Cost Concerns Could Shorten L.A.’s Crenshaw Corridor… Or Turn Planners to Rapid Buses

Proposed Crenshaw Corridor Light Rail Alignment Map» DEIS reports that making it as far north as Wilshire Boulevard would be too expensive for light rail.

Los Angeles has released its Draft Environmental Impact Study (DEIS) for the Crenshaw/Prairie rapid transit corridor in preparation for Metro’s selection of a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) later this year, with completion aimed for 2018. The DEIS demonstrates the dramatic cost benefits of choosing bus rapid transit, rather than light rail, because of lower construction costs and higher projected ridership. Yet those conclusions are based on a misleading difference between the two mode choices — the former would extend to Wilshire Boulevard, while the latter would stop at Exposition, three miles south — a consequence of the limited funds available for transit expansion.

A line running north-south roughly along Crenshaw Boulevard has been studied for years, as it would form a second north-south backbone for the Los Angeles transit system. The passage of Measure R in November 2008 put the project on the front burner, and the selection of a transportation mode for the travel corridor will allow Metro to enter engineering and soon after apply for federal New Starts funding.

The two projects advanced to the DEIS stage and to be considered by Metro when it selects the LPA are an 8.5-mile light rail line extending from the Green Line Aviation Station to the future Expo Line Crenshaw stop, and a bus rapid transit corridor following the same route but continuing further north to Wilshire Boulevard, where it would run east for several blocks to the existing terminus of the Purple Line at Wilshire and Western. Unlike the bus option, the light rail line would act as an extension of the Green Line, allowing commuters to travel without a transfer from as far south as Redondo Beach; it would also allow some Green Line trains to extend north one station to a new LAX Airport stop that would be connected to a people mover linked to terminals.

Considering only the segment shared between the Expo and Green Lines, the light rail option would attract 18% more riders than the bus; it would also be about 25% faster. But Metro can’t afford to extend light rail north of Exposition, because it only has budgeted about $1.5 billion in tax revenue for the project, and the three mile extension to Wilshire, which must be entirely tunneled because of the limited space available on roadways, would add one billion dollars to the cost. On the other hand, the rapid bus line, primarily using reserved lanes, would cost only $550 million to connect Wilshire with the Green Line — and the full corridor would attract some 17,000 daily riders compared to only 13,000 on the shortened light rail line. That’s because Wilshire is the economic hub of the city; it’s hard to imagine justifying a new north-south line that doesn’t come into contact with it.

The high cost of the light rail project can be summarized by this vertical profile of the proposed line — huge sections of the route would have to be placed underground or elevated above the street, and that costs a bundle of bucks.

Crenshaw Corridor Vertical Profile

Metro estimates that the light rail option would garner a “lower than medium” federal cost-effectiveness rating, because, to be blunt, it’s too expensive for a line serving neighborhoods that aren’t that dense. Can Los Angeles afford to build this project without a contribution from Washington? Should it build a project relying fully on local funds?

Ironically, a full-corridor light rail line, running up La Brea from Exposition and reaching Wilshire Boulevard, would attract far more riders and receive a medium-high federal cost-benefit rating, making it a strong competitor for national funds. The corridor’s importance would expand exponentially when the Purple Line is extended down Wilshire, as planned. Yet Los Angeles does not have the resources, at least in the medium-term, to make the longer light rail line a reality. The DEIS suggests that Metro should make preparations for an eventual completion of the line — but that will be in decades.

If the goal of the project is to improve the mobility of people living in southwest Los Angeles and Inglewood, the light rail line as proposed would do little to decrease transit times to downtown, since the Green and Blue lines already provide that service. Meanwhile, the Expo Line connection doesn’t provide access to the heart of the west side, which explains low ridership estimates — only an extension up to Wilshire would ramp up performance.

We’ll take it as a given that Los Angeles does not have the money to do a full light rail build-out along Crenshaw. As a result, it seems clear that a bus rapid transit line running along the whole corridor would provide the maximum number of benefits over the short and medium term, and that Metro has little choice to select that option. On the other hand, as ridership grows, a BRT project would have significant problems coping with additional capacity, as experienced by the Orange Line in San Fernando Valley. The bus would also lack interoperability with the Expo and Green Lines, one of the primary advantages of picking light rail, since it would allow through-running onto existing routes. Does it make since to build a bus line, only to have to replace it with a rail corridor in 20 years? I’m not sure.

One option that does not seem to have been fully considered is starting at Wilshire and then building as far south as possible within the financial constraints, which might mean to the Harbor Subdivision railroad; a future connection to the Green Line would be planned. This poses some serious equity questions, since it would further reward the wealthy west side and delay improvements for poorer Inglewood; this probably makes this option politically infeasible. On the other hand, it would likely attract more riders and reinforce the city’s center, which, amorphous as it is, runs roughly west from downtown and deserves to have concentrated transit service.

Images above: Proposed Crenshaw Corridor LRT, from Metro

40 Comments | Leave a Reply »
  • simple

    Could the LRT guideway structure be built now, but in a manner that allows BRT buses to run on it initially while facilitating future upgrade to LRT on the same structure/stations? Kind of like the Seattle Bus/LRT tunnel (granted that one had issues, but conceptually it tried to do bus in a way that facilitated future LRT conversion).

  • I know that it probably sounds wacky to suggest that just building the entire Crenshaw corridor as a monorail might lower costs (even with the covered trench at LAX), but given different construction methods, maybe…?

  • Alek F

    BRT should be completely out of the question!!
    We’ve had enough with that ugly Orange line busway, with all its drawbacks.
    Please, no more pathetic “rapid Bus” lines!!
    Let’s build a corridor that would be more like 21st Century technology!
    Light Rail is the way to go!! (Monorail could do also)

  • lsm

    As an interim proposal, could we build light rail from the Green Line to Expo and continue north from Expo to Wilshire with a temporary BRT spur, which we would replace with a tunneled light rail extension when ridership rises and funds become available? If this light rail/BRT combination could be considered as one line, perhaps its cost/benefit would be attractive enough to gain Federal support. We would then only have to replace three miles–rather than 11.5 miles–of BRT with light rail. On the downside, however, we would recreate for BRT buses northbound from Expo the same mad scramble and overcrowding as we now see for westbound 720 and 920 buses when the Purple Line pulls into Western.

  • AndyDuncan

    If this is really only going to function as an airport connector for people coming off the expo line, I say scrap it. There’s other projects with better ridership-per-dollar numbers. And all this “environmental justice” crap is just that, crap. Put the lines in where people will use them. That includes the unfunded, unplanned vermont subway. Make that an extension of the red and purple lines, finish the purple line, and then grade separate the blue line. Make the LAX connector an electrified heavy rail line from LAUS, continue it down the corridor to Long Beach and run it as a Metrolink Service.

    These piecemeal projects are fine as long as we have a larger vision of what we want transit to look like in the greater LA Area, and as long as we start with the projects that have the greatest ridership potential today. That means an appropriate mix of busses, BRT, street cars, LRT, Metro, and regional rail.

  • Jerard

    The problem with the proposed interim proposal described in the article is where will the LRV’s come from? There will need to be a maintenance yard or storage of trains somewhere in the system to make that work logistically there’s got to be a place for these vehicles to use this infrastructure have access to the infrastructure that they will operate on.

  • Jerard –
    Presumably you could use the Expo Line facilities, because the two lines would be linked.

  • Jerard

    How? If the other line (Crenshaw) is underground. That would then require some sort of portal connection to be built connecting the two which would take cost-effectivness that was shaky to begin with to something a lot more shaky because that is included in the cost of the line.

    Given the other background on the Expo Line and the issues of trying to plan a maintenance facility for Phase 2 of that project and that the orignal storage (additional space at the existing Blue Line yards) loacation was deemed infeisble because of Edison Power Lines.

    Still the non-abstract question is where are these vehicles that will operate on Crenshaw going to come from?

  • If you look at the vertical profile posted above, you’ll notice that the alignment would be at-grade at Exposition — and indeed, if you look through the DEIS, you’ll see that the plan is to allow northbound Crenshaw trains to continue east on the Expo Line, simply by turning onto the Expo alignment. (The shared station would be east of the intersection on Exposition Blvd.)

  • Jerard

    I’m commenting on the suggestion you made right here, not on the DEIR proposal which also contains an option that would continue Crenshaw underground from King Blvd;

    “One option that does not seem to have been fully considered is starting at Wilshire and then building as far south as possible within the financial constraints, which might mean to the Harbor Subdivision railroad; a future connection to the Green Line would be planned. This poses some serious equity questions, since it would further reward the wealthy west side and delay improvements for poorer Inglewood; this probably makes this option politically infeasible. ”

    Logisitcally Crenshaw Corridor running through north after Exposition couldn’t continue at-grade because Crenshaw Blvd narrows a lane at that section. Even without the Equity issues this project couldn’t be designed in this manner because there will be no way to get the vehciles onto that infrastrucuture in an affordable manner.

  • Thanks for the clarification, but as far as I can tell, it would still work:

    The aerials I’m looking at show Crenshaw as having 7 lanes both north and south of Exposition. Crenshaw doesn’t narrow until much further north, at Washington Blvd. There is plenty of space there for the cut underground north of Exposition.

  • Jerard

    It’s one thing to look at aerial maps and another to experience the traffic congestion that occurs in that section between Jefferson to the 10 freeway. It is a LOS E and F corridor in peak period so at-grade wouldn’t work there. if stations were to be needed along that section, there’s no space for them.

  • Well, sir, that’s a different discussion; there’s no technical reason why it’s impossible. And, to be honest, this website’s primary interest isn’t in alleviating the woes of road users, it’s to improve the situation for transit users, so I’ll reaffirm my support for a Wilshire » south plan.

  • Jerard

    I agree with you 100% on the need to improve the situation for transit users, but that also involve projects that are feasible to build so that transit users can use them and that is part of the discussion as well.

    Taking away a lane in a area that is already LOS E and F which means without an apporiate means of separation or improvement measures means that project won’t get built because it will be labeled as causing more problems to than the existing condition, an important piece when venturing out for additional funding sources such as FTA new Starts…an unfortunate technicality.

    Notice that for the BRT proposal there is no dedicated lane north of Exposition it is all mixed running.

  • usroute66

    The Crenshaw Corridor already has Rapid Buses. This corridor has been studied to death by Metro. It doesn’t even have enough patronage to warrant articulated buses. The ridership is terrible for both the local and rapid lines and don’t come close to qualifying for a LRT. The line smells of one thing…politics, not need.

  • jon

    i think it is important to have a line like this that links many of the radial routes out of downtown (red, purple, expo, green) especially since its LA which is known for having a non-downtown focused travel pattern. and with crenshaw (and the other u/c and planned routes) now a grid of rail lines starts to form . and a good metro system has lots of criss crossing lines.

    my feeling is to do it right the first time even if you cant build as much.once the line is in place there will be pressure to extend it further. it would be a shame to under build parts of it, having it be problematic just to save money because either way building a new transit line is still a significant investment. just as i think the downtown connector should be done right (built all underground) considering it is the heart of the metro system, as opposed to trying to save some money and having parts of it have slow surface trackage making tight turns.

  • John von Kerczek

    @usroute66

    Dana Gabbard of Southern California Transit Advocates has the chapter & verse on the political origins of this project.

    http://la.streetsblog.org/2009/08/27/what-should-be-done-with-the-crenshaw-corridor/#comment-26351

  • AlexB

    I’d like to say the Light Rail option sounds much preferable, but I find it hard to justify the extra $1 billion for 3,400 extra daily riders. The post mentions the full BRT would have 17,000 riders and the LR would attract 18% more, totalling 20,400 daily riders.

    As important as the corridor WILL be, someday, maybe we should wait until the 20,000 riders turns into 50,000, after the “subway to the sea” and the Expo line run to Santa Monica. After all, isn’t it more logical to invest in crosstown routes after the radial routes have been finished? If that reality is a bare minimum 15 years away, can’t Angelenos just deal with BRT for a while? I’d love the rail option, but I am trying to bring a measure of comparative shopping to the discussion. Considering all the other places where a billion dollars could be spent, I am not sure the extra 3,400 daily riders are worth it. There are much more important corridors that draw many tens of thousands of riders in the US that would really love to have a billion dollars to improve the options for these routes. If part of the cost of LRT is preparing the corridor with dedicated lanes, signals, etc, certainly some of that could be invested now, and then cashed in on in the future to make the eventual LR line more affordable.

    Perhaps there is a way to measure these things. How much is one extra rider worth? For example, the full length second avenue subway in Manhattan will cost $16 billion, but let’s say it ends up costing $20 billion. The full length subway will attract about 500,000 daily riders. That comes out to $40,000 per person. If the light rail option costs $1.5 billion and attracts 20,000 daily riders, that’s $75,000 per rider, and that is probably low, based on the numbers in the post. Is $75,000 a reasonable number? I have no idea, how does it compare the recent light rail lines in Dallas, Seattle, and Portland? The BRT option ($550 million and 17,000 riders) gets you about $32,000 per rider. It is certainly a better deal, per rider, but of course, the quality and speed of the ride is much worse and less predictable. A worse ride isn’t that big of a deal when only a small number of people actually experience it, but an upgrade would be more worthwhile if it affected a big chunk of commuters. Maybe they should spend half a billion on an improved bus and spend the other billion set aside for the Santa Monica subway.

  • SAS is not predicted to attract 500,000 new riders. It’s predicted to attract 500,000 riders, partly from other subway and bus lines.

  • Matt

    The real question is here is whether it is better to go with this expensive line or with an extension of the Red Line down Vermont that would likely attract federal new starts funds.

    The Vermont subway could be built in increments and would be successful from day one unlike this line, because it would already tie into the subway system and have Wilshire and Hollywood links. Also, Vermont is more dense and is the second busiest bus corridor in the city with Western Avenue right after it (which is about a mile to the West and would likely provide heavy ridership for a subway line). Furthermore, a subway along Vermont could attract more development opportunities than Crenshaw ever could.

    Some sort of line along the Harbor Sub ROW would still be needed to bring transit to the airport from this area, although it may be possible to bring the Vermont subway above ground to a connection with the Green Line as the old Pacific Electric right of way median is largely in tact in the center of Vermont between the Green Line and the Harbor Sub ROW.

    Why this all never gets flushed out is due to the politics. If Los Angeles were to try to get the most bang for its tax dollars in federal new starts funds, this would be the way to go.

  • Tu

    Crenshaw does not have the ridership; LRT should be deferred until the land use changes. Other N/S streets are better candidates for rail. This is just another project to take money from the rest of the county for the Westside to build more rail, we have Expo being built. We have the Purple line which was a pipe dream and not on any MTA plan, but when LA city got a new mayor, miraculously it appeared. We are now looking at Crenshaw. Why is all the money being spent on the west side, where the MTA is doing everything to prevent a light rail line that is ready for ground breaking from being built. The MTA Board is Westside heavy, it gives crumbs to the Antelope Valley, San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, South Bay and South East Los Angeles County.

    Crenshaw should continue with the Rapid Transit route, and at most, modified to a modified BRT route.

  • Jerard

    Matt, Where is there an existing tunnel tie into Vermont south of the Wilshire/Vermont station? There isn’t one right now, a new one has to be built and included in the cost. Just keep that in mind.

  • From a system stand point and a long term perspective, I think light rail makes sense. Crenshaw will unite the Green line with the rest of LA’s rail system. I believe the initial Metro ridership projection for the line assumes passenger will need to transfer at Expo line to Crenshaw (i.e. like Green line to Blue line). However, in the technical discussion, it does say that direct connection with Expo is possible (either direction). Why would Metro estimate ridership based on transfer required scenario rather than one-seat ride? I think if Crenshaw connects with west bound Expo to Santa Monica (i.e. one-seat rider from Redondo Beach to Santa Monica via LAX and Culver City), it will greatly increase the ridership of this line. For one thing, it will be a direct train to LAX that everyone says we need to boost the demand for all the other rail lines.

  • Forgot to finish my thought in the last post – Crenshaw also opens up a lot of different opportunity and flexibility for Metro to finally run trains to where people want to go in one-seat rides.

    If we build Crenshaw with 2 way connection at both Expo and Green lines, we can then run trains on the track like this:

    Santa Monica to Norwalk (Expo-Crenshaw-Green) + Redondo to Downtown LA (Green-Crenshaw-Expo) with the X cross at LAX Century station.

    And when Downtown connector opens, we could even do something like Pasadena or East LA to Redondo via LAX.

  • Great post on what sounds like a really hairy project.

    Where exactly is the available space for BRT north of Exposition, and why isn’t this same space usable for LRT? To me this signals that the BRT solution in this critical segment is probably not going to look/feel or function like a fully separated and protected corridor.

  • akw

    MTA has been operating a Rapid Bud Line 710 on Crenshaw for years. The ridership is in the 7,000 a day range. This barely qualifies it for a Rapid Bus Line.
    If we spend 1.2 billion on a Light Rail line ridership might double to 14,000. The
    Rapid Bus Line travels the same area and makes the same stops a Light Rail Line would. That ridership would not qualify it for funding as a Light Rail Line. Please take the 1 billion and build the Downtown Connector. That would connect four Light Rail Lines and vastly improve the system. Politics should in no circumstances trump reason and rationality.

  • Nathanael

    “Taking away a lane in a area that is already LOS E and F ”

    Actually, I believe that in areas which are LOS F, you *can’t make it worse* according to the highway standards, so you can take away as many lanes as you like without worsening the congestion from an EIS point of view!

    So here’s to the entire corridor going LOS F, so that the light rail can get built.

  • Nathanael

    But realistically the Green Line airport extension seems to be very much worth it, and should be treated separately from the “Crenshaw Corridor”.

  • If we build Crenshaw with 2 way connection at both Expo and Green lines, we can then run trains on the track like this:

    Alternatively, you can avoid the interlining snafus in New York, and instead have cross-platform transfers. In Vienna and Singapore, some transfer stations are configured to have cross-platform transfers for the logical transfers; in Vienna trains are scheduled to arrive at such stations at the same time, and are then held for about 30 seconds, to enable people to make a transfer instead of just miss it.

  • If anything, you all should make your concerns known to Metro. They’re doing public outreach meetings/taking submitted comments on the DEIS now until late October. Surprised the writer of this blog forgot to mention it. Here’s what I copied from their project website, out of curiosity after reading this article:

    “The deadline for comments on the DEIS/DEIR is Monday, October 26, 2009, 5PM. Comments can be made at the public hearings or submitted to: Roderick Diaz, Project Manager, Metro, One Gateway Plaza, 99-22-3, Los Angeles CA 90012 or diazroderick@metro.net.”

  • Damien Goodmon

    Plugged in the actual construction contract numbers for LA’s two most recent projects: the 1.8 mile tunnel on the under construction Gold Line Eastside Extension project and the 0.5 mile trench on the Expo Line, extrapolated the costs to 2011 dollars assuming 2.5% annual inflation (which is very generous given this construction environment), and they’re just not matching up at all.

    With $1.8 billion Metro should be able to build this line from Wilshire to LAX.

    Metro’s got a lot of splanin to do.

  • Wad

    Akw wrote:

    MTA has been operating a Rapid Bud Line 710 on Crenshaw for years. The ridership is in the 7,000 a day range. This barely qualifies it for a Rapid Bus Line.

    Well, Crenshaw qualifies for a Rapid bus line because limited-stop service made sense on it. The total combined ridership for local 210 and Rapid 710 is about 22,000 a day.

    The ridership on the Rapid alone is more toward the 8,000 range. Local 210, has about 14,500 boardings along a 19.5 mile route from Hollywood to Redondo Beach.

    It’s very low to warrant a rail line.

    The problem with Crenshaw as a corridor is that ridership is limited because of the Baldwin Hills as a barrier for much of the route. A Crenshaw line won’t be able to draw riders from the west. However, both Western and Vermont avenues draw at least twice the ridership on much denser corridors. Western’s combined local and Rapid ridership is about 40,000, and Vermont’s combined bus ridership is 57,000!

    Plus, Vermont already has a subway along it, which would push up corridor ridership another couple of thousand. It would bring boardings into the 65,000 to 70,000 range.

    Ideally, the best choice for the community would be to extend the subway south of Wilshire along Vermont. This draws more ridership from east and west of Vermont (as far as I-110 to the east and Western or Crenshaw to the west).

    This would also free up buses operating on Vermont that would be redeployed on intersecting east-west lines.

    If there’s any money left over, Crenshaw is a wide enough street for exclusive bus lanes. A lot of Crenshaw has medians that aren’t occupied by traffic, and the street can be re-engineered to maintain street capacity. The benefit here is that bus running times would improve, boosting ridership and lowering operating costs.

    You can see Metro’s boarding stats here (start on Page 142):
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/14037876/Overview-FY09-Q2

    A table of contents for it is on MetroRiderLA at:
    http://metroriderla.com/2009/09/17/metro-by-the-numbers/

  • Jerard

    2.5% inflation being generous? What country is this based off on China?

    http://www.reedconstructiondata.com/news/2009/09/chinese-economic-growth-rate-will-set-us-inflation-rate/

    Pay attention to that third paragraph to see why this 2.5% is such a short fleeting time that this project or even any project in the LA area could not capitalize on.

    Typical construction inflation is 4-6%. On top of that the LRT corridor north of Expo hasn’t even finalized a route or has an EIR approved going for that Northern portion so the earliest construction could possibly begin for that northern section is maybe 2014 or 2015.

    That value doesn’t include construction contingencies (which is a cushion needed to pay for unforseen events or environmental variables) which is typically between 4-7% of the total project cost, Professional services of the designers and engineers to make the documents and needed on the site changes that is between 15-20% of the total project costs.

  • Damien Goodmon

    Typical construction inflation is 4-6%.

    These aren’t typical times. For the past year transportation projects across the country are coming in underbid because government work is the only work available right now and will be available in the states for at least the next 2-3 years.

    On top of that the LRT corridor north of Expo hasn’t even finalized a route or has an EIR approved going for that Northern portion so the earliest construction could possibly begin for that northern section is maybe 2014 or 2015.

    Since when does ANY EIR process take 4 years, and the bidding process another year, after the alternatives analysis and preliminary study has already been conducted?

    There’s no need to exaggerate costs and timetables. Nothing has been finalized at this point. An LPA hasn’t been selected, the DEIR period has just opened. Conducting the EIR along the full corridor now would be the smartest course of action. And something all who claim to be advocates should request.

    Furthermore, unlike at-grade or elevated rail, with the northern section being all underground and mostly bored tunnel there’s significantly less preliminary design work to conduct.

    The problem with Crenshaw as a corridor is that ridership is limited because of the Baldwin Hills as a barrier for much of the route.

    By much of the route you mean 1/2 mile? I haven’t looked at the census tract data, but I’d bet that Crenshaw from Adams to the right-of-way has density as great or greater than the Blue Line and Expo. The problem is the northern terminus. Crenshaw/Expo as of today is not a major activity center. The ridership with that extension nearly triples (31K), and that’s without considering the additionally 10-15K riders that Metro would be allowed to calculate if the model were allowed to consider Phase 2 of Expo and LAX passengers and put the Leimert Park Village station in the baseline. This is a line from Wilshire to LAX is at a very conservative 45K, far more than almost all the other projects in the Measure R plan, and comparable to several others across the country. Yonah is right to assume this project would be rated medium-high for cost efficiency if it were extended to Wilshire. There are just a lot bureaucratic hurdles to considering that at this stage and some politics.

  • Wad

    By much of the route you mean 1/2 mile? I haven’t looked at the census tract data, but I’d bet that Crenshaw from Adams to the right-of-way has density as great or greater than the Blue Line and Expo.

    You have a similar problem here as the Gold Line in Northeast L.A. The density supports rail ridership; it’s the topography and the street grid that depresses it, though.

    I’ve framed the likely route in this Google Map:

    http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=34.011546,-118.311424&spn=0.042119,0.137329&z=13

    Note to the east of Crenshaw how the street grid is free-flowing and balanced between north-south and east-west streets.

    It’s a whole other matter west of Crenshaw. South of Exposition you have long north-south parallel streets and very few east-west streets, except for the arterials in yellow.

    The farther you get away from Crenshaw, the terrain is hillier and the roads are more curvilinear.

    Unfortunately for the route as designated, the ridership is hemmed in by the hills with very little flatland ridership on the west.

    Yonah is right to assume this project would be rated medium-high for cost efficiency if it were extended to Wilshire. There are just a lot bureaucratic hurdles to considering that at this stage and some politics.

    Of course, the Crenshaw project would have far more to gain if it were a branch of the subway. That’s primarily because the network effects of being an extension of a very busy subway system make the project worthwhile. A stand-alone project is useless, and making Crenshaw a branch of the Expo Line produces some network effects but introduces operational nightmares. Look at the unreliability of Muni Metro or Boston’s Green Line when branching and different operating characteristics are introduced.

  • Damien Goodmon

    Wad:

    You don’t know the area, especially if you’re comparing it to the Northeast LA area of the Gold Line. I say that not as a person looking at the area from a map, but a person who has lived in the area 16 years of my life.

    Again the hills exist between Stocker and tapper off as Crenshaw heads further south to Slauson. At the foot of the hill to the north is Baldwin Village (aka “The Jungle”) and at the foot of the hill to the south is Hyde Park and Inglewood. Baldwin Village is not flatland, but the elevation is minimal outside of the Dons. It’s nothing like Highland Park or Mt. Washington around the Gold Line. The Baldwin Village area has so much density it has a rapid stop in the middle of nowhere at the base of it on King. And it’s a high ridership stop.

    Indeed the most perplexing part of your supposition regarding the impact of the Baldwin Hills is that the area in question would be serviced by Crenshaw Line stations at MLK and Leimert Park Village. MLK is a major transfer location and plans exist to drastically increase the residential density of the area (to the WEST of Crenshaw) on the site of the mall and Marlton Square, and Leimert Park Village, which is as a significant cultural center on our rail system as any other. Collectively there’s over $1 billion of private investment projected for the 0.5-mile area.

    The entire Crenshaw Blvd portion of the line has existing commercial/retail with plans to convert much of the currently single-story properties into mixed-use, and unlike other areas in LA, most of Crenshaw Blvd (with the exception of the portion from Stocker to Vernon) has the land mass to comfortably fit it.

    Regarding the city of Inglewood probably, it has some of the highest density of any city in LA County west of the river, and the small residential section the line runs through is among it’s most dense portions.

    There are ridership issues with Crenshaw, but they have nothing to do with topography or the area being served. It has more to do with the areas not being served (i.e. the northern terminus). Expo/Crenshaw is not a major economic center right now. Indeed, when the line was envisioned as a branch off Expo that would head into Downtown LA (this is before someone at MTA did basic arithmetic apparently) the Crenshaw Line’s ridership projection was three times as high as it currently is for the segment that dead ends at Expo. Again, that indicates a problem with the terminus, not the corridor.

  • ronnie johnson

    it would be a lot cheaper and faster to build a monorail starting at wilshire and la brea. the monorail would proceed south on la brea to adams blvd and then turn east on adams to crenshaw blvd and then south on crenshaw to florence ave .at florence ave and crenshaw the monorail would continue west on florence to labrea ave. the monorail would then turn south on labrea to century blvd. at century blvd the monorail would turn west on century and head directly to lax

  • Nathanael

    It sounds like the Mayor of LA is correct when he says: fast-track the Subway to the Sea. Because the existence of that line changes the projections for ridership on *ALL* the other proposed lines.

  • Jerard

    “There are ridership issues with Crenshaw, but they have nothing to do with topography or the area being served. It has more to do with the areas not being served (i.e. the northern terminus). Expo/Crenshaw is not a major economic center right now.”

    Actually the topography has a component to the ridership because even if the line reaches Wilshire ridership projections are at 35-40K that is including the Subway to Westwood. The fact that on a stretch of Crenshaw where there’s hills on the western end of the line means you’re going to serve mostly the eastern end of the corridor.

    “Indeed, when the line was envisioned as a branch off Expo that would head into Downtown LA (this is before someone at MTA did basic arithmetic apparently) the Crenshaw Line’s ridership projection was three times as high as it currently is for the segment that dead ends at Expo. Again, that indicates a problem with the terminus, not the corridor.”

    Insert plug for Downtown Regional Connector which is a key reason for this. The math even with this would be limited by a terminal at 7th Street, Regional Connector would relieve that mathematical constraint.

    That ridership depended on the line linking with a full Expo line between Downtown LA and Santa Monica. But it seems to get stalled because some “activist” is drunk with power for a second that said “activist” wanted or advocated for monies to be taken from the Wilshire Subway to build Crenshaw as a full subway.

    Also what needs to be understood is that Crenshaw Corridor is a FEEDER to the planned East-west corridors of Wilshire and Expo.

  • Jerard

    “Since when does ANY EIR process take 4 years, and the bidding process another year, after the alternatives analysis and preliminary study has already been conducted?”

    Let’s see, there’s;
    1)Alternatives Analysis then,
    2)Draft EIR then,
    3)Final EIR with Preliminary Engineering.

    Each of which takes a year or so to complete then the bidding process takes another 6 months to evaluate the preliminary engineering with fine tooth to get a gague of how much it will cost so that if figures come in WAY Too low then can catch those guys and stop the Change order parade that plagued earlier projects.

    But you’ve never worked in Construction Management nor has ever worked with any procurement or Purchasing department into the required steps that it takes to get these projects done.

    You should know better than anyone that this is the process given the involvement of Phase 2 of Expo. Given that the Northern end didn’t come to a full conclusion but a preliminary MIS that does not count.

    There’s no need to exaggerate costs and timetables. Nothing has been finalized at this point. An LPA hasn’t been selected, the DEIR period has just opened. Conducting the EIR along the full corridor now would be the smartest course of action. And something all who claim to be advocates should request.

    There’s also no need to low-ball costs either. And given that an LPA hasn’t been determined for the NORTHERN section north of Expo proves that study will be needed. Also keep in mind that this economy will not be this bad forever there will be a recovery when that occurs, the price of the projects will shoot up significantly, this happended after 2003 mini recession, again going back to the short window of time this can take place.

    Believe it or not a lot of the true advocates have excluding yourself. We’ve been pushing to accelerate the current EIRs so that Northern portion can begin study to see where this line can continue northward. Again advocacy to show true buildable results not just press releases and loud tantrums of racism.

    Furthermore, unlike at-grade or elevated rail, with the northern section being all underground and mostly bored tunnel there’s significantly less preliminary design work to conduct.

    I guess soil studies doesn’t need to come into account when boring a tube or building underground stations then. They can just go to the Modular store and plop any subway station box to that area irregardless of the soil conditions. Also there’s routing considerations which further needs study.

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