Here’s the news from the Expo Line Construction Authority:
The Expo Line is one step closer to reaching Santa Monica today after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved all crossings in Phase 2.
The Commission unanimously approved Resolution SX-100, authorizing the Exposition Construction Authority to build the 16 new at-grade crossings and 11 grade separated crossings planned for the new light rail line between Culver City and Santa Monica.
Today’s approval is the culmination of two years of collaboration between Authority and CPUC staff. The Authority looks forward to starting major construction on Phase 2 early next year.
The Expo Line will provide a much-needed alternative to the heavily congested I-10 Freeway, bringing greater mobility to Los Angeles County by connecting the Westside to the region’s existing rail network.
The list of grade crossings is after the jump.
Table 1: Expo Phase 2 Crossing Information
|Street/Crossing||City||Proposed CPUC Crossing No.||Orientation||Warning Devices **|
|2||Bagely Ave||Los Angeles||84S-107.90||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|4||Motor Ave||Los Angeles||84S-108.70-B||Grade-Separated|
|5||I-10 Freeway||Los Angeles||84S-108.90-A||Grade-Separated|
|6||Overland Ave||Los Angeles||84S-109.50||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|7||Westwood Blvd||Los Angeles||84S-109.80||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|8||Military Ave||Los Angeles||84S-110.10||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|9||Sepulveda Blvd||Los Angeles||84S-110.30-B||Grade-Separated|
|10||Sawtelle Blvd||Los Angeles||84S-110.50-B||Grade-Separated|
|11||Pico Blvd||Los Angeles||84S-110.70-B||Grade-Separated|
|12||Barrington Ave||Los Angeles||84S-111.10||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|13||Bundy Dr||Los Angeles||84S-111.40-B||Grade-Separated|
|14||Centinela Ave||Santa Monica||84S-111.60-B||Grade-Separated|
|15||Stewart St||Santa Monica||84S-112.10||At-grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|16||26th St||Santa Monica||84S-112.40||At-grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|17||Cloverfield Blvd||Santa Monica||84S-112.50-B||Grade-Separated|
|18||Olympic Blvd||Santa Monica||84S-112.60-B||Grade-Separated|
|19||20th St||Santa Monica||84S-112.80||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|20||19th St||Santa Monica||84S-112.90||At-Grade||9, 9E, Ped Gates|
|21||17th St/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.00||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
|22||14th St/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.20||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
|23||11th St/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.50||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
|24||Lincoln/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.70||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
|25||7th St/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.80||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
|26||6th St/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.85||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
|27||5th St/Colorado||Santa Monica||84S-113.90||At-Grade||Traffic Signals|
Well, I had read that MAX did have street running preemption but it must have been referring to the non-downtown street sections although it looks very optimized in the video you linked (in fact I saw only one red light stop that was not at a station which was at 1:50, there was an extended stop for another crossing train 0:43.) I also had watched several other videos where the train did not appear to stop at all downtown (besides stations). On metrorail, traffic light stops are a regular every-ride occurrence and they aren’t even downtown. Portland seems to have optimized it so that almost all of the lights are only red for the train when it is meant to be stopped at downtown stations. LA needs to do some serious fixing of the traffic signals for the trains and I still think full preemption should be implemented like much of Portland MAX has outside downtown.
This link talks about the preemption used in street running on MAX: http://books.google.com/books?id=NbYqQSQcE2MC&pg=PA92
Also, (and I know there can be errors) the Wikipedia article on MAX talks about how preemption is used on all street sections excluding the downtown transit mall where it just has signal priority.
On Edmonton vs. Calgary: The lower ridership levels on Edmonton LRT are probably because the network is not as large as Calgary LRT, which I do agree with you that it may be because of funding the subway, but, I bet Edmonton also funded many highway projects as well when that money could have been used to build out it’s LRT network. It’s the same problem with LA if not worse. While I agree with you that there is not enough political will, I somewhat disagree on the funding because metro has used a lot of funds for useless freeway projects that will do nothing to really improve mobility in LA or provide any new options. Those funds should have gone to transit, plain and simple.
Portland does not appear to have signal preemption or it does not seem to be perfect
I would just like to add that while everyone would like to have grade separation on our rail lines there is not enough funds or political will to make it happen. Subways are inherently the most expensive form rail to build, limiting how fast the rail system can be built out and aerial structures are not very popular due to aesthetic reason. I would rather have an expansive rail system with occasional at-grade segments and signal priority/synchronization than a very limited subway system.
Glad you brought up Edmonton. Calgary and Edmonton both began operations of their rail transit systems at around the same time, 1981 and 1978 respectively, yet Calgary today has 3 times the ridership and track length compared to it’s Edmonton counterpart, 267,500 vs 93,000. I believe Calgary’s cost conscious design has lead to the success of it’s transit system.
It may only save 1 or 2 minutes, but the feeling of sitting at a light as a rider creates negative perception about our rail lines and their function and can be very frustrating to stop and go like that. I’ve seen people react that way and not want to use the line because of it. They always talk about how much better the red line is. People want to get on the train and feel like it really moves along and gets them somewhere without interruption (besides station stops). Personally I will still use rail transit whenever possible. But there will be people who drive instead due to this even if it may not be that logical. Perception and feeling of riding is everything in this town especially when competing with the car.
You mention Portland, well, the trains there have actual signal preemption in the street running sections, as do many other LRT lines like New Jersey Light Rail, MTA Maryland as well I believe, and Seattle LINK when it’s on Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. We need that kind of system in LA, where the train actually preempts the light so it can move through without interruption if it gets off sync with the lights.
The NY and London systems may have low average speeds but its perceived differently by choice riders because its not subject to street-like movement.
Just because other cities have implemented LRT in a street running fashion does not mean it’s the best way to do it for LA. Expo should have been implemented the way that St. Louis Metrolink was or Edmonton LRT was. Both have zero street running and instead run in subways in said sections so they don’t have to contend with street conditions. They are inherently safer for pedestrians too because of it.
I think it’s important to note that the at-grade section in Santa Monica is at the request of the city itself. They wanted the at-grade design option instead of the proposed aerial structure & stations. That’s what happens when a city takes the time to be proactive and cooperative with Metro early in the design phase. You know, instead of being zealous and reactionary like a certain city further east…
The Street Running segment for phase 2 is only going to be the 1 MILE segment on Colorado Blvd. Signal Priority on that segment alone would only save about 1-2 minutes at most. Also Portland, Houston, Calgary and show that Light Rail lines can act like a streetcar for the last mile in urban environments and still be successful. Calgary and Houston being the best examples by having higher ridership per mile than our Blue Line.
This is not say that I don’t support Signal Priority (not preemption like RR crossings) on are street running segments. But I rather not have the perfect be the enemy of the good. Hopefully as more light rail lines come online LADOT and other municipal transit agencies will begin to prioritize mass transit vehicles of personal automobiles.
As for the eastside gold lines “subpar ridership” I think that has more to do with the forced transfer at Union Station than the speed of the line, though the speed is not helping it either. Once the regional connector is in place I expect the eastside segment to see in substantial increase in ridership since passengers won’t have to make the 5+ minute transfer between the red and gold lines to get to downtown.
Food for thought average speeds of New York and London systems are 17 mph and 21 mph respectively while currently our Blue Line has an average speed of 24 mph and this includes the excruciatingly slow 3 mile Long Beach street running segment.
I don’t think this is a good thing. It means that the state is validating Metro’s poor, cheap design of modern rail lines. I don’t really mind the RR gated crossings, but its the street running that really gets me. All the constant slowing down and stopping at street lights between stations really is degrading for something that is supposed to function as a metropolitan rapid transit line. Not to mention that it will deter many potential riders who have a choice between transit and driving. There is a reason the east side gold line’s ridership is sub-par. It’s all in the design.