How We Roll, Jan. 25: new motion calls for studying rail to new Rams stadium


Art of Transit: 


Transit-Oriented Sports: 

Nice win in San Jose. Kings play the Avalance at Staples on Wednesday — a convenient short walk from the Blue and Expo Lines’ Pico Station.

Could Metro Rail reach the new Inglewood stadium? (Urbanize LA)

Even Cleveland has figured out a way to get light rail to Browns games. Photo: Google Maps.

Cleveland has figured out a way to get light rail to Browns games. Photo: Google Maps.

We posted last week about a Metro Board motion to create a “Metro Line to Goal Line” task force to study how Metro can best get Rams fans to games at the Coliseum and, eventually, the new stadium in Inglewood. Now there’s a second motion (below) before the Board to study a possible light rail extension on Prairie Avenue to serve the new football stadium, the Forum and the new residential and commercial development that Rams owner Stan Kroenke plans to build at the old Hollywood Park site.

As Urbanize LA points out, Measure R provides $272 million in funding for a South Bay Green Line Extension; keep in mind that light rail projects typically cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Under Measure R, the Green Line Extension project wouldn’t be completed until the mid-2030s and Metro has yet to select an alignment, although early studies have focused on extending the Green Line along its current path on the old Harbor Subdivision freight railroad right-of-way.

As we’ve pointed out numerous times, the new football stadium isn’t impossibly far from Metro Rail, although it’s hardly as close as trains are to many other NFL stadiums. The Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Downtown Inglewood Station is about a 1.5-mile walk from the football stadium with the Florence/West Station about 1.9 miles. The Green Line’s Hawthorne Station is about a 1.8-mile stroll.

The Metro Board is set to discuss both Rams-related motions at its regular Board meeting on Thursday, which begins at 9 a.m. The meetings are streamed online — a link will appear here after the meeting begins. Here’s the new motion:

Quasi-related: And then there is the Rams quarterback situation, as Peter King notes in his Monday Morning QB column: “Then there’s the matter of the quarterback position. Philip Rivers turns 35 this year; this will be his 13th NFL season. The Rams don’t have a quarterback of the long-term future unless either Case Keenum or Nick Foles shocks the world. So what we have here is one team for sure and maybe a second, and an iffy future for both in terms of on-field success.”

NFL fans already know that the Rams are in a conference that includes Super Bowl veterans/victors Cam Newton, Aaron Rogers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Eli Manning and others such as Carson Palmer, who had a rough day Sunday but has proven to rebound from difficult situations (See: Cincinnati Bengals).

Quasi-related 2: My pre-season New England-Packers Super Bowl failed to happen but I feel pretty good about my Super Bowl prediction: Carolina 55, Denver 13. If you’re reading this while sitting on the 25th floor of the Metro mothership, it’s super easy to change anything/everything in this blog post!

California’s falling gas tax revenue leads to massive cut in transit project funding (LAT)

Tough times in Sacramento on the transpo budget front -- as usual. Photo: Franco Folini, via Flickr creative commons.

Tough times in Sacramento on the transpo budget front — as usual. Photo: Franco Folini, via Flickr creative commons.

Actually, the cuts approved last week in Sacramento amount to $754 million for road and transit projects over the next five years — if the Legislature can’t agree on new ways to raise revenues. Los Angeles County could potentially lose $191 million.

Bottom line: holding off the cuts could mean raising the state gas tax at some point (it’s currently about 40 cents per gallon). Surprise, surprise: that’s a politically unpopular and difficult thing to do. It would require a two-thirds vote in a state with already high gas prices, a lot of sprawl and a lot of driving.

Stay tuned.

Orange County’s bus ridership declines are the worst in Southern California (Voice of OC)

Photo: OCTA.

Photo: OCTA.

OCTA has lost about 30 percent of its riders since 2008. Between then and now, OCTA has also cut about 21 percent of its bus service hours.

As the article points out, bus ridership is down at many other transit agencies, perhaps as a result of service cuts. In 2008, Metro had about 395 million bus boardings. In 2014 — the last full year available — Metro had about 352 million boardings, according to the American Public Transportation Assn. In 2008, Metro was budgeted to run about 7.77 million annual bus service hours. That number is now 7.06 million, although it should be noted that the declines came before 2012.

As the Voice of OC points out, many bus agencies are responding by trying to enhance bus service on certain corridors instead of following the older practice of sending buses into every neighborhood, even if those buses show up infrequently. And, as one of their sources, says:

“Cities and regions are investing heavily in car infrastructure, publicly and privately. In Orange County, the transportation priority for spending is widening the freeway,” Anbinder said. “You’re paying people to drive. People who have a choice choose to drive, because that’s what the transportation investment has prioritized.”

Bullet train may be built first in Northern California (LAT)

Will the bullet train make it first to SoCal or the Bay Area? Or either? Rendering: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

Will the bullet train make it first to SoCal or the Bay Area? Or either? Rendering: California High-Speed Rail Authority.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority had been giving signals that it intended to first finish the bullet train between Los Angeles and the Central Valley. Now the Authority is dropping hints it may be the other way around: with the train first going between the Valley and the Bay Area, which is seen as less expensive and technically challenging.

Why? Well, the southern route may mean tunneling under both the Tehachapi Mountains and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Of course, north versus south is a bit of a moot point given that the tens of billions of dollars in funding to get the train to San Francisco or Los Angeles has yet to be secured yet. Let the record reflect again that I love the idea of a bullet train in California. I would probably love it more if funding was a sure thing. Also, I think a five-hour train ride between the Bay Area and L.A. will attract plenty of riders; the current goal of doing it in well under three hours will almost certainly make the train very expensive.

All the weird, wonderful ways people react to being alone on the train (Citylab)


The chance of snagging an empty car in most big cities isn’t high, although possible late at night or early in the morning. The article includes some pottymouth language — be warned — and some amusing social media posts about those who secured some solo time on the train. Oh, and please don’t stand on the seats….




13 replies

  1. I presume Metro will be looking at game-day shuttles a la Bruins at the Rose Bowl, but has Metro considered running the shuttles through the Inglewood Park Cemetery? Only have to do it 8 days a year, increased revenue for the cemetery, and no fighting traffic and/or tying up a traffic lane on Prairie.

    • There are plenty of uses for a football stadium other than the NFL you know. The suggestion of a shuttle will do fine doesn’t take into the account of things like using the stadium for other sports venues, live concerts, conventions, political debates, or even a place for emergency shelter during a natural disaster.

  2. Regarding the QB position for the L.A. Rams, my vote is for Tim Tebow. He won a playoff game in his second year with the Broncos against the Steelers, and has proven himself to be a great team leader, as well as a player who gives 110% every game. Bring Tebow to the L. A. Rams!

    • Deborah:

      That is a very fine idea. I like Tebow, too. NFL coaches and execs have proven to be very small-minded when it comes to him because he’s not a traditional pocket passer. At the very least, I’d want him on my team as a backup QB and someone who could probably play other positions.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Just build it this way. It’s far more logical to extend one part of the Crenshaw Line all the way to Slauson Station and spur off the north-south portion all the way down Prairie or Crenshaw. Opens up possibilities of a transit line down to Gardena and Torrance too.

  4. I would have to agree with James. I’m as pro-rail as the next person. But, it’s way to premature to invest in rail projects for once every couple of weeks (and seasonal) demand. There are many more reliable sources of year-round ridership demand that should be prioritized for direct, no-connections-needed service ie LAX. I’m happy the Rams are back, but they should be mandated to pay for traffic mitigation relief ie traffic enforcement and shuttle buses. Rail to the goal line can come in the future after we’ve found funding for regional connector, Norwalk to SFS metrolink connector, etc.

  5. Shuttle buses take thousands to the Hollywood Bowl. That’s the way to go from rail to stadium.

  6. For several reasons building a light rail spur is a dumb idea. As much I’d like to see more LR especially on Hawthorne Blvd, biweekly stadium traffic will not ‘drive’ any such project. Neither will the nearly bankrupt cities of Inglewood and Hawthorne.

    IMO practicality will win out. Game day shuttle buses will run between the Crenshaw line Fairview Heights station and the Green Line Hawthorne station. The city should consider dedicating one traffic lane north/south on Prairie Ave to expedite the shuttles, and locals will learn to avoid that street on game day!

  7. I hope Metro has some people on staff who are immune to NFL fever. I fully expect the Rams to jump ship a couple decades after their stadium opens. It happens all the time. It just happened to St. Louis! Metro needs to plan routes with high ridership, not pander to the cultural popularity of the NFL. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

  8. Prairie seems likely to be ruled out due to the fact that it would require new station stops on the Crenshaw and Green Lines. That being said, this corridor seems to have better ridership (and maybe even per-mile ridership?) potential than the brief extension of the Harbor Subdivision. I expect that Metro will return Hawthorne with its huge ROW and Crenshaw as the two feasible options. Of the two, extending Metrorail through the South Bay on Crenshaw seems appealing, especially if it were then to be used as a unified N-S line from Torrance following the proposed Crenshaw northern extension to Hollywood/Highland. In that scenario, Metro could build the Blue Line/Crenshaw connector along Slauson (like they should be planning on doing anyway) and run trains along the Harbor Subdivision from Union Station to LAX.

  9. The City of Inglewood with the help of Metro and the City of Hawthorne should build a street car on Prairie Avenue to the three stations. The streetcar also needs to run through Downtown Inglewood to spur the economy in the area. The Rams may want to chip in too but, that would take money away from their parking income, maybe…