‘Purple Line’ Funding Could Provide Some Eventual Traffic Relief to WeHo

Metro LineWest Hollywood eventually could see some relief from commuter traffic in the future, thanks to the signing yesterday of a $1.25 billion federal grant to build the Metro Purple Line. That, and an additional low-interest federal loan of $856 million will make it possible to begin the first phase of the project, which calls for extending the subway line under Wilshire Boulevard from Western Avenue to Santa Monica.

However the first segment of that line, which would extend the line from Western to La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills, isn’t likely to be completed until 2023. Construction could begin later this year on the project, which calls for stations on at Wilshire and La Brea Avenue, Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega.

In a presentation to the West Hollywood City Council and the city’s Transportation Commission earlier this month, the city’s Community Development Department noted that traffic has increased substantially in the past few decades on major east-west arteries such as Santa Monica Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.

On Santa Monica, there was a 30 percent increase (to an average daily traffic volume of 53,388 vehicles between 1988 and 2008, the latest year for which figures were available. On Sunset there was a 26 percent increase (to an average volume of 51,462 vehicles) during the same period.

In a report to the West Hollywood City Council, the Community Development Department stressed that the city’s location in the middle of a major urban area is part of the traffic congestion problem. ” 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.”

While the Metro line will not extend under Santa Monica or Sunset, in theory some commuters headed from east of West Hollywood to points west of the city might choose to take the subway rather than drive.

“Our lives in West Los Angeles revolve around traffic. Where and when we travel is largely determined by traffic congestion patterns,” said Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro board member. “Extending the subway will offer commuters an alternative to driving through one of the most congested metropolitan street and highway systems in the nation. We can now see light at the end of the tunnel as the new subway will begin to serve the Wilshire corridor – one of the densest and most important commercial and residential sectors of our region.”

What’s still in limbo is the so-called “Pink Line,” which would connecting the Metro Red Line’s Hollywood/Highland station to the Metro Purple Line. A Metro staff report in 2010 recommended a subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard west, moving south to Century City then back to Wilshire and ending in Westwood. The staff report said a line through West Hollywood and Beverly Hills would be too expensive. A line through WeHo also has faced major opposition from some Beverly Hills residents, who argue that its routing under Beverly Hills High School would pose a risk to that property.

At the West Hollywood City Council on Monday its members expressed frustration with the lack of movement on that issue. Council members John Heilman and Jeffrey Prang recommended the city engage a lobbyist to push for a solution with federal, state and county officials and that the city create a campaign among local residents and businesses in support of that.

  1. The so called Pink Line would do little to reduce congestion thru Hollywood and West Hollywood. We need a light rail system running from a junction with the Expo Line (oh my god, does the MTA know that concept) north on Sepulvada to Santa Monica Bl. then eastbound on a rebuilt right of way thru Beverly Hill, thru West Hollywood and Hollywood to at least Sunset and Sanborn. Monorails are amusement park rides, they have yet to be used for mass transit anywhere in the world. They were first proposed here in around 1958 when the old MTA was created. The idea was dropped because they were impractical and the idea of subways were proposed. And we could have a line fairly rapidly if instead of the usual contractors building it we would use one like the BNSF used to build about 26 miles of new track age in the Cajon Pass in less than a year.

  2. The creation of the purple line will do nothing for West Hollywood. Its too far sound and the people going east to west or vice versa usually take more southern streets like Olympic, Pico, etc. They already know Sunset and SM Blvd is too busy. What is baffling is our City Councils lack of urgency to fund and get a PINK LINE going from the Hollywood & Highland going SW until it hits the Purple Line in Century City. This makes the most sense. If Beverly Hills doesn’t want to be part of the mass transit system of LA..then dont build them a station. There is a right away that the county of Los Angeles as eminent domain. They can do whatever they want to. Back to Weho…City Council really screwed up back in 1998 by ripping out our rail tracks that would have given us a great transportation systems from La Brea to Doheny. I know if that was successful other areas would have latched onto it and probably extend into Hollywood and maybe Beverly Hills would get their snooty opinions and would have extended it through their community. They tend to forget it was that railways which even developed their city.

    I think its quite possibly too late though. Weho is run by corporations and greed. They think an empty red builing in at the PDC or a glorified Weho Park or destroying Plummer Park or building a robo garage are far more important that how people move around in this city. Until we can get council member who believe in transportation, and that its not an evil dirty thing, nothing will ever happen. If they feel a trolly will take up too much room…build a monorail above it. Takes up no ground space and its efficient. Has no one been to Disneyland where the monorail has been in existence since the 50s? How about Seattle. Seems to work fine for them. People will get used to it when they see the benefit.

  3. It’s time for the West Hollywood City Council to oppose any new transit tax measures that do not include Light Rail thru West Hollywood as a number one priority. In addition it is my opinion any measure that includes more money for improvements to the 405 never ending political mess should be opposed including a rail line from the valley to Westwood and beyond. They had their chance with this latest project and passed it up. All one has to do is look at a map of the Los Angeles area and note this part of the county has no freeways or mass transit although it was planned when the 101 Freeway was constructed. The interchange was supposed to be at Vermont Ave. That’s why there is that large gap between the northbound and southbound lanes. It was killed by Jerry Brown when he was govenor previously. Land had been bought and construction was ready to go.

    We had the abandoned Right of Way down Santa Monica Bl. previously used by the Pacific Electric. West Hollywood distroyed it’s portion of it and the MTA and City of Los Angeles distroyed what was left from Wilshire Bl. to Sepulvada. much of the Right of Way still exists in Beverly Hills.

    Let’s play hardball, our votes and support are needed.

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