Art of Transpo
Metro approves continuing work on Union Station run-through tracks (Streetsblog LA)
The agency’s Board on Thursday approved going ahead with further study of a plan to make it easier for Amtrak and Metrolink trains to enter and exit Union Station from both the south and north. The plan also includes locating high-speed rail tracks, tracks for the West Santa Branch project (i.e. light rail between Union Station and Artesia) and potentially an expanded concourse under the tracks.
It’s a great project and would speed up regional train travel and add capacity to Union Station. The big issue is price — it’s estimated to cost more than $2 billion and that’s money that will still have to be found and secured. Stay tuned. And here’s a project presentation.
Red Line subway could extend into South L.A. (Curbed LA)
The key word there is ‘could.’ The Metro Board, also on Thursday, asked for a subway alternative to be studied as part of the Vermont Avenue bus rapid transit project’s environmental study. Vermont is one of the busiest bus corridors in the county and the Red Line runs below Vermont between Wilshire and Hollywood boulevards.
Over the years there has been talk about pushing the rail further south. But the money and/or political will has never been there. Not sure either are there yet and money will certainly be an issue: there’s $425 million in funding available for the project. That’s a lot — but subway projects typically cost in the billions.
I’m guessing the study will also tackle operational issues of funneling trains from NoHo, Westwood and Vermont (south of Wilshire) into the set of tracks between Wilshire/Vermont and Union Station.
Related: a look at the Vermont Avenue BRT project.
Initially, 17 percent of Measure M revenues are being returned to local cities and unincorporated parts of the county on a per capita basis for their local transportation projects. As part of developing guidelines for how Measure M funds are managed and spent, Metro is exploring setting a ‘floor’ for smaller cities — to ensure they get enough money to be able to fund a project.
Not so fast, writes Scott Frazier — who doesn’t like the idea of helping smaller, wealthy cities that he believes could expand their tax base by other means (i.e. perhaps commercial development, perhaps something else).
The Metro Board is scheduled to adopt the Measure M guidelines at their June meeting. This topic came up at yesterday’s Board meeting and it’s pretty clear there are issues still to be chewed upon. Stay tuned.
Works for me. And wish they would knock down the awful below ground mall a block away, too. The Regional Connector will adds underground light rail stations in Little Tokyo and at 2nd/Broadway, making it far easier to get to the Civic Center — and this seems to me as good as any to keep developing. The L.A. Conservancy feels otherwise.
Some oil companies are no longer interested in the project — with oil prices slumping — while others see it as a smart future investment that will make it far easier to get oil from Canada’s tar sands fields to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
Seems to me that the best way to keep gas prices and demand down and to help avoid future drilling is to drive a little bit less and, if possible, upgrade to a more fuel efficient vehicle. Another tip: try taking transit instead of driving every so often as, generally speaking, transit results in fewer greenhouse gases than driving alone.
Categories: Transportation Headlines