Metro’s bold plan to transform transportation

A long list of transit projects, road improvements and commuting options could be built over the next five decades under a $120-plus billion spending plan Metro released Friday for a potential November sales tax ballot measure. The Metro staff report and attachments are above, including some revisions made since the report’s initial release last Friday. Here’s the link to a PDF of the report and attachments on metro.net.

The spending plan would also devote billions of dollars to pedestrian and cycling projects, commuter rail, transit operations and programs to keep the Metro transit system in a state of good repair. The plan, too, would return billions to local cities — money those cities could spend on their own local transportation projects and transit services.

The big theme here in one sentence: we’ve come a long way in building a modern transportation system in Los Angeles County but we still have work to do.

Many transformative projects are part of the plan. If the ballot measure goes to voters and is approved, the sales tax would begin in mid-2017 and target the following highway and transit projects to be completed in the plan’s first 15 years:

Transit projects (first 15 years) 

•Construction of an expansive rail station/transit center where Crenshaw/LAX Line riders will transfer to a people mover (which LAX is planning to build) that will serve LAX terminals.

•The Purple Line Extension subway to Westwood (a decade earlier than currently planned).

•A potential rail line or bus rapid transit project on Van Nuys Boulevard north of the Orange Line in the San Fernando Valley.

•A new ExpressLane and bus service along the 405 spanning the Sepulveda Pass. A second phase of the project would add a potential underground rail line between the Orange Line and Purple Line. A third phase would extend the project from the Purple Line to the LAX area.

•Grade separations and improvements for the Orange Line busway in preparation for a mid-century conversion to light rail.

•A potential light rail line between Artesia and the Green Line in South Gate. A second phase in the 2030s would extend this new line from the Green Line to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

•A bus rapid transit project on Vermont Avenue between Hollywood and 120th Street, which includes the stretch of Vermont between the Red/Purple Line and the Expo Line.

•An extension of the Gold Line from Azusa to Claremont.

•Bus rapid transit between the Orange Line and Red Line in North Hollywood and the Gold Line in Pasadena.

Highway projects (first 15 years)

•Purchase of right-of-way for the High Desert Corridor, a potential new freeway, energy and high-speed rail corridor between the 14 freeway and State Route 18 in San Bernardino County.

•A project on the 710 South between the ports and the 60 freeway to improve congestion, ease truck traffic and improve the movement of freight. It will be built in two phases, with the second phase in the next 15 years of the spending plan.

•New lanes for the 71 freeway in Pomona between Interstate 10 and Rio Rancho Road.

•ExpressLanes on the 105 freeway between the 405 and 605.

•A new carpool lane and truck lane in each direction on the 5 freeway between the 14 freeway and Lake Hughes Road in the Santa Clarita area.

•SR 57/SR 60 interchange improvements.

An active transportation project in the first 15 years is completing the Los Angeles River bike path between downtown Los Angeles and the western San Fernando Valley.

Other projects to be built in the second 15 years of the plan: an extension of the Green Line to Torrance; an extension of the Eastside Gold Line to South El Monte or Whittier (the other branch could be built later as an option to accompany an additional 10 year extension of the tax); direct HOV connectors for the 60/105 and 405/110 interchanges; new auxiliary lanes and ramp improvements on the 405 in the South Bay, and; an extension of the 110 ExpressLanes to the 405.

Projects in the final 10 years of the plan: a potential northern extension of the Crenshaw Line to the Purple Line, West Hollywood and Hollywood; bus rapid transit on Lincoln Boulevard, and; an extension of the Green Line to the Norwalk Metrolink Station.   

The full list of projects can be found in Attachment A of the report posted above. A description of the major projects is in Attachment H.

Please keep in mind these projects are on top of the three under construction (Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Extension to Wilshire/La Cienega and Regional Connector) and the one that is about to open, the Expo Line to Santa Monica (May 20).

The potential ballot measure would ask voters to increase the countywide sales tax by a half-cent for 40 years and to continue an existing half-cent sales tax (Measure R) for 18 years. The staff report will also provide the Board with scenarios for taxes running longer than 40 years.

The Metro Board of Directors will decide at their meeting next Thursday whether to formally release the draft plan to the public and begin a public review and input period. If the Board releases the plan, Metro would hold community meetings and Telephone Town Halls across the county this spring.

Another point of emphasis: This is a draft plan for public review. It could change. The Metro Board will have the final say on the spending plan and whether to put a ballot measure before county voters. That decision is scheduled to be made at the Board meeting on June 23.

Why do I use the word ‘potential’ when discussing some of the above projects? Because Metro still must complete environmental studies for those projects. The spending plan seeks to provide enough funds for more expensive alternatives that were not previously fully funded.

The spending plan for the potential ballot measure is based on input from stakeholders across Los Angeles County. Metro staff selected projects to be funded and the order in which they would be built based on wide-ranging criteria. Among them: improving travel times, increasing safety, providing better access to transit for those most dependent on it, reducing greenhouse gases that cause climate change and creating and maintaining local jobs.

Something else that is crucially important to understand: having local funds is the key to building anything these days. Local dollars attract state and federal dollars. That’s how things get built in the 21st century. Example: Metro used local funds to help secure nearly $1.9 billion to help build the Regional Connector project and the first segment of the Purple Line Extension.

To say the least, this is an ambitious plan. I encourage everyone to read the staff report and attachments. There is a lot here to digest. We’ll try best to answer your questions in the comment sections. And we’ll certainly be posting a lot about many aspects of the plan in the coming weeks.

Metro also invites the public to provide input by emailing theplan@metro.net.

The home page for the The Plan is here.

And here’s the official press release from Metro.

103 replies

  1. We need a new funding mechanism to fund projects in the denser areas of Central LA. We need geographically disperse buy-in for a county-wide measure — I get it — but it’s a terribly inefficient approach.

    • Hourly Regional Rail (Metrolink) service including nights and weekends wide would do that, but it isn’t mentioned. Voting “No.”

    • And a regional funding mechanism for Metrolink and suburban bus operators. Like an RTA ? Will never happen in SoCal.

    • I am very pleased that Metro is developing plans that take us beyond Measure R. However, I see some glaring weaknesses..

      Specifically, and I realize that this would take a change in Metro’s operating legislation. However, I favor they arrangement they have in New York where the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (NYMTA) that, except for local bus service in adjacent counties, is responsible for essentially all public transit (subway, bus, and regional rail) not only in the five boroughs but also on Long Island and in Westchester County and beyond. It also works closely with Amtrak.

      What I envision is a single agency that is responsible for all transit, whether rail or bus, within LA County, and all transit services, rail AND bus, that connect LA County with Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventura counties. The individual counties could still operate their local bus system, such OCTA, Omnitrans, Riverside Transit, etc. I think it is unfortunate that Metro no longer has the service area as did the SCRTD as, other that Metrolink, there is an almost complete absence of inter-county transit service. It is as if there were essentially no automobile traffic crossing the various county lines on the 5, 10, 60, 101, 210, and 405 freeways. The last time I checked this was not quite the case!!!!

      Another example of a bad situation is the West Santa Ana Branch LRT. This initially was a SCAG project as it crossed a county line and reached Santa Ana. However, since Metro is restricted to LA County, this proposed LRT now terminates in Artesia and comes nowhere close to Garden Grove or Santa Ana. Still another.is the Gold Line Phase 2B.Extension to Claremont. However, the logical extension would be to Ontario Airport, which, of course, would be illegal because it is in San Bernardino County..

      On the other hand, other than coordination on HOT and median lanes, perhaps all highway and freeway development projects should be left to the purview of Caltrans. This might have speedup the desperately needed upgrade of the I5-Santa Ana Freeway. In Orange County, Measure M gave OCTA the money for I5 while LAMTA was not able to follow suit until recently..

      Anyway, despite my misgivings on the local transportation structure, I fell Metro is doing the best is can in this situation and I wish Metro all the success in the world in this effort. I live in Huntington Beach and hence cannot vote on your proposal. If I could, I would definitely support it.

      Frank

      • “Still another.is the Gold Line Phase 2B.Extension to Claremont. However, the logical extension would be to Ontario Airport, which, of course, would be illegal because it is in San Bernardino County.”

        Can someone please explain to me why it would be illegal to build 1.5 miles of light rail From Claremont into Montclair?? Though I have an odd feeling it’s going to be an obnoxious one at best.

        • It’s not illegal in the ‘crime’ sense of the word. LA Metro funds projects within L.A. County, so the portion of track to Montclair within San Bernardino County would need to be funded by San Bernardino County.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • We also need to change Prop 13’s ridiculous 2/3rds majority requirement for sales tax measures like this. It is so irksome — not to mention undemocratic — that an initiative that did not even garner 66.67% support could set that threshold for future initiatives.

  2. Am I reading this correctly that the idea of creating an underground highway as part of the 405 corridor project has been dropped? I hope so. We do not need more highways to create more demand for auto travel. Much better to do congestion pricing on the 405 through the pass to leverage the huge investment we already made with the widening. And then use those funds to build a light rail tunnel that extends the Van Nuys light rail line south to UCLA and beyond.

      • Know anyone that’s willing to spend a few billion on rail line??

        Also, it appears to be on the list:

        “•A new ExpressLane and bus service along the 405 spanning the Sepulveda Pass. A second phase of the project would add a potential underground rail line between the Orange Line and Purple Line. A third phase would extend the project from the Purple Line to the LAX area.”

  3. Why are several projects delayed? I remember the gold line construction authority have said that the Gold Line extension to Claremont should start building in 2017 and finish at 2022.

    Why isn’t any project starting in 2017?

  4. West Hollywood will not like their segment has been pushed off to the 2050s while a Claremont extension has been prioritized, I know it is “shovel-ready”. Even the Sepulveda pass rail tunnel, which I expected to be the number 1 priority has been pushed off to the 2030s. What a joke, if Metro sticks us with a few more buses and highway segments while delaying real rail connections then I cannot vote for this plan. We are already in construction of the APM connection and the PLE to Westwood, Metro can’t state that is a “new” project, it’s just a Measure R project in need of more cash.

    • Don’t blame Metro the communities along the Goldline have supported rail. Mobilize and get your elected officials to get more money from the federal government!

  5. I’m curious to see how others react, but I gotta say this is a disappointment. It’s going to be viewed as “toll the 405 to finish the purple line.” Whether or not it’s accurate, that will be the narrative of the ballot measure. I think putting off the crenshaw extension will be the death of this. That is a critical project and would have been a big vote getter for even non-transit users.

    Also, how is Metro not leading with an easy-to-share map detailing these projects?

  6. First reaction: Good to see the Santa Ana Branch is in the first 15 years, seeing as how its one of the most dense regions of the county, with low income population that is likely to drive an immense amount of ridership.

    Second reaction: Wait, phase 1 is the section through the suburbs to Artesia?!?!?!!? I get that it would be cheaper and easier to build, but how does that get priority????? Hasn’t metro learned from the foothills extension?

    • This is more of the same “Westside” matters more mentality. No surprise and no reason to support.

    • Foothill Extension seems to be doing very well if you read the recent comments on this blog. Boosting development around the stations, too.

    • Best way for a one-seat LAUPT-Downtown-LAX service is to build an elevated branch of the Blue Line over the Harbor Subdivision and connect it to the Crenshaw Line. Thus passengers could ride without a transfer from LAUPT (Union Station) to the 96th Street Crenshaw Line station and from there transfer to the LAX Automated People Mover APM. The Blue Line LAX cars could be reconfigured to have wider parlor-car type aisle-facing seats to provide more room for passenger luggage carts.

      See http://www.gatewaytola.org/index.cfm/planned-developments/lax-automated-people-mover-apm-system/ and https://www.metro.net/projects/lax-extension/

      I understand that under current plans for the Regional Connector, the Gold East Side Line will not serve Union Station. Thus it would take TWO transfers between THREE light rail lines (Blue-Expo and then Expo-Crenshaw) to travel from Union Station to the LAX APM connection. The Blue-Expo transfer is on the same platform, but the Expo-Crenshaw transfer is complicated by the Expo Line being elevated and the Crenshaw line being underground. All this while dragging one or two luggage carts.

  7. (I’m copying a post from Facebook)…

    Saw the proposal almost as soon as it went up and started reading. It is DENSE and I’m not completely through it, but my first thoughts: Great ideas in here, specifically the transit projects themselves. Some may bemoan that it’ll take 40+ years to implement all of these but I acknowledge that real change takes time. Some may not like that their favorite project is not top priority, but I can’t find a worthless project in the list (save maybe the Eastside Gold Line extension, but then ask transit-dependant people in Whittier what they think.)

    I actually think it’s really smart that projects like the Sepulveda Pass line and the Orange Line conversion will start as bus line grade separation improvements before converting to light or heavy rail. In fact many great projects here (like the NoHo-Pasadena BRT, Lincoln BRT, Vermont BRT) will be huge if built for future rail conversion, even if choice riders don’t like buses at all.

    The freeway projects have merit as well.

    The trick with this measure proposal is that it will likely be sold as a “traffic relief” proposal which is a mischaracterization. Measure R was billed as “traffic relief” eight years ago, and while some of those projects are only beginning to open, I think most would agree that road traffic is worse than ever and maybe voters who do not ride Metro ever will hate the idea that their tax dollars will go to something that will have no tangible effect on their lives. This new tax proposal won’t “solve traffic” because there are just too many people in the region, people don’t live where they work and growth will continue to increase. What this proposal does is help create a stronger transit system (and freeway improvements) that will improve living conditions for those who can’t or won’t own a private vehicle and give those choice riders more alternatives to using their private vehicle. Public works projects like these stimulate the economy by creating jobs, investing in areas around stations and transit lines and creating opportunities to give area residence more distortionary income. THAT is how this measure should be sold.

      • Well said. The trouble is that Metro has recently market tested the “relieves traffic” concept and they believe the response to it is favorable. They’re likely to stick with it. I agree such a concept doesn’t deliver and if they choose to trot it out again, hat in hand for more money, they’ll come to wish they didn’t. It doesn’t hold up to scrutiny and it won’t take much to prove otherwise. A more honest appeal would win the day.

      • Would definitely think that if I can get from points A to B without having to sit in traffic, then that sounds like traffic relief to me – relief from traffic.

    • But that measure is being sold wrong if there is no community BUY-IN. Look at all the NIMBYs who have underutilled critical land areas near mass transit stations: Bergamot Station (downsized), Chinatown Gold Line Station (taller residential tower rejected), etc.

      Your argument is good in my opinion, but unfortunately doesn’t take into account the details of local neighborhood politics that tends to destroy the effectiveness of a regional mass transit system that you seem to seek.

      Yes, we should drive growth where people have more transportation options. However, how can we when land-use and transportation integration strategies are suppressed by NIMBYs?

  8. A new freeway tunnel under the 405 to connect to the 1957-era 101 interchange? Really?
    Oh, and here’s a good one: taking the newly-widened 405 Sepulveda Pass project, removing the HOV lane, and changing it to toll lanes. We already paid for those lanes and now they’re getting taken away. Thanks a lot.
    No new East LA interchange? So the 5 will be rebuilt from the Mexican border to the 710, and then again north of the 134, but nothing in the middle? Brilliant.

    • This argument is silly, it’s akin to paying for a soft drink and then complaining when free refills aren’t included. Here’s a suggestion for you–pay for it, the gas taxes don’t come close to covering the full cost of maintaining roads.

  9. The second paragraph begins “The spending plan would also devote billions of dollars to pedestrian and cycling projects…” yet you don’t even bother to bullet point ONE of them in your overview? Why is that?

    • The spending plan sets aside pots of money for these categories. The projects to be funded within those categories would be decided later.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  10. Again, cheaping out on the Northeast Valley Transit Corridor. BRT? Seriously? WE NEED RAIL. Van Nuys Boulevard, fom Day 1 in 1911 up to the mid-’50s, was a multi-modal transit artery. We need that back.

    I am Center-East Renter Board Member of my local Neighborhood Council. The neighborhood I represent, Panorama City, is heavily transit dependent. The PCNC has already passed resolutions in support of a light rail line on Van Nuys, and also locating the rail yard within the boundaries of the PCNC. We want rail. We want rail jobs.

    A BRT on Van Nuys would recapitulate the history of the Orange Line. The Orange Line mightily exceeded all expectations. It is now heavily congested, and the plan even suggests exchanging BRT for Light Rail there mid-Century. Why not get the Northeast Valley Transit Corridor right the first time?

    There is also the matter of transit equity for the Valley. We pay 1/3 the taxes in the City and County of Los Angeles. When Measure R monies were allocated, the Valley was shortchanged yet again, one of many insults the Valley has suffered at the hands of Downtown. We have 80+ rail stations on the Metro Rail system. How many of these are in the Valley? TWO. If anything, the Valley deserves to be allocated an outsized chunk of Measure R2 monies because of previous slights.

    The Valley is historically reluctant to tax itself. Not only is the Valley more “purple” than the deep blue Westside and inner-city Los Angeles, it has a long memory of the many times its needs have been forgotten Downtown.

    Thanks for listening.
    Michelle Klein-Hass
    PCNC Board Member
    PCNC Mobility Committee Chair

    • Same problem in the Gateway Cities and South Bay. This isn’t going to fly.

    • Okay, first of all I mean no disrespect but I do hope you have read the draft report which literally says “®East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor … mode to be determined” so I hope this is an attempt to lobby the fine folks at Metro to capitulate LRT for said route.

      Secondly, please stop repeating the “fair share” doctrine for the valley. Up until two years ago, thanks to these same constituents that are now demanding LRT, it was quite illegal to build any type of above ground rail in the valley due to the Robbins Bill. Metro built BRT as the only option they could, because LRT above ground was illegal and there was no money for underground HRT. The valley had their chance and it was squandered. So when you say that Metro has “slighted” the valley – do note that this slight was only done unto yourselves.

      Now, will I advocate for transit in the valley? Of course I will, you guys deserve it after shooting yourselves in the foot for so long. It has been self-underserved and I do hope that the Van Nuys Corridor, Sepulveda Pass Corridor and Orange LRT conversion come to the valley as soon as funds allow, but please, don’t come from the argument that Metro has ignored you. Instead, help Metro determine the best path forward, not only for you and your constituents, but for the county as a whole. Transit is about bringing people together, so lets do just that for this measure to get it passed.

      Thanks.

      -Kenny
      Transit Rider.

    • Kennny: Good take. The San Fernando Valley has 4 big projects in this proposal (Sepulveda Pass, Van Nuys, Orange Line Conversion AND BRT link to Pasadena), Metro is clearly making up for some (self-imposed) lost time.

      Also, Phantom Commuter: a lot of the South Bay just isn’t that dense. Its got a line extension coming, and just got the new silver line service (and Crenshaw line serves the South Bay too). What more do you think the population can support in terms of ridership?
      The Santa Ana branch will be a godsend to the Southeast, the only problem I have with it is the order of the phases. Where else in the Gateway Cities do you expect there to be enough ridership? Your comments come across as really petty.

    • This proposal from Metro is dense and frankly it seems that once again neither Metro nor the politicos are listening. The SFV is again given nothing…BRT for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and in another insult the project is delayed 5 years. The Sepulveda Pass is also destined for a BRT.

      This is what the San Fernando Valley gets for .5% increase in our taxes. Measure J was superior in every way. This proposal is a born loser. What a joke Metro has hung out there.

  11. Again no relief for the massive grid lock east-west traffic corridor from West Los Angeles to Downtown Los Angeles via Sunset Bl. and Santa Monica Bl. although a almost completely intact former Pacific Electric right of way still exists. Instead we see proposals for extension of light rail into the suburbs where little traffic problems exist.

    Stop the Madness and provide transit where it is truly needed instead of where politicians want to apis large contributors.

    • To be fair, the Westside is getting a WHOLE lotta love from the proposal. The Crenshaw northern extension might even serve Santa Monica and Sunset if WeHo gets their way.

      In the mean time, maybe you could just take one of the OTHER TWO east-west rail lines serving the Westside? Expo opens in May, Purple is apparently going to be pushed up to ’24. If you’re not walking distance to either, you could take a bus or bike to them, like the low income people cleaning all your Westside office buildings and mansions already have to.

      Its not politicians Metro needs to appease, its 2/3 of LA County voters.

    • You have never taken the 210 heading east to San Bernandino on a afternoon! Besides the communities in the SGV pushed for the LRT unlike the SFV! By the way we can’t take a Metro bus east of Arcadia

    • Umm, a Rail Line down Sunset Blvd?? Why?? I don’t even think the bus ridership is justifiable considering A) No all-day Limited Stop service, let alone Weekend Rapid service and B) West of the Strip, Sunset Blvd is mostly residential. A rail line down Santa Monica Blvd?? Sure, but other than using the old PE right of way, where else should we put this line?? Underground?? Definitely, but I think an extension to the Crenshaw Line would be better suited for this area. And at least the Hollywood tourist and people traveling from from south LA will have a one-seat ride from Hollywood to LAX, while the rest of us will be only one transfer away.

    • Hi Sarah,

      Those maps are linked in the agenda. We have not received authorization to place directly onto blog at this time.

      Anna Chen
      Writer, The Source

  12. Nowhere is there any mention of the impact of autonomous, Uber-style transportation. People won’t be buying cars to sit in garages; there won’t be a need. Planning should include a “what-if” assumption of a 2/3 decrease in automobiles on the road and thus fewer lanes of traffic, not more.
    More emphasis on rapid transit.

  13. Build it all but the West San Fernando Valley is getting short changed again. That Orange rail line should be built sooner. The SFV is not getting fair allocation.

    • That’s because the SFV shot themselves in the foot back in the 1980s by prohibiting anything but Heavy Rail which would have made it very cost prohibitive, hence why you are stuck with Bus Rapid Transit. The SFV is getting 4 Projects (Van Nuys, Orange Line Rail Conversion, Valley to Westside Rail, and BRT between Pasadena and North Hollywood), so now is the time for the SFV to truly show they want rail. The SGV did it with the Gold Line and they got it.

  14. i’m a planner…You are not…My suggestions are better. METRO

  15. The question is what is Proposition A and C being spent on? There’s years of revenue in that which as far as I know I has not been bonded, especially in the out years. The document talks a lot about Measure R but not about A and C. There are a few new projects, but if they need more money to finish the job of Measure R then simply extend it. Measure R is a good foundation and some of the projects proposed, like the 405 tunnel, West Santa Ana Branch to Artesia, and Gold Line to Claremont are of dubious merit. Ultimately, the bigger issue of housing – to put more people near existing transit – also needs to be addressed.

  16. I’ve just read your post with interest, and now I have a couple of questions. First, since I live in the Inland Empire area, you mentioned in your post about extending the Gold Line to Claremont. At this point, why not just extend it from Azusa to Montclair (the next city over) to the Los Angeles/San Bernardino County line?

    Second, was improvements to the SR57/SR60 interchange. Will this mean the addition of new ramps from south SR57 to east SR60 and west SR60 to north SR57?

    • Hi Randall;

      Los Angeles Metro only funds projects within L.A. County. The line could still go to Montclair, but San Bernardino County would need to pick up some of that cost. So that will remain to be seen.

      As for the 57/60, I don’t have the specifics of the project right now (sorry, I’m out of town). I’m back in the office on the 29th and will try to find out more and we’ll be posting about the projects in April and May with more details.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Addendum to earlier reply: please see page 51 (Attachment H) in the staff report for a description of the 57/60 project.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • That’s a major drawback in how Metro is organized Commuters from Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Ventrura Counties all use highways and /or transit in Los Angeles County. We will never have a comprehensive system until all five counties are merged into a single organization. Where would New York be if each borough had its own transit system, and if the regional commuter rail lines, Metro North and Long Island Rail Road, all terminated at the New York city limits?

        I realize that this would take new state legislation, but something needs to be done along these lines. Perhaps each county could still operate its own local bus systems (OCTA, Omnitrans, RTA, etc.) but ALL inter-county transportation, both light rail and at least express bus, and not just Metrolink, should be under one agency. The present arrangement tacitly assumes that there is essentially no traffic crossing county lines. It would be nice if there were little I5 and I405 traffic crossing the LA-Orange county line. The last time I checked this was not the case.

    • This is an exciting plan to continue to smartly build on and extend on the current system. I would like to suggest that a light rail line be extended down Venice Blvd. from the Robertson Blue Line station to Venice Beach. Venice Blvd. is certainly wide enough to accommodate this buildout (I believe a trolly line used to run down this same route) and Venice Beach is one of the very TOP tourist destinations for both locals and out of towners. This line would link Venice directly to the rail transit system, serving tens of thousands daily, and relieving some of the insane traffic congestion in the beach area. A win/win for everyone.

      • Couldn’t agree more ! We need a 5-county Regional Transportation Authority (RTA). Theere should be a regional tax that gives a portion to Metro, Metrolink and a one suburban transit system in each county. Service planning should be coordinated on a regional level. It would take state legislation.

  17. Very disappointed that my area (gateway cities) decided to invest heavily in freeway construction (710 south, 605). Of course, I already knew this was what they (we) asked for, and I’m happy it’s at least being pushed back to the 2030s and beyond. Especially the 710, where the problem is primarily freight traffic (trucks). The plan does mention goods traffic, but only in connection with highway construction, and that’s a mistake. It would have been good to include heavy rail for freight and passenger service.

    While the pie chart on page 16 lists commuter rail and Union Station in the transit construction wedge, none of the projects on the ballot proposal address this. It’s a missed opportunity: the ROWs are there and in regular use, the private railroads can and should contribute, and with some public spending we can expand capacity and get a decent system for both freight and urban (not just commuter) passenger rail. An electrified Alameda Corridor that extends into the valleys can make the 710 south and north projects redundant, and also solve the problems with the rail yards in western Long Beach near the port. Electrify and double track the line from Chatsworth to Norwalk and add some grade separation, and we can get all-day passenger service at 20-minute headways, probably at a lower cost than light rail transit in the area (and if that project happens, OC will probably agree to continue electrification to Laguna Niguel). L.A. County is big enough to have use for a comprehensive heavy rail plan, even if the neighboring counties are not making this a priority.

  18. Make no little plans! I really like the idea of accelerating the Purple Line extension to Westwood, building the West Santa Ana Branch Line, building the Vermont Line and building the Sepulveda Pass line. All of these would serve significant amounts of transit riders and hit major destinations.

    Some of the projects on the list have weak return on investment and seem included for political reasons (e.g. Orange Line conversion to rail & the South Bay Curve freeway project). But I suppose a bit of that is necessary to get to 2/3.

    Some thoughts:
    – This plan has a long time horizon and we should really be in the end stages of phasing out fossil fuel use (including CNG) by the time this tax would sunset. Does this plan contemplate switching over to electric buses?
    – The plan appears not to require that any funding go to transit-oriented land use planning. That seems like an unfortunate oversight, given that land use is critical to the viability of transit.
    – This plan appears to dedicate no funding to transit-oriented affordable housing, even though we know that putting affordable housing near transit provides a dedicated base of transit riders.
    – The plan is pretty vague on what the transit operations funding would accomplish in terms of improving the frequency of bus service and which bus lines would see improved service.
    – There’s not a lot of clarity on fares except that some of the funding would be dedicated towards putting downward pressure on senior and student fares. What is the marginal utility of a dollar spent keeping fares cheap versus building new lines in terms of increasing ridership?

    • You are correct about Venice Blvd. The Pacific Electric operated the Venice Short Line (VSL) until 1950 in what is now the median in Venice Blvd. In addition, the VSL up until 1940 served branches to Santa Monica via Beverly Hills along San Vincente Blvd.and Burton Way, and another to Redondo Beach via Culver Blvd and Playa Del Rey.

      Again, we threw away what we had and now we are paying for it big time!

  19. I am 72 and live in Torrance. The schedule for the line to Torrance puts it beyond my likely lifetime.

  20. Very disappointed in several aspects: Crenshaw extension to Hollywood Highland should be first round and first project, no extension of the Purple Line (at least south to Expo for transfer to SM), Vermont should be rail, Gateway Cities line should be built at once or at least start downtown and extend out, no Harbor Subdivision downtown to LAX line included even though it would be easy to fill in between existing or planned routes along Slauson (interlining with Crenshaw in the west and Gateway Cities to downtown in the east), and no arts district station on the red/ purple lines. This is a very suburban transit proposal, oddly, with the new dense urban lines pushed out 40 years and/or proposed as BRT (not counting the Purple Line as no part of it is new, and it actually gets pretty suburban over on the westside). As a huge transit and Measure R supporter (many lines of which are repeated here), I’m kind of shocked that I might actually vote no.

    • I strongly agree that the Harbor Subdivision LRT should have been included. By connecting it to the Blue Line on the east and the Crenshaw Line on the west, you would FINALLY have a one-seat ride from Union Station Station and Downtown LA to the 96th Street LAX station and from there use the proposed LAX Automated People Mover (APM) to access LAX.

      A recent article in the LA “Times” said that LAX is ranked #91 among the world’s airports, with poor land-side access a significant factor. Many, many world-wide airports have vastly superior land-side access, and LA should strive to match them

      If the Harbor Subdivision is too narrow for LRT tracks, then the LRT line should be elevated. This will cost more but we would then finally acquire a very needed service – one-seat service to LAX. This would be identical to an arrangement at San Francisco International (SFO) where BART shares a station with the SFO rubber-tired but electrically powered APM which serves all SFO terminals. In New York, the JFK arrangement is similar, but here the AirTrain use rail vehicles powered by linear induction motors or LIMs. BTW — Both the SFO and JFK AirTrains use systems produced by Bombardier.

      For info on the SFO APM, go to http://www.flysfo.com/services-amenities/getting-around-sfo

      For info on the JFK APM, go to http://www.panynj.gov/airports/jfk-airtrain.html

      In this regard, please note that using lines currently under construction will require TWO transfers (Blue to Expo, Expo to Crenshaw) to go from Union Station and parts of downtown LA to the 96th Street Station and then to LAX. The Blue-Expo transfer is via the same platform, but the Expo-Crenshaw transfer is complicated by the former being elevated and the latter is underground. I trust that at least Metro will provide an elevator that serves both sets of plaforms and not requre passengers to transfer between two elevators.

  21. Good start, but this is still small beans. 3 main issues are not being addressed.

    1. There needs to be more grade separated options for connecting the valley to other parts of the city, naming the regional core in west hollywood.

    2. If we are expecting first/last mile to be covered by bicycles how are the influx of 100k riders bikes going to be accommodated with room on trains and/or secure safe storage at stations? Plus if someone is leaving their bicycle at the start of the journey how are they going to finish their last mile in a timely manner?

    3. If you want citizens to support this (additional taxes), you need to create a system that meets my needs as a discretionary rider + get it completed in a timely manner i.e. 10-15 years not the 50 years estimated.

    bonus – If you want the discretionary rider, transit travel times need to be competitive with the automobile. I looked at estimated travel times from where I live in studio city to santa monica on google maps during off peak hours. By car 28 minutes, by bicycle 1 hour 38 minutes, by transit 2 hours!!!! case closed.

  22. The orange line… umm.. it used to be a rail line through the San fernando valley, but the rails were mercilessly yanked in the name of paved over “progress” for a busway. Now, they want.to restore rails to.the line ? 20/ 20 hindsight at.its finest!. Don’t remove any more rails!! Keep the spurs intact and use the unused freight lines WISELY!!!

  23. I’d love to see improved public transit in El Sereno, it’s so close to downtown LA yet so underserved. A large portion of the population is relying solely on public transit weather due to a disability, poverty, or other factors, but must take numerous buses and walk long distances to get to them.

    • El Sereno was once served by the Pacific Electric Sierra Vista rail line in the Huntington Drive median. That was replaced by what is now Metro Local Line 78. There also once was a SCRTD/Metro Line 378 that provided limited bus service similar to that on Metro Line 379.

      As this median once accommodated a 4-track rail line, it should be prime candidate for a median BRT line extending from downtown to Arcadia and beyond by connecting with the Metro Gold Line. I think that the portions of Huntington Drive within the Los Angeles city limits are planned for transit upgrade as part of the Mobility 2035 plan.

  24. “Projects in the final 10 years of the plan: a potential northern extension of the Crenshaw Line to the Purple Line, West Hollywood and Hollywood; bus rapid transit on Lincoln Boulevard, and; an extension of the Green Line to the Norwalk Metrolink Station.”

    Is it possible for West Hollywood vote on a local tax to contribute Metro so the Crenshaw line could be extended to the city sooner? What if West Hollywood votes to tax itself to extend a subway line to the city instead of the light rail? Would Metro work with West Hollywood if the city contributes enough $$$$?

  25. Dear Metro,

    I wish a major project was for the Compton area or for the near by communities to ease of traffic we have in the city. For example, proving a better transportation option from the South Bay to Compton. It seems the streets with the most traffic run from East to West and from West to East, sadly few buses run those directions. Maybe funding for a light rail that runs on the 91 freeway from Torrance to Cerritos. Or at least to fund money to the Compton Bike Path along the Compton Creek so it could connect to the LA River (path lighting, street intersections, signs, etc). It makes sense easying traffic and making public transportation in all LA Couty.

    Thank You

    • Both of those ideas deserve consideration. There are a lot of jobs and people who commute through that corridor.

  26. Steve – what will happen to Measure R2 funding for the Purple Line if Metro recieves Federal funding to complete phase 3 early? In that case, would the measure R2 money earmarked for the Purple Line be redistributed to other projects, or would it go towards another extension westward?

    Thanks

    • Hi Kyle;

      The federal funding wouldn’t pay for all of section 3. It would still need local funds.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Thanks for your quick response, Steve. Understood on the need for local funds. From the Metro document, it looks like Measure R2 would dedicate around $1bn out of $2bn in total costs for section 3. If Metro ended up receiving, lets say, $1.5bn in Federal funds, would the leftover $0.5bn be left for future Purple Line extensions? Also, what will happen to the original Measure R funds that were dedicated to section 3?

        Thanks

        • Hi Kyle;

          I think it’s unlikely that the feds would pay for more than half of any transit project — once upon a time in the 1980s and ’90s maybe, but no more. I think it’s unlikely that Metro will have any money left on the subway project, especially if the agency sells bonds to raise the money to accelerate — then those bonds would need to be paid back with interest in later years.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  27. I’m disappointed to see that projects like the Sepulveda pass rail tunnel could still be taking 30 more years to happen under this plan. What ever happened to those plans of borrowing money based on projected tax revenue to start projects ASAP?

    I think the plans for the Orange line are equally disappointing. Very long wait for things we need much sooner. I would have liked to see a simpler plan to add some grade separation (bridges over intersections) for this line in the next several years, add capacity, and maybe even electrify it so we can use electric trolleybuses instead of buses running on fossil fuels. Makes for a rail conversion later much easier, I would think.

  28. I echo Warren’s thoughts… those are two absolutely vital routes this city has needed for 20 years at least, routes covered once upon a time and routes connecting the most populated and highest areas of activity in the city. These routes would include what will become some of the most frequented stops on the Subway system. Can we get them served sooner? CERTAINLY the great number of tourists will use them as they are exactly the routes they need to get to the places they most often go. The 217 and 212 are filled with tourists trying to get from Hollywood Highland to Beverly Hills and the Golden Triangle via Wilshire.

    Warren said:
    ““Projects in the final 10 years of the plan: a potential northern extension of the Crenshaw Line to the Purple Line, West Hollywood and Hollywood; bus rapid transit on Lincoln Boulevard, and; an extension of the Green Line to the Norwalk Metrolink Station.”

    Is it possible for West Hollywood vote on a local tax to contribute Metro so the Crenshaw line could be extended to the city sooner? What if West Hollywood votes to tax itself to extend a subway line to the city instead of the light rail? Would Metro work with West Hollywood if the city contributes enough $$$$?”

  29. Well. It seems metro has scaled down its ambitions a lot from what we were hearing a couple years ago- and even last year. I think the overarching theme is that metro would just be happy with a couple more rail lines, a few extensions, and keeping that as a core system- rather than densifying rail services in central los Angeles, where bus rapid transit is not feasible and most people still live a mile or farther from a train stop. People living between downtown and la brea should be able to walk to a train.

    I think what you’re doing is betting too much on infill developments that will spring up along the core train routes and leaving the existing communities in the dust. How about prioritizing actual residents, instead of transplants who flood into those trite, glossy new developments?

    On an unrelated note- something that really stood out to me was “a bus rapid transit on Vermont between Hollywood and 120th”. Whaaaaaat? Has the genius who proposed that even been on Vermont between Olympic and Gage? It’s 2 lanes in each direction, including parking. Hmmm… I have the feeling any kind of “bus rapid transit” on this route would look less like the orange line and more like the 720, if that.

    Vermont is deserving of its own rail line, Western ave. as well. At least, a lot more than Irwindale or Azusa.

  30. Holding out 40-50yrs on building a northern extension of the Crenshaw via WeHo will be a huge mistake that Metro and the city will regret down the road. The dust hasn’t settled on the on most recent extension of the Gold Line into the San Gabriel Valley, yet another extension was deemed priority for construction during the first 15 years if the ballot measure is approved by voters. The Crenshaw North Line would provide crucial mobility to the gridlocked central LA/Mid-City communities by offering better access to LAX and DTLA.

  31. This plan blows! In a nutshell they’re going to raise the tax to 10% for everyone to pay for the wilshire metro. Then there are some boneheaded parts of this project you gotta love: The 10% sales tax money is going to be used to build a bike lane next to the freeway between Palmdale and Victorville. Imagine that. Who in their right mind is going to want to do a bike trip on flat land in the middle of nowhere in the super hot desert sun for that many miles? The only reason they are doing that project anyway in the first place is for the City of Los Angeles so that the big polluting trucks can bypass the city and foul up North County air.

  32. I don’t see this as a winning strategy in November.

    In order to get this passed at the ballot box, it should be primarily focused on winning over the motorists who make up 83% of commuters in the county. The reason that most motorists would vote yes is if they see it as a way to get some relief from traffic congestion for their commutes. That would mainly entail either highway improvements or a transit rail project that closely parallels a freeway. If motorists see a project that could effect their commute which is listed to be finished in 17 years, how is that going to get them excited enough to vote yes?

    My suggestion to get more motorists to vote yes would be to reduce the number of projects, borrow against future sales tax revenue in order to move those projects forward that potentially would be perceived as giving traffic congestion relief. An example of that would be the Sepulveda pass rail project. Start digging a tunnel as quickly as possible at both ends to speed up the process in much the same way that the Purple Line extension would be completed. The Sepulveda pass rail project should start no later than 2018-2020. Its now listed as a project that will be completed in 2033, seventeen years from now. Does Metro expect motorists that use the 405 freeway over the Sepulveda pass for their commute to be thrilled that they could potentially get some relief from traffic congestion in 2033?

    If there is a measure on the ballot in November and it does not get 66.7% voter approval then none of these projects will be installed. Spreading out traffic relief projects over a long period of time is unlikely to get as many motorists excited enough to vote yes compared to borrowing against future sales tax revenue to move these projects to a shorter time frame for completion.

  33. It seems that there is significant support for accelerating the extension of the Crenshaw Line into West Hollywood. If this comes to pass, would there be planning/coordination with the Purple Line to construct the station boxes together, possibly resulting in cost savings?

    • Instead of expanding the gold line to Whittier or El monte take the funds & expand Greenline to Norwalk metrolink first then go North to Whittier Along Bloomfield to the terminus at Whittier Prespyterian This would be a lot cheaper to do than expanding the goldline travelers going to LA from Whittier can Catch Metrolink which would be faster than the gold line to LA. connecting to the green line also allows travelrs to get to the southbay much quicker then having to go downtown

      Greenline shoud go from Torrance to Whittier

      If your going to tax us use the money wisely and use the already exising infrastructure and fix and improve the holes

      the exisitng plans all seem overly overly expensive

  34. It’s absolutely disgusting that the only funding mechanism anyone in this state seems to come up with anymore is “slap another sales tax on it”.

    Sales taxes are highly regressive. Those who invest a large portion of their money do not pay sales tax on that money. Those who travel abroad to spend their money are not chipping in.

    The poor and working people are paying sales tax on most of what they earn.

  35. You should have pushed the 710 connector tunnel idea.

    Instead, you’ve decided to absolutely nothing – nothing at all – to reduce congestion in the East L.A. Interchange.

    Because, really, reducing asthma for poor kids can’t even get on the agenda if it would tick off rich people in South Pas. (who don’t want the tunnel).

    A straight shot for trucks from the South Bay to the 210 would do more to ease traffic than anything else you can think of.

  36. Where is the regional view on transit. Why are we not hearing extending the Gold line to Ontario Airport.

    • “Today, the San Gabriel Valley receives a great return on its investment with this major transportation project — built on time and on budget — that will support its economic development and regional mobility,” said Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, a Metro Board Member. “In support of all the great cities along the Gold Line corridor, we need to continue the momentum and look further east toward Claremont — and on to the Ontario Airport.”

  37. I voted against the last version of this referendum because it burdened the future generations more than it burdened us now. I still disagree with the length of the tax but have decided I’ll vote for it this time. I also plan to advocate for others I know to vote ‘yes.’

  38. Definitely think that more openings of more lines will result in a exponentially increasing number of users per rail extension.

    • I support rail — and use it when I am in LA County, but I don’t know if the result that you are expecting will necessarily materialize. Has it done so, so far?