Metro Board Has Approved the Next Step in Running a Railway Through West Hollywood

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors voted yesterday to award a contract for environmental analysis and engineering for the proposed Crenshaw/LAX northern extension rail line, which will bring Metro rail service to West Hollywood.

“Today’s unanimous Metro Board vote means that the City of West Hollywood is one step closer to realizing our vision to #FinishTheLine and bring Metro rail service to our city and to connect the region,” said West Hollywood Mayor Lindsey Horvath. “This important milestone builds on years of progress, advocacy, and community support for more transit opportunities. The Crenshaw northern extension will provide critical north-south connections and enhance the existing Metro regional rail network, which is a win not only for West Hollywood — it’s also a win for the entire metropolitan region.”

The City of West Hollywood has been working with West Hollywood Advocates for Metro Rail (WHAM), the All on Board Coalition, and the City of Los Angeles to build support for the Metro rail line Northern Extension to connect the Crenshaw/LAX rail line with Mid-City, West Hollywood, the Metro Red Line station at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland in Hollywood, and possibly even the Hollywood Bowl. They have pushed to accelerate the completion of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line northern extension to as early as 2028, instead of 2047, in time for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics and Paralympics. The West Hollywood City Council, in 2015, approved its plan in support of a Metro rail line northern extension to connect to the Crenshaw/LAX rail line.

In a description of the project on its website, Metro says that “in addition to forging faster transit connections between communities south and north of the 10, the project could also serve busy job and commerce centers north of the 10 freeway, including the Wilshire Corridor, West Hollywood and Hollywood. Early ridership estimates for all the routes were very promising, showing about 90,000 boardings being taken on the line on weekdays.”

The project is expensive, and West Hollywood will have to pay a share of the costs. “The Measure M spending plan provides about $2.2 billion for the project, although early cost estimates show that the expected cost could be significantly more due to expected tunneling and bridges that could be needed,” Metro says . “Under Measure M, the project is scheduled to be built in the 2040s. But Metro — in partnership with the City of West Hollywood and the City of Los Angeles — is advancing planning work on two key conditions: 1) that funding can be found to accelerate the project, and; 2) that accelerating the project would not impact the timelines of other Measure M projects, as per Metro’s project acceleration policy.” Measure M is a ballot measure approved in 2016 that authorized a one-half cent increase in the county sales tax to fund Metro’s overall growth plans.

So far, West Hollywood has spent nearly $2 million on getting input from residents and businesses, analyzing the cost of the project, and lobbying Metro in support of the project. The contract for the next steps for the extension through West Hollywood was approved because the city met one of the criteria for ranking projects, which is whether a local jurisdiction is willing to allocate at least 10% more than the required 3% contribution to the local project. The mandatory 3% contribution would cost West Hollywood between $44 million and $66 million, depending on which route Metro finally chooses. An additional contribution of between 10% and 25% could cost West Hollywood between $70 million and $550 million. Metro still must approve budgets for the contract for this and future years and choose one of the route options and a plan to fund it before the project can move toward completion.

An article about the extension project on The Source, a Metro blog, says that “while the analysis and engineering contract being considered by the Metro Board is for $50.3 million, only $2.2 million of that would be spent in fiscal year 2021 in order to contain costs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. If approved, the contract will be awarded once the board approves a budget for Metro for the current fiscal year (that’s scheduled to happen in September).”

Metro has identified three possible routes for the extension through West Hollywood:

La Brea Avenue

With this option, trains headed north would move west at Venice Boulevard and then head north up La Brea Avenue to a terminal in Hollywood.

Fairfax Avenue

This alternative would have the Metro extension run on the street level on San. Vicente Boulevard in Mid-City before turning north at Fairfax. It would run underground from south of Wilshire Boulevard under Fairfax Avenue and then east under Santa Monica Boulevard until it reached Highland Avenue, where it would head north to Hollywood.

San Vicente Boulevard

In what is called a “hybrid alignment” the Metro route would serve several business areas in Beverly Grove and West Hollywood – including the Grove and the Farmers Market, CBS Television City, the Beverly Center, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Pacific Design Center. It would run north underground along Fairfax to Beverly Boulevard, where it would turn west and then gradually curve north onto San Vicente Boulevard. It would head north to Santa Monica Boulevard, where the Metro route would go east to Highland Avenue to Hollywood.

The Source says that each of those possible routes is expected to generate approximately 90,000 daily passengers – roughly 20,000 of which would be new transit users. However, it notes, “the difference in the total distance of the three options results in starkly different expectations for speed and cost.”

“The La Brea alternative, at just 6.3 miles, would take passengers from Expo/Crenshaw Station to Hollywood/Highland Station in just 12.4 minutes. Its total price tag could range between $3 billion and $4.4 billion.”

“Fairfax, which would require 8.0 miles of new guideway, could ferry passengers between the same stations in roughly 15.7 minutes. Its expected cost is also significantly higher – estimates range from as low as $4.7 billion to as high as $5.3 billion.”

“The winding hybrid alternative (along San Vicente and then Santa Monice Boulevard), at 9.9 miles in length, would offer a 20.6-minute trip between Expo/Crenshaw and Hollywood/Highland. Its anticipated price tag far outstrips its counterparts, ranging from $5.5 billion to $6.5 billion.

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Vincent Campisi
Vincent Campisi
1 month ago

What a joke, figures Lindsay Horvath would be the one right in the mix. She has got to go ASAP, I cannot stand what she’s doing for the city.

Demetrio
Demetrio
1 month ago

Metro is nothing but a rolling vagrants’ shelter.

Cameron
Cameron
1 month ago

Don’t understand how Metro is moving forward with spending millions as if nothing has changed and will continue to change because of the virus. Instead of environmental study they need to go back to ridership and need. As one of the comments mentions, ridership was already down by 30 percent PRIOR TO THE VIRUS. Metro and the WHAM have their heads in the sand about this. We need tax payer dollars to go to homelessness and unemployment not a metro system that won’t be utilized. They had lost the thread about this being about low income riders – La Brea… Read more »

Johnny
Johnny
1 month ago
Reply to  Cameron

agree with this!! we need to spend money on housing and improving the streets, not expanding tax base for weho

GED
GED
1 month ago

I pick north on LaBrea as having the most bang for the buck. Sending a train (or is it a tram?) along San Vicente is a complete waste of money, which is what is shown for either transport up Fairfax or west to the Beverly Center. Trains are meant for substantial distances, not for taking the place of efficiently and frequently run buses running east-west on 3rd, Beverly, or Melrose to cover the relatively short, quick distances in the Beverly Grove or West Hollywood shopping areas. These street lines can easily and more cheaply “spoke” out from the LaBrea train… Read more »

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago

I hate to be annoying but I never understood how 10% of the costs would come to $70 million when 3% of the costs is $44 million. If you multiply the 3% x 3 it would be $132 million for 9% of the costs. This sort of careless use of numbers does not inspire confidence. The cost will be determined by how many stops there are along Santa Monica. If there are 3 stops, San Vicente, Fairfax and La Brea, the costs and disruption of construction would be staggering. While I am all for Metro coming to West Hollywood, so… Read more »

Robert M
Robert M
2 months ago

Since I live in one of the Transportation Zones that the City of WeHo put into their 20 plan, I guess I can expect an eviction notice for no cause in the near future so they can build this. While I approve of the addition of Rail options to West Hollywood, I hope the City’s commitment to its low income disabled citizens actually meets their rhetoric for once. As I expect they’ll want to build a multiple use high rise over the station at Fairfax, I expect one of the low income units will be earmarked for me to move… Read more »

Larry Block
Larry Block
1 month ago
Reply to  Robert M

Yes – I asked this question when Metro came before the Public Facilities Commission. How many people have been displaced building these transit corridors? The Metro representative replied good question – about 1600 so far in Los Angeles, and ‘it’s a problem we are working on’.

Jason K
Jason K
2 months ago

They should put another measure on the ballot to raise the tax an additional 1/2 cent so we can speed up and build even more mass transit. Measure M is having such a positive impact on getting a real mass transit system up and running. For me personally traffic is one of the biggest issues the city faces and I am more than willing to chip in an extra 1/2 cent as long as it only goes excursively to transit projects.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason K

1/2 cent? Make it a whole cent so the entire system is built in the next 5 years!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  David

Because we are limited in the maximum we can charge for sales tax. The City is putting a measure on the ballot to increase the sales tax by half a cent, which is the max. Ideally this will help us defray the Metro costs in future years.

Manny
Manny
2 months ago
Reply to  Jason K

Here’s a little reminder to “Jason K” and “David”…..Just before the pandemic, ridership on Metro rail and buses was down as much as 30% from the previous year. Try putting your pennies into something with a better return.

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 month ago
Reply to  Manny

Investing in high-quality, efficient, high-capacity mass transit is about equity and the environment, not economics. However, there actually IS a positive return on these infrastructure projects as they allow economies to thrive. Investment in transit can yield 49,700 jobs per $1 billion invested, and offers a 5 to 1 economic return. Source: apta.com

Manny
Manny
1 month ago
Reply to  Jeremy

What “equity”? Basically no one uses it and never will in the numbers that make sense environmentally or financially. Your source is a special interest association that is handing out the kool-aid. Nice try tho, I’m not buying.

Drew
Drew
2 months ago

Long overdue and a wonderful consideration for the future. While I may not be around to use it once it is built, if indeed we don’t see it until the 2040s, I nevertheless find it my civic responsibility to support this for future generations. Similar to taking action on climate change now, we must ensure we leave this planet and our country in a better place than we find ourselves in at this particularly challenging time in our history. As a recent addition to the rolls of senior citizenship, I expect to become more and more dependent upon good, safe,… Read more »

Jay
Jay
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Hi Drew-

Beautiful sentiments, beautifully expressed! Your post is a ray of sunshine.
I’ve only been here 25 years, so I guess I’m a Johnny come lately in comparison.

Gratitude and awareness of the big picture- sounds like you have two of the key qualities for successful ‘seniority’!

Proud to call you neighbor,
Jay

Drew
Drew
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay

Thanks, Jay. And back at you. Wehoville is a great resource for our community, however it sometimes seems that only people who are unhappy with topics under consideration post here. So it would seem to be important for people who are favorable about a topic to post as well, in order to provide a broader perspective to the issues facing our community. Not that I’m necessarily right and other opinions are wrong, but multiple perspectives provide a more balanced assessment of what the larger community may be thinking.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

Thank you and couldn’t agree more, Drew!

WeHoldTheseTruths
WeHoldTheseTruths
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

The homeless population is surging. Businesses are penalized by the city council. What are you doing to help?

Last edited 1 month ago by WeHoldTheseTruths
WehoFan
WehoFan
1 month ago
Reply to  Drew

“And this is one major step in that direction.” Some of your Weho neighbors disagree. There is enough crime in Weho without importing more.

Last edited 1 month ago by WehoFan
Jose
Jose
2 months ago

The San Vicente option doesn’t make much sense. The further west you go, the less ridership you’ll get once you cross La Cienega. Covid put the final nail in Boystown’s coffin and the straight tourists and bridesmaids wouldn’t be taking public transport to those places anyway. Best option would be Fairfax, or LaBrea if they added an additional stop at Beverly or Melrose for the high-density residential areas on the east side of West Hollywood. I’m betting that this is already decided for LaBrea as there have been high-rise residential megastructures going up all along LaBrea in the last few… Read more »

Last edited 2 months ago by Jose
Randy
Randy
1 month ago
Reply to  Jose

We don’t even know what that corridor will look like in the 2040’s. That is what makes this a difficult decision. I suspect that whatever businesses go under will be replaced by similar ones.

Ed Bluestein
Ed Bluestein
2 months ago

Hope the residents push back against this socialist plan to add a metro train stop in weho. it will fill the city with black hoodrats.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Bluestein

Hey Wehoville, ever think about a report function for the comments here? If you’re not going to moderate blatantly racist rhetoric, I will be happy to do so. This is unacceptable.

Henry E. (Hank) Scott
Admin
2 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedboy

This comment is clearly racist, and I struggled with whether to post it. However, I decided it should be posted so that we are aware that there are people in our community who are racists.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago

Like we didn’t know that already? You are effectively letting them use your website as a tool to spread their vile hatred. Whats the point of even moderating comments then?

WeHoldTheseTruths
WeHoldTheseTruths
2 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedboy

Careful with the “them”. It was one negative comment. Not a 100.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago

“Them” can also mean one person. They/them pronouns are a thing.

Jay
Jay
1 month ago

Hank-

First, as always, thank you for creating and maintaining this vital forum for our fair city.

I appreciate that you shared your struggle with posting ‘Ed Bluestein’s’
racist post and will never question your intentions.

In this instance I find myself inclined to agree with ‘greeneyedboy’ that this post has no place here and is of no value, even in terms of additive societal knowledge.

WeHoldTheseTruths
WeHoldTheseTruths
2 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedboy

You could have easily ignored it and enjoyed your day.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago

Silence is the voice of the oppressor. I won’t be silent against racism and neither should you.

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Bluestein

OMG. I can’t believe people still say this stuff.

Jose
Jose
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Ignore it, it’s a troll.

peter harwood
peter harwood
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Bluestein

I agree. Metro lines do increase the amount of homeless, petty criminals and drugs into an aging Weho community. The BLM protests/riots have shown that the weho, bev hills, topanga canyon, century city and the grove areas are not safe. They will march into our neighborhoods and harass us to raise our fists in support or die.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago
Reply to  peter harwood

Is this comment sarcastic?

David Abrams
David Abrams
2 months ago

The only alignment that makes sense for Weho is the San Vicente/La Cienega route. This is one going to be built once, and if other cities are a guide, will last into the next century. I

The city council should be steadfast in their insistence that this route that has multiple stops in Weho is the one we want, and go so far as to condition its support and money on this route being chosen.

WehoFan
WehoFan
2 months ago

Great idea. Will bring more crime and more homeless right into Weho.

Last edited 2 months ago by WehoFan
Erik Jon Schmidt
Erik Jon Schmidt
2 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Contrary to popular belief, people without homes make up a very, very small part of ridership. They usually don’t have the initial fee for the subway card and then no money to load it. They usually don’t jump and ride for free because they have too many belongings. Criminals avoid the subway because they can be traced through cameras.

WeHoldTheseTruths
WeHoldTheseTruths
2 months ago

Hope you are right. Seems like a pretty easy way for criminals to make their way in and out of the city.

greeneyedboy
greeneyedboy
2 months ago

This is the exact rhetoric that propelled LA into the traffic nightmare it is now. People fought against metro lines throughout the 90s and 80s and now there is horrific traffic everywhere.