More Transit Expansion?: Metro Holding Meetings in South Bay

It’s funny.  Los Angeles has a reputation for being the car-culture capital of America; and while I know the city’s transportation culture is a lot more diverse than that; I have trouble arguing the point when I see things such as today’s City Council Transportation Committee Hearing, which could be called the "how can we speed up cars in residential neighborhoods."  But at the same time, pretty much the entire country is experiencing transit service cuts, or fare hikes and here in L.A., in large part because of Measure R, we’re talking about the best ways to expand transit.

You could argue that we’re just doing the expansion we should have been doing decades ago, but what’s most important is that we’re trying to do it now.

In the past week, I’ve announced hearings on the Regional Connector, the Subway to the Sea, the Gold Line Eastside Extension and the selection of a final route for Phase II of the Expo Line.  If that’s not enough, Metro recently announced a series of meetings along the South Bay to increase transit service.  From their press release via the Daily Breeze:

The corridor stretches from Vernon and Huntington
Park west through South Los Angeles to Inglewood, then south through El
Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Lawndale, Torrance and Carson.

Transit through the corridor could connect downtown Los
Angeles with Los Angeles International Airport and Long Beach via a
C-shaped curve through the county, according to a Metro map of the
proposal.

Metro will gather public input on various transit options
for the corridor, including a Bus Rapid Transit system, a light rail
line and dedicated bus lanes. 

The meetings won’t begin until April 21, giving me a chance to catch my breath from this round of hearings, and for a complete list of dates and times, read on after the jump.

— April 21 at 6 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor in San Pedro, 100 W. Fifth St.;

— April 22 at 6 p.m. at the Redondo Beach Main Library, 303 Pacific Coast Highway;

— April 27 at 6 p.m. at Inglewood City Hall, 1 Manchester Blvd.,

— April 30 at 11:30 a.m. at the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles, 700 N. Alameda St., Room 2145;

— and May 2 at 10 a.m. at Augustus Hawkins Nature Park in Los Angeles, 5790 Compton Ave. CNS-04-06-2009 17:23

  • The possibility of a one seat ride from downtown to LAX is exciting indeed. That would be great for Los Angeles’ economy.

  • Is there room on that corridor to have both light-rail (Crenshaw) and heavy-rail for freight and Metrolink purposes?

  • I think the Metrolink option is probably not the best use of this corridor. If we want the LAX link to be meaningful, this needs to be a rapid transit line that runs every 15 minutes or so, not a regional rail line that runs 4 times a day. However, the problem with using the corridor in its entirety for rapid transit is that it runs through some pretty gritty industrial zone south of Downtown LA and Vernon and misses some of the population/retail/commercial centers in South LA and South Bay. If we go ahead with rapid transit on this corridor, it will probably involve some detours from the right-of-way.

    Ideally, I would advocate constructing this line as a light rail line starting from the Blue line Slauson station but with a new track connector added at Slauson/Blue line junction so MTA can route the trains directly from Union St (or Pasadena/Culver City/East LA) directly to LAX. I don’t see that much value in having the line go through the right-of-way in Vernon since that section of town is basically all industrial with very low density and potential ridership. The western portion of the right-of-way from Inglewood to LAX will be shared with Cranshaw line (2 for the price of 1…), and once it goes past the Green line Redondo Beach station, it should merge with the potential Green line extension.

  • Good points, bzcat, but there is also an argument to be made that transit will change low density industrial areas into busier employment centers due to the increased transportation options. It’s true that this route is chosen because of the existing ROW, but there is an opportunity here to positively affect a depressed area with a stimulus in the form of transit.

  • Justin Walker

    “I think the Metrolink option is probably not the best use of this corridor. If we want the LAX link to be meaningful, this needs to be a rapid transit line that runs every 15 minutes or so, not a regional rail line that runs 4 times a day.”

    There is no rule that commuter trains have to run infrequently. Look at any city with a more developed corridor, such as the Caltrain corridor. Starting next year, even Metrolink trains will run every thirty minutes all day throughout Orange County.

    Commuter rail is what we need for this corridor because the area is already heavily served by light rail or will be soon (Green, Blue, Expo, and Crenshaw). Commuter rail is what we need because it is by far the fastest of the possible alternatives and what our system currently lacks is a connection between the core of our rail network (Union Station) and LAX. It should only make key stops, say at Slauson/Blue Line, Crenshaw, LAX. Keeping service fast will also keep South Bay access into Downtown fast. Light rail could take up to 2 hours from San Pedro, through Torrance, and into LA. That’s no good.

  • New York commuter trains run all day long.

    Building up our commuter rail network is essential to our long term transportation future.

  • If you thought Expo was bad, Slauson would be worse. Here, there’s a pretty legitimate issue since you have bus stops that are literally ten feet away from the tracks, residential neighborhoods within spitting distance (and not separated by two lanes of traffic), and trains running at 55-65 mph, much faster than Expo running at the speed limit. Running anything commuter train speeds down the Harbor Subdivision is a recipe for disaster.

  • Joel

    To branch off of what calwatch was saying, this route would have more grade separation issues to contend with than Expo, from the sheer amount of roads it crosses. However it would be great, Nimby’s aside, if this could get rolling.

  • Justin Walker

    “Running anything commuter train speeds down the Harbor Subdivision is a recipe for disaster.”

    Why would Slauson be any different from the rest of the region (and the country), which have countless grade crossings accommodating trains running in excess of 70 MPH? Stopping at a crossing gate for a train going 30 MPH at a crossing gate for a train going 80 MPH is identical. The only factor that dictates train speed is track geometry.

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