The Metropolitan Transit Authority (METRO) held its first-ever Small Business Opportunity Summit Monday at the California African American Museum (CAAM) and about 300 people turned out for the event, which was designed to help entrepreneurs connect with agency executives responsible for contracting and procurement as well the contractor selected to construct the Crenshaw/LAX light rail.

Additionally, the event enabled attendees searching for employment to connect with the METRO Human Relations department and find out about the bus operator training program.

According to METRO CEO Art Leahy, the transportation agency hired 1,000 employees this year, and expects to hire another 1,000 next year.

In addition, METRO, has jurisdiction over construction projects valued at almost $2 billion that include the Crenshaw, Gold and Exposition light rail lines, a regional rail connector at Union Station, and highway improvements.

The summit also featured information on the transit-oriented (TOD) and transit adjacent development planned along the Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line. This development is expected to begin once the rail line itself is completed.

There are four to five plots already identified for transit oriented development including the space at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards where an L.A. County Probation building currently sits; the block that encompasses Earlz Grill; the Warehouse Shoe Sale building on Crenshaw Boulevard in Leimert Park; a lot in Inglewood at West and Redondo boulevards where a currenlty unused county building sits, as well as land in downtown Inglewood bounded by La Brea and Florence avenues and Market Street.

On other rail lines, TOD projects encompassed housing and retail development.

To obtain information on the TOD happening in Inglewood, call (310) 412-5230. In the city of Los Angeles, various community area plans will govern what transit development is done. The West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Leimert Community plan sets the requirements for the Crenshaw/Exposition boulevards intersection, and is currently in the final stage of a seven-year plan review. The new plan was approved by the Los Angeles City Planning Commission on April 11, and will now go before the city council Planning and Land Use Commission (PLUM) as the next step in the approval process.

To view the new West Adams plan and keep abreast of the newest developments, visit the website

Businesses owners who want to learn how to do business with Metro can attend a monthly workshop held on the second Tuesday of each month from 9:30 a.m.-noon. The next meeting will be held Nov. 12 at the Metro headquarters board room at 1 Gateway Plaza. To register or get more information, call (213) 922-3502.

A pre-proposal conference will be held Nov. 1 in the Metro Board room for those companies interested in participating in the Los Angeles Union Station Southern California Regional Interconnector Project.