New video focuses on Regional Connector construction on Flower Street

Here’s the new video from the Regional Connector team that provides a timeline of how construction will proceed along Flower Street. The Connector, of course, will tie in with the Blue Line and Expo Line just north of the existing 7th/Metro Center Station.

25 replies

  1. Hi Steve–

    With each phase of piling, decking, box construction, and decking removal, the video shows that they’ll wait for one phase to be completely done before starting the next. It seems odd that they don’t start one phase when the previous phase has worked a safe distance ahead. For example, start box construction when the decking is one block down. Or start decking removal and repaving when the box was 3/4 constructed.

    It seems like the project could be shortened by about a year if these sorts of rolling windows were used.

    Any thoughts as to why the process is so conservative in this respect?

    • Hi Todd;

      I don’t really know enough about the construction process at this point to say anything intelligent. I do think the video is intended to be a general guide and therefore simplified the process. Other factors to consider with construction are the time it takes to hire a contractor — procurement at Metro is not a short process (nor is it at other transit agencies either) — and the time it takes to excavate and build the stations.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  2. How long did the Red/Purple and Blue Line tunnels take to build by comparison? Groundbreaking for the Red Line was September 29, 1986, and service started (to Alvarado Bl) on January 30, 1993, a little over six years….was that first segment about 2.3 miles?

  3. @Neglected Bus Rider

    Speaking of Bias, look at yourself before you throw the first stone because your own bias is that buses are neglected. Your rantings are naive and narrow minded.

    • Look Nathan-I deal with the MTA’s inefficient bus service DAILY, and have done so for nearly 4 years now! I have seen buses break down mid-route, and NOT BEEN REPLACED! I have seen bus service CUT WITHOUT EXPLAINATION, neither to riders, nor taxpayers! I have seen the countless incidents of the MTA’s BOONDOGGLING WASTE OF FEDERAL TAX DOLLARS, as evidenced in: El Monte Station “Redevelopment”, the “studies” for Union Station redevelopment, the repetitive waste of money on “studies” of the extension of the 710 freeway NO ONE EXCEPT THE MTA seems to want! And then finally, there is the “rehabilitation” of bus mainenance yards (like Division 13!), which does NOT MOVE A SINGLE BUS RIDER, NOR IMPROVE ANY BUS LINE! And you say I am “naive”? PICK UP A DAMNED NEWSPAPER, AND TRY RIDING ONE OF THE MTA’S SHRINKING BUS LINES, and you will see what I am talking about! You must WORK FOR the MTA to accuse a rider of being “naive”! Pathetic you are!

      • Hi Nathan and Neglected Bus Rider;

        With all due respect to both of you, let’s please address the issue and not eachother as per our comment policy. I appreciate it,

        Steve Hymon
        Editor, The Source

  4. I’ve never understood the bus vs. rail dynamic that animates so much of transit discussion in L.A. Bus, light rail, heavy rail, BRT — they’re all part of the same network that will get you where you need to go. What is the history of this debate that gets people so attached to one particular mode of transit?

    • Alex-the “history of the debate” you are inquiring about is spread amongst the “predecessor agencies” before the MTA came into existence (look at the “public transit” agencies that existed BEFORE the current MTA came about-1993), and you will see how “light-rail” got replaced with buses (after WW II), and then there was NO LIGHT-RAIL for almost 30 years in L.A., and then SCRTD built the Blue Line, etc. The PROBLEM is that the BIAS of the current MTA towards light-rail ONLY BENEFITS THOSE going into/out of the city of Los Angeles, or those who live WITHIN the city of Los Angeles. Though the Los Angeles COUNTY MTA has an obligation to serve the public transit needs of those OUTSIDE of the City of Los Angeles, it is NOT happening on an equal parity as those who live WITHIN, or go into/out of Los Angeles, on a daily basis!

  5. Neglected Bus Rider, is it productive to make hyperbolic comments when we are making solid progress? 100 years ago people first spoke of a subway link to the west side. Very soon we’ll have a groundbreaking for the first segment of that long deferred dream. We are living in an age of wonders and it pains me how many don’t appreciate what we have and are working to achieve.

    • Here is what I don’t “appreciate” Dana-I DO NOT APPRECIATE that the MTA insists on expanding all of its light-rail lines that only serve to benefit those within, or going into/out of the City of Los Angeles! I DO NOT APPRECIATE that the MTA treats its bus lines, and bus riders like gum on the bottom of a shoe, and doesn’t spend nearly as much on IMPROVING BUS SERVICE as hey do on taking YEARS to EXPAND the light-rail system (I mean, 6 YEARS for a 1.9 mile tunnel for the “Regional Connector”? Are you kidding?). THIS is what is NOT APPRECIATED! So, where exactly is the “solid progress” and parity, when it comes to BOTH BUS AND light-rail expansion? Exactly. It doesn’t exist! Because the MTA hates its buses, and its bus riders-even though its history shows how buses REPLACED the Pacific Electric and Yellow Cars at one time! How was THAT for “progress”?

  6. Steve: two questions. First, does the cut and cover construction allow for the possibility of installing a station at Fifth and Flower if the demand and funding exist in the future? And second, how will the TBM work be staged and sequenced? A similar video showing that process would be very interesting. Thanks for the post!

    • Hi Karl;

      I believe that construction of the Connector will be done in such a way that a station could be added if funding and political support can be found for it. I’ll check that with the Connector staff.

      As for the TBM, I don’t know — but will try to find out later. I’ll let the team know that people are interested and would like to see another video!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Hi Karl;

      Not to assign you reading, but there’s a great deal of info on construction in the Connector’s final environmental documents — see this chapter. The gist of it: the tunnel boring machine will be inserted into the ground in the area near the future Little Tokyo underground station and then proceed toward Flower & 4th.

      Happy reading!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  7. So how fair will it be for someone to travel all the way from Long Beach to East LA for $1.50 because it’s a single line, whereas a person who travels a shorter distance and has to switch lines pays $3.00?

    • Hi LAX Frequent Flyer;

      Under the current fare structure, it’s $1.50 for a single ride on a bus or train no matter the distance, and the Connector will obviously allow for some very long rides (Long Beach to Azusa, which I think is more than 40 or so miles by rail). The fare structure could change by the time the Connector opens — the projected date is 2019 — but there is nothing currently on the table. Metro has said in the past it will consider distance-based fares. But I can’t emphasize this enough: nothing is on the table.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  8. 6 years to build a tunnel of less then 2 MILES?? You are kidding right? If that isn’t then the EPITOMY of “BOONDGGLE”, I don’t know what is!

  9. Transformative. LA County’s greatest project.
    Tied with Wilshire subway.

  10. Hmm. With the proposed airport branch coming off the Expo Line, we could conceivably have a one-seat all-rail connection between Union Station and LAX, rendering the Flyaway bus obsolete.

    And of course, if the junction tying the Regional Connector to the Gold Line is laid as a full wye, then a single-seat ride from Pasadena to East L.A. (i.e., the current Gold Line) could continue to run, if the demand were there. Indeed, the only single-seat ride that would not be at least theoretically possible without ripping up and re-laying existing track would be Long Beach to the West Side.

    For a complex system involving lots of shared track, and a whole rainbow of color-coded routes (one or two of which are forked), that not only works, but works extremely well, I refer you to the Chicago “L.”

    • Hi James;

      A transfer will be required between the Expo and Crenshaw/LAX Lines. Also, a transfer would be needed for Expo Line to Union Station — trains will be running from S.M. to East L.A. through Little Tokyo. That could change, but that’s the plan for now.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  11. Steve,

    Andy is asking if a person travelling from Pasadena/Azusa to East L.A. would have to switch trains. Based on the animation and the current plan, it appears that a person would have to switch trains…probably at First/Central.

    That actually made me realize something else — the regional connector will still require a transfer to get from Santa Monica to Union Station. Ideally, the transfer point between the two future lines should be at Union Station, and not at First/Central. Here’s hoping they resolve that issue with the Regional Connector II – 2060.

    • Hi Brian and Andy;

      Sorry if I misunderstood. Under the operating plan, yes a switch would be required. I’ll ask around and see if there is any plan to continue direct trains btwn Pas and East LA.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  12. Do rider have to change trains from gold line to blue line? your video animation appeared to show that goldline will continue onto regional connector then connect with blue line. What about rider that only wants to go from pasadena to east LA? (those don’t want to connect to blue line)

    • Hi Andy;

      The lines will likely be renamed once the Connector opens. Answer: to get from Pasadena to Long Beach (for example), you would NOT need to switch trains. On the other hand, to get from Pasadena to Santa Monica, you would have to switch trains at one of the downtown stations — you would step off the train from Pasadena and the next train at the same platform would be going to Santa Monica (i.e. they would be alternating). The operating plan could change, but for now that’s the plan — trains running between S.M. and East L.A. and trains running between Long Beach and Azusa (Foothill Extension will be open by then).

      Hope that helps,

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source