Which route should the West Santa Ana Branch project take into DTLA?



One of the big transit challenges involving downtown L.A. is this: it’s big. Really big. Our downtown more or less runs from the 10 to the 101 and from the L.A. River to the 110 and could swallow whole the downtowns of many other cities.

To date, Metro Rail is mostly concentrated in the central part of downtown — i.e. DTLA’s western side. That is going to change. One of the Metro transit projects in the pipeline is a light rail line between Artesia and Union Station, also known as the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor Transit Project. While the route on the southern end is largely set (it uses old rail right-of-ways), the route on the northern end to/from Union Station is still to be determined.

But this much is known: the route will definitely serve the eastern half of DTLA, where there is no shortage of current and future development projects underway. The Metro Board of Directors this month will consider approving four possible routes — see the above maps — for study as part of the project’s formal environmental review, which will begin this year.

Six routes were identified in an earlier Technical Refinement Study. A new Northern Alignment Options Screening Report (the exec summary is posted below) by Metro took a deeper dive on those six and concluded that four of the routes warranted further study.

Two of the routes would run alongside the Blue Line — certainly an interesting notion. That could be helpful for riders on the Artesia line heading into the heart of DTLA. The two other routes would be further east and would connect to the Metro light rail system in Little Tokyo and the Arts District. (After the Regional Connector project is complete, there will be one light rail running between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles and another between Azusa and Long Beach).

The West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor has funding from Measure R and Measure M. The Measure M spending plan has the project breaking ground in fiscal year 2022. Metro is looking for ways to accelerate the project, including potential public-private partnerships.

What do you think of the project and the routes, readers? Pros and cons? Comment please.




73 replies

  1. For those interested in exploring this issue further, there was a 2008 fOCTA-LA Metro — Orange and Los Angeles Inter-County Transportation Study at http://libraryarchives.metro.net/DPGTL/studies/2008-orange-los-angeles-intercounty-transportation-study-conceptual-alternatives.pdf by the IBI Group that explored in detail the lack of inter-county transportation between LA and Orange County and proposed many recommendations. However, the situation has only gotten worse since then,

    One key conclusion was “Transit services operating between Orange County and Los Angeles County are also in need of improvement. There are limited opportunities for traveling across the county line, even with planned and funded future increases to bus services and Metrolink. Improvements to regional transit services across the OC/LA county line would assist in serving future travel demand and provide residents and commuters with transportation alternatives to avoid the areas of congestion and hot spots identified above (in the report)”

    The use of the Pacific Electric ROW for a rail line to Santa Ana (and NOT JUST TO ARTESIA) was one recommendation, along with many BRT lines and Metrolink service expansions. However, NONE of these have come to pass, and most likely never will as long as this asinine situation of separate LA and Orange County (as well as Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura) transit agencies exists. The California Legislature would probably have to pass enabling legislation, as they created the present situation in the first place.

    As to what should be done, we need an expanded version of the original SCRTD into a Southern California Regional Transportation Authority (SCRTA) that includes ALL counties, including Ventura, adjacent to LA County. I would also include Metrolink is the mix.

    As an example of what could be done here, in addition to operating the subways and local buses in all 5 boroughs, the New York MTA has jurisdiction over the Metro North and Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) commuter railroads, as well as several bridges over the East River. The adjacent counties (Westchester to the north, and Nassau and Suffolk on Long Island) still have their local bus systems. The only “independent” New York commuter system is New Jersey Transit.

    NYMTA also runs daily, including weekends, express bus service to and from Manhattan. Manhattan-Bound buses are pick-up- only in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Queens, and discharge-only in Manhattan. The opposite arrangement is the case for buses outbound from Manhattan. The same arrangement could be the pattern for many SCRTA Inter-County services.

    There is also the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PA) that operates a bus depot in Manhattan, trans-Hudson tunnels, all major airports (EWR, JFK, and LGA) as well as the PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) heavy rail to New Jersey.

    LA Metro and the surrounding transit agencies should “put their heads together” to see if they can arrive at a solution that actually improves inter-county transportation services, rather operating in vacuums as apparently is the case now.

    • The old MTA did and had inter-county operating jurisdiction. It was broken up after each county wanted to run their own systems. And then with the RTD service was taken from the agency to form Foothill Transit and contracting out service to private companies which in fact has proved to be unreliable. And now under the current MTA smaller cities are getting back into running their own systems like Glendale and Burbank which were merged into the old MTA years ago. The difference in most cases is there has been a minimal amount of loss of lines bus instead new lines and routes not previously provided by the MTA.

      But in other instances especially under the current MTA service has been totally eliminated and not replaced like service to San Bernardino which I know from experience as a RTD Bus Operator carried standing loads using suburban type buses that had high back passenger seats and baggage areas. Unscheduled Express bus service to and from Disneyland was common under the old MTA and RTD was common. I was a passenger as a youth, RTD Bus Operator and RTD Bus Supervisor as an adult. There was direct bus service to Newport Beach / Balboa via Huntington Beach from Downtown Los Angeles. Yes, most of the old service was established by the Pacific Electric, the biggest system in the United States with over eleven hundred miles of trackage in Southern California. The Blue Line and the Expo Line fallow old P.E. right of way with the Long Beach Line being the LAST old P.E. line abandoned by the old MTA.

      It took the LACTC, a non-operating agency, over three years to rebuild the Long Beach Line. It took Henry Huntington six month to build the same line in the early 1900s. The big difference was he did not start at one end and build to the other end but instead used numerous crews to construct the line from both ends and midway at the same time using at times horse drawn wagons instead of the so called high tech equipment we see used today.

      In the time this debate has been proceeding the line proposed line would have been almost completed instead of talked about under the Pacific Electric or LARY.

      • Thanks for filling me in. Words based upon first-hand experience is always very helpful. I was aware of much of what you said, but I thought it would be too long to be effective.

        I have a complete set of Ira Swett’s Interurban Specials on the Pacific Electric from which I get much of my material, I even have the special on all PE rail passenger service, which includes the 1916 Timetable with, for example, more that 70 daily trains on the Pasadena Short Line. It was a very busy time at both downtown LA terminals (Main Street and Hill Street); and at the Vineyard (Venice Short Line plus three other lines), Covina (later Valley), and Oneonta Park (at Fair Oaks and Huntington Drive) Junctions. There was even considerable rail traffic in Upland where the Pomona-Ontario trains branched off the San Bernardino Line.

        As a student at North Hollywood High in the late 1940s, I frequently rode the PE Valley Line, I always loved the final mile into Subway Terminal, and wished that the subway could have been extended to connect to a line within the Hollywood Freeway, At least the Blue Line is doing much the same thing, but this tunnel needs to be extended, along with a burrowing (below-grade flying) junction, to the USC and Washington Stations to eliminate the interference between Blue and Expo Line trains and the all-too-frequent stops for traffic signals along Flower and Washington.

        I also rode the 1200s to and from the LA County Fair in Pomona, and the Venice Short Line, Long Beach, San Pedro, and Glendale-Burbank Lines whenever I could.

        On thing I will never forget was riding the Santa Fe “El Capitan” west of Glendora where we ran alongside a PE Hollywood Car on the parallel Monrovia-Glendora Line. I would then look wistfully at the overhead power lines that still remained on the Pacific Electric San Bernardino Line approaching the Pomona Station, and then at the PE crossing (now CP Cambridge) east of Pomona where there frequently was a cut of refrigerator cars on the northwest interchange track . At least this section is now served by Metrolink.

        The rail transit future may be brighter, but I still wish that an effort had been made to preserve and modernize the Pacific Electric as it was in 1950, rather than “starting from scratch” as in now essentially the case now. And I will NEVER stop advocating for an area-wide Southern California Regional Transportation Authority or an SCRTA incorporating Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Ventura Counties, or, in other words, an expanded SCRTD Plus Ventura,

        Considering the aforementioned but now-dormant study of the need for better Orange-LA County inter-county transit service and a now defunct 4-Corners (including San Bernardino and Riverside) Study, there is a desperate need for inter-county transit service that is not currently being met nor will be met in the foreseeable future.

        What this is telling me is that LA Metro, OCTA, RTA, ,VTA, and Omintrans are, in effect, apparently acting on the assumption that the freeway traffic congestion we encounter at the various county lines is merely a mirage and a figment of imagination. This will be my belief until such time that I see such transit service actually implemented and not just studied. If this takes an Act by the California State Legislature, then do it and not just aimlessly talk about the problem without taking concrete action.

        • I think everyone appreciates the regional nature of commuting in our region. But I’m not sure everyone agrees what should be done about it. Metrolink is funded by the different county transportation agencies and, up to now, there hasn’t been the money available or political will to greatly expand Metrolink. A complicating factor is that the rails here are shared between other trains — so there is only so much room for commuter trains. I also think some folks think there is only so much demand for commuter rail, too. And, thus, the emphasis tends to be placed on building transit for shorter trips.

          If anything, this demonstrates again that our region has a very, very long list of needs when it comes to transportation.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

  2. Knowing that Right-of-way issues are part of the planning process and that those are factored into the alternatives, I will restrict myself to the current alternatives and not fantasies. While there are 4 alternatives, it basically boils down to permutations of 2 choices (Little Tokyo/No Little Tokyo and Blue Line/No Blue Line). Looking at each of these as a separate choice leads to the following.

    Little Tokyo vs. no Little Tokyo station:
    The proposed distance of an Arts District station from a Little Tokyo station is small. And it would be an underground station. This would allow for a nice connecting tunnel between the WSAB AD station and the RC LT station. NYC MTA has several tunnels that length and some much longer (and they are well trafficked). The loss of a WSAB LT station is not a big issue. This comes with an upside, it lessens up the traffic on the RC rails leading into the RC LT station. This would allow for greater frequency and limit passenger confusion (2 different lines operating from a single platform is about all that a novice passenger should have to deal with.)
    ∴ No LT station for the WSAB line. The benefits of not building it outweigh the benefits of having it.

    Blue line overlap vs. no Blue Line overlap:
    With the 2 lines on separate tracks (but hopefully with an interconnect) this would give passengers on the BL and alternate to east DTLA and WSAB passengers an alternate connection to western areas. This would save them time and make more territory more friendly to riders on these 2 lines. It would allow for an alternative re routing the BL to the upper part of the WSAB line to make it direct connect to the northern Gold Line (which will be part of the BL by then.) This can alleviate pressure on the BL/Expo switch (route the WSAB onto Washington.) This will provide more connection nodes to major components further out. This provides riders with more options.
    Also, the BL overlap option yields another station the 7th/Alameda sta. This gives more access in DTLA. It also provides more area that is bikeable with the Metro bikes. Better connections, more alternative routes, an extra station where it is needed, lessen traffic on a choke point. This is the option.

    So, based upon these 2 considerations, the Alameda/Vignes option wins.

    Bonus features of this route: better overall access to the 6th Street Viaduct and parks and the ability to run a DTLA ring route on off-hours (overnight) (an ‘X’ lettered Owl service line that runs only when other service is very low, allowing DTLA residents to get home from late night shows/clubs [a few months ago after a late event in DTLA I caught the last train home, for the person I was with, an overnighter would have been helpful].)

  3. My vote is Alameda/Vignes, with Alameda running a close second.

    The Pacific/Vernon options are NOT good choices. I grew up in Huntington Park, and I can tell you that having LRT turn from Randolph to Pacific — even elevated — would be incredibly disruptive, cutting off the northern part of the city from the southern segment of our historic “Main Street”, Pacific Blvd. It would scar the city.

    The other two options (Alameda and Alameda/Vignes) are better because they improve connectivity by bringing the new line together with the Blue Line.

    Of the remaining two, I prefer Alameda/Vignes. At this stage in Metro Rail’s development, I think it is more important to expand the range of Metro, than to provide even more connectivity. (I’m not even convinced a Little Tokyo station on the WSAB would be that good for connectivity, given the awkward connection that it would create.) Alameda/Vignes would bring Metro south, to the Arts District. This station would not only serve residents of that growing neighborhood, but would also make available new destinations to residents County-wide.

    • All good points, metrocenter. As someone who doesn’t live in DTLA and occasionally visits the Arts and Industrial districts, I’m curious about travel patterns. This project’s alternatives are all north-south in orientation. I’m curious how many residents and visitors are traveling that way — I honestly don’t know. My hunch is that this project will certainly help reach both of these parking-challenged areas but will need to be accompanied by upgraded bus service on one of the big east-west streets to help AD and ID residents get back and forth into the downtown core.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. Pacific/Alameda or Pacific/Vignes seem pretty good. Both look like they add transit in areas that are really not well-served right now.

  5. West Santa Ana Branch what a great idea. Speed up development because we need it.

    Whatever you do don’t overlap a transit line with another. Blue line was slowed down when Expo line increased service. The more downtown station options you give to riders they more likely they will travel to and from them to shop and work. The beauty of the Lary System is it stopped so many places in Downtown LA, However like a restaurant if a station becomes too full, people won’t use it. Isn’t this a population & traffic demand system, decentralized it

  6. I’d vote for Alameda, for four reasons.

    1. Having the line overlap with the Blue Line would provide more options for transfers: riders from Long Beach could transfer to a more direct line to Union Station (even with the Downtown Connector, it would be great to have an alternative to the more circuitous route), and riders from Artesia could transfer to the Blue Line for a more direct path to the Financial District / Convention Center area.

    2. The Blue Line, especially along its Long Beach Boulevard alignment, needs a serious upgrade. It’s prone to chronic delays, and this is also the stretch with the most/worst accidents. Adding an elevated alignment for this Artesia Line might allow the Blue Line to (one day) get rerouted onto that track and thus substantially upgraded.

    3. Having a shared station at Little Tokyo means that riders from Artesia can transfer to the future Santa Monica – East LA line directly, rather than transferring twice as in the two Vignes options.

    4. Having a station at 7th/Alameda is more beneficial than having multiple stations in the Little Tokyo/Arts District area (assuming the Red/Purple Lines do get one more station at the end of their tracks). 7th/Alameda is adjacent to the Greyhound terminal as well as a major zone of employment in the Warehouse District.

    • The Metro Blue Line (formerly PE’s Long Beach line) runs in the median of Long Beach AVE from Washington to Slauson.
      Please don’t confuse it with Long Beach BLVD, which runs from South Gate to Ocean Blvd in downtown Long Beach. The Blue line does run on Long Beach Blvd, but only in Long Beach.

  7. To maximize coverage area and effectiveness, why not send it down Alameda until Washington (creating a transit hub), then send it over to Pacific to serve the transit neglected industrial districts and extending the effective coverage area of Metro.

  8. Go for Pacific/alameda route and add a arts district stop at 7th stree. Simple and lovely and helps the most people

  9. Can Metro use a larger EMU train running on Santa Ana line? Considering a line will extent to Santa Ana one day, which approximately 40 miles length; considering the line will serve more than 100,000 riders per day, how long will the SLOW LRT train take to run the entire route and how can LRT handles massive ridership??? I bet Metro never consider it before they begin planning rapid transit in LA. Using an EMU train does not only provide larger space to accommodate more passengers, but also operating in higher speed and reducing the travel time. Examples would be JR Lines (Yamanote Line), MTR East Rail Line, Sydney Train, Long Island Railroad, KTM Komuter, S-Bahn and SuperVia. These are really great examples of suburban line that fits perfectly in the Santa Ana corridor. Metro should take a look of worldwide suburban rail systems and improve LA suburban rapid transportation service. Light rail has only limited efficiency at this point.

  10. Alameda is the best and most effective in my opinion. I actually did a google earth survey of the ROW north of Washington Station and it seems like a no brainer. I had not considered how much elevated track would be required which seems like a waste, but then again, with the Blue Line crossing at multiple sections at grade and Expo, the additional crossings would kill surface traffic for a good radius of DTLA.

    It seems like this would put infrastructure in place to eventually have Express Blue Line service as well.

    It will be interesting to see the models.

    I would love to see this project put ahead of the others.

  11. Pacific/Alameda. It has the stop in arts district, AND little tokyo, plus has a major portion under ground. More under ground segments!!!!

  12. All would work well if the line were underground, and or elevated in the DTLA area. If not, then all routes would be bad as it would cause congestion for automobiles, and trains.

  13. Connect the Santa Ana branch directly to the Blue Line by double decking the Green Line for an express route between DTLA and Orange County.

    • @fastlink huh????? that would be like a waste of money to create an express route to such a (inferior) unpopular county….

      ..your comment need to be revised…

  14. Hopefully this line is eventually extended beyond Union Station to go North and then West along Santa Monica Blvd. Years down the road, but let me dream.

    • Yes! Over on Sunset to Santa Monica Blvd to West Hollywood interlining with the Crenshaw North extension.

      • Actually service from Downtown to Santa Monica via Sunset and Santa Monica Bl. should be a priority. But for some reason that corridor that at one time was supposed to be served by a freeway has been continually over looked. Other than Wilshire Bl. what other streets are served by Rapid buses until midnight along with local service approx. every twenty minutes all night long.

  15. If blue line alternated an Express and a local every other train with the Express going to union station via alameda and the local going through the regional connector it would reduce the shared load on the connector quite a bit.

  16. Pacific/Alameda is the way to go, Especially if they add an additional station at 7th/Santa Fe. (walking distance to 6th st park, and a lot of the AD, current and developing)

    The Vignes options both miss the transfer point of 1st/Central, requiring a transfer at Union Station to backtrack 1 stop if you want to go east/west. This is precisely the type of mess that the regional connector is SUPPOSED to eliminate. Lets not create another one on the east side of DT. This would be a popular transfer point since the latino heavy population served by the WSAB could much more easily visit East LA and Boyle Heights for shopping, food and family. This would not happen if doing so requires multiple transfers.

    The numbers are only higher for the Alameda alignment because it assumes a lot of people transferring from the blue line to get to union station faster (note the difference in NEW rides generated). Again, the Regional Connector is SUPPOSED to deal with that already. As a daily blue line passenger, I would certainly rather just stay in my seat a few more stops through downtown rather than get off, and wait for another train (which may not be as frequent as the blue line). How would that be any faster anyway?

    Also, there is already a transfer point to the blue line at 1st/Central. Who then would want to transfer between Slauson and Washington? 4 transfer point to the Blue line is ENTIRELY redundant and a waste of opportunity. If you want to speed up the trip between Washington and Union Station, just improve the ROW between Washington and Pico. Don’t forgo an alignment serving new neighborhoods and jobs just to avoid dealing with the issues along washington and flower. Especially as a line along Slauson may someday add yet another transfer point.

  17. Connectivity with the Blue Line seems a must to me. The most important factor in making a transit system more usable for its patrons is providing them with options!! Having multiple routes connected in a network provides more attractive routing options for the rider and it also gives redundancy and makes the system robust to disruptions.

    With that said, I do fully support running the Blue line and WSAB line on separate tracks but these tracks MUST be connected so that we can build for the future and have multiple routes (like a LAUS-LAX route over Harbor Subdivision one day!)

  18. According to the report, the evidence towards the Alameda segment’s benefits are obvious. It constantly proves to be the most effective in ridership numbers and access to affordable housing. A 7th/Alameda stop is integral with the Greyhound system, even though it’s not Metro, the riders on that system would benefit immensely to a direct connection. Think about alleviating the Blue Line’s traffic too for people interested in bypassing the new Regional Connector’s downtown stations as well!

  19. For the Alameda alternative, a track connection should be made between the Blue Line and the WSAB line so that some WSAB trains can go to 7th/Metro and some blue line trains can go up Alameda. The blue line Alameda route could be part of an express union station-Long Beach service.

    On a separate note, there should be a study of grade separating the Blue and Expo lines in the vicinity of the Washington junction. Service and traffic delays will only get worse in the future.

  20. The Pacific/Alameda alignment seems to be a better option. I agree in regards to this line having its own alignment. If the track was shared, chances are one of the lines would have the common mechanical problems, emergencies, requested bus shuttles, etc. Thus, resulting in reduced travel times and unnecessary transferring in those situations. Just like the 7th St. Metro Center Station, a double underground station should take place at the Arts District station. If the red/purple line were to be extended further south, it would be best to connect with the WSAB at the Arts District Station as a second transfer point with Union Station as the first. I’m all for the possible extension further south to Garden Grove as well. Just be sure to include a stop at Disneyland. My only concern would be the possible LAX to Union Station line that was proposed a few months back. Not too sure what alignment that would fall under. Other than that, I like the fact that aerial and underground are being taken into consideration in DTLA. At grade seems to be challenge for our drivers out here.

  21. A route down Alameda is the best way to go. The ridership is projected to be higher, it has better connections and at a better cost. Plus it gives the arts district more rail-based coverage especially if Metro extends the Red/ Purple line to 6th like they should. I don’t understand one thing about the Pacific/ Vignes alignment. Why would Metro build a fully underground line in the arts district only to give it one measly station in the northern half of this large neighborhood. Why not have another station in the Southern part near 7th where a lot of growth is happening. Seems very short sighted.

    • The studies so far are looking into potentially adding 1 or more stations between Vernon and the northern AD. The Pacific/Alameda option would allow for a station at 7th/Santa Fe pending further study. Not sure why they haven’t included any of these possibilities in the maps yet, because as you mentioned, stations serving the southern AD would be a HUGE draw for all the developers (public-private-partnership anyone?) and new residents in that neighborhood.

  22. The Alameda/7th Street station is the key because it provides rail access to the Arts District and the center-western side of downtown where there is currently a large rail gap, so I vote for either the Alameda or the Alameda/Vignes route. If we could pick a route from scratch, I would prefer the Alameda/Pacific route, but with a stop at Alameda/7th instead of the Arts District.

  23. @Alan theres not that many if any that go to that county down south.. since its like an inferior place w/ inferior people…

    If you think they’re going to be onboard with this you’re dreamin and even like wrong….

  24. The Alameda alternative makes the most sense, especially since it garners the highest ridership. Overlapping with 3 stations on the Blue Line would enable regional connectivity and access. I’d also suggest looking at the possibility of an additional station along Alameda in the vicinity of 4th Street. A lot of development is occurring in the area and I don’t think that a closer spacing of stations is a bad thing in the downtown area. I think intersecting the Blue and Gold Lines at Little Tokyo is a very important element of this alignment for regional connectivity as well.

    • 4 connections to the blue line is excessive. The only reason people would transfer below washington would be to avoid the washington-flower section. And I doubt the time savings would make it worth it considering you’d have to go upstairs and wait for another train. Connecting at 1st/Central is all thats needed.

      • Metro studied this very matter in after SCAG’s initial alternatives. The very reason the Alameda route has such higher ridership is because transfers were expected to be high due to the very significant time savings by skipping the Washington segment of the blue line despite the time and inconvenience of transfering.

  25. No matter which route it takes, it should NOT use any of the same alignment as either the Gold Line or the Blue line. We need to make sure that it has it’s own alignment and serves the most amount of people as possible. This is why it MUST have it’s own alignment . I would have no problem if it ran next to either one for part of it’s journey.
    People, here in Los Angeles, are confused by the differance between the Expo Line and the Blue Line right now, immagine if we add another line to the mix. We need to keep it simple!

    • I can only assume we were paying homage to the Aqua Line, which was brilliant ( http://heavytrash.blogspot.com/2005/04/aqua-line.html ) with the color choice, but yeah, especially among those who don’t speak English as a first language (residents and tourists) that I meet at 7MC, two blue-colored lines running off the same platforms was a really bad idea. The plans to replace with numbers/letters can’t come soon enough.

  26. The Alameda alternative at over 70,000 riders is over 20% greater than the next best performing route. That’s not insignificant.

    • A big chunk of that are transfers from the blue line, not new riders. Connection to the blue line is already provided at the 1st/Central station. (regional connector)

      • Precisely, and that’s a good thing. It makes the cost metrics look most attractive for federal funding all while freeing up capacity at 7th metro center allowing for capacity shift to the future ELA to SaMo line without expensive improvements to that station. Win/Win

  27. Until October 1950 there was electric rail service to Santa Ana more than twice as far as Artesia is from LA. The line was cut back to Bellflower which was abandoned in May of 1958.

    Let’s hope this is the Camel’s nose in the tent for the lines extension to Garden Grove to meet the Santa Ana streetcar and on to Santa Ana in the near future.

    Their needs to be a combination of different selected routes. None are satisfactory as shown. Also the future cross town Brea LAX line along the Randolph / Slauson corridor on authority owned and Union Pacific right of way needs to be accommodated into whatever route is selected.


    • Here’s a thought – Both the Alameda & Alameda/Vignes options could allow for a much faster express express service on the blue line, going straight on private ROW into Union Station instead of crawling along the street-running section between 7th Metro & Washington Station. Long Beach Mayor/Metro Board Member Robert Garcia filed a motion recently to study service & speed improvements along the blue line, and this might be a good way to achieve that.

      That being said, I think both the Pacific/Vignes route would be the better option for the Artesia Line due to it providing walkable rail service to Huntington Park, one of the most densely populated cities in LA county, with many neighborhoods exceeding 40,000 residents per square mile according to 2010 census data.

      Additionally, the Pacific/Vignes route would also better serve the jobs-heavy (albeit almost entirely non-residential) city of Vernon. I don’t know what the statistics are as far as what modes of transportation Vernon workers use to get to work, but I’d bet good money that the Pacific/Vignes option would make a lot of their commutes shorter and generally more pleasant.

      The Alameda to Washington part of the Alameda option should still be looked at seriously as a way to improve service on the Blue line & relieve congestion at Flower junction, where trains will soon be crossing the busy street as often as once every 2.5 minutes during peak hours.

      • All of the options have the Huntington Park Stations, and the Vignes route misses the 1st/Central transfer point to the blue line, obviating the other blue line redundancies of the Alameda option. Pacific/Alameda does both.

          • How so? They’re identical south of about 4th St, and the lack of the 1st/central station would make it harder for commuters to Vernon from the east side. Am I missing something here?

    • It’d be really cool to have OC to LAX public transportation link via Metrolink and Green LIne. Better yet an LRT along 405- would be so cool!

  28. Interesting that the Alameda and Alameda/Vignes alignments are aerial along the Blue Line, is there a reason for this? Seems like an at-grade alignment that shares tracks could save some money for this project.

    • I think the existing Blue Line at-grade alignment has a troubled safety record. My guess is that if this alignment moved forward, one day the Blue Line might shift from its current at-grade tracks to the aerial tracks, thereby allowing higher speeds and minimizing pedestrian/auto conflict points.

    • Actually, it make more sense to expand the Blue Line to three tracks from Washington to 103rd Street or even Rosa Parks and run rush hour non-stop express service on both the Blue and WSAB lines. Local rush hour trains could then turn back at Rosa Parks.

      There should be room, as the UP (former SP) is mostly single track alone this route.

      This third track could also be used for express LAX trains that should be routed along Slauson to a connection with the Crenshaw Line to provide ONE-SEAT SERVICE between Union Station and the 96th Street LAX station and the LAX APM.

      However, as is proposed, all WSAB and Blue Line express trains should then have a separate route to Union Station to avoid adding more congestion to the Flower Junction.

      At its peak, the Pacific Electric had no less than SEVEN interurban lines (Long Beach, Santa Ana, two to San Pedro (via Dominguez and Torrance), Redondo Beach via Torrance, Whittier-Yorba Linda, and Newport-Balboa) sharing the middle two tracks that were non-signaled, i.e,, dark, in today’s parlance. Only the Watts locals used the outer two tracks.

  29. I think all the routes are flawed, but if I have to pick one, I’d go with Alameda/Vignes. That said, I think a better option is to extend Purple line HRT from Union Station along the LA River to the 105/green line transfer station, where people would switch to LRT along the WSAB ROW. It would be faster, have higher capacity, and wouldn’t force a transfer for many people north of the green line trying to get to most of DTLA. Furthermore, the purple line could eventually extend south to LGB Airport and Belmont Shores.

    • @spencepatrickj LOL Long Beach?!?? Subway?!??

      Not in a million years……

      • The tracks as-is should be able to accommodate both types of equipment. However, the subway cars would have to be equipped with third rail shoes and panotgraphs, This is not a show-stopper, as New York Metro North commuter trains routinely transition at full speed between DC third rail and catenary AC. It would be less complicated here, as both LAMTA systems run on DC,

        However, a major potential problem is car width. The Breda subway cars are 10 feet wide, and the LRT cars are 8 feet wide, with platform openings to match. Thus a new car would be required to fit the narrow LRT platform openings, but maybe wider at seat level to accommodate more passengers.

        This could also impact the width of the “Devil Strip,” the gap between parallel tracks in a double-track installation. As the catenary poles are frequently in the Devil Strip, they could also be impacted. Both these impacts could be resolved by spreading the tracks a bit.

        However, there would be a 12-inch gap between the car door sill and the subway platforms when the cars are operated in the subway and thus would be a definite hazard, It could, however, be accommodated with ramps that automatically deploy at subway stations,

        In passing, note that this is greater than the 7-1/2-inch gap that existed when BMT (Brooklyn-Manhattan-Transit) 8′-9″ wide elevated cars operated on BMT subway lines with 10′ wide platform openings. This was accommodated by advising passengers to “Mind the Gap.” To this day, New York has two subway divisions; Division A (numbered former IRT lines with narrow (8′-9″at door sill) cars); and Division B (lettered former BMT and IND lines, with wider (10′ at door sill) cars}. In fact, New York had to permanently close the City Hall IRT station, as it was on a sharp curve and the gaps were too large for safety – see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Hall_(IRT_Lexington_Avenue_Line).

    • Huh?? All if not most of these routing options are above or below grade from I-105 to Downtown. Not sure how a Purple Line extension would necessarily be any better in this case.

      • It has a higher capacity and wouldn’t require transfers at Union Station or the Blue Line to get to Downtown and the Westside. Also, they want to extend it to the Arts District anyway.

        • But that’s ASSUMING everyone coming from both Long Beach and Santa Ana are heading towards the Westside. As far as Downtown Connections are concerned, getting off at Little Tokyo and waiting literally 30 sec to 2 min for a Train during rush hour is NOT inconvenient especially since all it may require is walking across a platform. By this idea, there will already be a transfer at I-105 to begin with.

          The only reason why an Arts District extension is being talked about is because only the platforms would need to get built. Extend it from Art District to Long Beach and you’re already looking at the Billions.

  30. As a current resident of the Arts District, I feel that the Alameda alignment is the best option. The direct connections to the regional connecter in Little Tokyo and the Blue Line further south would make this portion of the route indispensable in the sense of the greater network in downtown. The station at 7th would also be very welcome as an easy way to get north/south in the Arts District and could spur a number of local trips. This alignment would also avoid doubling-up with the possible 3rd/6th street Red/Purple line station, while still being within a reasonable distance that people in the Arts District could choose directly which route they need rather than forcing a transfer at Union to get to Red/Purple.

    I think a good way to speed up both this and the possible Red/Purple Line station would be to create a consortium of the Arts District mega-developers to form an Arts District Transit Organization that could form a public-private partnership that spreads out the risk among the people that would benefit most from fast-tracking transit in the area. Those developers would benefit from the increased property values as well as possibly be able to negotiate reduced parking minimums for their upcoming projects due to the incoming transit options.

  31. The new lines should be as many different routes as possible.. only transfer points should be shared…

  32. When are these clowns at the MTA going to realize more than one light rail line can run on the same trackage? Why elevate one line right next to a existing line? It worked well in the past with both the P.E. and the LARY which were both larger systems and used the accent procedure to separate trains, the motorman’s eyes and ears. Portland does it, San Diego does it but the MTA can’t seem to figure out a way to use it here effectively.

    • That doesn’t work well. It leads to reliability and capacity problems.

      • Other cities are currently doing it successfully and both the P.E. and LARY did it in Los Angeles in the past with far more lines.

    • Two lines run on the Red/Purple line downtown, and two light rail lines will run in the regional connector when it opens. Are they not run by MTA?

    • LMAO!!! You’re clearly are not able to look at the picture clear enough here.

      How often are blue line trains delayed?? How often do those delay affect the Expo Line even though they only share 2 stations. Do you think that the Blue Line service won’t affect the Gold Line section once they are connected??

      Do you sincerely believe that Blue Line service delays won’t affect this corridor if they both run on the same tracks??

      The fact is delays happens on the Blue Line really often, and they do in fact affect the Expo Line as well. I am completely against having this Line use the same tracks as the Blue Line.

      • Blue and Expo Lines will constantly be delayed at Metro Center as long as both lines use the west-most platform to change ends, This could be alleviated by having each line ALWAYS USE use a different platform at Metro Center,

        This problem should essentially go away when the Regional Connector comes online,

    • Have it run via Randolph to Blue Line & then N/O Washington Station towards Alameda to Union Station, at Least the Proposed Santa Ana Branch would Connect with Blue Line & Later Gold Line that would replace Expo Line in Future to Union Station, this would be the Cheaper Alternative to L.A. instead of Tearing up & Tunneling Under Streets to Get to Union Station!

      Also why aren’t they putting a Stop at Lakewood BL. A Busy Major Throughfare on the Lakewood / Bellflower Border?

      • FYI – The UP (former SP) line along Randolph was once part of the Pacific Electric Whittier Line that branched off the PE four tracks (now the UP Wilmington Subdivision) at Slauson Junction (MP 2.5) which still exists on the UP,