New northern routes to be studied for Artesia to downtown L.A. light rail project

Here are the four routes for the northern part of the line that were studied as part of the public scoping process held in June 2017.

Click to see larger version.

The new route options will be further refined in the next few months, identifying the alignment and station locations.

A key Measure R and Measure M project is a new light rail line that would run between Artesia and downtown Los Angeles. It’s known as the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, since some of the line would follow an old streetcar route that used to connect to Santa Ana.

The Metro Board of Directors this month will consider expanding the study area to include two options that would terminate in the downtown Los Angeles core and another that would end at an Arts District station and provide for a transfer to the Red/Purple Line subway.

Why the change? Feedback from the public and stakeholders. There were concerns raised about both construction and visual impacts with the original four routes, especially in the Little Tokyo area. See the staff report.

The Metro Board of Directors will consider adding the new routes for more technical analyses at their March 1 meeting. Metro staff will return to the Board with an updated report on the different northern routes and recommendations on which ones should be carried forward into the project’s draft environmental impact statement/report.

What do you think, Source readers? Pretty interesting stuff, as the new routes could deliver riders directly into the heart of downtown L.A. and connect the DTLA core to the emerging Arts and Industrial districts.

Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

45 replies

  1. Another possibility is an Olympic-to-Broadway route.

    This route would head into Downtown on Olympic, with a stop maybe at Olympic/Santee. Then it would head north under Broadway, with one stop on Broadway between 7th and 9th, and then one stop at 1st/Broadway (with pedestrian tunnels for transfer to Civic Center HRT station and 2nd/Broadway LRT station).

  2. I really like the idea of turning the West Santa Ana Branch line off of Alameda and directly northwest into DTLA. I agree with others here that most riders from SE LA County will be interested in getting to DTLA and points north and west, rather than to Union Station. In terms of which route to take to do so, I think something like DTC-1 and DTC-2 looks promising.

    If I could choose my ideal route, I’d suggest turning off Alameda onto 9th, with stops at Central (for the Produce Wholesale District) and Maple/Los Angeles/Santee (for Santee Alley), before turning up one of those north-south streets to around 6th/5th-ish, for a new hub station just southeast of Pershing Square. Then one or two final stops to interface with the Red/Purple Lines (at/near Pershing Square) and with the Blue/Gold Lines (at an infill station near Central Library). Avoiding 7th/Metro is key, given that it’s already at capacity, and transfers can be made at several other points, like Pershing Square, Washington, etc.

    I can say from personal experience that there are a ton of Asian aunties in Cerritos/Artesia who are salivating at the idea of riding this train directly to their favorite fabric stores in the Garment District – that area needs rail access ASAP!

    (o hai Jose!)

  3. OK, this is all very interesting, but I’m not sure why there are so many alternatives to run LRT up Alameda where it is currently a logistics center with a lot of trucks and generally as unpleasant as it gets for a walkable neighborhood. Accessibility to the Arts District is probably best served by extending the Red and Purple Lines, as these alternatives don’t even bring LRT into the heart of the AD, which is several blocks east of Alameda.

    Other concerns: Union Station is pretty much maxed out in terms of platforms. I can see some sort of sharing with the current Gold Line platform if it is made longer, and with trains from the West Santa Ana Branch terminating north of Chinatown at the spare tracks/maintenance facility, but that platform is already very crowded and this just makes it doubly worse.

    7MC is also maxed out with transfers and while I hope the Regional Connector will make it not as chaotic, a lot of people will still need to change trains there to get between West/South LA and Hollywood. Besides, building anything else in the core beyond what is already provisioned (5th/Flower) is guaranteed to be very very deep and expensive. I would certainly like to see an east-west line in South Park, but I’m not sure this project is the one that should do that. I think the streetcar can make a turn and do it just as well.

    If you want the quick and dirty, the brown line looks pretty good, since there is plenty of capacity to be had on the MRT Red/Purple vehicles. It might actually be the only alternative that would allow the project to stay within budget.

    • To be honest though, I rather this gets delayed and wait to find more money or get taxed again to build a terminus at 5th/flower then have to hear about staying within budget. That’s the reason why the Expo Line sucks right now.

  4. I dont get the point of connecting everything to downtown. We have the blue line going to downtown. Why add a second line. Connect the santa ana line to the expo line. Slauson ave runs a old santa fe railroad, take it to Figueroa and connect at expo. At the same time blue line is at slauson to tranfer to downtown. Many people commute from the southeast cities to west la and santa monica. This would relief some of the 10fwy congestion.

    • Just curious, would anyone happen to know how deep that foundation is?? Like, would it actually be possible to make a rail line go under or around it??

    • Heavy rail down Vermont would address the southeast to West LA commute with transfers to Expo and Purple.

  5. Here’s a innovating idea. Option one to the Old Subway Terminal Building, the station is still beneath it, and extend it to the Northwest existing near Glendale Bl. and continuing along the old P. E. route via Glendale Bl. to Sunset Bl., to Santa Monica Bl. to the beach. Most of this could be built at street level at an accelerated rate using mutual construction crews starting at each end and midway as was done by Henry Huntington in the early twentieth century where horse were one of the primary modes of transportation. At with the vastness of the old terminal turn back of some trains and storage could easily be achieved in both directions.

    • Huell Howser had a great episode about the old Subway Terminal Building. (Available online). I seem to recall the foundation of the Bonaventure blocked off the original PE tunnel. That foundation also caused some construction headaches with the Regional Connector.

  6. Who owns the old Santa Monica Air Line ROW that goes due east from Expo/Flower to San Pedro St, then between 29th and 31st to Central Ave, and on to the Blue Line and Alameda Corridor? I know it’s not in the current plans, but has there ever been discussion of using it to connect Expo to the Blue line (and eventually West Santa Ana Branch)? This route would connect the southern part of the county with the west side while bypassing DTLA, and also allow additional frequencies on the Blue and Expo lines not subject to the bottleneck that is bound to happen with the regional connector.

    • Metro does. My source?? The signs that say “Private Property – Metro owned right-of-way” followed by the no trespassing, no loitering, etc. along the entire right-of-way, not just the section currently used.

    • There was some thought to have the Expo line use it but residents along the alignment threw a tantrum and Metro backed off. Probably politically a non-starter.

  7. Truly, a dilemma. I would want the line to follow through and actually go to/from union station, but both downtown transit core options seem nice as well. I’d put the service in the “lower downtown” section, like the flower district, etc..Amateur idea? Sure, but at least it’s worth something to consider.

  8. Wow, so many issues. I still feel the Blue should come north of Washington on Alameda to LAUS before heading out to Claremont. This line is going to be so long, saving some miles could be useful. Then the WSAB goes down Washington to 7/th and Flower etc.

    But if forced to accept one of the new choices, I take #1 and get it to Pershing to connect with the Red/Purple and also the downtown street car one day. I would love for it to go over to Flower to connect to the light rail. And then, if you really want to make this work, continue it past the Harbor Freeway, turn north (tunneling allows this), hook up to Glendale Blvd and take it to Echo Park or Silver Lake. Creates a somewhat east-west cross downtown route.

    Or if WSAB continues to LAUS up Alameda as it should, i run it through LASU to Chinatown as a temporary northern terminal as you then could use the existing Midway yard instead of having to build yet another yard, since most of Midways work has gone to Monrovia. Another reason to do this – I would like the WSAB continue through Mt Washington, Glasell Park and up to Eagle Rock. (not Glendale- Metrolink will provide enough service to there for now)

    Or another idea. Send Blue up to LAUS via Alameda and then how about a short extension to County General Hospital?
    Shortens the busy Blue Line to make for better operations and adds a destination. Then take the WASB branch up Blue existing route through downtown LA- maybe to East La. Then Run Expo from Santa Monica to Claremont via Union Station.

    There are so many possible combos of through routes

  9. Here’s my idea two options should be chosen. Given the proximity to Union Station two lines should be added. The Union Station-Alameda Gold Line option should be used temporarily as some sort of Blue Line Express route as many people I’ve witnessed exit and walk downstairs to take the Red Line to Union Station. Once a fully built route to Artesia is done then that new line can continue a route towards Union Station.
    The second option should be the DTC1 option. The point of transit is to be accessible and connected as possible. A station near Pershing Square could help with people transferring via a walkway connecting to the Red Line. DTC1 also opens the door for possible future extensions to Glendale, maybe even farther like Sylmar.

  10. Given the new possibilities, my priorities are: (1) expand subway coverage within downtown; (2) connect to existing lines; and (3) keep it fast.

    So my concept is an 8th Street subway, with stops at 7th/Hope, 8th/Broadway and 8th/Alameda. Finally, we’ll have a subway stop in the lower Historic Core, right? It would even serve parts of South Park and the Fashion District. The 7th/Metro connection could be a terminal stop at 7th/Hope, with a tunnel walkway connecting to the existing station.

    9th Street or Olympic Blvd could also work, so long as we have a connection at 7th/Metro, to allow for easy transfers.

  11. Option 1 and connect to the expo line at 7th and flower. The purpose of having a transit system is for all of it to be connected.

    It’s not logical to have to get off a stop, walk 4 blocks and tap in again. Make the transferring easy and reduce the “last mile” and see more ridership.

    -sincerely a person who wants to get rid of their car.

    • 7th/Metro (Flower) would be a logistical nightmare if a third line were to go there. First, it would have to be really deep to go under both the regional connector and heavy rail subway lines. And the existing platforms would need extra capacity as it’s likely to maxed out once the regional connector opens.

      • So you wanna take this light rail, then the regional connector for one stop and then transfer to the hub in 7th and flower?

        Why not just make 7th and flower the hub?

        The only purpose of not going straight into the hub is to create redundancy and reduce the cost.

        I would rather you spend more money and create a central hub for all transfers than not. This is a light rail for people to get into the city center, so put it centrally where people can get to the other lines easily. It’s not going to be the final destination for most people on their commutes.

        • By creating transfer points to Red/Purple at Pershing Square and Regional Connector at a new 5th/Flower station, offers options. Most transit systems spread the transfer points as to not rely on one location. This is one of the major advantages of the Regional Connector.

          For those on the WSAB line, 5th/Flower or Pershing Square still get within the downtown core. If someone doesn’t want a 2-block walk, they could transfer on Washington to get to Pico or 7th/Metro.

        • No need to make a stop at 7th/Flower.

          If you want to transfer to Red/Purple Line, you transfer at Pershing Square. If you want to transfer to Expo/Blue/Gold, you transfer at 5th/Flower.

          7th/Flower is already almost maxed out as a transfer point for Blue/Expo/Purple/Red Lines. The Regional Connector will add the Gold Line and additional downtown subway traffic to the mix. Adding the 75,000 estimated riders of the West Santa Ana Line to the mix is not a good idea.

          • “Adding the 75,000 estimated riders of the West Santa Ana Line to the mix is not a good idea.”

            – This, and not too mention that if a “Yellow” Line is built via Glendale and Burbank then you can stack those numbers as well. At this point adding yet another rail line to 7th/Metro is a bad idea unless you wanna completely rebuilt the station to add more platforms for more capacity.

    • That isn’t a final alignment you’re seeing there you know.

      What will happen is the terminus will likely be either on a soon to exist Regional Connector station, or a new station (See 5th/Flower), along the regional connector, so regardless, the Expo, Blue, and Gold Line will be connected to this line.

  12. The Downtown option is enticing, it opens up the possibility of reviving the Yellow Line (which I believe is still in metros LRTP), which was supposed to be a north south line that terminated at highway 134, bisected Glendale, and connect to downtown at Union Station.

    IF WSAB does not go to union station and instead slashes through downtown as they are now considering, a northward expansion of that Yellow line to Glendale (now now longer going to Union Station), makes a ton of sense. Since you’re no longer going to union station, You could use the Right of Way Highway 2 uses (or would have used since it’s construction was abandoned) to cut through the mountains.

    Obviously, when connected would also create a continuous line from Highway 134 to the orange county line, while crossing through the Central Business district without duplicating service paths or patterns, I think it would have extremely high ridership.

    The Regional Connector can have an infill station at the TBM extraction pit at 5th/Flower (it was cut because there were no funds for it, iirc), so that could be the terminus for the downtown option of the WSAB

    Then if they are razing and rebuilding the pershing square park anyway in the next few years, why not build a second station platform for the WSAB on top of the red/purple station under pershing square?

    Those would be the final two stops, but would connect the WSAB directly to all five CBD lines (Red, Purple, Gold, Expo and Blue).

  13. These new alignments make more sense than the old ones.

    Little Tokyo won’t need more rail transit or more construction after the Regional Connector is done. Union Station is already well connected with the Red and Gold lines.

    All that’s missing is a way to link this to the Red or Blue lines. They could build a passageway to an existing station. That’s what San Francisco seems to be doing with the new Central Subway.

  14. Is this phrase 1? How about going further south than Slauson? It would seem like it benefit a large number of people!

    • This line will go down all the way to Artesia. This is just the Northern part where the route is not finalized yet.

  15. I wonder why they are considering 5th/Flower. This would mean that the downtown terminal would not connect to anything.

  16. This is a much better idea. A station at 5th and grand with transfer portals that connect to Pershing Square Station and a new 5th and Flower station would be very useful for riders. A future extension of the line up to Echo Park or elsewhere might also be possible with this option.

  17. There should really be two transit core transfer stations: One at 4th/Flower with a second level to transfer to the Regional Connector, and another at 4th/Hill as a second level of the Pershing Square station. And please build some tail tracks so the terminus can eventually be extended west towards Glendale Blvd!

    • So basically, Extending the Line to NoHo via Glendale/Burbank like the old PE ROW.

      That actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea. It can use the old PE tunnel and go around where it’s been sealed off. Though the entrance of the tunnel has been sealed off as well.

  18. Why do I get the feeling that the Downtown Transit Core is the 5th/Flower station that everyone was crying about not getting but no business around the area was willing to pitch in for it??

  19. Not going to LAUS makes sense, but a connecting station with the Red/Purple is necessary. Could the DTC version terminate at Pershing Square or at least connect with Red/Purple there? There seems to be a lot of underground obstacles west of Pershing Square that would make construction even more expensive.

  20. I really like the new Downtown Core 1 option. The area around 4th/San Pedro would benefit from investment in order to dismantle the disgrace which is Skid Row. And Having a 3rd hub for downtown-bound commuters is great. Union Station isn’t surrounded by much that is interesting. A closer terminus near the heart of dtla would be beneficial.

  21. I like the fact that they’re considering options, but there’s absolutely no point of going to Union Station. They need to have stops to where people actually work so there’s a purpose to the whole transportation mess. They should have a Red Line Station stop so you don’t have to double back if you’re going to USC. The Green Line Station stop is what I’m looking forward to so I can more easily get to work in El Segundo from Cerritos.

    • Agreed; the only reason a commuter would require a Union Station stopover might be for a transfer to Metrolink (which has other stations more easily accessed by car or bus from Artesia) or one of the numerous bus lines that also travel through the downtown core.

      Options 1 and 2 make sense due to the job density as well as transit connectivity. You’d want to kill as many birds with one stone as possible, right?

  22. Really like the responsiveness of these ideas. The DTC options look good. Would love to see a more fleshed out DTC1 with more stations. The option via the tie in at the Arts District station is interesting.

    The DTC (especially if DTC1 had 9th& Central and 7th& Main stations) options really have the chance to flesh out the system and give DTLA a good web.

    • Agree with “Just a Person”. A good web where the maximum distance to walk to a station is globally minimized within the 110/10/101 polygon.

    • I meant to say DTC 2, not DTC 1.

      And I agree tunnels connecting nearby stations are useful. In NYC often there are stations that are about a block apart that have connecting tunnels (vastly quicker and safer than crossing streets.) I have personally used the long tunnel between Port Authority Bus Terminal and Times Square station.