WeHo to Consider Stepping Up Efforts to Lure a Metro Line Stop

Metro LineThe City Council will consider a proposal Monday to step up the city’s efforts to bring subway service to West Hollywood.

The proposal by Councilmembers John Heilman and Jeffrey Prang calls for the city to engage a lobbyist to promote the need for Metrorail services in West Hollywood.

The proposal notes that WeHo lobbied heavily for including a West Hollywood spur as part of the Metrorail west side extension. In an analysis of options for that extension, “one of the best performing alternatives was one that connected the Hollywood and Highland Metro station to the Westside extension on Wilshire by going through West Hollywood and connecting to the Wilshire line either via La Cienega or San Vicente. ”

Metro decided it couldn’t afford to include that option in its west side extension plans. But, the Heilman / Prang proposal notes “former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa assured West Hollywood representatives that West Hollywood would be ‘next in line’.”

The proposal recommends a lobbying effort that would engage local residents and businesses as well as labor unions, community groups and neighborhood councils to press Metro board members to include West Hollywood in Metro’s subway development.

The Council will consider the Heilman / Prang proposal at the same meeting at which it conducts a “mobility workshop” with the city’s Transportation Commission.”

Under discussion at the workshop will be elements of the city’s 2035 General Plan, a long range plan for urban development. That plan notes that one of the city’s primary goals has been creating a pedestrian community in West Hollywood. But it also notes the difficulty of doing that in a compact city located in the middle of a major urban area.

“Due to the City’s regional context, it is anticipated that auto congestion may continue to increase because of growth in other places in the Los Angeles region, even if no new growth occurs within West Hollywood,” the mobility section of the general plan states. “This is partly because new housing development many miles from the City will continue to attract more individuals interested in spending time or seeking employment in West Hollywood, or who simply pass through the City to reach other destinations.”

That mobility section notes that within the city’s 1.9 square miles there are there 45 miles of roadway, 87 miles of sidewalks and 5.4 miles of bicycle lanes.

The mobility workshop follows a Council decision in February to reject a proposal by Mayor John D’Amico and Councilmember John Duran to place traffic officers at intersections along Santa Monica Boulevard to test whether that would reduce traffic congestion.

The other council members rejected that proposal, citing its expense and concerns about whether it would provide the data really needed to improve traffic flow during rush hours. The Council asked Heilman and Prang to work with the city’s Community Development Department on other ideas.

The Council’s mobility workshop will take place at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers at 625 N. San Vicente Blvd. south of Santa Monica. The regular Council meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m.


16 Comments
  1. The only way West Hollywood could hope to get a light rail line is to oppose any new sales tax initiatives unless a line thru West Hollywood is included as a priority.

  2. Xavier, there is no more rooms for your lanes. It is just physically impossible with current property prices and layout. The land is just too expensive to turn them into roads. The only other way is dedicated bus lanes for more people per mile, or an underground tunnel for a subway.

    The other alternative is to build double decker streets. Good luck with that. Hope those flying cars get invented fast enough.

  3. Massive waste of taxpayer dollars! We need better streets for cars because that’s the way our city is built… even though “car-deniers” would wish for a different utopia… MORE LANES NOT TRAINS!

  4. I really doubt if anymore subway routes are approved by the MTA. They are way to expensive to build as compared to light rail. It would be great to rebuild the old P. E. line down Santa Monica Bl. to the beach but I believe Beverly Hills will stand in the way although I don’t know what they have planned for the old existing right of way that has sat empty for years. Beverly Hills is currently causing a multitude of problems concerning the Purple Line running thru the city. The Crenshaw Line most likely will never go as far as Wilshire Bl. because there is no Purple Line Station planned for Crenshaw. Perhaps that is part of the deal struck with Henry Waxman. He alone put a stop to the Purple Line for years. And it was only with his approval that it is being constructed now. How the Crenshaw Line could be connected to a viable Santa Monica Bl. line is questionable without going underground. The best route northbound would be the middle of Highland Ave. but I fear there would be to much political pressure not to allow that. Fallowing San Vicente Bl. would deem the line almost useless for West Hollywood residents that must travel east and west on Santa Monica Bl.

  5. Not to sound negative, but what the hell have you been waiting on?!!!! A trolley line should have been built back in the 80’s or 90’s at least. OK, there, I’ve said it and I feel better. WeHo will be so grateful to have a spur of that subway line running through their City. The stops outlined sound well thought out as well. Thank God the city is finally taking action in the right direction. As has already been stated, WeHo is surrounded by Los Angeles and ton’s of traffic. In other words, our location is between a rock and a hard place. Get this done much sooner rather than later. I would also honestly start work on a tram line that would go from Santa Monica Blvd. at Doheny on the West all the way to Santa Monica/La Brea on the east, up to Sunset and west on Sunset back to Doheny to Santa Monica Blvd. It would be awesome. Model it on European trams i.e. Amsterdam, cities in Germany, etc. What in God’s name are you waiting on?????????

  6. Sounds great! I think it’s clear that this is on Metro’s radar – the big thing is fighting for funding priority (and lobbying for more state and federal funding – sales taxes can only go so far, and I think even in 2016 it will be tough for a Measure R2 to get 2/3).

    Both San Vicente and SMB were major Pacific Electric routes, with a single seat ride from what was then called “Sherman” to Santa Monica, Venice, and Downtown (among many others). West Hollywood exists because of those Red Car lines.

    Eventually, both San Vicente and SMB would be natural rail routes – because that’s what they were designed as. For the time being, I reckon extending Crenshaw up and along San Vicente is the most financially realistic first step.

    There’s a great map of the old Red Car routes here: http://www.kcet.org/updaily/socal_focus/history/la-as-subject/west-hollywood-at-27-how-the-town-of-sherman-became-weho.html

  7. Let’s face it, West Hollywood has gone to the point of no return…..It’s not the “village” it used to be. There is nothing we can do with this current City Council to stop the development so we should work with the “development movement” to help make it better. There are at least 6 major development projects in the works for West Hollywood. It’s changing very fast and we need to “jump on the train” before it’s too late. Since the city is growing around us we need to grow with it to include exploring new ways to reduce traffic and address parking issues. A red line station in Weho would be perfect for that. Since the Sheriff station and Metro bus Depot is being torn out and replaced now would be the time to plan a red line station at that corner. People could get off the train and directly on a bus underground. There could even be a Sheriff sub-station under ground to dissuade people who plan to come to Weho with criminal behavior on their minds. The train could continue on to Century City, UCLA/Westwood and beyond. This should have been done when the original red line went in. We should be looking for ways to reduce car traffic. Our station could be the best designed and best looking in the nation. It could be called “Boystown Station”

  8. Subways in horizontal cities like LA are impractical. They cost too much to build and don’t take you anywhere…..or to only very limited destinations.

    The Los Angeles area is not like New York City, Manhattan specifically, where any given subway stop has a multitude of businesses and residential destinations within a short walk.

  9. Like it or not, we must realize that WeHo is NOT the little ‘gay bedroom community’ it was in 1984. MAJOR East|West thoroughfares such as Santa Monica Blvd., Sunset Blvd, and to a great degree, Melrose Ave., Beverly Blvd. and Third St. are now part of West Hollywood. The North|South streets of Doheny, San Vicente, Highland, LaBrea et al are part of the fabric of the city. The mega structures of the Pacific Design Center, the New County Library, and all of the buildings on Sunset Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd. has taken away the “Gay Ghetto” environment. The massive residential projects. The massive commercial | residential mixed use projects. We are simply not the same “little town” atmosphere of 20 years ago. Real Estate in our several zip codes is some of the most expensive per square foot in the State! Public transportation is part of the fabric of the City now. Trains, Subways, and Buses serve the masses. When gasoline has topped $4. – $5. a gallon, many people are turning to public transportation. The question is, are we going to go forward and be a “Modern City” or are we going to try to hold onto the “tiny town enclave” of 20 years ago. Personally I like the idea of excellent public transportation. Just like I support High Speed Rail from San Diego to Los Angeles to San Francisco, and spurs to Las Vegas in the Southern California area, and Reno in the Northern California. Hopefully Amtrak will go on up north to Oregon, Washington and connect on to Vancouver!

  10. The path of the old Pacific Electric Red Car line would be perfect. It followed along Santa Monica Blvd, after coming down diagonally from Highland to Fairfax. Lots of excellent comments above. I agree, we need this and it should have been planned years ago!

  11. It baffles me how city planners work. One of the most densely populated areas in LA is simply ignored. West Hollywood is landlocked far away from freeways and the roads just can’t expand anymore. Last thing we need are busses congesting the streets (which if you look at statistic…people don’t ride). Weho is a major attraction and LA knows this. It’s a HUGE destination known worldwide (Pride, Halloween, the nightly Sunset Strip). It’s unbelievable they choose to ignore it. It’s quite simple to me. They need a subway line (some form of the PINK line) that connects Hollywood & Highland southwest through West Hollywood connecting up with the Purple Line in Century City. They could have stops at SM & Fairfax, SM & La Cienega and SM & San Vicente (places people live and destination points). They should also create an above ground monorail type system (much like the Las Vegas Strip has) up and down the Sunset Strip for the bar patrons and to get people OFF that congested tourist mess. (I’ve heard rumors of someone linking The Grove, The Beverly Connection up through the strip and back down Fairfax as a giant monorail/trolley loop) which kinda makes sense.

    I’m just astounded that the city of LA is ignoring what could be one of the most beneficial extensions.

    And if people read the history of LA….La Cienega was supposed to be a freeway. That’s why down in Baldwin Hills its so large and basically a parkway. If they would have stuck to their plan…we could have had a freeway from LAX to the Hollywood Hills. But since that time has passed…put a Subway in.

  12. I was sad a few years ago when they approved the Purple Line without the WeHo spur. But I think the more recent alternatives I’ve seen where they include WeHo on the eventual northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX line actually make more sense – I hope they get that on the table relatively soon!

    http://ridethepinkline.blogspot.com/2010/10/what-next-for-santa-monica-blvd-and.html

    Also, the buses as they currently stand get caught in traffic with the cars, but that’s a choice that we’ve made as a society. There’s no reason we couldn’t dedicate one lane on Santa Monica Blvd as bus-only, the way they’re starting to do on Wilshire Blvd – that would instantly give us rapid transit at all hours, including rush hour (assuming that Beverly Hills and Los Angeles cooperate).

  13. Gee…the developer’s flunkies spent a minute pondering a quality of life issue.

    Our city has become a choking traffic nightmare thanks to the constant campaign finance addicts that has never seen a developer they didn’t like.

    No consideration regarding congestion…goes hand in hand with NO WEHO Police Dept.

    Who cares about the quality of life of voters.

  14. Weho is already way overbuilt and incapable of handling daily traffic. This is what happens when you do the bidding of developers over quality of life for residents . Subway, great. Too little. Way, way too late.

  15. West Hollywood is building density far in advance of any meaningful rapid transit. Hollywood/LA is building density as fast as developers can get permits. As density builds so will car traffic.

    It makes sense when I see large projects being built around various Metro light rail/subway stations because it’s very likely that people who choose to live there will also use the transit lines for commuting. Many will actually opt to not have a car. But what’s being built in our area has no proximity to any Metro lines except the buses – which are trapped in the same heavy traffic as single passenger cars. I think thinks are going to get far worse before they get better.

    The cost will be astronomical and many other projects will likely take precedence. So if this ever does happen, it will be at least 50 years away. I sure won’t be here to see that.

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