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Feasibility study looks at possible routes for Crenshaw North Extension

As Source readers already know, one of many eagerly sought Measure M transit projects is a northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line.

Metro has released a staff report and Feasibility Study/Alternatives Analysis for the project that looks at five potential light rail routes: four would extend the Crenshaw/LAX Line north to the Purple Line and then through West Hollywood to the Red Line in Hollywood and one to the Red/Purple Line at Vermont Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line is an 8.5-mile light rail line that is currently under construction between the Green Line and the Expo Line. A northern extension of the Crenshaw Line was looked at as part of the planning studies for the Crenshaw/LAX Line but the funding wasn’t available at that time. Under the Measure M spending plan, the northern extension has a targeted groundbreaking date of fiscal year 2041 with an opening in 2047 unless the project is accelerated.

From the staff report:

There has been a long-standing interest among West Hollywood local elected officials and stakeholders to accelerate the delivery of the Crenshaw Northern Extension.Within the provisions allowed under Measure M, Metro staff has committed to exploring a viable path forward to accelerate the project, consistent with adopted Board policy:Early Project Delivery Strategy.

A significant finding emerging out of the Feasibility/Alternatives Analysis Study done to date is the fact that the cost of all five alternatives exceed Measure M funding allocations, some by approximately double. Any potential acceleration strategy at this juncture would have to address that factor, either through mitigating cost, securing new revenue, or a hybrid of both.To better target project delivery options and a funding strategy, there is a need to conduct broad public outreach and potential further technical study to prepare for a next stage of environmental review.

Staff will consult with the cities of Los Angeles and West Hollywood to develop a strategy of next steps and attendant schedules for the next stage analyses. Metro staff is targeting to return to the Board in September, contingent on the city consultative process.

What do you think of the alternatives, readers? Comment please. It’s also worth adding that Metro will be conducting a significant amount of public outreach on the project as it moves along.

Below are pages from the Feasibility/Alternatives Analysis on each of the different routes (click to see larger). A slide on costs is at bottom.


Late night Warner Center Shuttle service to Ventura Boulevard will begin July 22

Warner Center Shuttle service will be extended south to Ventura Boulevard seven nights a week from 9:30 p.m. to 4 a.m. starting Sunday, July 22. After serving the stop on De Soto Avenue and Burbank Blvd., the Warner Center Shuttle will continue south on De Soto Ave., turn right on Ventura Blvd., right on Canoga Ave. and resume its regular route. This change will allow connections to late night service provided by Line 150 . A map of the nightly route and stops is shown below. For more information on the Warner Center Shuttle, visit metro.net/warnercenter .


Double deckers, 210 barriers, Lyft/Uber: HWR, July 20

Art of Transit: I was remiss in not posting this last month. If you don’t follow us on Instagram , please do so! My colleague Anna Chen does a great job curating the stream and we’re always looking for creative pics that say something about mobility in our area. Tag us if you’ve got a hot pic.

Instagram Photo

Metro Planning Upgrade To 210 Freeway/Gold Line Barrier In Pasadena (Streetsblog LA)

The idea is to prevent trucks and other vehicles from crashing through the barriers and onto the Gold Line tracks, which run down the middle of the 210 from Pasadena to Arcadia. There have been several incidents in recent years that have shut down service (see above). Thankfully none have involved vehicles hitting trains.

Much more design and engineering work needs to be done to meet Caltrans requirements. The $11 million above is for that work, which will determine the actual construction cost. You can listen to a brief explanation from Metro staff at the 10-minute mark of the webstream of the Metro Board’s Construction Committee meeting on Thursday.

Why Doesn’t L.A. Have Any Open-Top Double-Decker Buses for Public Transit? (LA Magazine)

Instagram Photo

Credit: Foothill Transit.

A follow-up to the news that Foothill Transit is going to acquire a couple double deckers.

Double deckers have been used in transit service in the past, but the last go-round was with the RTD in the 1980s, which had trouble replacing parts and avoiding low-hanging branches/structures ( as reported by the LAT ).

In LA Mag, Thomas Harlander argues open air double-deckers — like the tourist ones — would be a huge boon to local transit service. “Just imagine what our city would be like if even a fraction of those buses were swapped out for open-top double deckers; not only would the number of decks on a given bus be multiplied by two, but riders on the top would get to bask in that world-famous L.A. sunshine,” he writes.

Concur or not, readers?

Lyft will offer discounts to people who use bikes and scooters to connect to transit (The Verge)

Both Lyft and Uber are increasingly getting into the first/last mile business, hoping to offer “multi-modal” options. This interview with Uber’s CEO offers some insight, with some smart questions — including one about the app possibly getting too cluttered with different options in the future.

The big question hovering over all this is whether customers of Lyft’s and Uber’s cheap taxi rides are really looking for multiple options or just want end-to-end rides.

Slowly and Stealthily, Trump’s DOT Starves Transit Expansion Projects of Federal Funds (Streetsblog USA)

In one sense, not exactly new news — the White House has been pushing for more local funding of local projects. The challenge is that local agencies often don’t have enough money to both run transit systems and build expensive capital projects.

Metro has somewhat skirted that problem over the years by raising funds locally through four countywide half-cent sales tax measures. Still, some of our projects also need federal dollars — both the Purple Line Extension’s first and second sections and the Regional Connector received large grants. Metro is currently working on finalizing an agreement for the third section of the Purple Line between Century City and the Westwood/VA Hospital.


Bus bench where are thou?, trains vs red lights, Inglewood people mover: HWR, July 18

Dept. of Bus Benches: Check out this thread. I literally can’t think of much use for a bus bench other than…a bus bench.

Inglewood explores building a people mover from Metro’s Crenshaw line to NFL stadium, The Forum (Daily Breeze)

Credit: City of Inglewood.

The new stadium for the Rams and Chargers will be about 1.5 miles from the Crenshaw/LAX Line station that will serve downtown Inglewood (at Florence and La Brea). The challenge: finding the $600 million or so for the people mover.

One idea the city of Inglewood is mulling: a property tax increment financing district,  in which increases in property taxes help finance the project. The city is also looking at public-private partnerships as a possibility.

The stadium will host 20 regular season NFL games, the 2022 Super Bowl and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Summer Olympics, as well as some soccer games (and other events). The 2026 World Cup will also include games in the L.A. area although the venue hasn’t been selected yet.

Bold prediction: a reader will ask why the Crenshaw/LAX Line wasn’t planned to go closer to the stadium. Short answer: the project was approved by the Federal Transit Administration in Dec. 2011 and heavy construction began in 2014 whereas the deal to build the new stadium and relocate the Rams to L.A. didn’t happen until 2016 with several stadium sites under consideration in the years prior.

The Problem With the Metro Blue/Expo Light Rail Is… Cars (Streetsblog LA)

Excellent post and video that looks at an issue we have frequently heard about over the years: the stretch of the Expo Line between Vermont and 7th/Metro, including the junction with the Blue Line at Washington and Flower. The challenges: trains run at street level, trains are running every three minutes during peak hours and trains must contend with some extremely busy intersections.

Metro staff last summer gave the Board some early concepts on improving the Blue/Expo junction, as well as separating sections of both lines from the street either via tunnels or bridges. Very intriguing but it must be noted that these are improvements that would cost hundreds of millions of dollars and funding would need to be secured before anything could happen.

On a related note, the issue of traffic signal priority burped forth on Twitter this week. Metro and the city have been working together on this issue for some time and some short-term improvements are in the works. The same issues are relevant on other Metro lines, including the Orange Line busway (where railroad-style crossing gates are being studied, as well as a pair of bridges over busy streets) and parts of the Gold Line.

Pasadena Could Lose More of its Share of Tax Revenues Without New Tax Measure (Pasadena Now)

The city of Pasadena may ask voters in November to consider a sales tax increase that officials say is necessary to maintain essential city services and infrastructure.

What makes this article relevant here: the Pasadena mayor points out that much of the sales taxes already collected in the city are going elsewhere — including two cents on the dollar to Metro via the agency’s four sales tax measures (Prop A in 1980, Prop C in 1990, Measure R in 2008 and Measure M in 2016 ).

The issue for Pasadena: only a portion of those funds are directly returned to the city. That is correct — and I think it’s important to emphasize that’s also by design. A portion of the Metro sales taxes are returned to cities and unincorporated areas on a per capita basis for local transportation projects.

The remainder of the funds are used to build, operate and maintain a regional mobility system that includes roads, transit and walking/biking projects and programs. Example: the $2.8-billion, 31-mile Gold Line, which includes six stations in Pasadena. The vast majority of that was paid for by Metro (via funds collected from across L.A. County), not the city of Pasadena, and I think it’s fair to say that Pasadena has benefited from that regional investment.

Dept. of Dodger Stadium Express: Mark my words, the Dodgers will face the surging Cincinnati Reds in the 2019 playoffs. Can’t wait. In the meantime, you can take the bus from Union Station and the Harbor Transitway to see the Dodgers en route to another NL West title this year. More here .

Things to read whilst transiting: The Big Business of Becoming Bhad Bhabie ” in the NYT magazine (warning: mild adult language). This is the ‘cash me outside’ person. Since I can’t post one of her pottymouthed videos, let’s go instead with this hump day palette cleanser:


LIFE Program eligibility guidelines have been updated

The LIFE (Low Income Fare is Easy) program helps qualifying, low-income riders save on Metro 7-Day, 30-Day or EZ Passes with LIFE coupons. The discounts were made possible by the passage of the Measure M sales tax ballot measure by L.A. County voters in 2016.

Eligibility guidelines have recently changed. Adult riders, Senior/Disabled, K-12 grade students and full time College/Vocational students are eligible if their incomes are:

Children over 5 years old whose parents qualify are automatically also eligible to receive LIFE coupons.

Residents of cities/county areas and students of schools that already receive transit subsidies will not be eligible to receive LIFE coupons. Please make sure that you are not receiving any other transit discounts with your city, county or school.

To request more information or sign up for discounted passes, fill out this form here .