Attentive readers know that the Westside Subway Extension is scheduled to reach an important milestone later this summer: the release of the project’s draft environmental impact statement/report, otherwise known as a DEIR.
The lengthy document looks at the reasons the line should or shouldn’t be built, its impacts on the built and natural environment and how it may be constructed, among other things. The public will have several weeks to comment on the DEIR and then Metro staff will issue their recommendations on the project.
This map shows one of the subway alignments under study, with the route extending past the 405 freeway to near the VA Hospital in Westwood. Click above for a larger image.
If, for example, staff recommends the line should be built, they’ll also have to select a route and station locations, among other things. Eventually it will be up to the Board of Directors of Metro to vote on those recommendations and launch a Final Environmental Impact Report/Statement, an even more refined document that is required by law before construction can begin.
In the run-up to the release of the report, we wanted to do a series of polls on The Source asking readers what they thought of various issues along the line that have yet to be resolved. We’ll look at these issues going from east to west, beginning with a big one: should there be a station at Crenshaw & Wilshire?
•There is not consensus in the surrounding community whether a station is wanted.
•The area is mostly low-density and residential and the Crenshaw station would be just one-half mile west of the current Purple line station at Wilshire & Western but 1.5 miles from the next planned station at Wilshire & LaBrea.
•Metro estimates that a Crenshaw station would have about 4,200 to 4,300 daily boardings in the year 2035 and would cost about $153 million to build. The line, if extended to the VA Hospital, is initially expected to generate about 80,000 boardings at new stations.
•There are no plans at this time for the planned Crenshaw light rail lane to come north of the Expo Line. A separate study said that if the Crenshaw Line is ever extended north to the Wilshire corridor, it shouldn’t be at Crenshaw but instead someplace to the west.
So what do you think? Take the poll and we’ll update you on results as the votes start to pile up.
I posted a poll recently asking readers their opinion of whether the 30/10 Initiative would pass muster with Congress.
Seemed like a reasonable enough question. The 30/10 plan proposes to build 12 transit projects funded by the Measure R sales tax increase in the next decade by securing federal loans and other financing. Elements of the 30/10 will likely require law to be written and, as you know, Congress and President Obama are the deciders when it comes to writing law.
Given the steady stream of not-always positive media about Congress, I have to say the results of the poll surprised me — that readers were lopsided in their view that the folks in distant Washington D.C. would see the merits of the 30/10.
Here’s a comment left by reader Clark Johnson that perhaps reflects readers’ optimism:
I think that Congress will realize that Mass Transit projects around the nation not only create jobs but also are greener and move more people around major urban centers. Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco just a few communities that need to continue to build and work on Mass Transit. Smaller Cities need to manage their transit needs with Light rail & Trolleys too. Lets write our Congress and let them know that we must continue to invest in American Infrastructure and a more greener society- Mass Transit.
Not a bad idea — writing Congress. In fact, here’s a recent post listing the addresses and websites for all the members of Los Angeles County’s congressional delegation for attentive readers who like to fire off emails and letters to their elected representatives.
And while I’m at it, here’s an offer: If you write Congress or the White House and get an interesting response, pass it along to The Source and we’ll post it. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
We asked readers last week if they believe that Congress and President Obama will one day approve of the 30/10 Initiative, the effort to accelerate the building of Measure R transit projects in Los Angeles County.
I have to say I’m a little surprised by the answer so far, with 87% of readers opining that Congress and the President are doing to get it done.
Response has been a little on the low side, so please take the time to take the poll.
Thursday is “Dump the Pump Day,” with motorists encouraged to take mass transit once a week as a way or join a carpool or vanpool to save some coin and do something nice for the air.
Sounds good. Of course, it would also be good if there were more mass transit options for all riders.
Enter the 30/10 Initiative, which proposes to build a dozen of the Measure R transit projects in the next decade instead of the next 30 years by using a series of federal loans and other financing tools.
But for 30/10 to happen, Congress likely has to create a 30/10 program — none exists now — that transit agencies across the nation can use.
Such a law will likely be part of the federal transportation spending bill that Congress must pass every few years. The last one was in 2005 and the new one was supposed to be taken up by the House of Representatives and Senate in 2009. Due to legislative delays and other issues that have taken priority, the bill likely won’t be negotiated and voted on until 2011.
Several members of Congress have said they support 30/10. So has U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, an Obama political appointee. What do you think? Will Congress do it? Vote above and let’s measure readers’ confidence level in Washington.
A couple of weeks ago we asked Source readers if they had any interest in a different fare structure for Metro. As I wrote at the time, there is no proposal at this time to change Metro’s fare structure, but given concerns and/or questions over the July 1 fare increase, I thought it was an appropriate time to gauge where Source readers were on the issue.
As the above results show, none of the four scenarios I put together earned the support of a majority of the 555 votes cast in the poll. But 71% of those who did vote seemed open to the idea of either a higher base fare or some type of higher fee in order for the right to transfer bus and/or rail lines. As many of you know, Metro currently charges riders per line they take, no matter how far the trip is on the line (daily, weekly and monthly passholders, of course, can transfer unlimited times).
One other note: As we posted the other day, the Board of Directors of Metro will consider a motion by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa that seeks to expand the use of EZ passes. An amendment to that motion by Supervisor Mike Antonovich asks the Metro staff to consider time and distance based fares, which are commonly used by transit agencies AND seem like something easier to accomplish with TAP cards, given their ability to store information.
I’ll forward the poll results to the offices of Villaraigosa and Antonovich, given their interest in the issue.
Not to be a nag but…I’d still like to see more responses to the fare structure poll that we recently posted.
Why? Although there’s no proposals on changing the fare structure currently on the table, it couldn’t hurt for agency staffers to have this kind of information in case the issue of fares and transfers comes up.
I’m hoping a few more votes are cast this week on a poll we recently posted asking Source readers what kind of fare structure they prefer for Metro. Here’s the earlier post along with some more context.
There are no proposals on the table, but The Source has an audience in the agency and ideas discussed here sometimes make their way back to decision-makers.
We’ll do another post looking at results by the end of the week.
A lot has been written and said in the past few weeks about Metro’s impending fare increase that goes into effect July 1. (Here’s a link to the new fare structure).
As part of that conversation, the issue of transfers has again arisen — two stories in the local papers this morning mentioned it, as discussed in today’s transpo headlines. Metro eliminated transfers several years ago in favor of a day pass that is equal to the cost of four individual bus or train rides.
I’m taking an educated guess that works for some riders and not for others. For example, in a survey of Metro riders conducted by the agency last year, 53% of those who responded said they would be willing to pay $2 to ride the entire system for two hours.
Thus the below survey. I did not include specific amounts for fares in the above poll because I don’t want to create the impression there’s any such proposal on the table at the agency. The above poll is really more about a concept than anything specific and perhaps people at the agency who think about such matters will find the results interesting.
I also want readers to ponder this: If — and it’s a big ‘if’ — the agency was to ever change the fare structure and such a change resulted in a loss of revenue, that money is likely going to come from somewhere else. That could possibly mean service cuts. On the other hand, the agency could also take the chance that making the system easier to use is worth the financial risk and could pay for itself by attracting more riders.