It’s been a bit more than a year since Metro provided a public update on plans for the K (Crenshaw) Line Northern Extension, but this month it’s once again holding several public meetings to provide information and seek feedback while it continues to work on a Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Project.
As we’ve previously reported, the K (formerly Crenshaw) Line Northern Extension would extend the current K Line, which now runs from Torrance to Exposition Blvd., north through the Crenshaw and Mid-City areas, Miracle Mile and West Hollywood, and connect to the B (Red) Line at Hollywood and Highland…with possible additional extensions to the Hollywood Bowl, and/or the San Fernando Valley.
The purpose of the project is to improve north/south transit across the city, help close regional transit gaps, and provide connections to four Metro rail lines (B, C, D, and E) and five of LA County’s busiest bus lines. When complete, the full K Line would provide “single-seat” north/south transit all the way from Torrance to Hollywood, including a connection to the LAX people mover.
Currently, Measure M funding would become available for the K Line Northern Extension starting in 2041, with a projected opening between 2047 and 2049. But Metro is seeking additional funding that could accelerate the schedule. So far that funding has not been found, but the agency is moving ahead with planning for the project, so it will be ready to start if and when the additional money becomes available.
As previously outlined, three possible “alignments” for the new line have been identified, and are still being considered. All three would travel north from Exposition Blvd. along Crenshaw Ave., and then slightly west to the Midtown Crossing area at Pico Blvd. From there, one proposed route – the shortest and fastest – would follow San Vicente Blvd. to La Brea Ave., and then go north along La Brea all the way to meet the B (Red) Line in Hollywood.
The second proposed alignment would follow San Vicente west to Fairfax Ave., and then go north following Fairfax Ave. to Hollywood. This route would add one additional station (beyond the six planned for the La Brea route), and three minutes of travel time. And, finally, the third possible route would follow Fairfax to Beverly Blvd., then veer west to San Vicente again, passing by Cedars Sinai, the Beverly Center, and other major destinations in West Hollywood, before heading east again along Santa Monica Blvd., and north to Hollywood. That alignment, the longest of the three proposed, would add an additional two stations and four minutes of travel time to the project.
While these routes were determined over several years of community discussions and feedback, and remain as presented at Metro’s last updates in 2022, what is new in this latest summary is that ALL of the routes, no matter which path is selected, and all of the planned new stations, would be fully underground. No at-grade travel or crossings remain in the plans, so there will be no conflicts with other vehicle or pedestrian traffic at street level. And the underground stations, like others in Metro’s rail system, will be accessed via either street level plazas, or portals inside existing buildings.
According to Metro, projected travel time from Hollywood to Miracle Mile on the new K Line Northern Extension would take about 6-12 minutes, Hollywood to downtown Inglewood could be traversed in 23-30 minutes, Hollywood to the LAX people mover would take 28-35 minutes, and the full Hollywood to Torrance stretch could be done in 47-54 minutes. Other more regional travel times are shown in the graphic below.
According to Metro’s projections, between 85,000 and 98,000 riders would be likely to use the K Line and its new extension each day, depending on which alignment is ultimately chosen.
And the new route could save riders anywhere from 13,800 to 18,800 hours of travel time each day.
Also, because Metro estimates that as many as 2/3 of trips along the K Line Northern Extension will be made by low-income riders, and 60% of all time savings will come from trips originating in Metro Equity Focus Communities, the project would be a big help in addressing transit inequities for low income communities and riders.
Like the new D (Purple) Line Extension project now under construction, Metro is proposing that the K Line Northern Extension also be built in distinct phases – a likely Section 1 from Exposition Blvd. to the new D Line Extension at Wilshire Blvd. (at either La Brea or Fairfax, depending on which alignment is chosen), and Section 2 from Wilshire to the B (Red) line at Hollywood and Highland. But the two sections could be built either in sequence or in tandem, depending on funding and other factors.
As Metro continues the environmental review stage of its planning, it reports that community engagement activities over the last several years have resulted in more than 2,500 stakeholders actively engaging with the project, both at community meetings, and other events such as cultural festivals, Ciclavia open streets events, and more.
According to Metro representative Ginny Brideau, at September 19 online community meeting, the most common feedback from Metro’s public engagements so far was that people are generally in favor of the project, would like to see it built as soon as possible (definitely sooner than the 2041 start Measure M funding would allow), and that its route include as many major activity centers and destinations as possible.
Brideau also reported that in a survey taken last summer, focusing specifically on station development for the project, 168 respondents asked for easy transfers at major rail connection points, improved connections to buses and pedestrian areas near stations, and multiple entrances and access points for stations.
The next major step for Metro will be the release of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR), along with more specific conceptual drawings and technical reports. And it will continue to seek additional community feedback.
According to Brideau, more information about the costs per mile and ridership for each alternative will be included in the DEIR, and the Metro board will make a final decision about which of the three alignments is preferred will be made after the report is released.
There will also be another public comment period at that time, before the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is prepared.
In the meantime, in addition to the online public meeting held earlier this week, there will also be two in-person community open houses next week, one on Saturday, September 23, at 10:00 a.m. at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza…and one on Tuesday, September 26, at 5:00 p.m. at the West Hollywood Aquatic and Recreation Center. (See below for details.)
Finally, for further information, questions, and/or comments, you connect with Metro directly at (213) 418-3093, [email protected], or metro.net/klinenorth. Also, a recording of the online update meeting, held on Tuesday, September 19, is available here. (The content at the in-person meetings on Saturday and Tuesday will be the same as the content from the recorded online meeting.)
[This story was updated after its initial publication to clarify the current funding situation and correct the anticipated construction schedule.]