A small but significant step came today toward construction of the Purple Line Extension’s first segment, with Metro posting a Request for Qualifications for contractors potentially interested in building the project. Here is the specific language:
“The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) is requesting Statements of Qualifications from Respondents for the Westside Subway Extension Project Section 1 Contract for design-build delivery. The Contract is for design and construction of a heavy rail transit subway extension of the existing Purple Line from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western Station to a new Wilshire/La Cienega station. The extension will be approximately 3.9 miles and will include a total of three (3) new stations: Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, and Wilshire/La Cienega. The Section 1 alignment travels westerly beneath Wilshire Boulevard to the Wilshire/La Cienega Station.”
The Statement of Qualifications is used to determine which contractors will be permitted to bid on building the project. That is expected to happen sometime in the spring. Metro hosted a session for potential contractors last fall in which the particular building challenges of the project were explained.
The actual bidding process — known as a “Request for Proposals” — for contractors for the subway project is expected to be posted in spring 2013. At that point, contractors will submit bids, including the price they would charge Metro for building the project. Metro staff will then vet the bids and make a recommendation for a contractor (or contractor) based on many different criteria. The final decision on the contractor will be made by the Metro Board of Directors.
The Purple Line Extension — also known as the Westside Subway Extension — will use a combination of Measure R and federal funds to extend the current Purple Line from its terminus at Wilshire and Western to the VA Hospital in Westwood. Here is the project’s home page, which is chock-full of information.
Subway construction takes time! Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither were the massive subway systems in New York City (where I was born and raised and still call home), San Francisco, Washington and Chicago (throw in London, Paris, Seoul & Mexico City, too, if you want). I think just knowing that this crucial expansion along a major business district will have a subway line running along it with three stations to open by 2020 (seven in total by 2036) is significant enough.
As far as the Crenshaw Line is concerned, three thoughts on the story Ian Lovett wrote in the New York Times on 11/28/2012: (1) There has to be a station for Leimert Park no ifs, ands or buts. Glad to see that that light rail line, like the Westside Subway Line Extension, needs to be built so that more Angelinos can enjoy car-free, bus-free transit. (2) While I have been a champion of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s push to expand the city’s rail system, I do think he should have included the Leimert Park Station in the initial plans. Even if it takes more money to include the station and build it. (3) If I was living in that neighborhood, I would not have any preference whether the Crenshaw Line needed to be an underground line or street level. Personally I prefer an elevated line similar to the Green Line (and many of the lines in New York City outside of Manhattan), but I would simply be thrilled to have a rail line serving that very important neighborhood.
Why wait until Spring? Now is as good as time as ever to get the ball rolling.