Planned Metro Green Line Extension to Torrance Faces Opposition from Lawndale

Rendering of above-grade portion of Green Line Extension alternative 1. This alternative would run mostly at-grade. All images via Metro
Rendering of above-grade portion of Green Line Extension alternative 1. This alternative would run mostly at-grade. All images via Metro

One of the most contentious items at yesterday’s Metro board meeting was the future Green Line extension to Torrance. After plenty of commentary and discussion, the board voted to move forward with two alternatives in its environmental analysis of the project.

Metro’s Green Line Extension to Torrance is funded under voter-approved Measure M sales tax, with a scheduled 2030 opening. The line will extend southward 4-5 miles from the present Redondo Beach Green Line terminus, on or near the existing Harbor Subdivision rail right-of-way. The project has been selected for possible acceleration under the 28 by 2028 initiative.

Similar to last week’s committee meeting, there are divided opinions among the cities at and near where the light rail line will be built.

The city of Torrance, as well as South Bay communities further south, express a great deal of interest in making the project happen as soon as possible. Torrance officially favors alternative 1, which is primarily surface light rail in the existing right-of-way (described more below). This alternative is the least expensive, hence the most likely to get built soonest.

Numerous city of Lawndale representatives attended the Metro board meeting speaking against the project. One city representative, citing vibration and noise impacts, asserted that Lawndale preferred “no project” but would settle for “underground.” A Lawndale resident asserted that it would “destroy our city” if Metro “dumped a train in our residential section.”

(Note that, historically, rail is actually what made Lawndale Lawndale. The Los Angeles and Redondo railways arrived there in 1902 along the city’s central artery Hawthorne Boulevard, which was then called Railroad Avenue. That service was later taken over by the Pacific Electric railcar system.)

Several boardmembers expressed sympathy with Lawndale concerns, while still supporting studying the project further. Inglewood Mayor James Butts stated his support to “environmentally shield” houses along the rail right-of-way. County Supervisor Janice Hahn questioned staff to about studying underground options further, though she stressed that she supports moving forward with this extension, as it was promised to county voters. Citing the example of the Metro Gold Line (which passes through several residential areas), both Duarte Mayor John Fasana and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti expressed that light rail is not as loud nor does it generate the vibrations that heavy rail does.

The board approved receiving the Supplemental Alternative Analysis report (see also the executive summary or the staff presentation) and moving forward with alternatives 1 and 3 described below. The board decision on the final alignment is expected to be at least a year from now.

Map of Torrance Green Line Extension alternative 1
Map of Torrance Green Line Extension alternative 1

Torrance Green Line Alternative 1

Alternative 1 is predominantly at-grade surface rail located in the existing Harbor Subdivision rail right-of-way, which is owned by Metro. Several stretches would include road over/undercrossings. Portions of the right-of-way would include walking paths and landscaping.

GreenLineTorranceAlt1surfacerendering
Sample cross-section for at-grade portions of Green Line Extension Alternative 1
Sample cross-section for elevated portions of Torrance Green Line Extension
Sample cross-section for elevated portions of Green Line Extension Alternative 1

It would feature two new stations:

  • Redondo Beach Transit Center (planned by the city of Redondo Beach) – near Inglewood Boulevard at 182nd Street
  • Torrance Transit Center (under construction) – on Crenshaw Boulevard near 208th Street

A station at Manhattan Beach Boulevard at Inglewood Boulevard was considered (and shown in the above map), but was eliminated due to opposition from Lawndale.

Metro estimates that Alternative 1 would cost $893 million and would service 10,340 daily boardings.

GreenLineTorranceAlt3map
Map of Torrance Green Line Extension alternative 3

Torrance Green Line Alternative 3

Alternative 3 departs from the Harbor Subdivision right-of-way, instead traveling in the middle of the Hawthorne Boulevard. Below 190th Street, the line would return to the rail ROW where it would run the same as alternative 1 – mostly at grade.

It would feature two new stations:

  • South Bay Galleria – near the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard and Artesia Boulevard
  • Torrance Transit Center (under construction) – on Crenshaw Boulevard near 208th Street

A station on Hawthorne Boulevard at 166th Street was considered (and shown in the above map), but was eliminated due to opposition from Lawndale.

Metro estimates that Alternative 3 would cost $1 to 1.2 billion and would service 10,640 daily boardings.

Rendering of elevated Green Line Extension Alternative 3 running in the middle of Hawthorne Boulevard
Rendering of elevated Green Line Extension Alternative 3 running in the middle of Hawthorne Boulevard
  • Ben Phelps

    I can’t believe we’re talking about spending almost a billion dollars on this line. For 10,000 boardings. And the cities fighting to have their stops removed. So many ways I’d rather Metro spend this. If it must be built, Alternative 1.

  • Coolguy

    What the heck is wrong Lawndale??

  • nslander

    The bigger question is – when does the Green Line get extended to Long Beach?

  • Heybob

    I find it ironic that the City of Lawndale opposes the current plans to renovate the South Bay Galleria in nearby Redondo Beach (at Hawthorne Blvd. and Artesia) to add a mixed use component of housing, offices and retail.

    Lawndale’s objection? The “massive traffic impacts that will be suffered by residents in Lawndale. . . .” and the project’s failure to orient itself to the planned Redondo Beach transit center that will serve the Green Line, when extended to Torrance. Lawndale complains that the project EIR does not adequate explore the Green Line extension as a mitigation measure for the adverse traffic impacts.

    So which is it, Lawndale? One at least could expect the city to be consistent in its NIMBYism.

  • com63

    The light rail that Metro builds is incredibly quiet. Also as you may notice in the section cuts, there is an existing FREIGHT TRAIN that already runs through the corridor. I think that is what will make the noise!!!

  • Mark Brown

    An extension to Long Beach should have been in Measure M in the first place. It’s ridiculous to spend so much money on only 4 miles and not serve much of a regional need. In my opinion, the South Bay, Harbor area, and Long Beach really got the short end of the stick with M. There are large transit-dependent communities between Torrance and Long Beach that will see no projects whatsoever while other projects with dubious need (North SFV BRT) are put forward with priority. The Green Line needs to run all the way to CSULB.

  • Bruce Szeles

    Smoke and mirrors. If Metro was cost conscious they would have never purchased the freight ROW before going to the residents back in 09. This was a shame pushed by out of touch politicians and the paper pushers over at Metro. Shameful.

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