By Noel T. Braymer
Some good news from the November 8th election was the passage of Measure M in Los Angeles County. This measure will raise more money for transportation in the County and allow more projects to be built and to speed up construction of projects now long in the planning stage.This particularly includes rail transit projects. This means that over the next 40 years Los Angeles County’s 100 miles of rail transit will nearly double. Of the 3 rail transit projects now under construction, 2 will benefit from Measure M. On the Crenshaw/LAX rail line which is planned to open by 2019, Measure M will fund construction for a LAX transfer station with the airport people mover which will allow connections to the airport terminals. This project hadn’t been funded, but Measure M will allow construction to begin to finish the new station in time for when the People Mover is planned to be built by 2023. The other project now underway is the extension of the Purple Line subway west of Western Ave under Wilshire Blvd to the eastern edge of Beverly Hills by 2024 at La Cienega. The plan was to extend the Purple line to Westwood by 2036. With new funding because of Measure M this has been changed now to by 2024. The Wilshire corridor is the heaviest traveled corridor in Los Angeles County.
Cropped LA Metro Map of the location of the joint Light Rail/ Airport People Mover Station for LAX
Cropped LA Metro map showing part of the Expo and Crenshaw/LAX lines (bottom right) with the extension of the Purple Line to Westwood.
Another project which is going ahead is to extend rail transit east from the San Gabriel Valley. The current Gold Line was recently extended from Pasadena to Azusa. There are plans already underway to extend this line further east to Montclair which is in San Bernardino County next to the Los Angeles County Line. This is part of future plans to extend light rail service to Ontario Airport to the east of Montclair. Construction of this projects is less expensive than many Light Rail projects because it is using an existing railroad right of way publicly owned on what use to be the Santa Fe line between San Bernardino and Los Angeles via Pasadena. Extending Light Rail on this right of way will also allow joint stations and shared right of way with Metrolink at Montclair, Claremont and Pomona. Current plans now are for this line to be extended at least to Claremont by roughly 2025. While this Light Rail Line is now called the Gold Line this will change by 2021. With the construction of the Regional Connector, a new downtown Los Angeles subway; this will make it possible to extend the Blue Line from Long Beach to Union Station to the current Gold Line to Pasadena now to Azusa. At the same time the Expo Line from Santa Monica will be extended to Little Tokyo to the current Gold Line to East Los Angeles. At the Little Tokyo station riders will be able to transfer between the Blue and Expo Lines.
Stations proposed for the Gold LIne extension to Montclair. This could share stations with Metrolink at Pomona, Claremont and and Montclair. Graphic by the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority
The San Fernando Valley has long felt neglected when it came to their share of projects, particularly when it came to rail service. The San Fernando Valley is the terminus of the Red Line subway at North Hollywood. Next to it is the Orange Line Busway. That has been pretty much it for rail transit in the San Fernando Valley. A project long in the works is to build Light Rail or a Busway on Van Nuys Blvd in the eastern San Fernando Valley. With the passage of Measure M it is looking more certain that this will be built as Light Rail. Current plans are for the project to start with connections to the Orange Line at Van Nuys and the Amtrak/Metrolink Station also on Van Nuys. It would turn up San Fernando Road in the northeast San Fernando Valley and end at the Metrolink Station at Sylmar/ San Fernando. There are plans to extend this south of the Orange Line at Oxnard and Van Nuys, but no alignment has been approved yet. With Measure M this line is planned to be build by roughly 2027.
LA Metro Map of the route likely to be light rail from San Fernando down Van Nuys Blvd to roughly the Ventura Freeway
There is a project on the list for a Sepulveda Pass transit corridor to be open by 2026. There is nothing new on this project since 2013. It appears to be for a busway to be built next to the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass between Westwood and the central San Fernando Valley. Phase 1 is expected by 2028 and Phase 2 by 2033.The long range plan is to build rail service from Sylmar/San Fernando to Westwood connecting to the Purple Line. This would latter be extended on the 405 corridor to LAX. Planning for this is still not final. There are plans to speed up construction with private investment with Public, Private partnerships on several projects in Los Angeles County under Measure M. Nothing firm so far seems to have been worked out for rail transit in the 405 corridor.
This is a LA Metro Graphic of planning to extend light rail east of East Los Angeles. One of the 2 alignments shown will be picked for this extended service. Service is expected on this extension by 2035.
There are plans to create a Vermont Transit Corridor in Los Angeles by 2028. This would be a rapid bus service on the busy Vermont Ave with connections to the Expo Line and the Red Line. Also by 2028 are plans to built phase 1 of the West Santa Ana Transit Corridor. This would use a former Pacific Electric rail right of way named the West Santa Ana Branch which still exists south of the 710 Freeway to the west side of Santa Ana. The plan for phase 1 is to build a joint Green Line/ West Santa Ana line station where the two lines cross each other for transfers. The Line will continue on the old railroad right of way through Bellflower and terminate at Artesia near the Orange County Line. This line could be extended to Orange County, but there doesn’t seem to be any interest in doing this at this time. The project also calls for running up to downtown Los Angeles to Union Station mostly using a former Union Pacific branch line starting at Paramount. This second phased for now is not expected before 2041 By 2030 there are plans to extend the Green Line from the current Redondo Beach terminus to Torrance at Crenshaw Blvd. This would more than double the amount of the Green Line route in the South Bay area. This is a fairly simple project using an existing former railroad right of way. One last extension of the Green Line calls for it to be extended from its current Norwalk terminal by the 605 freeway just under 3 miles to the Metrolink Norwalk/ Santa Fe Springs Station which is east of the 5 Freeway at the border between Norwalk and Santa Fe Springs. This site will also be a future California High Speed Rail Station which is planned to be running by 2029 or so. Current planning for the Green Line extension is for completion by 2052.
Map of the entire West Santa Ana Corridor with 2 possible routes between Los Angles Union Station and Huntington Park. The route between Paramount and Artesia will be built first with connections to the Green Line
Route of the Green Line today to Redondo Beach. Thos shows the future extension to Torrance
By 2047 there are plans to extend the Crenshaw/LAX Line north for connections with the Purple Line in the Wilshire Corridor at La Cienega and to the Red Line in the Hollywood area. The current plan is to build rail connections from Westwood to LAX by 2057.
The plan for the future Crenshaw/LAX extension is for it to go north from Exposition Blvd to the Purple Line Station at La Cienega at the east end of Beverly Hills. From there the extension will go through West Hollywood to the Red Line Station at Hollywood and Highlands which is the station nearest to West Hollywood