How We Roll, Feb. 22: L.A. rail dreams, a sales tax proposal in L.B., real Expo 2 news soon

Expo opening date: Metro CEO Phil Washington and Metro Board Members will announce opening day after the Metro Board meeting on Thursday. Boom!

Transpo Talk: The LAT is holding a half-day transportation conversation that includes some interesting speakers, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Metro CEO Phil Washington, planners and folks from the Hyperloop project and Google’s self-driving car team. More details here for those who wish to apply to attend (as the LAT puts it). A discussion that will involve Metro’s potential ballot measure is also on the docket, moderated by transpo reporter Laura Nelson.

Art of Transit: 


Reminder: The NoHo-Pasadena Express begins service on March 1. Details and timetable here.

RemindMe: Thanks to a Source reader for reminding me there had been updates to the timetables for the Blue and Expo Lines. Here they are.

Speeding up the Orange Line: this has been long-discussed and now testing of running buses at higher speeds through some intersections is underway. Here’s a post from December about a study on the speed issue and other potential Orange Line improvements.

From the Department of Hockey: 

The Blue Line’s and Expo Line’s shared Pico Station is a very short stroll to Staples Center.

And things are tightening up in the west with the NHL regular season entering its final stanzas…



Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia asks for sales tax hike (Long Beach Telegram)

Citing needed infrastructure spending (roads and water) and the need to hire more police officers, Long Beach’s mayor says the proposed increase would be one cent for six years and then a half-cent for four years. The city would like to put the issue on the June ballot, which coincides with the state’s presidential primary.

Metro needs to reconsider the Eastside subway (Red Line Reader) 

First, some history. As this blog post points out, once upon a time there was a plan to connect the Westside to the Eastside (or vice versa) via a single subway. That plan didn’t survive the 1990s for a lot of reasons, a big one being the lack of funds.

Enter Measure R, which includes a project to extend the Eastside Gold Line further east. As the studies have evolved, that could possibly mean South El Monte or Whittier or both, depending on politics and funding. Neither route is easy. There’s a superfund site to navigate on the route to South El Monte and getting the tracks from East L.A. to Washington Boulevard has proven challenging because of the residential neighborhoods and streets in between.

What to do? Red Line Reader suggests going back to concepts behind the original plan and building a subway extension from 4th/Wilshire in DTLA to Washington/Painter in Whittier. The post argues this would be a much faster line and gain more riders than a light rail extension. Excerpt:

I’m not going to say that this would be easy. It would represent a major upheaval, which, in the staid world of local bureaucracy is often enough to reject it out of hand. It is not the opinion of this blog that heavy rail fully below-grade is an expense that must be sprung for everywhere, but where it makes sense to put high capacity rapid transit, we are doing ourselves a disservice by not making the most of the opportunity.

That’s an accurate paragraph. This would be a major upheaval and then some. At this time, Metro continues to work on the environmental studies for the Eastside Gold Line Extension. As far as I know, replacing the light rail project with a subway one hasn’t really come up with cities along the two proposed rail routes pushing for the light rail project. Of course, the future is the future, meaning things could change. But I think a subway route east remains a very big long shot, at best.

The most optimistic possible LA Metro map (Curbed LA)


I’m putting this here to emphasize: THIS IS NOT A MAP PRODUCED BY METRO!!!!!!!!!!!

The map is from Curbed via Jake Berman of Studio Complutense, who drew the map to include pretty much every transit project — funded or otherwise — mentioned in Metro’s 2009 long-range plan or other studies.

It’s fun to look at but it’s not very realistic in terms of current Measure R funding or what may be funded via the potential ballot measure that Metro is considering. Speaking of, here’s the section of devoted to the ballot measure and here’s a post from last fall with the latest staff reports.

Metro staff are scheduled to release a spending plan next month for the potential ballot measure that will include a list of transportation projects — transit and otherwise — that would get ballot measure funding. Trust me, when that burps out to the world, we’ll do our best to explain everything here.

Bullet train to start in north but plan calls for $2 billion for LA region (KPCC)

Even though the California High-Speed Rail Authority now wants to first build bullet train service to the Bay Area, the Authority says it still plans to spend $2 billion on regional rail improvements in our region. That could mean more rail-street separations and helping to fund the run-through tracks project at Union Station.

That project would allow Metrolink and Amtrak trains to enter Union Station from both the south and north — at present, all trains must enter from the north via a big horseshoe curve. That could reduce travel times for both rail carriers and increase the capacity of Union Station in the future.

Recent How We Rolls

Feb. 19: is there funding to get the bullet train to either Nor Cal or So Cal?

Feb. 18: of density, traffic and transit in Los Angeles and elsewhere.

Feb. 16: bullet train versus drought, roundup of new Metro staff reports.

Feb. 12: will pulling up to your hot date on transit ever be the same as pulling up to your hot date in a Ferrari?

Feb. 10: is the future the Hyperloop, self-driving cars and faster/cheaper transit?


10 replies

  1. Does anyone know what the status of the green line extension is? This project has not been yet approved, correct?

  2. I agree with ExpoRider,

    The radial concept is not appropriate for Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a linear city with multiple cores, not a concentric one with one center. By structuring the whole transit system in a way that riders have to travel back and forth across to city grid to get where they want to go is creating a cumbersome journey that is unappetizing to even the most patient of us.

    This “Most Optimistic Map” misses critical areas of need, this should be the lowest target and we should be shooting far beyond this.

    Crucial areas of need missing from the map are:

    1. Where is a East/West Ventura Blvd. line serving citizens in The Valley? This is a dense area and the closest line to this community is almost 2 miles north to the orange line.

    2. I also think a North/South subway line under the hollywood hills linking Laurel Canyon/Ventura Blvd. to Wilshire/Fairfax would be a transformative improvement in linking the valley to midtown.

    There needs to be lines going from where people live to where people want to go. Having one line in the middle of the valley and one line in mid-town are obvious issues, if you are expecting people to get out of their cars you need to provide them with a network that will get them from home to destination quickly.

    3. Where is a a North/ South line serving citizens between Santa Monica and Playa Del Rey? Lincoln Blvd. would be an obvious choice.

  3. A Whittier Blvd. subway makes a lot of sense and solves a lot of problems. So does an LRT line to Whittier on the old P.E. Line through Huntington Park. The West Santa Ana Branch could share the route into Downtown Los Angeles. Neither of the two proposed Gold Line routes make much sense.

  4. Several other missing links in the “Most Optimistic Map”, many of which are already under study by Metro:
    North Hollywood to Pasadena E/W connection;
    Crenshaw extension to Red Line;
    Green Line extension from Torrance to Long Beach;
    Vermont Avenue BRT.
    Also, the graphic artist seems to be obsessed with the idea that every line should connect directly to downtown LA. A radial system is fine to get the ball rolling, but a built-out system is usually designed around a grid pattern that allows easy connections (with transfers) to the entire region.
    Aside from that, it looks great!

  5. The most glaring problem with that map is the lack of a viable N-S route from the South Bay/LAX to the Westside. The Crenshaw Line is not a viable N-S transit option – it will be slow and windy and will possibly make it to Hollywood, but will not serve the Westside. The only other N-S routes are the (slow) Blue Line and the Harbor Transitway.

    One of the most important regional transit lines – a 405/Sepulveda line from LAX-Westwood is missing.

    • It also doesn’t have a N-S SGV and Gateway Cities line. A line along Rosemead/Lakewood Blvd could connect the two prongs of the Gold Line, the Green Line, and the Santa Ana Line.

  6. Appreciate the link, Steve. Just to clarify, the post makes reference to 4th/Wilshire in downtown Santa Monica and 4th/Santa Fe in the DTLA Arts District.

    • My pleasure, Red Line Reader. A very thoughtful post you wrote! Thanks for writing about it — thinking out loud on public projects is a good thing!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • I wish we could get an update on the 4th St Arts District station, if you happen to hear anything, Mr. H.

        • Hi Jamie;

          Nothing at the moment. Planning work continues on subway rail yard improvements as part of the Purple Line Extension project; my understanding is that nothing will be done to preclude a future station. But nothing imminent at this time.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source