A closer look at job centers and transit in Los Angeles County, including Century City

Many job centers are served by local or commuter rail. Source: U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics, 2008.

This week, I decided to revisit the Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics database to get a sense of which job centers are served by local or commuter rail in Los Angeles County.

Many big job centers (illustrated by the darker shades of blue in the map above) are served by transit. These job centers include Warner Center in Woodland Hills (Orange Line BRT); Pasadena (Gold Line); Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster (Metrolink); Long Beach (Blue Line); and downtown Los Angeles.

Others are not at the moment. For example, the northwest San Fernando Valley is a darker shade of blue. It will soon have the Orange Line busway extension, scheduled to open in 2012 and a project funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line will travel along Aviation Boulevard through the job-rich area surrounding LAX. The South Bay area is also a darker shade of blue; an extension of the Green Line to Torrance is currently under study. And the Foothill Extension of the Gold Line coincides with the darker blue area along the 210 freeway in the San Gabriel Valley.

Several areas of the Westside – Westwood, Century City, and Beverly Hills – are as jobs-rich as downtown Los Angeles. The Draft EIS/EIR for the Westside Subway Extension notes the jobs in those three areas are comparable to the number of jobs in the central business districts of cities such as Seattle, Denver and Atlanta.

A closer look at the geographic distribution of jobs reveals that many centers not currently served by rail will receive rail service under Measure R, such as the Wilshire Corridor, Century City, and the South Bay. Source: U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics, 2008.

The second map, however, vividly shows what is rather obvious: these three big job centers are not currently served by local or commuter rail. Under Measure R, that area is slated to be accessible by the Westside Subway Extension and the second phase of the Expo Line.

As many of you know, Metro is still trying to finalize the location of the Century City stop. The third map shows what Metro officials have said recently: the stop on Constellation is closer to more jobs, mostly because the stop on Santa Monica Boulevard is bordered to the north by a golf course.

As this 3D rendering of the distribution of jobs within a mile of the corner of Constellation and Avenue of the Stars illustrates, Century City is a major job center in Los Angeles County. The yellow circle highlights the number of jobs within a quarter mile of Constellation and Avenue of the Stars. Source: U.S. Census Bureau Local Employment Dynamics, 2008.

Through the Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics database, I was also able to extract the number of jobs within a quarter-mile, half-mile, and a full mile from proposed stations in Century City:

Quarter Mile Half-Mile One (1) Mile
Santa Monica and Avenue of the Stars 14,611 31,293 51,344
Constellation and Avenue of the Stars 26,215 34,698 55,241

Of course, those are distances “as the crow flies.” Chapter three of the subway draft environmental study contains some nifty images showing areas that can be reached within a quarter mile and a half mile of each station as people would actually walk them. Two maps from the study — from pages 3-52 and 3-53 — are below.

Safety and other issues regarding both stations and the tunnels to reach them are still being evaluated as part of the project’s final environmental impact report and the decision where to place the station is ultimately up to the Metro Board of Directors. Again, to emphasize: the safety issues are not trivial and they may trump the jobs issue. As the numbers above show, both stations have the potential to serve a lot of workplaces.

Note: The map is missing the 91 segment of the Metrolink rail network.

Click above to see a larger image.

Click above to see a larger image.

10 replies

  1. why did you mention Palmdale and Lancaster.
    Metrolinks don’t operate that frequently. Plus how are you going to get to those companies without good local connection. That is the reason I never search in those areas. I can not depend on metrolink/Amtrak to get to Palmdale/lancaster. i don’t know how to get from metrolink stations to the companies

    I agree many jobs are in Pasadena. However, the local connections. That is the reason it is faster for me to walk after I get off the stations. There is Pasadena art/267/180/780 (which will be cancelled)

    Same thing is true is WLA. So many people work there, will building rails help. yes and no. If there are good local connections, how people are going to get to work. i know it because a lot time I get off wilshire/sunset/venice, it is faster for me to walk 45 minutes than taking buses

    I wish MTA could serious post something meaningful

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  2. Ok, nice graphics, and makes one wonder why Metro shows no immediate plans of putting rail line down the 405 corridor. We consistently see spokes coming from downtown. The only real North-South line goes thru the ghetto, a route with little security. Go read some riders’ comments on Yelp sometime and hear about their nice experiences on that line.

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  3. Here comes the usual crying and moaning from the public. “It doesn’t go where I NEED TO GO, so it is USELESS!” Disgusting.

    Metro is trying to build a real system. It takes a lot of time and money. They’re doing many times better than they were 15 years ago.

    These maps prove that Metro is doing what it SHOULD be doing: building the Westside Subway extension because that’s where most of the jobs are. These are the densest, richest areas of LA County, job-wise, that do not already have rail service.

    Also, this will open up a large number of areas to the tourist trade not now accessible. Tourists want to go the beach, LACMA, UCLA, Santa Monica, Third Street Promenade, USC, West Hollywood, etc. The Expo Line and the westside subway open up all these areas and incorporate them into the rail NETWORK.

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  4. Look at that concentration in Glendale and Burbank. Metro Rail serving Brand Blvd in Glendale and job centers in Burbank needs to come immediately after the 30/10 projects are done.

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  5. Thank you for the very interesting post. I appreciate the visual stuff you’ve been doing. The only quibble I have is that the graphic depicting the jobs around Century City does not show the proposed Santa Monica location for comparison.

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  6. It’s so incredibly obvious where the Century City station absolutely needs to be (at Constellation) that BH residents should be ashamed of their selfishness and provincialism.

    BH is absolutely an embarrassment to this city and IF for some reason I actually LIKED in BH (god forbid), I would be banging down my councilperson’s door telling them they are to support the Constellation station!

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  7. At the same time Metro develops rail for the job centers it slashes local transit service in many of those areas. Since the implementation of the TAP card it also feels that Los Angeles transit leaders don’t truly care about tourism.

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  8. These maps are very useful. I would love to see the work expanded to account for a couple of other factors. If jobs were the only destinations, and the subway were being built only to serve existing jobs, then the argument to put the station at Constellation would be overwhelming. However, here are a couple of considerations I’d like to see represented graphically as well.

    1) Non-job destinations. In considering station use, we need to include trips to Westfield’s mall and other shopping destinations, as well as to entertainment, to hotels and to residential high-rises.

    There’s an argument to be made that subway riders making shopping trips, or even trips to their homes, are more likely to be toting bags or other burdens than an office commuter would be, so a longer walk would creates a greater inhibition to riding the subway.

    2) Effects of potential changes in land use. “If you build it, they will come,” was the famous promotional line for “Field of Dreams.” If a subway stop goes in at Santa Monica Blvd., will the golf course hold out for long? Or could it be looked at potentially as a blank canvas for transit oriented development and amenities? If this were a possibility, it would clearly change the math.

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