars to work,” a timeline is not yet available.
While RM3 funds were frozen in litigation, SMART and partner agencies continued to pursue funds to complete the railroad and bicycle/pedestrian pathway extensions to Windsor, Healdsburg and Cloverdale. SMART said it is currently awaiting announcement for four grants for the Windsor and Healdsburg extensions. If these grant applications are successful, SMART said it will be able to complete the extension to Windsor in Fiscal Year 2025 and to Healdsburg in Fiscal Year 2026.
According to SMART, the extensions to Windsor and Healdsburg are estimated to cost $70 million and $160.5 million, respectively.
To date, SMART has secured $84 million for completion of both northern extensions, including $44 million from local, state and federal resources, and $40 million from RM3.
GMI of Hornell, N.Y., has been acquired by Irwin Transportation Products, a division of the Irwin Group of Companies based in Irwin, Pa., the Evening Standard reported on Jan. 26.
GMI and its key leaders, including General Manager Todd Phillips, will remain in Hornell, which is located just south of Alstom’s headquarters. Irwin Transportation Products’ Transit Group Vice President Tim Coomer will be charged with GMI sales and marketing.
Irwin Transportation Products engineers, manufactures and maintains wayside communication, track switching, digital warning and passenger information systems for rapid transit and light rail vehicles and streetcars. It also provides full-service repair and rebuild of AC and DC traction motors. Among its other business units are Atlas Car Products, Traction Motor Services, UKM Transportation and Vecom USA.
“GMI’s customers will continue to receive the same outstanding products and services, and on-time deliveries they have come to expect from the company,” Irwin Group President and CEO William Baker told the newspaper. “The GMI team that customers have worked with over the years, along with the support and resources of the Irwin team, will bring customers new opportunities for innovation and growth.”
In late 2020, Chicago Transit Authority selected GMI to provide material kits for Phase II of the 5000 Series rapid transit car overhaul. The $143 million contract is slated for completion in August 2025.