Thursday, November 15, 2007

Purple Line subway route options

Here's a short version of my Scoping comments submitted for Metro's Westside Extension.

Route options north of Wilshire Boulevard: There are multiple major destinations north of Wilshire Blvd. that may be more important to serve than Wilshire itself, if end-to-end running time isn’t seriously slowed. These include Farmers Market / The Grove / CBS; Cedars-Sinai Medical Center / Beverly Center; and West Hollywood / Pacific Design Center. I sketched three potential route options to serve them onto their map (above). Based on the existing Red Line schedule I estimate their additional travel time at only 1-3 minutes, so they appear well worth considering.

Beverly Hills – Hollywood Connection: I consider the Wilshire corridor primary, but also find a connection from Beverly Hills via West Hollywood to Hollywood very important. That area has no easy freeway access, and could strongly benefit from a rail transit link, for travel between the Westside and Hollywood or the San Fernando Valley. Perhaps it should be a separate light rail line, on the surface where the old Pacific Electric right-of-way still exists, then tunneled the rest of the way from West Hollywood to Hollywood & Highland?

North-South Corridor: The concurrent Crenshaw-Prairie corridor study’s northern boundary is Wilshire Blvd. Is there a way within the scope of the Westside Extension study to consider a single north-south line from LAX to Hollywood? Such a line could use some combination of Crenshaw, La Brea, Fairfax, and/or San Vicente to connect Exposition & Crenshaw to Hollywood & Highland.

I-405 Corridor: Transit along the I-405 corridor from the San Fernando Valley to Westwood, LAX, and the South Bay is critical and missing. The current Metro LRTP suggests only BRT along the I-405 HOV lanes, and no rail line. An effective interface between the Wilshire corridor and the I-405 corridor (interim BRT, future rail) is very important to consider. Good access to the UCLA campus is also obviously important.

West of I-405: A Wilshire subway may not extend west of Westwood, given its high capital cost and the lesser development density in Santa Monica. Western terminus locations to consider beyond Westwood include one more station on Wilshire between Federal and Bundy in West Los Angeles, to allow Westside access to the subway without needing to cross the 405, and in Santa Monica, the Expo Line's Bergamot Station, Wilshire & Ocean, or the Expo Line’s terminus around Colorado & 4th.

5 comments:

Dan W. said...

This is a good summary.

I went to the MTA forum in Santa Monica and have been following this issue extensively.

WeHo has started lobbying harder to get included in the rail system. When the MTA didn't schedule any of their original five forums in West Hollywood and after Beverly Hills formed a task force that basically preferred a Wilshire Blvd. alignment on the way to Century City.

There is growing, vocal support, as reported in the L.A. times and by Jody Litvak in L.A. City Beat for an alignment heading southwest from the Hollywood/Highland Station. Transit advocates have started to use the nickname the "Pink Line". This would be in addition to the expected Wilshire Blvd. alignment, not instead of.

The only option I see politically coming out of these forums other than a direct Wilshire alignment spurring into Century City is the one that takes San Vicente up to Santa Monica Blvd. so that WeHo is not totally left out. But that is scant.

It is more likely that WeHo would be accessed via a second line from the northeast, not the Purple Line from the southeast. Beverly Hills is not keen on a Santa Monica Blvd. transit stop, although one at the Beverly Hills Civic Center would be politically feasible.

Because Hollywood/Highland is not currently set up for a direct line from the north or east to head southwest, and no one really wants to close the station for a year, the H/H station is likely to be the northern terminus of some line.

The "Pink Line" has been seen as a direct line to Century City or one that spurs down to the Beverly Center/Cedar Sinai on the wrote to Wilshire. It has even been suggested as a northern branch of the proposed Crenshaw LRT, going north on Crenshaw, then north on San Vicente/La Cienega/Fairfax then Santa Monica northeast to H/H.

Having a second line headed southwest from H/H instead of one line from Wilshire/Western attempting to be all things is the biggest addition to this discussion.

Ironically, that discussion of the "Pink Line" via Santa Monica Blvd. means that the Purple Line is more likely to be Wilshire since Beverly Hills prefers Wilshire to Santa Monica Blvd.

Good analysis of the Purple Line though. I do expect they will push it to go the beach, and I think they should. There is romance about a Coney Island top terminus for the Purple and Expo lines near the Santa Monica Pier.

Roger Christensen said...

I sould like to see discussions of a Pink Line include it's Eastern terminus. As an east/west corridor that is north of Wilshire it could join the Red Line at Hollywood/Highland and then veer off around Santa Monica/Vermont and head straight toward downtown via dense Echo Park.

By adding a second color to the Valley Red line terminus, you could create another line that shares the Pink East route.

Sameer said...

Looks great. I just can't wait until it gets built.

Wright Concept said...

Darrell,

Great minds think alike.

In my letter I expressed the need to eliminate a station in Hancock Park (Wilshire/Crenshaw)because the NIMBY's have protection under their HPOZ (Histroic Preservation Overlay Zone) so that the trains can now operate at 70 mph rather than 55mph between Western and La Brea because there's a 2.0 mile gap between the two.

With the time savings by running under Hancock Park at 70mph that would make a Cedars-Sinai/Beverly Center diversion time competative(about the same time or 1 minute longer) AND serve more riders than just a straight Wilshire only corridor missing this stop. In addition the existing land uses and regional connectivity to West Hollywood via quality pedestrian linkages and taxi zones, shuttles, buses etc would dictate that a station at Beverly Center is absolutely needed.

If it stayed straight on Wilshire Blvd, and had a stop at Wilshire/La Cienega large number of riders would exit here to then transfer to buses shuttling passengers would be stuck in gridlock trying to go North from Wilshire taking more time on that trip then to just have the tunnel serve Cedars/Beverly.

Wright Concept said...

As for the linkage to Westwood until the subway gets built.

How about branch of the under construction/planning Expo Line from Sepulveda with an elevated wye then continuing elevated on the Sepulveda P.E. ROW or one or two blocks west of it in the light industrial zone on Cotner or Pointus.

It continues there until Westwood Park snakes through that onto the old Federal Building Lot or the UCLA Lot 32 at Wilshire/Gayley.

This could possibly create an high capacity way of getting people to use the system.