Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar Alternatives Analysis to be reviewed by Metro Board

Click above to see a larger image.

The Alternatives Analysis for the downtown Los Angeles streetcar project was released back in January, with the above route chosen as the “locally preferred alternative (LPA).” The study is going to the Metro Board as a “receive-and-file” item this month — meaning that no action is required — and I thought this would be a good time to post it here.

Metro is preparing the environmental studies for the streetcar on behalf of the city of Los Angeles. The above route — one of seven finalists considered — carries an estimated cost of about $106.7 million. The studies are a necessary precursor to getting funding. Among the likely sources will be a variety of federal funds and, in all likelihood, some private money.

A very interesting map from the AA study showing how streetcar lines once saturated downtown L.A. Click above for a larger map.

Both the Los Angeles City Council and the CRA (at its last meeting) have already concurred with the LPA. The next step is a more detailed “environmental assessment” study.

The LPA includes a variation in which the line would be moved from 7th to 9th street if the city of Los Angeles determines there isn’t room for a streetcar on 7th. This particular alignment would also intersect the Metro Red/Purple Line subway and the future Regional Connector, as well as many bus lines.

Metro chose this route for several reasons, including high ridership, cost, community support. The route also was determined to have the best chance of generating revenue through a property assessment, a potential funding source — if agreed to by property owners.

The project could benefit many downtown residents and workers as the streetcar would make travel along its route easier and more predictable (i.e streetcar routes are easy for everyone to find because of the rails in the streets). And the streetcar could help revive neighborhoods along its route — in particular, the Broadway corridor, which needs a boost and has been the target of L.A. Councilman and Metro Board Member Jose Huizar’s Bringing Back Broadway initiative.

The Executive Summary from the Alternatives Analysis is below. The report includes others routes that were studied. The report will be reviewed by the Metro Board of Directors at this month’s meetings, but this is just a “receive and file” review — no action is required by the Board.

Streetcar Executive Summary 2011 0113

9 replies

  1. I hope everybody notices that the Metro Board will “receive and file” the study.

    That’s because this is NOT specifically a Metro project in the same way that the Metro Expo Line or the Regional Connector is a Metro project.

    All talk of taking the money and using it to fund the Regional Connector is moot because Metro doesn’t fully control this project. Look at all of the names and organizations attached. Los Angeles Streetcar Inc., the dearly-departed CRA, Bringing Back Broadway, undoubtedly there will need to be private support for this, and Metro seems to be helping out as they should, but I don’t get the sense that Metro has taken control.

    I like the locally preferred route and I see this as something completely different from either the DASH buses or the Regional Connector.

  2. I’m with Chuckie B on this one.
    With that $106M, you could fund the very much needed regional connector station at 5th & Flower, which would be money better spent.
    Once the connector is up and running, you could then realign any of the Dash bus lines to provide at grade needs in lieu of the streetcar, but at a fraction of the cost.

  3. I think they came close to the right recommendation. My preferred alternative was Alternative 4, with the route on 9th. Putting the streetcar on 7th will cause the southern loop to be too large to act like a two-way system — and 7th has much worse congestion already. Adding bikes and streetcar could mean it just sits in traffic.

    I explain in detail here:

    That being said, the alternative they suggest, with the route going east on 7th would have been my second choice option and the suggested alternative is far better than any of the remaining options that were studied.

  4. Loved the historic streetcar lines map! The downtown Los Angeles that was, and still should be! It is sad to have lost that….

  5. Seriously? You have to be kidding me. Streetcars don’t make sense, esp. when you factor in the expense of it. That $106.7 million estimate (wasn’t sure what that went to: environmental study, buildout, or the cost to run it per annum) could be used to improve current services. With the Expo Line still up in limbo and a number of lines still showing up late, overcrowded, or not at all, it just seems like LA Metro is taking on too much too soon, and the money would be better spent improving current services. Spending all this money, just so that a board member can get his pet project going, will be wasted — esp. if the stream of ‘federal funds and, in all likelihood, some private money’ fails to show.

  6. just wondering about the street car when it is running. is it also going to take metro day passes and such? because that would be great.

    • Hi Shark;

      There is no completion date yet for the streetcar. As the post stated, the project still needs to secure funding in order to get built by the city of Los Angeles.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. I realize this isn’t a Metro question, but with the Expo Line, the Regional Connector and maybe this streetcar coming into being, what’s the process for reviewing the utility of certain lines of LADOT’s DASH buses? For Expo particularly, there’s some duplication between DASH F and the Expo Line.

    Does LADOT use a similar process to Metro’s for line changes? How does service get coordinated between the two agencies?