Despite mixed ridership figures
on the existing stretch of the Gold Line, the MTA is set to forge ahead with an extension
to East Los Angeles, and the Foothill communities are now trying to build support for a Pasadena-Montclair spur
. Concurrently, the MTA (or Metro, as it has rebranded itself) is completing the Final EIS/EIR
on the Expo
line, which, when completed over two phases, will stretch from Downtown to Santa Monica via the Mid-City/Culver City corridor.
That's a lot of exciting activity to be sure, and I'm as a big a transit geek
as anybody. Ditto for Downtown revitalization
. Both are absolutely necessary for L.A.'s continued viability as a living, vibrant city. But is the best use of the MTA's (excuse me, Metro's
) scarce resources a continued expansion of fixed rail that will, in all honestly, serve Downtown power suit types over, for instance, the poor schmucks who fight the 405 from the Valley to the Westside every working day of their lives?
Most people don't work Downtown, and most people never will. Most people don't live Downtown, regardless of the loft boom
currently eating up vacant square footage down there. Yet Downtown is better served by rail than any other city neighborhood, by far. You can't take a train to Dodger Stadium. You can't take a train to the airport, or to the beach, or the Getty Center, but you can certainly take a train to Disney Hall. Except, of course, you're not going to take a train Downtown at night, then walk 5 deserted blocks in a tux to see a Verdi opera.
A modest proposal: put the train lines where the people are, and build them to places they want to go.