Reducing Gridlock in Los Angeles
Have you noticed an increase in traffic? I certainly have. I have to plan carefully my visits to the properties we manage. And when I go to the downtown courts for eviction cases, I take the subway, avoiding the terrible traffic there as well as saving $25 in parking fees.
With more people moving to Los Angeles to fill the ever-increasing supply of jobs the roads are getting more crowded. There is a plan for reducing gridlock in Los Angeles but if it helps depends on how it is implemented and then if it will be used enough to make a difference.
I recently had to go downtown for an eviction case. The Red Line subway car I was on was standing room only. There is definitely uptake by many commuters.
Seven Proposed Transit Projects
It is amazing that there still isn’t some type of train service to LAX, which is the world’s second-busiest airport. A project that has been under construction for a couple of years and is slated for completion in 2019 is a light rail line to LAX. The Green Line will run from Exposition and Crenshaw to a station outside of the airport. A fancy new people mover will take travelers from their to the terminals.
The Green Line will travel through several neighborhoods including the historical Liemart Park and Baldwin Hills, where we manage several properties. The property values will surely rise with the increased accessibility.
Three new subway stations in Downtown Los Angeles will connect Union Station to the 7th Street/Metro stop allowing riders on the Gold, Blue and Expo Lines to get where they are going without making multiple transfers. These stations are scheduled for completion in 2021.
Purple Line Extension
Rendering of future station at Wilshire and La Brea. Source: Metrolink
The purple line, which currently runs from Union Station to Wilshire and Western, is being extended along Wilshire Blvd. all the way to Westwood. This busy—and always crowded throughway—is long overdue for upgraded public transit. The relatively new bus lane hasn’t helped congestion much. Contruction is currently underway.
Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor
When you ask a Los Angeles Commuter what their nightmare commute would be (or is), they will inevitably say the 405 freeway between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. This transit project has been talked about for years, with the final form not yet decided. It could a monorail, light rail or even subway although the later choice is prohibitively expensive and probably won’t see the light of day. It is slated for completion in 2033. Yes, you read that right: 16 years from now.
Vermont Avenue is one of the most heavily trafficked streets in Los Angeles, a street I’ve driven often. Our office is three blocks west of Vermont at Wilshire Blvd. A rapid bus service is currently being considered but I believe would be inadequate. The Metro board seems to agree and has initiated a study to extend the Red Line subway south along Vermont all the way to 120th Street.
East San Fernando Valley Corridor
According to Metro’s draft environmental impact study, this line could be light rail, bus lane or even a tram system. It will travel north and south through the San Fernando valley, connecting the Van Nuys Orange Line stop to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station.
High Speed Rail
And finally California’s high speed rail from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Yes, this much-delayed project still survives, with it first phase—connecting two small cities in the middle of the state’s remote interior—currently scheduled to arrive in 2029.
When done, it would provide a convenient—although lengthy—three hour connection between two major U.S. cities. Presumably, it would encourage further development along its line as well as on the outer edges of both cities.
This project faces major obstacles including a huge price tag, an unacceptable cost-benefit analysis and serious environmental impact issues. Besides, it doesn’t come close to “high speed” in any real sense of those words. This is the least likely of any of these projects to ever be completed.