Transportation Committee Approves Expo Signal Prioritization Motion

Metro Expo Line. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Metro Expo Line. Photo: Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

The Los Angeles City Council approved Councilmember Mike Bonin’s motion to maximize signal prioritization for the Metro Expo Line in areas where the light rail operates on city streets.

Bonin introduced the item noting that Expo has been a success story, though this has meant facing issues with overcrowding. Metro has attributed some overcrowding to a lack of reliability resulting from trains having to wait at traffic signals. Bonin mentioned that the city’s Transportation Department (LADOT) has met with the city of Santa Monica to understand how they manage Expo Line signal prioritization.

Councilmember Paul Koretz said that Expo overcrowding is an issue, but needs to be balanced with the problem of north-south drivers experiencing delays waiting for trains. Koretz related that, when driving, he once waited ten minutes on Overland Avenue while two Expo trains crossed.

LADOT responded that the Overland/Expo intersection already has train gates (effectively better than signal prioritization) and will not change at all as a result of Bonin’s motion. (Better signal priority could potentially even improve Koretz’ and other drivers’ peak wait times – to the extent that it could keep trains spread out, alleviating waits from train bunching.)

The motion (council file19-1236) was approved by the full committee: Bonin, Koretz, and Nury Martinez. It will go to the full L.A. City Council in the next couple of weeks.

Expo riders should experience some crowding relief starting the first week of November when Metro restores peak-hour six-minute headways.

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