Metro staff studies building Initial Operating Segments on West Santa Ana Branch project

An update is going to the Metro Board of Directors on the West Santa Ana light rail project. As part of the project’s environmental studies, staff is studying two Initial Operating Segments (IOS) in addition to the entire project between Artesia and downtown Los Angeles. The two segments are:

  • IOS 1 – I-105/Green Line Station to Pioneer Station 
  • IOS 2 – Slauson Station to Pioneer Station 

Here’s a link to the Metro staff report and attachments.

The overall project proposes to build a 19-mile light rail line (see the above map). In 2016, L.A. County voters approved Measure M, which supplies $4 billion for the project over two cycles — $1 billion for a segment to be completed by 2028 and $3 billion for a second segment to be done by 2041.

Metro staff believe the best way to deliver the entire project between Artesia and DTLA is to build it in segments. It’s a common approach for Metro, which has built many of its project in phases, including the Blue Line, Expo Line and Gold Line and the Purple Line Extension that is under construction. This strategy allows rail lines to be built as funding becomes available, while also delivering benefits to the public as soon as possible.

Staff is optimistic that IOS 2 — from Slauson to Pioneer Station in Artesia — is feasible to fund and deliver by 2028. The upside to this approach is that cities in the southeastern part of L.A. County would finally have access to the Metro Rail system and riders who wish to travel to/from downtown L.A. could transfer to/from the Blue Line at Slauson to complete those trips. Staff believes that IOS 2 has meaningful mobility value and attracts the same number of new riders compared to the two alternatives for the northern section of the line (known as Alternatives E and G) and that IOS 2 is the most cost-effective option.

Metro is also studying whether a public-private partnership could be used to accelerate delivery of the project — including the entire 19 mile line. These partnerships use the pooled resources of the public and private sectors to share risk and, possibly, build projects at an accelerated pace. 

In the meantime, Metro continues to work on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report, the legally required document that considers the project’s potential routes and mitigations for any impacts. The current project schedule calls for the Metro Board to pick a route for the project in 2021 and for a groundbreaking in 2022.

16 replies

  1. For this to work, there needs to be a frequent bus in a bus lane to DTLA from Slauson station. LADOT claims in their 2035 mobility plan that they are going to have a dedicated bus lane on 5th and 6th streets through downtown, and on 6th west of downtown. This plan to have WSAB open only as far as Slauson should require that that bus lane is opened by 2028 and a frequent bus so be available to ferry people to Downtown and a connection with the Red/Purple line.

      • And also wonder why the line cannot travel further West along Slauson ROW and eventually connect to Crenshaw line, allowing transfers to A (Blue) to travel into DTLA.

  2. Since most if not all of the line south of Slauson is on an existing right of way, will there be much need of utility relocation?

    Also, this shows again that the Gold line (or what ever letter it will be) needs to continue into Whittier, then south to connect with the Green line that has been extended to the Metrolink Station, then on to the WSAB Pioneer Station. This turns lines into a network that can handle flow around problems. It can offer many more trips as practical.

  3. Seems like an excellent idea. Too bad it doesn’t go the Cerritos Mall. The distance from Pioneer at South Street is a bit of a walk to the mall. Those people that bought houses surrounding the defunct railroad tracks, especially at Pioneer in the City of Artesia, will get a rude awaking when it opens in 10 years. I recall the open houses there. They aren’t cheap. Huge 3 story houses next to railroad tracks, but mostly removed. It’s likely there won’t be a parking lot there unless they buy out the shopping center there. The question is whether the stop will be in Little Bombay on Pioneer or go a little further to South Street.

  4. IOS2 is actually great, I’m surprised Metro Staff is putting forward a good idea.

    This would be a great time to put in a shuttle to the proposed legs (and potentially more) and see which would have a higher ridership count.

  5. Connecting to both the Blue and Green Line makes the longer IOS2 enticing. Looks as if there’s just enough room to fit a new Green Line station at I-205 but may require shifting lanes and medians.

    • Building that station will be quite a task. I am sure that would be by far the most expensive part to build.

  6. Would metro consider extending the line down Slauson Blvd to the Crenshaw line instead (and then maybe to points further west)? I know that’s not the original plan, but there is a ROW on Slauson, it’s a population dense and transit dependent area, it would link multiple lines (Green, Blue, Silver, Crenshaw) and the distance from the Slauson Blue line station to Crenshaw is about the same as to Union Station…

  7. Is it possible that when building the Northern Phase of the line into DTLA the Blue Line ROW can be combined with Santa Ana Branch ROW? Is it possible to combine the two ROWs in order to create an elevated 3 or 4 track ROW that won’t interfere with ground level vehicular and pedestrian traffic?

  8. Wouldn’t this completely overload the Blue Line north of Slauson? It should be close enough to capacity when it reopens that dumping an entire trainload of people headed for downtown onto each Blue Line train doesn’t seem like it could work.

    P.G. is right: if they’re sharing ROW, they should be designed together to provide the best service possible between the 2 northern and 2 southern termini. Short-turning trains from the Regional Connector at Slauson and sending trains from Long Beach to the express segment would keep the Gold Line a more manageable length as it slowly gets extended to Phoenix.

  9. Problems either way as the Downtown LA portion of the project is not really settled. Yes, Artesia to Slauson will overwhelm the Blue. To me, the Blue once arriving at Washington should be the line to go to LAUS up Alameda to shorten the way too long line to Azusa/Pomona. I would then run the WSAB after Washington up the current Blue route on Washington to 7th/Flower to provide all the connections and turn back there.
    I also still can’t believe the WASB will be elevated from Slauson to Washington, but not the BLUE and be skipping stops at Vernon and Washington. This will force more WSAB riders to transfer to the BLUE to get to these stops when they should be able to stay on their trains. The LESS people transfer to the BLUE the better.

  10. The route should go to downtown core instead of to Union Station because Union Station is mostly a transfer point from Metrolink to Metro rail and it is not the final destination for most commuters. The Pioneer station should move closer to the Cerritos Mall because that is a destination where people will actually go. The Gardendale station should move a little north near the Imperial Hwy since it is relatively close to the 105 green line station. The name of each stop should be the name of city, instead of the cross street, like Huntington Park, Cudahy, Paramount, Cerritos/ Artesia station. I wonder will this rail continue all the way to Santa Ana in Orange County?

    • “ The route should go to downtown core instead of to Union Station because Union Station is mostly a transfer point from Metrolink to Metro rail and it is not the final destination for most commuters.” Then it’s about time we made Union station a destination itself, not just for commuters but for everyone in general. As long as this stigma continues to exist, Union Station will never be more than a transfer point.

      The name of each stop should be the name of city, instead of the cross street, like Huntington Park, Cudahy, Paramount, Cerritos/ Artesia station.

      – Yeah, I actually agree with this, The current naming actually doesn’t make sense.

      I wonder will this rail continue all the way to Santa Ana in Orange County?

      – Probably not. The only way that may happen is either A) OC actually wants to fund it, or if it the people of OC want the funding from elsewhere then the state and feds will have to full fund this. In other words, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  11. The train should go west on the slauson ROW and connect to the Crenshaw line (every train doesn’t. have to go DTLA), and further southeast to the Orange County line