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Last Friday, the Alliance for Community Transit (ACT-LA) held an activation event at the Compton A (Blue) Line Station. ACT-LA has pushed for treating Metro stations as commons or sanctuaries, mainly through the increased presence of people - from vendors to ambassadors to musicians - as a solution to greater public safety, without increased presence of armed law enforcement. These recommendations are explored extensively in ACT-LA's 2021 report Metro as a Sanctuary: Reimagining Safety on Public Transit.

ACTLACompton2022September9
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The activation event was meant to show what these solutions look like. The event was co-hosted by Metro, the city of Compton, and L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell. It included street vendors, transit ambassadors, wayfinding, an info kiosk, performances, bathrooms, bathroom attendants, and more.

Unlike most transit stops around the world, Metro keeps its rail and BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) stations nearly entirely free of vending and staffing. In theory, the agency is open to "improve station amenities," but, with very few exceptions, the agency works against vending and other activities by trying to keep its stations as sterile as possible.

It is encouraging that Metro and Compton City leadership - including CEO Stephanie Wiggins and boardmembers Holly Mitchell, Jacqueline Dupont-Walker, and Fernando Dutra - visited the ACT-LA activation event. These leaders come together for single-day station events, but it is much harder to imagine them changing Metro's longstanding treatment of stations as anything but commons.

Last week's station activation drew a crowd of more than a hundred people, though most of these were agency and non-profit staff
Last week's station activation drew a crowd of more than a hundred people, though a large portion of these were agency and nonprofit staff
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The event included Metro's new Transit Ambassadors. The first class of 60 ambassadors are training this week, and will be out on Metro trains and buses by early October.
The event included Metro's new Transit Ambassadors. The first class of 60 ambassadors are training this week, and are expected to be out on Metro trains and buses by early October.
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The ACT-LA activation included attended restrooms - unfortunately very rare at Metro stations
The ACT-LA activation included attended restrooms - unfortunately very rare at Metro stations
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ACT-LA worked with Compton to repair planter irrigation and plant new shade trees
ACT-LA worked with Compton to repair planter irrigation and plant new shade trees
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Activation event viewed from the passing Metro A Line
Activation event viewed from the passing Metro A Line
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See some additional images at Streetsblog L.A. Twitter thread.

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