Why Metro is a failure

17Aug07

The MTA had a meeting yesterday to reveal their long range master plan for L.A. Here are their ideas, courtesy of the L.A. Times Bottleneck Blog:

-Crenshaw Boulevard light rail: Running south from Wilshire Boulevard through the bustling Crenshaw and Leimert Park districts, eventually going to LAX via Florence Avenue and terminating at the Green Line station at Aviation Boulevard.

-Vermont Avenue subway: Running from the Red Line subway in mid-Wilshire down Vermont to the Green Line.

-Downtown light rail: A short line connecting the Blue Line to the Gold Line, running through downtown. Would allow commuters a one-train option from Pasadena to Long Beach.

-Bob Hope Airport extension: Running the Red Line from its terminus in North Hollywood to the Metrolink station near Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

-Burbank-Glendale light rail: Running from Union Station roughly following the 5 Freeway through Glendale to the Burbank Metrolink station.

-Silver Line: Running from Hollywood through downtown and Alhambra into the San Gabriel Valley, ending at La Puente.

-Whittier light rail: Extending the Gold Line from East L.A. (a station now being built) to Whittier.

-South Bay light rail: Expanding the Green Line both north and south, creating a route that would run from Santa Monica through the South Bay Galleria to Wilmington.

-Yellow Line: Light rail connecting North Hollywood to downtown L.A., roughly along the 5 Freeway, then through Silver Lake and Echo Park.

While we can all appreciate the fact that there is currently no money to build any of this, it’s kind of a joke that this is all we got from the MTA. The problem with planners in Los Angeles is that they do not plan. They band-aid. They patch. They go for the quick fix.

Don’t insult us with a few dotted lines on a map. Give us the blueprints of a major rail network for a city that plans to survive past the year 2010. We know we can’t have 12 new subway lines tunneled and running in the next few years. But, the citizens of this city deserve more than this. We want to be able to go to Metro’s site and find a clearly-displayed long range master plan that benefits every part of the city. We understand there will be priorities. We understand that a subway under Wilshire will have to happen before a subway under Sunset, Ventura, or Van Nuys. We understand that we have to find a way to pay for all of it, line by line.

All we ask, is that you give us a map. A real map. With a real long-term plan.

Wilshire by 2010. Crenshaw by 2012. Vermont by 2014.

See how easy that is? Don’t waste our time with money issues. Give us THE MAP. If our elected officials can’t figure out how to pay for it, or won’t stop squabbling over who gets what first, we’ll elect some officials who can.

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One Response to “Why Metro is a failure”

  1. What you describe as failure is the opposite of what you want: Metro writing checks its ass can’t cash.

    The wrinkle with planning a system, such as Damien Goodmon’s, is that Metro cannot build a system on a credit card. It needs to have the money lined up before it begins such major projects.

    And remember, the field becomes more competitive at the higher levels of government. If you want to tax the county to build a $40 billion system, it’s all well and good. Yet this is a double-digit percentage of the local economic output. So some money needs to be chipped in from the state.

    The problem is L.A. would also compete with the Bay Area, Sacramento and San Diego, and capital funds go between rail and bus purchases.

    At the federal level, there are hundreds of proposals every year for New Starts funding. And the criteria are a moving target. Congress changes the rules yearly, which changes the questions when transit agencies have the answers.


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