Last week, Metro released the results of its three public scoping meetings prior to beginning an Environmental Impact Report for its proposed Crenshaw Line Northern Extension light rail line. The new line would connect the current Crenshaw Line from its current northern terminus at Exposition Blvd. to the Mid-City area, Miracle Mile, Fairfax, West Hollywood, and Hollywood, where it would also connect to the Metro Red Line subway. (Metro is also considering adding a futher station at the Hollywood Bowl.)
Over the last couple of years, Metro has whittled down potential routes (or “alignments”) for this line from five to three (as shown in the map above), and this most recent round of meetings collected comments on the three remaining candidates prior to starting work on the required EIR.
According to Metro’s recent press release, a total of 217 comments were collected at the three meetings in April and May…and another 423 comments were collected via e-mail and/or Metro’s phone hotline for the project. And among comments expressing a preference for one of the three potential alignments during this process, the results were pretty clearly in favor of the proposed Fairfax/San Vincente (hybrid) route (green dotted line in the map above):
Support for the Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) alignment – 201
Opposition to the Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) alignment – 3
Support for the Fairfax alignment (yellow dotted line on the map) – 11
Support for the Fairfax or Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) alignment – 5
Support for the La Brea alignment (dark blue dotted line) – 29
Alternative suggestions which did not fall under any of the previous alignments – 88
La Brea alignment with a Santa Monica spur – 18
As Metro has noted in past reviews of the proposals, the La Brea route would be the shortest and most direct, with the fastest travel time from beginning to end. It would also be the least expensive. On the other hand, however, it passes through the least dense neighborhoods, with the fewest number of jobs along the route, and few other “destination” locations.
The Fairfax route would include more residents and job-rich areas, but it would be slower and more expensive.
And the La Cienega route would pass through the densest, and most job-rich areas, but it would take even longer to travel its route, and would be significantly more expensive to build (although the City of West Hollywood has expressed interest in helping with funding for that option).
Meanwhile, in addition to the route preference comments from the spring 2021 scoping meetings, Metro reported comments on several other themes as well:
Project Acceleration – Many members of the public want the project to be built sooner than the Measure M date. They feel that this project is long overdue, and Metro should do everything possible to expedite the process.
Environment – Most people think this project will benefit the environment. Very few felt that it would impact the environment negatively.
Traffic Impacts – Some people think construction will cause a lot of traffic considering the number of years it will take to complete. Few think the train itself will cause traffic. Most think the project will alleviate current traffic problems once it’s built.
Grade Separations – People want the project to be built underground, especially if the alignment chosen ends up being the Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) option. Reasons mentioned were lack of consideration of area residents, the idea of an above-ground alignment destroying the community greenspace in the median, and devaluation of property.
Cost/Funding – Many highlighted the importance of benefit-to-cost ratio and how that needs to be factored into the decision-making process. Several comments mentioned being opposed to the Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) alignment because of higher costs. People also made it known that the project would require additional funding beyond funding identified in Measure M.
Travel Time – Most people who supported the La Brea alignment noted that it would allow for faster, more efficient travel between the Metro E (Expo) Line and the Metro B (Red) Line at Hollywood/Highland. Some people said the Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) alignment was long and some might choose other modes of travel.
Access to Jobs – People addressed the importance of job accessibility, noting the higher number of jobs served by the longer alignments including the Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) alignment. Some would like to see an increase in job opportunities upon completion of the project.
According to Metro, however, the information gathering and study process is still ongoing. “Metro continues to refine the alternatives based on the input heard during scoping, as well as additional technical analysis,” the press release said. “The project team is now working on the conceptual design drawings for the station locations and entrances. We look forward to hosting public workshops in 2022 to share information and gather more input on the project.”
So comments are still welcome by contacting [email protected], visiting metro.net/crenshawnorth or via phone at (213) 418-3093.
More information is also available at the project website.
Finally, Metro says the project is still scheduled to begin construction in 2041 and to open in 2047…but “exploratory efforts are underway to make funding available sooner, which could accelerate this schedule.”
So stay tuned for more news in 2022…
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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4 thoughts on “Metro Meetings on Crenshaw Line Northern Extension Reveal Strong Preference for Fairfax/San Vicente (Hybrid) Alignment”
This project honestly should be going up Crenshaw to Western, but y’all too white to have that conversation…
Up Crenshaw to Olympic and Wilshire, where Crenshaw ends in some of the richest whitest neighborhoods in LA (Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Wilshire Park and Fremont Place)?? Western is less than 1 mile from Vermont which already has the Red Line.
We’re honestly splitting hairs on these locations. The real question is: why build all this and then have to do it all over again? When is LA going to learn from other major cities with successful light rail transit? For every line you build you need an EXPRESS and a LOCAL. That is the only way to make mass transit competitive against auto commuting. People take the train in NYC not just because they have to (having a car in NYC is simply cost prohibitive), but because it is the fastest way to get around. IE: – Expo Line Express: DTLA/USC/Culver City/Santa Monica, all other stops, get off at the closest express stop and hop the local.
That’s already possible with skip-stop service: If Local trains leave every 8 mins, then we can run an Express train that leaves at the same time in front and that Express train can “make up to” 8 mins before running into the train ahead. With the Expo Line from Santa Monica to DTLA that could be done today. The only thing stopping it is pre-emptive green lights for trains. As long as trains must stop at the red lights then Express service is meaningless.
LA Metro trains also accellerate 1/3 as quickly as NYC or DC trains despite the capability of matching (I’ve read through the various spec sheets and done all the calculations). The fastest a Local Expo Line train could run is 32 mins DTLA to Santa Monica (that’s using NYC-level accelleration, NYC-level braking, being granted full pre-emption at all traffic lights, limited top speed to 35mph when in an “open median” and running 20mph through the USC curve). That also means at 8 mins headways an Express Expo train could complete the journey in 25 mins (arriving 1 minute later than the Local ahead).
I talk further about operational plans in my LA transportation thoughts:
LA Metro isn’t very creative with this stuff. Their mission is clearly not moving the most people as quickly as possible otherwise we’d see Express Service, faster train acceleration, faster train deceleration, and traffic light pre-emption / grade separation / railroad gates at all intersection. Until those things are tackled I don’t think urban rail will matter much to LA’s transportation behavior.