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the skunks of los feliz
10.14.2005
 
Metro's proposed Exposition Light Rail Line is ready for its close-up, as the agency has released for public review the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report on the project.

For the next 45 days, Metro will take its Expo dog and pony show out on the road, making the case for the LRT line to those living in communities that would impacted by its construction and operation.

It looks like the Expo Line is almost a done deal (emphasis on almost - pending lawsuits or other acts of NIMBYism). If all goes according to their plan, City and transit officials will be able to trumpet this line as a blow against gridlock, and for a more transit-oriented city.

But I don't see it. I mean, who is this line for? Culver City residents who work Downtown? Downtown residents who work in Culver City? It doesn't go to Beverly Hills, it doesn't go to the Miracle Mile, it doesn't go to any major commerce/employment node aside from Downtown (and that's not a crack on Culver City - I'm just sayin'). It won't reduce traffic on the 10. If it runs at grade, it won't even be an appreciably faster way to get from Culver City to Downtown than if you drove (see: Metro Gold Line).

Now, I'm not one of those anti-rail flat-earthers who think we can bus our way out of our incessant gridlock. I also agree with planners that a East-West rail line is an absolutely essential piece of a workable mass transit system - an East-West subway line along the Wilshire Corridor, that is. Nothing else makes sense.

Metro, L.A. County, and officials of the various municipalities along that corridor should focus their time and money on their efforts to resuscitate a Red Line extension out to the ocean. Failing that (and they may well fail), they can always dust off the Expo Line, and revert to what should be Plan B.

 
Comments:
Actually, it does connect two major commerical centers. It connects the Culver City Gallery District with Downtown's Gallery Row!

But, serioulsy folks, it is being built because the right-of-way is there and it's free and the line can - almost - all be buit at grade.

Plus the money going into it, will not be hanging around for the Red Line Extension which is many years away from even starting, due to political problems that are just now starting to be resolved before any real planning can start.

Hopefully, though, the Red Line will eventually connect with Santa Monica - which will help - and it does hit USC, the museums & sports venues at Exposition Park and there will be transit villages built along the way. Plus it will intersect with a number of Express bus lines.
 
There are desnity bonuses for residential developers if one builds along transit corridors. If there is nothing there now , after it is created, there will be plenty.
 
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