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the skunks of los feliz
The Metro Exposition Light Rail line has received the final go-ahead from the Federal Transit Administration, with construction set to begin this Summer.

To mark the occasion, Metro has launched a snazzy new Expo Line web site which features maps, design renderings, and access to related documents.

Very nice, indeed. Still, all the palaver and hype won't put butts in the seat. Here's hoping that this at-grade line won't turn out like the last one.
The Goldline ridership will go up as land use reponds to the light rail. Several cities along the extension have transit oriented developments planned and Pasadena is only now finishing the largest of theirs. The ridership will also grow as it is extended further east. Right now it sort of goes nowhere that is not easy to get to from Pasadena.

The land use will change along the new Expo Line, so will the land use along the Orange Line.
That's their plan, true.

My question is this: why build a LRT line where the density to support may exist at some future time? Shouldn't we target already dense areas, and seek to alleviate congestion there, first?

Just asking...
Shouldn't we target already dense areas, and seek to alleviate congestion there, first?

If that is your reason for building a certain line, yes. However, perhaps the intention is to determine future land use as well.
The reason both the Gold Line and the Expo Line (color to be determined) are built where they are built, is that they are built on former railroad rights-of-way that were purchased by the MTA over 15 years ago.

This was the most economical way of building the lines, in spite of costs which some people find excessive, even though the light rail lines have the potential to carry as much traffic as a four-lane freeway but at a much lower cost.

As far as targeting already dense areas, the only way to build transit in those areas is to build a sbuway. People have already made clear that they will not stand for elevated trains or monorails, or taking away traffic lanes for trains or bus lanes, thus denying space for their cars. So subway is our only alternative, in spite of its costs.
And yes, the extension of the Expo Line to Santa Monica probably will never be built. The "subway to the sea" has all the momentum behind it now. Mayor Tony has staked all his political capital on getting that one started (but not finished; he'll long be out of office by the time the first passengers exit the subway at Ocean Avenue -- I'll be dead myself...)
Buying on the cheap is not always the best policy, and old 19th century streetcar right-of-ways are not always the best place to put a LRT line in 21st century L.A.

And though LRT lines may have the potential to transport as many people as a freeway, they haven't reached that potential yet, as least in L.A.

I'm not against light rail. I just think we need to be smarter about how we allocate are scarce transportation dollars. Would anyone consider the money we spent on the Gold Line a good investment? For all the cost-cutting measures employed (following old right-of-ways, staying at grade) we got exactly one unused rail line.
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