Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council (Met Council) approves $350 million in federal transportation investments. Also, Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Bryn Mawr Red Line Station wins Architecture “MasterPrize” Award and Garfield Green Line Station wins BLT Built Design Award; LA Metro’s Foothill Gold Line Light Rail Project is nearly two-thirds complete as 2022 ends; and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Pawtucket, R.I., commuter rail station is set to open Jan. 23.
Met Council on Dec. 20 approved $350 million in federal transportation investments for 91 projects across the region; 55 cities and seven metro areas will benefit.
The funding will benefit several Metro Transit projects, including $7 million for the Green Line LRT Extension, $7 million for the Blue Line Lake Street Station Renovation, and $5,136,00 for the 38th Street Station Modernization.
Every two years, the Met Council’s Transportation Advisory Board—made up of residents, business leaders and elected officials from cities and counties in the region—develops a plan to allocate what’s known as “federal transportation formula funding.” That recommendation is then sent to the Met Council for agreement.
“Input at the local level is critical to the success of any plan, but it’s especially critical when you’re planning where to invest in transportation,” said Met Council Transportation Committee Chair Deb Barber. “You have to have the input from the communities you serve to know precisely which investments make the most sense.”
According to the Met Council, in this funding cycle, the Transportation Advisory Board had 50% more funding to work with after Congress passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) last year. For the first time in a decade, Congress increased funding available for programs that reduce congestion, make highways safer, and invest in bikeways and walkways. But in addition to those established programs, the bill, Met Council adds, also created a new program aimed at fighting climate change by investing in transportation programs that cut back on carbon emissions.
Over the past 10 years, the Twin Cities region has received about $200 million every two years to distribute for transportation investments. Had that amount of funding remained steady, Met Council says it would have been able to fund 44 projects across the region. However, with up to $350 million available this cycle, the Transportation Advisory Board was able to grant federal funding to 91 total projects across the region.
CTA, in partnership with EXP, an architectural and engineering firm, and contractor Walsh-Fluor Design-Build Team, on Dec. 28 announced that the temporary Red Line Station at Bryn Mawr received the international Architecture MasterPrize award in the “Transportation” category and the Garfield Green Line Station, also designed by EXP and built by Walsh Construction, won the international BLT Built Design Award in the “Bridges and Public Architecture” category.
This is the latest in notable architectural awards for the Garfield Green Line and Bryn Mawr temporary Red Line stations. In September 2022, the Bryn Mawr station won the ‘People’s Choice’ award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Chicago. The Garfield station has previously been recognized with design awards from AIA Illinois and AIA Chicago.
The temporary station at Bryn Mawr was built to serve rail customers during construction of CTA’s $2.1 billion Red and Purple Modernization (RPM) Phase One Project, which includes rebuilding Bryn Mawr and three other Red Line stations into fully accessible, modern facilities. While designed as a temporary facility to serve passengers during the first half of construction, CTA and EXP developed a design that was “attractive to the community and pleasing to customers given the duration of the RPM project (2019-25).”
Originally built in 1892, the Garfield Station was renovated in 2018 as part of the agency’s $43 million Garfield Gateway Project, which involved elevator and escalator enhancements and extensions of the platform canopies, as well as visually enhanced architectural features embellished with new work by renowned Chicago artist Nick Cave.
“I thank the distinguished Architecture MasterPrize and Built Design Award juries for these honors,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “These awards showcase CTA’s effort to be a leader in innovative station architecture.”
“EXP’s design team is honored to celebrate these awards alongside the CTA, as they represent the collective commitment to design outstanding and noteworthy transit architecture,” said Thomas Hoepf, FAIA, EXP’s Vice Senior Vice President/Design Director.
“Though the Bryn Mawr Station is temporary, we are pleased with the functionality it has provided as well as the way it stands out in the local area,” said Dave Shier, RPM Project Executive for Walsh-Fluor.
The Architecture MasterPrize “celebrates architectural design excellence and innovation in commercial, conceptual, educational, green, healthcare and wellness, heritage, high-rise, hospitality, industrial, infrastructure, institutional, mixed use, recreational, residential, restoration, social housing, transportation and more.” A jury of architects, industry professionals and academics considered entries in 41 categories across the disciplines of architecture, interior design and landscape design
The BLT Built Design Awards “recognized the expertise of all professionals involved in the realization of outstanding projects, from Architecture firms, Interior design experts to construction products, and project management. BLT Built Design Awards encompasses all forms of buildings, projects, and infrastructures that cope with today’s urbanization challenges and inspire the next generations.” Winners were selected by judges composed of 40 professionals, media representatives, entrepreneurs and academics in the architecture and design fields.
The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority (Construction Authority) announced Dec. 28 that LA Metro’s 9.1-mile, four-station Foothill Gold Line light rail project from Glendora to Pomona is nearly two-thirds complete.
Major construction on the project began in July 2020 and, despite building during the COVID-19 pandemic, the project “continues to remain on budget and on schedule to be completed in early 2025, when it will be turned over to LA Metro for training and pre-revenue service (Metro determines when passenger service starts),” said the Construction Authority, an independent transportation planning and construction agency created in 1998 by the California State Legislature to plan, design and build the Metro Gold Line (currently called the L Line) light rail system from Union Station to Montclair.
Construction of the light rail project, the Construction Authority says, is a “substantial undertaking,” requiring the planning, design and construction of bridges, stations, grade crossings, the track system, the electric power system and much more through four cities and over more than nine miles. It requires careful coordination between the Construction Authority, the design-build team of Kiewit-Parsons, a Joint Venture (KPJV), corridor cities, partner agencies and third-party agencies.
In June 2022, the project celebrated 50% construction completion; and looking back over the accomplishments of the entire year, the project has reached the following milestones:
- Completed the freight track relocation within the now shared corridor to make room for new light rail tracks.
- Completed long-term reconstruction of 20 of the project’s 21 at-grade crossings.
- Completed construction of 18 out the project’s 19 new or renovated bridges, including completing three of the four new light rail bridges that cross major city streets.
- Installed six of the project’s eight traction power substations that will convert power from the local utilities to the type required by the light rail system.
- Began construction on all four new light rail stations.
“With oversight by a great team, hard work of an excellent contractor and support from our project partners, 2022 was a successful and memorable year for the Construction Authority and the next segment of the Foothill Gold Line,” stated Foothill Gold Line Board Chairman and Claremont Mayor Ed Reece. “The Foothill Gold Line is now nearly two-thirds complete and the vision of making light rail service available for more of the San Gabriel Valley is drawing ever closer.”
Looking ahead to 2023, the Construction Authority and KPJV anticipate completing nearly all major construction activities needed for the project, including completing the four new light rail stations, light rail track installation, light rail power system, project walls and more. Testing of the light rail system is expected to begin by the end of 2023.
In addition, in January 2023, the Construction Authority and Metro anticipate hearing back on the status of a joint application filed earlier this month to the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) for the full funding grant request to complete the remaining project segment from Pomona to Montclair. At Metro’s December board meeting, the Metro Board unanimously agreed to apply for the project’s full funding need as part of a state grant program available for Southern California major transit infrastructure projects, which is being funded by surplus dollars from last year’s state budget.
“I want to thank our state legislators, county supervisors, Construction Authority and Metro board members, and San Gabriel Valley cities and organizations for supporting this funding application,” stated Construction Authority CEO Habib F. Balian. “The Pomona to Montclair segment is the final segment of a 25-station system that has been underway since the early 1990s. It is shovel-ready and can be completed across county lines into San Bernardino County in five years once funding is secured.”
The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) recently announced that the Pawtucket-Central Falls train station, which will connect the MBTA Commuter Rail service with the R.I. Public Transit Authority’s bus service at Pine Street in Pawtucket, could open on Jan. 23, according to a 12 News report.
According to the 12 News report, the station, which will offer service between Boston and Wickford, will be part of the Providence/Stoughton line and was originally slated to open in summer 2022. The station will also feature a surface parking lot for commuters.
According to RIDOT, and as reported by 12 News, state officials estimate the station, which is estimated to cost $63 million, including both state and local funds, will attract 520 daily boardings and generate economic development in the area.
According to the 12 News report, riders can currently catch the Commuter Rail at the Attleboro or Providence stations. The South Attleboro station has been closed since February 2021, due to “significant deterioration of the pedestrian overpass,” according to MBTA.
According to the 12 News report, the announcement of the station’s opening date “initially created some confusion, as the MBTA originally posted the same date as RIDOT on its website.” The date, 12 News reports, was later removed and a spokesperson said they are still coordinating a date with RIDOT.