Wilshire Subway Extension: Two Cents Needed

25Sep07

Metro wants your input on public transit for the Westside.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will be conducting several meetings in October to obtain public comment on the agency’s Westside Transit Corridor Study, which will analyze various transit alternatives and environmental impacts for the possible extension of the Metro Red Line or Metro Purple Line to West Los Angeles.

Agency consultants will evaluate potential environmental impacts for several transit modes, including Bus Rapid Transit on dedicated lanes, at-grade or aerial Light Rail Transit, subway or aerial heavy rail.

Tell them you think buses are dumb, and they’re even worse than sitting in your own car in the same traffic.

Tell to finish the subway they started, with a stop at 3rd Street, and the end of the line right near the Santa Monica Pier.

Tell them to get to work. Now.

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14 Responses to “Wilshire Subway Extension: Two Cents Needed”

  1. 1 Victor Atomic

    They need to make a subway that goes somewhere already!

    AND

    longer bus and rail hours.

  2. 2 markland

    Man, this would have been perfect for blogging.la… nudge, nudge.

  3. Trains are nice, to be sure. But they are expensive, static, and barely justify their own costs.
    In New York, the first two of the three train systems that became the city-owned MTA, were private endeavours. The intentional negligence of Mayor Hylan (two terms: 1918-1925) coerced the BMT and IRT to sell out to what would later become the IND. Hylan deliberately thwarted the two train systems for none other than revenge over being fired from the BRT (which later became the BMT).
    Anyhow, had the indivual companies that later became the MTA started out as a government entity—like in Los Angeles—I doubt it would have been as successful as it were.
    Now, regarding my remark “static.”
    L.A. is a rapidly evolving cluster of communities and cities. Unlike Manhattan, the Pacific Ocean is the only bulwark. That leaves north, south and east to expand. Even now, the West Side seems to be fleeing east to downtown. As such, what will become of Culver City in ten years, except a bunch of strip malls when Sony and all the recently opened art galleries emigrate elsewhere? Were a better bus system developed, one with lanes available exclusively for buses, the bus lines could be moved to migrate with its ebb and flow of riders and residents.
    I have an exclusive interview with an MTA consultant of 30 years who bears out this argument, and that interview will be up at http://www.theShameTrainLA.com just in time for the mid-October hearings.

  4. 4 erict

    LA should never stop building subways. They are proven technologies that will help revitilize the city. Buses are needed, but there are plenty of them, so the more money that is spent on true rapid transit, the better. Bus only lanes? Exactly where would these lanes exist? There is not a a single location in LA where bus only lanes could exoist except on former rail ROW’s, which should all be converted back to light rail. BusTard must work for the oil and gas industries to make such an absurd comment.

  5. 5 Tim

    The idea that we shouldn’t build rail lines because the population of LA migrates seems to miss the point entirely. Building rail lines and stations anchors neighborhoods, helps to build identity and stop the constant migratory patterns in the city.

    And the idea that everyone is comehow “fleeing” the westside for downtown is bogus. The Westside has some of the highest rents and housing prices in the county.

  6. 6 Transit Planner

    Even if the Westside turns into a ghetto for Downtown (remember when 3rd Street, the Pier and Venice were not-so-nice ?), there will still be plenty of people living and working there who will need to ride the subway to their relocated jobs Downtown. I say “finish the job.”

    There is no reason to have a subway that ends at Western. I don’t even live or work on the Westside. I don’t even like the Westside, but extending the subway makes sense. And while we’re at it, lets extend it down Ventura Blvd., and out the I-10 Busway to El Monte, Pomona and Ontario Airport.

    Another thing that could be done quickly is to extend Orange County’s soon to be 30 minute frequency Metrolink service from Fullerton to Los Angeles, Chatsworth, Santa Clarita and San Bernardino ! The same with the “91 Line” to Riverside. It’s a “no-brainer,” that would cost less than the Expo light rail line and give us a true regional Metro.

  7. 7 Alek F

    Definitely, the Subway needs to be developed further!
    As far as buses – I agree, they’re “dumb”, unreliable, polluting, and inefficient. The Orange Line busway has revealed numerous flaws of BRT system, including – limited bus capacity, slow speeds, higher operating costs, constantly deteriorating asphault, unattractiveness, and uncomfortable ride. Bus Rapid Transit is doomed for failure!
    As far as the subway – it should have been built in Los Angeles decades ago, but… political corruption and stupid politics have prevented this from happening. Los Angeles is at a TOTAL gridlock, and the only way out is – building a citywide Subway system.
    It’s time for Los Angeles to start catching up to the rest of the world, before we completely submerge in the quagmire of traffic nightmares!

  8. 8 Bob

    China is building hundreds of miles of subway throughout the country. Xian is building from scratch a 50 mile two line starter system opening in 2010. Los Angeles will be lucky to get three miles by 2020.

  9. 9 Alek F

    Well said, Bob.
    It’s very-very shameful that Los Angeles, such a rich city, is behind the REST OF THE WORLD (!) in its public transportation development! How embarassing…

  10. BusTard wrote:

    L.A. is a rapidly evolving cluster of communities and cities. Unlike Manhattan, the Pacific Ocean is the only bulwark. That leaves north, south and east to expand.

    One flaw with this argument: we have a very well used public transit system now, and there is already a blueprint for service which can’t be toyed with.

    Take a look at a Metro system map. You’d see four rail lines and three exclusive busways. But that’s not all there is.

    Look at the rest of the map and how it’s thick with lines. Those are bus lines, which make up the backbone of ridership. L.A. does have the second busiest bus system in the country. This is both good and bad.

    See below.

    Even now, the West Side seems to be fleeing east to downtown. As such, what will become of Culver City in ten years, except a bunch of strip malls when Sony and all the recently opened art galleries emigrate elsewhere?

    That all depends on how Culver City responds to the situation. And Culver City became a city of galleries as it was being abandoned 20-40 years ago.

    What’s more likely to happen is high rents driving out the galleries and Culver City becomes another Third Street Promenade.

    Were a better bus system developed, one with lanes available exclusively for buses, the bus lines could be moved to migrate with its ebb and flow of riders and residents.

    The Bus Riders Union, and the anti-transit right, have both advanced this argument, and it has been discredited.

    We already have an extensive bus system. Both Metro and muni. The bus system has pretty much reached its limits. L.A.’s buses do not go begging for riders.

    We already have many routes that are scheduled to run every 12 minutes or more. You can add more buses to these routes, where you can promise a bus with headways in seconds, but once a bus has attained a certain level of frequency, the marginal utility declines. Bus riders are not going to gravitate to a bus line when service has been improved to 10 minutes from 12, 8 minutes from 10 and 5 from 8, and so on.

    Also, reliability decreases when frequency increases. When buses are scheduled to run frequently, it becomes more difficult to run them on time. Try this out on a line that operates every 5 minutes or more during rush hour. You’ll wait 10 minutes, but two or three buses will show up at a stop at the same time. Only one of those vehicles will be full.

    The other problem is with less frequent services. Buses that run hourly have the poorest prospects for ridership growth, and even if services are made more frequent, ridership grows very slowly or remains stagnant.

    However, adding rail in a busy corridor allows for buses to be redistributed to other lines. A Wilshire subway would draw riders away from the east-west lines, but creates new ridership on north-south lines. Moreover, rail can tolerate heavy crowds and still run reliably, something which buses can never do. Not even with bus lanes.

  11. 11 Sameer

    A westward extension of the Purple Line would only bring benefits to Los Angeles County, by reducing traffic in the most congested district in the region, by reducing pollution from idling cars and buses, by creating accessibility to the beach for the transit-dependent (teenagers, tourists, and working class residents), and by allowing increased growth in the heart of the city, thereby fostering a sense of community and walkability in a city that drastically needs it. The only downside is the initial financial cost… but with all the pros weighed against this one con, how can anyone not see the urgency to build this thing NOW!?

  12. There are just some things that buses cannot do. Bus routes on Wilshire Boulevard HAVE REACHED CAPACITY. During rush hour, you’re running 60 foot articulated buses on 2 minute headways. There is no more room to expand the bus system in its most crowded transit pathways. What would you do? Run double decker articulated buses????

    The only solution is a subway. Grade separation, grade separation, grade separation. Moving people, not cars. Transit vehicles on their own spaces, not competing with private cars or trucks.

    Wilshire Boulevard is merely the most obvious route for a subway. Others include along Vermont Avenue, Crenshaw and Ventura.

    Obviously, subways will never run along every boulevard. Nor should they. BusTard, your beloved buses will always have a function and a place in Los Angeles. But buses are not the only transit solution in a city of 4 million people, which, is some places, is more densely populated than any other place in the USA, apart from Manhattan and downtown Chicago.

    A subway down WIlshire will likely carry close to 200,000 people a day (Red Line right now has ridership of about 140,000), and will become one of the most ridden transit lines in the USA. Will is empty out the 10 Freeway? No. It won’t. But it will keep the numbers of cars there from increasing, as our population doubles in 20 years.

    It’s expensive, but well worth the investment.

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