Meetings this month provide updates on Vermont Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project

(pdf) VermontMay2018Presentation

There are four more community meetings this month for Metro to provide an update on the Vermont Transit Corridor project. The project proposes to build bus rapid transit on Vermont Avenue between Hollywood Boulevard and 120th Street. Meeting dates and times:

Thursday, May 3
6 to 8 p.m.
West Coast University
590 N. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles

Tuesday, May 8
4 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.
CD8 Constituent Service Center
8475 S. Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles

Thursday, May 10
6 to 8 p.m.
EXPO Center
Roy A. Anderson Recreation Center
3980 Bill Robertson Lane, Los Angeles

The first phase of the technical study for the project was completed in 2017 and identified two potential bus rapid transit concepts for further consideration and review.

The first concept, a “Side Running BRT” option, would convert the traffic lane next to the parking lane to a bus lane. The second concept, a “Side/Center Running BRT,” is a mix — north of Gage the bus lane would be next to the parking lane and south of Gage the traffic lanes in the center would be converted to bus lanes. See page 10 of the presentation.

The second phase of the technical study — requested last year by Metro’s Board of Directors — is now underway and is looking at potential options for converting the project to rail after 2067.

Among the options are light rail, tram/streetcar and a ‘heavy rail’ subway  that could possibly link with the Red/Purple Line. The discussion of the initial rail concepts section of the presentation begins on page 13 of the above presentation.

As for the “after 2067” part — that is not a misprint, folks. At this time, there is $425 million in funding for the project from a variety of sources, including Measure M. That’s enough funding for bus rapid transit but not nearly enough for rail even with matching grants from other sources.

Vermont Avenue is already a very busy bus and rail corridor and Metro believes bus rapid transit can deliver a number of service improvements greatly needed. The project team is aiming to finish the technical study in 2019 and then launch the environmental study. This project is also included in Metro’s Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative that seeks to complete 28 major transit and road projects before the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.

Your thoughts, people? I know you have them! Comment please.

For questions or accommodations about the meetings, please call Lilian De Loza-Gutierrez, Metro Community Relations Manager, at 213.922.7479 or via email at vermontbrt@metro.net

26 replies

  1. Vermont is the 2nd busiest transit corridor in the county, second only to Wilshire. It has the riders and it has the destinations. It deserves a subway. It’s a shame we continue to perpetuate injustice with projects like this.

    • We need to continue to pressure them. The only way for true change to happen is if we pressure the hell out of them. Vermont deserves rail!

  2. It’s so fake for Metro to throw their hands in the air like there’s nothing you can do to correct this egregious lack of service on an actual busy corridor when you, the MTA of Los Angeles County, seem perfectly eager and willing to extend a light rail line to the County of San Bernardino. The blatant and almost comical misallocation of resources is instead a fully-informed choice that your agency made and nothing less.

    • We need to create a ballot measure for Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties to create a new agency and have it be held accountable. In Chicago, they were able to unify all of the agencies to work together with minimal squabble.Enough is enough with Metro and their incompetence.

      • MTA serves the county. Which means improvements have to be done through out the county. Tax payers expect something for their taxes.

  3. I know this is looking into the distant (unfunded) future, but why do the heavy rail options not include hooking into the existing Wilshire/Vermont station from the south/east? This would allow the most flexible operation, because trains could continue onto both the red and purple lines. Besides, the platforms at Wilshire/Vermont are already on separate levels, so at least that part of the station wouldn’t need to be rebuilt. This solution seems so obvious that I’m sure it was considered, so there must be a reason it’s not included in the presentation — my best guess would be an engineering challenge or a cost issue. It would be interesting to know what the reason is.

  4. Why are you Metro wasting tax payers money to build a training school on Vermont & Manchester? Please provide us with details of why this is necessary & where have you TESTED and/or Pilot this program before?

    • Good point. As supportive as I was for measures R and M, it’s clear that Metro has serious issues with managing their money and throwing billions in their direction is indeed seeming to cause incredible waste.

  5. The vision of the project should include all the way north to Griffit Park, the LA Zoo and Fwy 5, Los Feliz, and Vermont. The frequency should be every 7 to 10 mins max until 11pm, every day. If the project is not relable, people will never leave their cars. Also, where the CHP building is on Vermont/Beverly/101 Fwy, build a huge parking structure, so people can leave their cars, #ParkAndRide easily.

    • Just to note: If you want it to go to the Zoo, it can’t be heavy rail (subway) all the way to the Zoo. The groundwater table is too high. Most of the tunnel would be underwater. That is why the LA River has a ‘natural bottom’ from about the 134 to the 110.

  6. As a daily user of Metro (including on weekends and holidays), I am generally opposed to construction of more rail projects (whether light or heavy), unless and until the continuing deterioration of Metro’s existing on-street regular bus network is reversed.

    Despite Metro’s continual cutbacks in the existing on-street bus network, however, I have found Metro bus transportation to be much less unreliable and less subject to major breakdowns (if mostly much less frequent) than using “MetroRail” lines, based upon the unpredictability of my experiences with frequent usage of MetroRail’s Blue, Red, Purple, Expo, and Gold Lines.

    Rapid transit on a dedicated BRT path/lane (like the Orange Line) has proven MUCH more reliable than using MetroRail. When a train (or its power supply) becomes inoperative, the resulting backup on a MetroRail line often becomes horrendous–and repairs can take days (witness the recent mess on the Gold Line). By contrast, the breakdown of a single, independently-powered bus does NOT block (or even significantly slow) following buses, especially on a dedicated (BRT) bus line.

    Based upon my years of experience riding Metro, transportation via buses, especially on dedicated BRT lanes/routes, is MUCH LESS subject to catastrophic breakdowns negatively affecting the operation of a given line than is rail transportation.

    For providing rapid transit, in the future Metro should concentrate exclusively on building dedicated bus lanes/routes, rather than rail (light or heavy), for providing rapid transit to improved and more rapid service on existing heavily traveled routes (like Vermont Bl.)–at least until use of a BRT can no long accommodate further increases of passenger traffic on a given route.

    MetroRail simply has proven too vulnerable to major, extended breakdowns and unreliability (not to mention incredibly too expensive), versus using independently powered buses on a dedicated BRT route.

    It’s time for Metro to base its decisions regarding future provision of rapid transit upon real past experience rather than upon some sort of emotional attraction to the supposedly modern appearance of sleek rail cars.

    Flexibility, practicality, and reliability should win every time.

  7. For the heavy rail plan, why does it say underground to 120th when Vermont is significantly wider south of Gage? The costs can definitely be reduced if it goes elevated.

  8. The logical rail solution is a heavy rail alignment with the Red Line. Depending on future riding patterns, Metro could have all Purple trains go to Union Station and Red trains to Gage (requiring transfers at Wilshire).

    The ridership numbers for this project are warranted for heavy rail.

    As for BRT, have traffic studies been done to see the potential impact on nearby north/south streets? With a general lane taken off Vermont, one would assume Western and Normandie would experience additional traffic burdens.

  9. We need to create a ballot for Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties to create a new agency and have it be held accountable. In Chicago, they were able to unify all of the agencies to work together with minimal squabble.Enough is enough with Metro and their incompetence.

    • So, Metrolink?? Hey if Metrolink were to take over where Metro failing to provide a high standard service, and at the same an opportunity for Metro Rail to expand beyond LA county, I’d say yes.

    • No so sure all those counties would go along with it.

      Orange County for example might get a 6 mile light rail line. Then again it might not.

  10. Heavy Rail end if discussion. I’m all taxed out though I don’t know if I could support another mass fundraiser. I’d probably just vote yes but throw up afterwards.

  11. it needs to be a heavy rail period. It has second highest ridership of all bus routes, what’s wrong with you Metro? Even though South central LA has some lowest and poorest class communities with mainly black or Hispanic population, they still deserve the opportunity to get a rail transit in these communities. Because do not hesitate to build more heavy rail Metro, I will not support other ideas beside heavy rail on the Vermont Corridor.

  12. While I will say that Heavy Rail is much deserved on Vermont and no one should be against it, if anyone thinks that diverting money from a BRT project is suddenly going to accelerate a Heavy Rail project by 3 decades, oh boy are they in for quite a disappointment!!!

    But yeah, sorry Metro, it’s your fault on this one and for not just simply making measure M a 1 cent tax increase vs 1/2 cent as usual. Or is there yet some sort of idiotic law that prevents Metro from whole cent increases on taxes??

  13. Yeah heavy rail is obviously the way to go here in the long run but the most logical service pattern would be to have it be an extension of the red line south with every other train from North Hollywood running all the way down Vermont as long as the alternating headways allow frequent enough service on each branch (as opposed to just having all red line trains go all the way down Vermont). And the line can go elevated south of Gage as it is wide enough. As for the BRT plan, it should be center-running the whole way as side-running is considerably more vulnerable to encroachment by traffic from drivers needing to turn right or coming in and out of adjacent parking spaces. Also, side-running precludes having a raised curb barrier or the like between the bus right-of-way and traffic lanes.

  14. I think it might be cheaper to subsidize electric bikes for the masses. L.A has the perfect weather for it.

  15. Metro and LA City are setting this project up to fail before they even begin.

    Center running BRT is the only true BRT. It’s the only one that can be easily converted to light rail. It’s the only one worth investing in for the second highest ridership bus corridor in southern california.

    But Metro is concerned about buses needing to have doors on the left, and LA City is concerned about providing free parking to rich people. Great…..

    Not sure why we cannot learn from the rest of the world, and have buses traveling on contraflow lanes around stations in the median. That way passengers load and unload on the right.