A Better Blue Line: major construction right off the bat

Major construction work on the Blue Line in downtown Long Beach began this past weekend. Here are a few photos of the tracks on 1st Street being removed. Work on the tracks and the four closed stations will continue until October 19. For more information on the closure and the Blue Line bus shuttles, see this previous post. We’ll have more updates as the project progresses.

16 replies

  1. Unless there’s a major track reconfiguration in the Long Beach area, why take track that’s in perfectly good (actually, excellent) condition, remove it, and then replace it? Couldn’t the money be much better spent on constructing an extension to San Pedro, with a possible connection to an extension of the Green Line coming down from Torrance?
    Paul S., I’m in TOTAL agreement with you on the problems encountered at Pico station. I’ll have you know that Los Angeles is so damned automobiliated that when it comes to rail transit, this area appears extremely moronic. It would have made much more sense to keep everything underground (Blue Line in tunnel to Washington station, and Expo Line in tunnel to a point just west of Expo/Vermont station).
    Also, instead of four tracks narrowing down into just two for the Downtown Connector,keep everything as four separate tracks with crossover connections, since the north portal will also have two separate two-track lines at that end as well. And at thw Washington Blvd./Long Beach Ave. end, a second connector could branch off, heading toward Alameda St., turning north on Alameda, to connect with pre-existing lines at First & Alameda, with one station at 7th.
    If anyone remembers where the old Amoco Junction was, a set of tracks could branch off (in the form of a two-track wye), utilize the old right-of-way (which is still largely unblocked), and connect with the Expo Line right there in the grade separation at the curve at Exposition and Flower St., thus providing passengers coming up from Long Beach with a one-seat trip to Santa Monica.

  2. With the new hise rise residents and hotels going in in sout park and the With Regional Connector increasing the train follow through the area is the Blue Line and Expo Line running above projections and some time at capacity, is Metro looking at how to increase follow and capacity at the Pico Station?
    Possibly putting the station underground or at least increasing the size of the station to accommodate for patrons waiting for trains (the platform is too small for the number of riders that will be waiting for trains especially after events for nearby LA Live or Staples center)
    Also vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the area will increase slowing the trains at the street crossings.
    It would be nice if Metro and the developer of the adjacent project could plan a passage way through the new complex with a bridge or tunnel connection to the Pico Station.
    The renovation of the station was part of the Farmers Field project that is now dead. Metro needs to take the lead and fix the Pico Station and the surrounding system before it becomes a major bottle neck in the system.

  3. In terms of improvements elsewhere on the Blue Line, has Metro looked into developing a plan for gradually adding grade separations at the most congested intersections? The stop-start of all the grade crossings is a huge problem, and really prevents the Blue Line (and Expo, and Gold) from competing adequately with driving for non-transit dependent patrons. The trains need to beat at least rush hour traffic, and often, they don’t.

    • I’m unaware of any plans or studies for grade separations along the Blue Line. I personally completely agree with you that being competitive with rush hour drive times is important as is transit frequency — time waiting on a platform is time when you’re going zero mph.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Is there a way, in the photo gallery pages, to have the photos in their native aspect ratio, not the forced square size?

  5. Station work in Long Beach is nice, but how about speeding up the trains on Long Beach Blvd. The lights should be time for the trains like on Wash. Blvd in LA. I’ve biked , racing the train in LB and won every time. Anything being done about this?

      • That sucks because as the county transportation agency you would think that you would be able to overrule the city but oh well that’s long beach

    • Likely the reason why the trains are slow on LB Blvd is because of federal regulations that restrict the speeds of trains that are not protected by gated crossings, signals, etc. and cross into intersections. They are normally restricted to 35 MPH in those situations IIRC.

    • Eden and Thomas;

      The work does not involve signal prioritization and there remains no signal priority in Long Beach. The city does have some traffic signal synchronization, but it does require stops at some locations and the reverse running on either track to accommodate the downtown work is slowing the trains down. The city is working to do what they can to help improve the train movement, according to Metro Rail Operations, and the Blue Line schedule is being adjusted accordingly to reflect the current run times. As for the big picture — signal prioritization in Long Beach — you can certainly advocate for that with Long Beach officials. As is the case elsewhere, the city controls the traffic signals.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  6. Will these stations be getting brand new canopies? or just refurbishments to existing canopies?

      • How about moving the main lb station east of pine. You can then make it larger and put ramps on both ends. You can also close the first st station as it will be to close to the new location.