By Kevork Kurdoghlian
GLENDALE — City Council Member Ara Najarian was recently named the 2017 Top Elected Official by the Southern California chapter of the American Public Works Association. He was warded at the APWA Annual Awards Luncheon on Thursday, December 14th.
Najarian was selected for being a champion of public works in Glendale and Los Angeles County. As a council member and three-time mayor of Glendale, Najarian led the way on several major public works projects. he played an instrumental role in bringing to fruition the Fairmont Avenue – flyover bridge project, Doran Street and Broadway/Brazil Grade Separation project, Chevy Chase sewer and reservoir projects,and many others.
He has continued to lead the way by calling for a study to analyze the feasibility of a downtown Glendale streetcar, connection from Glendale to the Metro Gold and Orange Lines via bus rapid transit (BRT), and several other public works projects. As director of the board of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, also known as Metro, representing the northern corridor cities, Najarian voted to advance numerous public works mega projects to include the Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Downtown Regional Connector, obtaining equity funds from Measure R, renovating Union Station, electrifying the Orange Line, “the Northwest 138 Corridor studies, freeway improvement modifications, connection to LAX and more.
On Metrolink Board, He Focuses on Safety
On the Metrolink board where he serves as its second Vice-Chair, Najarian’s focus is on safety. He has advocated for double tracks in rail lines, and championed life-saving technology called Positive Train Control (PTC), a GPS based safety technology that can stop a train in and prevent train-to-train collision over speed derailments, and unauthorized train movement. Najarian has also authorized the procurement of Tier 4 locomotives, improving locomotive reliability and reducing emission. He was also responsible for the additional rail station at Hollywood/Burbank Airport for the Antelope Valley Train, expected to wrap up construction in May 2018. Najarian has continued on his quest for safer transit with his efforts behind a quiet zone in Glendale, quad gates, new rail passenger cars, and crash energy management.
Najarian was first selected to the Glendale City Council in 2005 and first appointed to the Metro Board of Directors in 2006. He is the second longest serving metro board member. Najarian held the position of Chairman of the MTA Board of Directors, a multi-billion dollar agency, in 2008. “I am honored to receive the prestigious award by The American Public Works Association, Southern California Chapter. Seeing as there are so many qualified and talented local public elected officials. It makes this recognition even more significant,” Ara Najarian said.
The American Public Works Association, Southern California Chapter, provides leadership to and serves the public works community by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy, and the exchange of knowledge.