Metro West Santa Ana Branch Light Rail Alignments Narrowed

Metro's West Santa Ana Branch study area. All images via Metro staff reports
Metro's West Santa Ana Branch study area. All images via Metro staff reports

Today Metro’s Planning and Programming Committee approved four specific West Santa Ana Branch light rail alignments to be used for environmental studies.

The West Santa Ana Branch is a historic Pacific Electric Streetcar right-of-way that runs diagonally through southeast L.A. County cities including Paramount, Bellflower and Artesia. Measure M includes funding for two phases of light rail on the West Santa Ana Branch, with the line ultimately expected to run from Union Station to the city of Artesia.

In September 2016, the Metro board approved a four-year $12 million contract with Parsons Brinckerhoff to complete environmental clearance work for the line. The environmental clearance studies follow several earlier preliminary studies by the Southern California Association of Governments and Metro.

The southern portion of the line runs on a very clear off-street rail right-of-way. The alignment for the northern portion, connecting to Union Station, has not been finalized. With various options including extensive aerial tracks and subway tunnels, the northern portion looks like it will be relatively expensive.

Potential northern alternatives for the West Santa Ana Branch light rail. Image via Metro staff presentation
Potential northern alternatives for the West Santa Ana Branch light rail. Image via Metro staff presentation

Today, the committee approved further study on four alignments for the northern portion of the line, two along the Pacific Boulevard corridor, two along the Alameda Street/Blue Line corridor. Metro labels the alignments as follows:

  1. Pacific Boulevard/Alameda Street
  2. Pacific Boulevard/Vignes Street
  3. Alameda Street
  4. Alameda Street/Vignes Street

The four alignments are mapped below.

West Santa Ana Branch Pacfic/Alameda alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Pacfic/Alameda alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Pacfic/Vignes alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Pacfic/Vignes alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Alameda alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Alameda alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Alameda/Vignes alignment
West Santa Ana Branch Alameda/Vignes alignment
West Santa Ana Branch timeline
West Santa Ana Branch timeline

Metro plans to scope their Environmental Impact Report this spring, then prepare the full EIR, which the agency expects to approve in late 2019.

For additional details, see Metro’s article at The Source and Metro’s project page.

  • richard

    Alameda Option!

  • Richard

    The 2 Pacific options go for 3 miles elevated/underground without a station, which seems too far. Seems a stop near Olympic makes sense.

    The 2 Vigness options do not stop at Little Tokyo, which means that getting from WSAB to Expo/Eastern Gold is a 2 transfer proposition, which seems rather harsh.

  • Adam

    It’s gotta be Alameda. It’s the most streamlined, connected, with highest ridership potential.

  • Linkin

    As someone that knows the Huntington Park and surrounding area very well – the surface options on Pacific are cheap but they are going to be a big mess. The street is wide and used to have a streetcars on it but it is one of the busiest streets in the area. I see tons of accidents happening and delays. Not to mention there are only two stops on the street and only one in the major shopping zone.

    The best bet is the Alameda option with a possible shared track system with the blue line – Metro has been saying the possibility of a third track in that area is possible.

  • Richard

    @Linkin

    The options that use Pacific are actually more expensive. They save some money traveling on the surface up to Vernon, but then they end up tunneling north of there and incurring massive costs. All elevated on Alameda is the cheapest of the remaining options.

    I think running on the surface along Randolph and Salt lake look better, as they are much wider and have a ROW down the middle. I’m sure it wont be perfect, but it looks doable.

  • Colleen Bentley

    OK as a Long Beach native who as a kid (with my mom) used to take the old red car lines, why did we ever get rid of those? I know the current lines kinda follow, but, really, can we just on occasion preserve our history and make it work in the present?