It May Be Slow, But Transit Projects Still Moving Forward

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For those of you that missed it, last week Metro announced that it will be suspending its vote on the Long Range Transportation Plan until after issues with the budget mess in Sacramento and stimulus plan from Washington D.C. are resolved.  However, just because discussion of strategic planning is off the table doesn’t mean that the planning for new transportation projects is completely stalled.

In a couple of hours, the Metro Board’s Planning and Programming Committee will meet to approve planning work on four different transit expansion projects even though the LRTP is on hold for now.

First, the committee will look at the Final Environmental Impact Report on the Canoga Transportation Corridor.  We haven’t talked much about this project, but the certification by the Board will be the last aspect of the review and the project will move forward with a construction date of 2013.

Canoga extension will extend the Orange Line  north four miles from its current western busway terminus at Canoga Avenue and Victory Boulevard, to the Chatsworth Metrolink Station. The project includes four new stations that would be located at Sherman Way (site of an approximate 200 space park-and-ride), Roscoe,
Nordhoff, and a new platform at the Chatsworth Metrolink station.

Next, the committee will decide which alternatives of the Subway to the Sea, aka the Metro Westside Extension, will continue to be studied.  The staff recommends continuing to study the feasibility of extending the Purple Line down Wilshire Blvd farther west and an alternative studying both Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd. extensions together.

The Committee will face a similar task with the Metro’s Downtown Regional Connector Plan, approving two options for further study in the environmental review.  At Blogdowntown, Eric Richardson has already detailed the choice that the Planning Committee faces today:

Two build options for the Regional Connector are headed to Metro’s
Planning and Programming committee, a step necessary to approve
engineering funds allowing the project to move forward. The report
presents one alternative that is largely at-grade and one that’s mostly
underground.

While the two options are the same as previous presentations, the
document paints a more detailed picture of the negative impacts the
at-grade approach would have on Downtown’s streetscape. Lost traffic
lanes and restricted turns would reduce service levels at multiple
intersections to the lowest grades, and up to 88 parking spaces would
be removed along the route.

Last, but certainly not least, is a look at the four alternatives for the Eastside extension of the Gold Line.  Streetsbloggers already had some debate over which route made the most sense and whether elevating any of the lines made sense.

Regardless of the committee’s actions today, all of these proposals need the endorsement of the full board next week.  Streetsblog will check back before then to see if there are any changes to these proposals before they move on.

  • Putting the downtown regional connector underground seems like a no-brainer to me. If it’s at grade, that slows things down for passengers going from Pasadena to Long Beach (gold to blue) and passengers going from Santa Monica to El Monte (expo to gold-east).

    Plus it would make driving in downtown even more hellish than it is, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing if we want to reduce private car usage there, but it would slow the buses downtown as well, which doesn’t help.

    Yes, it’s more expensive below grade. But it’s still the right thing to do. At-grade or below-grade discussions become more reasonable for the rail lines extending out of downtown. But at the heart of this spoke-and-hub metro rail system, this should not even be a question.

  • Spokker

    You don’t separate the regional connector, an accident has the opportunity to impact four lines, Expo, Blue, Gold Line to Pasadena, and Gold Line to East LA.

    Building the connector with at-grade crossings will only set back LA County’s transit network… again. This is the time when our officials really have to dig deep and build this project right.

  • Also, I’d like to draw people’s attention to page S-7 (figure S-6) of the “LOS ANGELES WESTSIDE EXTENSION TRANSIT CORRIDOR ALTERNATIVES ANALYSIS STUDY”, which implies that the subway could be completed in as little as ~10 years from the approval of the alternate analysis study (which is supposed to be today), assuming federal funds become available.

  • The underground alignment still has an at-grade crossing.

  • I can’t wait for this thread to become another million word march through transit alignments.

  • Spokker

    What do you care, Umberto? People will talk about what they want to talk about.

  • Wad

    Well then Brayj, sounds like its time for you to leave the pool.

    I’m still wondering how the downtown connector would be reconciled with the Gold Line horseshoe at Little Tokyo.

    I’ve seen all sorts of schematics drawn up on the Transit Coalition board, but I still wonder how to plug the two together.

    Jerard knows a lot about this subject, mayhaps he can explain what are the options to ultimately allow for not only through-running, but also allowing for the easiest transfers (i.e., a Blue Line rider whose destination is the Eastside when the train is going to Pasadena).

  • Jerard

    Wad,

    The easiest transfer locations for that suggestion will be every station Downtown from Pico to Historic Core and then wait for the next train.

    If I were operating it, I’d run Expo with the Gold Line and Eastside with the Blue Line.

    The Gold and Expo lines are more dependent on a connection with Union Station because of the other job destinations along that line (USC, Culver City, Santa Monica, Pasadena) that will be connected to Metrolink.

    The Blue and Eastside lines are feeders to the other main pieces to the system and they are more dependant on a connection at 7th Street Metro Center with the Red/Purple Lines.

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