Metro’s bold plan to transform transportation

A long list of transit projects, road improvements and commuting options could be built over the next five decades under a $120-plus billion spending plan Metro released Friday for a potential November sales tax ballot measure. The Metro staff report and attachments are above, including some revisions made since the report’s initial release last Friday. Here’s the link to a PDF of the report and attachments on metro.net.

The spending plan would also devote billions of dollars to pedestrian and cycling projects, commuter rail, transit operations and programs to keep the Metro transit system in a state of good repair. The plan, too, would return billions to local cities — money those cities could spend on their own local transportation projects and transit services.

The big theme here in one sentence: we’ve come a long way in building a modern transportation system in Los Angeles County but we still have work to do.

Many transformative projects are part of the plan. If the ballot measure goes to voters and is approved, the sales tax would begin in mid-2017 and target the following highway and transit projects to be completed in the plan’s first 15 years:

Transit projects (first 15 years) 

•Construction of an expansive rail station/transit center where Crenshaw/LAX Line riders will transfer to a people mover (which LAX is planning to build) that will serve LAX terminals.

•The Purple Line Extension subway to Westwood (a decade earlier than currently planned).

•A potential rail line or bus rapid transit project on Van Nuys Boulevard north of the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley.

•A new ExpressLane and bus service along the 405 spanning the Sepulveda Pass. A second phase of the project would add a potential underground rail line between the Orange Line and Purple Line. A third phase would extend the project from the Purple Line to the LAX area.

•Grade separations and improvements for the Orange Line busway in preparation for a mid-century conversion to light rail.

•A potential light rail line between Artesia and the Green Line in South Gate. A second phase in the 2030s would extend this new line from the Green Line to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

•A bus rapid transit project on Vermont Avenue between Hollywood and 120th Street, which includes the stretch of Vermont between the Red/Purple Line and the Expo Line.

•An extension of the Gold Line from Azusa to Claremont.

•Bus rapid transit between the Orange Line and Red Line in North Hollywood and the Gold Line in Pasadena.

Highway projects (first 15 years)

•Purchase of right-of-way for the High Desert Corridor, a potential new freeway, energy and high-speed rail corridor between the 14 freeway and State Route 18 in San Bernardino County.

•A project on the 710 South between the ports and the 60 freeway to improve congestion, ease truck traffic and improve the movement of freight. It will be built in two phases, with the second phase in the next 15 years of the spending plan.

•New lanes for the 71 freeway in Pomona between Interstate 10 and Rio Rancho Road.

•ExpressLanes on the 105 freeway between the 405 and 605.

•A new carpool lane and truck lane in each direction on the 5 freeway between the 14 freeway and Lake Hughes Road in the Santa Clarita area.

•SR 57/SR 60 interchange improvements.

An active transportation project in the first 15 years is completing the Los Angeles River bike path between downtown Los Angeles and the western San Fernando Valley.

Other projects to be built in the second 15 years of the plan: an extension of the Green Line to Torrance; an extension of the Eastside Gold Line to South El Monte or Whittier (the other branch could be built later as an option to accompany an additional 10 year extension of the tax); direct HOV connectors for the 60/105 and 405/110 interchanges; new auxiliary lanes and ramp improvements on the 405 in the South Bay, and; an extension of the 110 ExpressLanes to the 405.

Projects in the final 10 years of the plan: a potential northern extension of the Crenshaw Line to the Purple Line, West Hollywood and Hollywood; bus rapid transit on Lincoln Boulevard, and; an extension of the Green Line to the Norwalk Metrolink Station.   

The full list of projects can be found in Attachment A of the report posted above. A description of the major projects is in Attachment H.

Please keep in mind these projects are on top of the three under construction (Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Extension to Wilshire/La Cienega and Regional Connector) and the one that is about to open, the Expo Line to Santa Monica (May 20).

The potential ballot measure would ask voters to increase the countywide sales tax by a half-cent for 40 years and to continue an existing half-cent sales tax (Measure R) for 18 years. The staff report will also provide the Board with scenarios for taxes running longer than 40 years.

The Metro Board of Directors will decide at their meeting next Thursday whether to formally release the draft plan to the public and begin a public review and input period. If the Board releases the plan, Metro would hold community meetings and Telephone Town Halls across the county this spring.

Another point of emphasis: This is a draft plan for public review. It could change. The Metro Board will have the final say on the spending plan and whether to put a ballot measure before county voters. That decision is scheduled to be made at the Board meeting on June 23.

Why do I use the word ‘potential’ when discussing some of the above projects? Because Metro still must complete environmental studies for those projects. The spending plan seeks to provide enough funds for more expensive alternatives that were not previously fully funded.

The spending plan for the potential ballot measure is based on input from stakeholders across Los Angeles County. Metro staff selected projects to be funded and the order in which they would be built based on wide-ranging criteria. Among them: improving travel times, increasing safety, providing better access to transit for those most dependent on it, reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change and creating and maintaining local jobs.

Something else that is crucially important to understand: having local funds is the key to building anything these days. Local dollars attract state and federal dollars. That’s how things get built in the 21st century. Example: Metro used local funds to help secure nearly $1.9 billion to help build the Regional Connector project and the first segment of the Purple Line Extension.

To say the least, this is an ambitious plan. I encourage everyone to read the staff report and attachments. There is a lot here to digest. We’ll try best to answer your questions in the comment sections. And we’ll certainly be posting a lot about many aspects of the plan in the coming weeks.

Metro also invites the public to provide input by emailing theplan@metro.net.

The home page for the The Plan is here.

And here’s the official press release from Metro.

121 replies

  1. Metro is a joke. I have been commuting from Long Beach to Culver City for the past four months and have seen multiple situations where the metro could improve traffic flow by synchronizing lights or by allowing a more direct approach. Simple changes that will not cost billions. Yet they build more rail and disrupt current traffic flow even more. As a taxpayer I am disgusted by the actions of Metro.

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    • Hi Eric;

      Traffic signals are controlled by the cities where they are located. It’s up to those cities to decide how much priority they will give transit vehicles by providing how much time they give green lights for trains.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

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  2. The Blue Line out of Long Beach allows anyone to go on and off FOR FREE and there is no police presence. The crazies and gangs have free run and crime is rampant. I had a homeless person follow me off the train and walk behind me all the way to the Staples Center telling me how I was going to get hurt badly. Don’t wonder why people don’t ride the train when you know it’s dangerous by design.

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  3. I’ve lived in Mid-City for more than 20years and if you remember there was just the old railroad and trash . Now my daughter uses the Metro everyday safely and added bonus is the bike trail. I have absolutely no complaints!! Thanks whoever backed this effort

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  4. Disney had it right, and now Bombai India is doing it in the most congested city in the world and it’s working. An above ground Monorail system can be built quickly and much less expensive than a subway, It’s way more fun to ride and futuristically beautiful. WHy is this not being explored, do you really think bike lanes are the answer. we spent billions on the 405/Sepulveda pass and it’s a joke. Caltrans tore down a bridge and built the exact bridge only 1 lane wider instead of replacing it with a modern beautiful bridge supported in the center with wide spans for future lane expansions. what about the 101 traffic jam from hollywood to downtown that could be fixed easily by widening the bonnie brae and edgeware overpasses. how about the 101 N exit and on ramp at Campo de Cahuenga, there are 7 lanes merging into a hairpin turn and the 4 lanes that are there are squeezed in. All because of the design of the off and on ramps that are built on the highway where two more lanes could have been built for a total of 6 lanes leaving the city.. the backup caused by this blunder goes all the way downtown..

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  5. How about bragging about building expensive apartments near the train lines so everyone will still drive their cars… Also make sure to tell us about how many bike parking spaces you gonna put in at a new building that helps with traffic….

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  6. The last thing LA needs in more buses and I wish our stupid leaders would realize that. There are so many buses on the roads that THEY are creating traffic. The majority of buses are empty or a 1/3 filled.
    It also doesn’t help when there are 4 buses running up and down a street and they’re separated by a few seconds. What ends up happening is grid lock because each bus is trying to stop at the same bus stop on the corner and then pull out in traffic.
    Another problem is TO MANY BUS STOPS. WHY is there a bus stop on every other corner. Place the stops at lease a half a mile in between! Make people walk a little bit more, it’s not going to hurt, that’s how it was for me when I was younger (20 years ago). I have seen SO MANY times; someone gets off of a bus at one stop and 1 block down another person gets off, and then 2 blocks down another person gets off. SO MANY STOPS!!!
    People have become way to lazy if they can’t even walk 1 or 2 blocks. And don’t say “it’s for the elderly”, because “non-elderly” people out number the elderly by 95% on the bus.
    Subways and light rail are the way to go. They’re out of the way, faster, and more reliable, PLUS it gets a lot of these buses off of the roads.
    Subways and light rail will be cheaper if the city and county does not put more money into the buses.
    Also an added police present in a MUST on the trains and near major bus stops. To many gang members and bums riding.

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