Downtowners Give Overwhelming Approval to Downtown Streetcar Funding

The Downtown L.A. Streetcar is one step closer to reality…one giant step.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the proposed route.

Last night, the Los Angeles City Clerk announced that the a measure to fund $62.5 million of the $125 million project was passed by Downtown voters with over 70% in support. As with Measure J, the initiative needed a two-thirds vote to pass. The election was held via mail ballot and was open to all Downtown property holders.

As of last night, clerk reported that 73 percent of about 2,000 ballots cast favored the measure, with 67 percent required. There were still 110 votes remaining to be counted, but even if every single one was a “no” vote it would not take the measure below the two-thirds threshold.

The proposed route of the streetcar covers 10 blocks along Broadway before turning left over to L.A. Live. Then it heads through the financial district. It is scheduled to open in 2015. The other half of the funding for the project is expected to come from through federal grants.

While Steetsblog took no official position on the Streetcar, contributor Brigham Yen penned an op/ed as part of Streetsblog’s election coverage explaining the measure and urging a “yes” vote. Yen noted that ridership orojections for the Streetcar are much higher than current bus ridership along the corridor, the redevelopment benefits and that once the streetcar route is completed, expanding it to other streets would be easier than the initial route.

L.A. Streetcar Inc., the non-profit that is supporting the Streetcar explains that based on this measure, he majority of residential units included in the downtown area will pay less than $100 a year, with the median rate for a 1,000 square foot unit coming in at roughly $60 a year to pay for the measure. “That’s less than dinner out once or twice a year.”