As is usually the case this time of year, I’m beginning work on our year-end wrap up post for The Source.
I did want to do something a little different this go-around and interweave reader/rider/taxpayer commentary into the 2016-in-review-post.
Leave a comment here or email me your thoughts (please put ‘my opinion on 2016’ in the subject line). Please try to be brief but let us know what you think happened in 2016 that was the most important and will have the most lasting legacy on our region.
Yes, obviously Measure M was big. But significant amounts of other water also passed under the proverbial bridge this past year — from affordable housing to bike share and beyond — and I’d like to hear what you think about it.
Thanks much. Have a great weekend and we’ll get back at it next week.
Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects
Statewide, it was an interesting year for transit funding. Measure M passed, as did major rehab funding for BART in the Bay Area, a parcel tax renewal for the Oakland/Berkeley area bus system (AC Transit), and a combo plate roads/transit measure in Silicon Valley. But a bunch of measures fell into the gap between getting a majority vote and needing a 2/3 vote, such as in San Diego and Sacramento (and several more). Some people have argued that the more transit-oriented measures did better, which I’d like to think is true, but doesn’t really square with the Santa Clara County vote.
It’s a great year of Metro system so far. Two extensions of gold and expo line as well as several improvements such as silver line all door boarding were accomplished this year, which makes transportation even more accessible than before and provides alternative ways to reach Santa Monica and foothill cities. I am looking forward to seeing more public transportation such as LAX line, Purple line extension, Sepulveda pass line, and so on being built in the next few years. Overall not bad this year.
How the Crenshaw/LAX line from Century to Imperial looks so close to being finished and Green Line riders would be ecstatic to see it open before the entire line opens in 2019. It’d be a great public relations move and show the Olympics that LA is ready for 2024!
Restructuring the Silver Line and Metro Express 450X bus! The new 950X Silver Line bus now provides passengers a one-seat ride from San Pedro to DTLA during rush hour and off-peak periods. It’s great to have regular nonstop bus service to DTLA from points south of Harbor Gateway Transit Center.
I had the privilege to make my first ever visit to Los Angeles in May and got to ride Metro for the five days I made LA my temporary home. I stayed in Hollywood from May 10-14 and rode on all six Metro rail lines, the Orange Line and Metrolink; I was impressed by how far public transportation has come in the 26 years since the Blue Line began service on July 14, 1990.
There have been many highlights for Metro in 2016–opening of the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa and the overwhelming passage of Measure M being two of them–but in my opinion, the “game changer” was Phase 2 of the Expo Line to Santa Monica. I had the opportunity to join the Los Angeles Railroad Heritage Foundation on a special field trip with a Metro employee on May 12 and rode round-trip the new rail extension eight days before the official public unveiling. I knew right away that the Expo Line would become enormously popular and the ridership numbers have proven to be true–over 45,000 weekday riders and growing!
Happy Holidays to everyone at Metro and to everyone at The Source!
With the passage of Measure M we will see hopefully a transportation system worthy of Los Angeles County. This has been a very long time coming. When people look at maps of the Pacific Electric Railway, and The Los Angeles Railway of the 1920’s and see where these rail transportation systems ran they wonder why it didn’ survive? It did survive because the people of Los Angeles did not want to support it by riding the systems, or doing bond measures to build a more extensive transportation system.Most people have never heard of the Vineyard Junction Accident that made the Pacific Electric Railway passenger operations unprofitable except when the ridership ballooned during World War II. May Los Angeles never see an transportation accident like it again. But we now have such a bond measure with Measure M that will fund more transportation projects in the future. We need a more extensive public transportation system for Los Angeles County unlike in 1925 we now have a population of over Ten Million in just Los Angeles County alone. Being built right now a light rail connection the Crenshaw Corridor for better access to Los Angeles International Airport will be finally realized in the next couple of years. Along with finally a connection from the Expo and Blue Lines to the Gold Line with the Regional Transist Connector. The extension of the Purple Line down Wilshire Blvd was part of the failed 1925 plan and is finally being built thanks in part from funds from Measure M. Along with the extensions of both Gold and The Green Lines. This also doesn’t include many bus projects scheduled to the near future. The Transportation for Los Angeles tomorrow has to be build starting today. I know that I may never live to see that system completed but I sure can see it in my mind.
Definitely the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa and the Metro Expo Line Phase II extension to Santa Monica! Metro Bike also launched this past summer too! 2016 has been an amazing year for public transportation in Los Angeles County. Happy holidays!
I think 2016 was also the year that self driving vehicles became real in the public consciousness, while simultaneously having the policy consequences come to the forefront. It will likely be a bit longer before they’re widely used and economical, but they are certainly here today. If you had asked someone from 2015 when self driving vehicles would stop becoming theoretical and start making real inroads (pardon the pun), they would likely have said something more like 5 years. Certainly not 2016.
JR East E235, HKMTR with Kwun Tong Extension, South Island Line, West Rail Line extension.
This will be the year people remember as when LA Rail started to grow up. Measure R planted the seeds for a skeletal frame that was completed in 2016, and then voters doubled down on that with Measure M. Much in the same way that people look back to Measure A and 1980 as the “year that started it all,” once the M system is implemented, people will look back at 2016 as a year that “made LA Metro what it is today.” The pre-M system will be viewed as laughably quaint, but a necessary step toward easing LA onto rail.
I don’t think Metro will get much credit for things like bike share–because they came so late to the game with so little (for 2016 – only DTLA)–or affordable housing, where the efforts have made no dent compared to the scale of the problem. Maybe that can be how we remember 2017?
Obviously, the openings of the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Azusa & Expo Line phase 2 to Santa Monica. Better Red Line accessibility with the Universal City Station pedestrian bridge & North Hollywood Red/Orange Line tunnel (which is really IMO just a west portal entrance, not new tunnel). Passage of Measure M so we may look forward for more things to come.
Opening of Gold Line Foothill Extension from Pasadena to APU!