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MTA approves $1.7-billion rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard [Updated]

L.A. County transit officials today approved a new light-rail system through South L.A. and the South Bay.

The 8 1/2-mile light-rail line would run from Exposition Boulevard to Imperial Highway, following Crenshaw Boulevard and passing through Leimert Park before veering west through Inglewood and south to Aviation Boulevard near LAX.

“It’s a huge victory for the Crenshaw community and the South Bay community,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “I expect it will have a highly positive impact on the quality of life in that corridor.”

The line, which would run along Crenshaw Boulevard, is the biggest beneficiary to date from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation that L.A. County voters approved last year.

MTA officials said Measure R revenues will cover the approximate $1.7-billion cost of the line. But that amount will only pay for a mostly above-ground system, which has been criticized by some residents and officials.

They want more of the line underground, saying that would reduce accidents and make the proposed Crenshaw Line faster. The MTA has grappled with this issue before.

The Gold Line extension through the Eastside, for example, has been criticized by its biggest backer, Supervisor Gloria Molina, because it's mostly above ground, where she says it puts drivers and pedestrians at risk.

The Gold Line route to Pasadena is also mostly above ground, and it's struggled to get riders in part because all the crossings make it a slow ride.

Ridley-Thomas said he wants more of the line underground, particularly a stretch near businesses, schools and churches.

[Updated at 3:13 p.m.: Officials said they hope to break ground on the project in 2012 or 2013 and hope to open the line in 2018.]

—Ari B. Bloomekatz

Image credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority

Comments () | Archives (44)

If it doesn't actually go to the airport, it's pretty useless.... Just like the green line.

Ding, ding, right in the heart of all the biggest crime areas.

Above-ground is better than nothing, I guess.

Thanks, but I'll keep driving.

So it looks like THIS Purple Line extension won't go into LAX either...which makes this extension a big exercise of a rail line to nowhere...

When will the MTA get a clue about rail transit?

They need a parking garage at Norwalk and to extend the Green Line to the Santa Fe Springs Metrolink station at the east end and down to San Pedro at the west end.

They need to extend the Green Line into LAX, the Orange Line to Ontario Airport, and the Blue Line to Long Beach Airport.

Once again MTA, you're getting it wrong, the line needs to go straight into the airport, not end with the Green Line, it would make things so much better!

"The Gold Line route to Pasadena is also mostly above ground, and it's struggled to get riders in part because all the crossings make it a slow ride."

Your joking right? HAHA. The only section where the gold line is slow is through Highland Park. There was a problem with people blowing through the gates and killing themselves. I am definitely one to stereotype. All the issues raised about metro safety are always in poorer neighborhoods. Food for thought. The crossings are the same as they are in Pasadena and South Pasadena but for some reason they have to slow the train down to a crawl through Highland Park. Why is that?

The real reason ridership is not as high is because gas prices have fallen. When gas prices were high it was hard to find a place to stand let alone a seat.

Do some research before you go spouting off.

These trains will have to carry uniformed police officers. They need to run above ground 100%. Can you imagine what would happen underground?

I wish the MTA would get it into their heads that most of these inner-city lines need to be largely underground. Yes, I know they are trying to keep costs down but it ends up being a bigger waste of money because they get less people to ride these slow trains. The city is just way to crowded for them to keep trying to build above ground lines.

Exposition to the green line?

What happened to the segment from the purple line to expo?

If they don't start this line from the purple line at wilshire/western, then what's the point?

Also, since SM is getting the expo line, why not finish purple to westwood then, instead of continuing west, head south instead, intersect with phase two expo and then further south to LAX?

Why don't these planners connect any of these lines to LAX directly? Isn't that the hub for tens of millions of travelers a year?

From wiki:
It is the world's fifth-busiest airport by passenger traffic. . .serving over 60 million passengers. . .in 2006.
You might want to hook that sh@$%# up folks!

Another line to nowhere...

Gosh, what a waste.

In regards to PeterPiper and the "heart of all the biggest crime areas". This isn't particularly true and even if it were look at any other major city and their mass transit (Chicago, D.C., NYC, etc. etc.). Inevitably there will be parts that a subway or elevated line will go through that aren't "desirable". Also keep in mind, that any time Metro has proposed to put a rail line through the west side all of the "haves" throw up their arms and worry about the poor that will infect their neighborhood. Please. If you want to have that attitude, don't live in Los Angeles.

I for one am happy to see this line. I DO think the first priority should be to make the Green Line go into LAX but that is a bigger issue because it involves doing construction on a very active airport (not saying it can't be done). We are getting closer... albeit 30-40 years later than we should be for a city the size of Los Angeles. Mass transit is a GOOD thing people!

Commuter, the slower trains are ONE of the reasons ridership is not as high. It is not the only reason. Yes, gas prices is a major reason but that is outside the control of the MTA. But I am a train commuter as well as a Orange Line commuter. And hell yes, one of my factors in deciding if it was worthwhile to take these lines is how fast or slow they are. And I am sure that is also a major criteria for a lot of other people as well.

They didn't say it will not go to the Airport, and one of the proposed stations appears to be on Century Blvd, so there is hope. It is getting closer, 1 mile every 23 years.

The Green Line was finished in 1995 and this Crenshaw extension will be done in 2018, at the soonest. So, 23 years after that, we MAY get an extension to the LAX Airport.

Obviously the planners would like to build an airport link, because it is the most cost-effective way to raise ridership, but they are being stopped by others. These 'others' I imagine are local politicians taking money from taxi cab, limo & shuttle companies whose business would be cut way down by an airport link.

Who knew taxi drivers had such clout, to put out the majority of Angeleno's and make us live with more traffic?!

Some people are never satisfied. First the community is "under served". Okay, so the MTA comes up with $1.7 BILLION (THAT'S BILLION DOLLARS IN CASE YOU MISSED IT) to give light rail access and connect the community with the rest of Los Angeles. Now "the community" is upset that the line is going to run above ground.

Here's an idea. How about "the community" pulls themselves up, generates some jobs, generates some tax revenues instead of sucking on the SSI / SDI / Section 7 / Section 8 teet and funds the improvements themselves.

There are some people who are so conditioned by life that all they see are negatives. Light rail coming to town? "Oh noes! My babies might get run over by the train!!" Be a good parent, tell your kids that trains are dangerous, show them how to cross the tracks safely and find something else to worry about.

I think that the most unsafe place to be in LA is on the freeway.

For those Bustards who want to get to LAX without a car and without the Green Line transfer bus - use the LAX FlyAway - I've used it tons of time and it's the most economic and fastest way there via Public Transport.

+Irvine (Orange County) New service
+Union Station (Downtown Los Angeles)
+Van Nuys (San Fernando Valley)
+Westwood (West Los Angeles)
+ Depart every 1/2 hour*, 7 days a week. (*Every hour from 1am to 5am)
+ One-way fares from $5—7 (Irvine $25)
+Some coaches even have Free Wi—Fi.
+ http://www.lawa.aero/flyaway

I like it, when it first started fares from LAWA to LAUS were $4 one-way it took less than 45 minutes (non rush hour traffic) .

The bus utilize the dual [HOV] diamond lanes on the 110 transit-way and [HOV] on the 105 transit-way.

For $1.25 I transferred to the Red Line and was in Hollywood/Highland Station or even Universal City or North Hollywood Station in less than half-an-hour. Now that same trip will cost $8.25 but it's still worth it.

Not a good idea if you have tons of heavy baggage, in that case a Shuttle from door to door is better but that is anywhere in the world such as London, New York, Tokyo, etc.

Why not spend this money to upgrade the Orange Line to the TRAINS it should have been from the beginning. The Orange Line has never had an issue with finding ridership and but it has been short changed with a Busway.

MTA rail ... what a disaster! Instead of building rail lines that connect people who have money with jobs, entertainment spots and culture, our fair city elected to create mass transit that benefits the lowest sector economically. This bypasses one big benefit: revenue that could be used to build future rail and subway lines. Another handout to people who have no stake in improving the city.

why don't all you hater keep your fat mouths shut, at least their trying to so something, geez they're damned if they do & damned if they don't.......GET A LIFE!!

And there is crime everywhere no city is exempt of it, so stop with all the hate

Commuter: Regarding your remark - " The crossings are the same as they are in Pasadena and South Pasadena but for some reason they have to slow the train down to a crawl through Highland Park. Why is that?"

You are not very observant. There is good reason for the train's behaviour.

The rail in Highland Park runs right through the middle of a road, with one lane on either side of the rail. AND - there are houses along that road. This simply doesn't happen in Pasadena or South Pasadena. So in Highland Park, it is far more dangerous for people in vehicles, or just walking along, especially if they are going to and from those houses. That is why the train goes slower.

The higher accident rate in Highland Park is not due to the bad driving or behaviour of the locals. But to the far greater danger of the close proximity of the train to the road and houses.

Some people has suggested that in wealthier areas, there would have been far more pressure on the MTA never to have put a rail in such a precarious situation.

I wonder what took so long, then I read the comments and realized it's all the paranoid know-nothings who live here. They're also the reason why you can't take light rail to the airport like most every other city this big and wealthy.

Us 1, You 0. We win again.

If one looks at the MTA LRTP they will see that the conection from the aviation and imperial green line station to the airport will be mostlikely by a automated people mover. The reason that MTA was unable to make the direct connection to LAX was not at their fault but of LAWA and the delay of the LAX airport expansion. The green line extension to the Norwalk Metrolink Station is on the plans for funding by measure R as is an extension further into the south bay. The creshaw line is another vital north South route that will be able to take some presure off of the at capacity blue line, which runs 90% at grade and had no problem getting riders and goes through some of the "worst" sections of los angeles

I agree with Wes Boudville on why the Gold Line really slows down in Highland Park. In Pasadena and South Pasadena, the train runs through a dedicated rail right of way and not in the middle of a residential street like in Highland Park. I hope that in the future they take the Highland Park section and move it underground.

For all you other winers, be patient. The Green line will connect to LAX in the future. The main reason for not doing it originally is that it was a safety issue with building it above ground and they didn't have the money to take it underground. With measure R funds and Federal funds they will connect it to the LAX underground.

The downtown Regional Connector is the next one that needs to be built along with the purple subway to the sea.

isnt it sad new york could get it done a hundred years ago, but we totally incapable now?

"The rail in Highland Park runs right through the middle of a road, with one lane on either side of the rail. AND - there are houses along that road."

I'm not sure what you are talking about. The train although may run along some stretch of road there, it is not exposed where a person can walk into the tracks when the train is coming by. You're obviously one of the me vs world people. The accidents were mainly caused by people trying to beat the train.


That's a reference to one incident. Another being a family friend teenage driver trying to beat the train and getting into an accident.

There are bad grade crossings along metro routes, the Gold line is not one of them.

I myself did not ride the Gold line early in its life, but my friend has. He actually told me that before the accidents the Gold line was much faster through Highland Park.

So again, crossings that are the same, different demographic areas. No accidents in one, accidents in the other part of the Gold line. Where is the difference.

This will be my last reply and a waste of my time. I agree that some crossings on metro are pretty bad and need to be fixed and made safer, but, the Gold line itself is actually excellent and if not for a few bad eggs would be incredibly fast from Pasadena to downtown.

Thanks, ride safely

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