Crenshaw light rail and Green Line extension take small step forward

Two projects — an extension of the Green Line and the Crenshaw Corridor — got a wee bit of a boost in the Metro Board of Directors’ planning committee on Wednesday afternoon.

First, the committee asked for a more detailed environmental study on an extension of the Green Line to a new regional transit center in Torrance. The tracks would be along the southern part of the so-called Harbor Subdivision, a rail corridor purchased by Metro in the early 1990s.

The project is due to receive $280 million in Measure R funding, according to the Measure R expenditure plan. But under the long-range plan recently adopted by the Metro Board, the project wouldn’t be complete until 2035 (see page 23 of the long-range plan).

Second, the planning committee chose a light rail line as the preferred alternative for the Crenshaw Corridor project and moved that item to the full Board of Directors for their approval.

Both a busway and light rail line have been studied for the Crenshaw Corridor and last week Metro staff issued a report saying that light rail would be faster, attract more riders and be a better long-term investment for the community. (Here are two recent posts on The Source on the staff report and some other issues involving the line.)

I think one of the more interesting parts of the Crenshaw Line is that one-third of the line will be separated from the street, with rails either going underground, in a trench or on bridges. That should allow the line to operate at higher speeds — a good thing when it can be done safely.

Under the current plan, grade separations are to be located:
• Between 39th and 48th Streets (below grade)
• Between 60th St. and Victoria Avenue (below grade) (Design
Option 4, included to respond to adverse visual impacts)
• Across La Brea Avenue (aerial)
• Across La Cienega Boulevard/I-405 (aerial)
• Across Manchester Avenue (aerial) (Design Option 2, included
to respond to traffic impacts identified in the Grade Crossing
• Across Century Boulevard (aerial) (Design Option 1, included
to serve an improved connection to Los Angeles International
• Adjacent to the Los Angeles International Airport south
runways (below-grade trench)

During public testimony on Wednesday, some community members said that building the line at street level between 49th and 58th streets would not be safe and urged Board members to find the money to grade separate the line in that area.

Another issue to keep an eye on: The city of El Segundo does not want a planned maintenance yard, instead looking at the land for a commercial development.