"Notice to Proceed" granted for construction of Regional Connector project!

map_corridor_reg_conn_eng

It’s official: there are now four Metro Rail projects currently under construction after the Metro earlier this week gave its contractors — the Regional Connector Constructors, Joint Venture — the official “notice to proceed” on building the line. Until recently, Metro never had more than two rail projects underway at the same time.

The Regional Connector will be a 1.9-mile underground light rail line that will connect the Gold Line to the Blue Line and Expo Line in downtown Los Angeles. With a scheduled opening of 2020, the Regional Connector will allow trains to run directly between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles on an east-west line and between Azusa and Long Beach on a north-south line.

That should pass along several benefits to Metro Rail riders: faster and more frequent trains through downtown Los Angeles; fewer transfers for most riders; three new stations in Little Tokyo, Civic Center and 2nd/Hope, and; eliminating the need to turn around every Blue Line and Expo Line train at 7th/Metro Center, where both lines currently dead end.

Utility relocations and other advance work on the project began last year.

The three other Metro Rail lines under construction are a 6-mile extension of the Expo Line between Culver City and downtown Santa Monica, an 11.5-mile extension of the Gold Line between eastern Pasadena and the Azusa/Glendora border and the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line that will run between the Expo Line and connect to the Green Line south of the airport.

The Expo Line and Gold Line Foothill Extension projects are currently scheduled to open in early 2016. The Crenshaw/LAX Line is scheduled to open in 2019; it will eventually connect to a people mover to be built by Los Angeles World Airports to connect the Crenshaw/LAX Line and Green Line to terminals at the airport.

The Metro Board is also scheduled to consider awarding a construction contract later this month for the 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway between the existing Wilshire/Western station and Wilshire/La Cienega. When work begins, there will be five Metro Rail projects under construction.

All five of these projects are receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by two million Los Angeles County voters in Nov. 2008. Measure R included funds for 12 transit projects and a number of highway projects, as well as money for operations and funds for smaller transportation projects in cities in Los Angeles County.

26 replies

  1. What’s the status of the segment that the federal district court found inadequately environmentally cleared under NEPA due to the TBM vs. cut-and-cover issue? Is the plan to continue with other work pending supplementary environmental clearance on that segment?

    • Still in court, but the court provided guidance for how the parties should proceed. There is plenty of work on the project to perform.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. lax is still an embarassment, the airport of a third world city. why call it ‘crenshaw/lax’ if it doesn’t go to lax? what kind of crap is “eventually there will be a people mover?” what is a “people mover” besides a bus which gets stuck in traffic? On an ordinary day, it can take 2-3 hours just to exit the airport. Nearly every large airport on the planet has direct rail to the city center. LAX will never be a world-class airport and LA will never be a world class city. Everyone will be stuck in traffic instead.

  3. Any current litigation(s) by the “big boys up the hill” pending against the Regional Connector that could further delay the start of tunneling?

    • Hi folks;

      As Kelson writes, the people mover will be completely grade separated and will run above the street on an aerial structure.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. So if I’m commuting Santa Monica to/from Pasadena, I still have to do the Red/Purple transfer?

    • Hi Bryan:

      When the Connector is done, you can ride the train from Pasadena to downtown and then transfer at either Little Tokyo, 2nd/Hope, 7th/Metro or Pico Station to westbound train. As for the transfer, you will exit the train from Pasadena and board the westbound train on the same platform. The Connector will also allow trains to run more frequently and during rush hour that could mean trains every two or three minutes, according to Metro officials.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. @drbobschultz, I’m not sure what you’re trying to achieve with your rant, but your hyperbole exposes your argument as passioned opinion rather than any other type of comment.

    Los Angeles is a ‘world class city’, despite your dislike for the airport.
    A people mover is a track-based system on a dedicated guideway, it does not share lanes with busses or anything else and thus cannot get ‘stuck in traffic’.
    2-3 hours to exit the airport? Seriously?
    As far as ‘every large airport on the planet’ having an direct-rail connection, how many airports in California alone have this? I can only think of one, SFO.

  6. @werdna, Metro is currently considering a new policy, allowing free transfers within 90 minutes of purchase. Not in effect yet, but hopefully soon.

    • The new fare policy with free transfers within two hours of a rider’s first tap into the system was adopted by the Metro Board of Directors in May and is scheduled to go into effect Sept. 1 or soon thereafter. We should have all the details relatively soon.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. Steve, you’ll also be able to transfer between the Pasadena-Long Beach line and East LA-Santa Monica line at the Broadway/2nd Street Station.

  8. The Regional Connector will not prevent congestion along Flower Street bewteen Washington Junction and Pico. I doubt LADOT will allow trains every two minutes (essentially a train crossing every 60 seconds on average) in that segment, because that would virtually eliminate crossflow.

    • Fair enough point. Hopefully the Connector will allow more regular flow of trains on more predictable schedule, which could help with the traffic lights — my understanding is that they are timed to give trains “windows” to pass through. If a train shows up during green light window, it gets a green light. In other words, keeping trains on schedule helps with the lights the way LADOT has it set up.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  9. In my opinion, this project is critical, more so than many other Metro projects, as it has the ability to create a truly regional transportation system, and much easier to use than the 2 transfer minimum needed to get across the county. I hope Metro & its contractors do everything possible to keep this project on track, and speed it up if at all possible!

  10. I assume that 7th St/Metro Center will be the terminus for the Expo Line once the Regional Connector is completed?

  11. To “Name Anonymous” (comment from July 10, 2014 at 11:09 PM) — no, the expo line will not end at 7th St/Metro. The idea is that the Expo line will merge with the southern/East LA arm of the Gold line (the “new Gold line”), while the Blue line will merge with the northern/foothill arm of the Gold line (the “new Blue line”). This means you’ll be able to ride from Santa Monica/Culver City to Atlantic Station with no transfers, and from Long Beach to Pasadena/Azusa with no transfers.

  12. Another question about the lawsuit: Would Metro consider making public on its website the unsealed public filings in the case (that’s things like motions that the parties have already filed with the court)? At the moment, you have to pay $0.10 a page to find out what the parties are asking the court to do.

    Because unsealed filings are public records, it wouldn’t be disclosing anything that isn’t already public, and it would help keep us informed about whether there’s any chance the court might stop the whole project or order the FTA to withhold funding pending fixing the TBM/cut-and-cover issue in the EIR.

  13. To go from Long Beach to Santa Monica, you would have to transfer, correct?
    To go from Santa Monica to Pasadena, you would have to transfer, correct?

    Maybe they can “mix and match” some destinations, and/or run “shuttle trains” on the regional connector alone.. will be interesting to see how it plays out, I cant wait.

  14. Woo hoo! But enough of this hand-to-mouth existence. Long-range planning and big projects require steady funding sources. We must repeal Prop 13.