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Officials set to select routes for Westside subway, downtown rail project

October 27, 2010 |  7:35 am


Local transportation leaders are scheduled to select routes Thursday for two missing links in the county’s transit system -- the subway extension to West Los Angeles and an underground connector for light-rail lines that will allow riders to cross the region without time-consuming transfers.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board will consider five options for the subway project as well as a $1.37-billion regional connector through downtown Los Angeles that will link the Gold Line to the Blue Line and the Expo Line, which is now being built.

MTA officials say both projects will provide substantial benefits for transit users and an incentive for motorists to break their long dependency on the automobile by offering more access to key destinations and faster travel times, especially during rush hour.

The possible subway routes include:

  • a 9-mile extension from the Wilshire-Western station to Westwood-UCLA
  • a 9½-mile route to the Veterans Administration hospital
  • a 12-mile alignment to the beach in Santa Monica
  • the route to the V.A. hospital plus a spur to West Hollywood
  • and the 12-mile link to Santa Monica plus the West Hollywood spur

The estimated costs of the projects range from $4.2 billion to $9 billion.

The 2-mile-long regional connector will go through the heart of downtown Los Angeles and create a seamless network that will allow riders to travel from Long Beach to the San Gabriel Valley or from East Los Angeles to West Los Angeles without making a transfer. MTA officials say the project will pare more than 20 minutes off the east-west and north-south trips.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has scheduled a news conference about the subway extension and the regional connector for Thursday afternoon. He plans to promote the so-called 30-10 plan, his initiative to speed up construction of 12 transit projects by seeking federal grants and loans that could allow 30-year projects to be completed in 10 years. The connector and subway extension are on the list.

-- Dan Weikel

Map: Various subway route possibilities on Westside. Credit: MTA