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-   -   Are LA's rail transit expansion plans enough to shift the city away from the car? (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=249564)

kittyhawk28 Jan 5, 2022 7:07 PM

Are LA's rail transit expansion plans enough to shift the city away from the car?
 
LA's rail transit expansion plans over the next few decades are pretty amazing for an American metro region. For context, this is the full Build-Out of LA Metro Rail System as planned by Measure M & 2020 Long Range Transportation Plan: https://i.redd.it/n2fdel6rrw981.png

Whereas this is the planned 2028 LA Metro Rail System if the Twenty-eight by '28 Initiative is fully implemented: https://i.redd.it/ntsd9t0wuw981.png

And this is the current extent of the Metro Rail System: https://i.redd.it/kth2u0c0vw981.png

While these plans are expansive, they still leave major swathes of the city not covered by rail. Even still, major up-zoning must be coupled with these plans in order to truly make it viable for residents to not have to rely on the car on a day to day basis. I'd be curious how others view these plans, and how they compare to rail expansions planned in other American cities.

sopas ej Jan 5, 2022 7:13 PM

I don't believe that LA's transit expansion plans are enough to shift the city away from the car. BUT, it's all about OPTIONS, which is what living in a big city should be about, right? The more public transit, the better. It won't necessarily relieve traffic, but it gives people other options of getting around. The more, the better.

I saw this video a few days ago:

Video Link

Manitopiaaa Jan 5, 2022 7:21 PM

No, routing everything to Downtown makes only trips to Downtown feasible by mass transit.

LA is too big that people are willing to transfer in Downtown. Oftentimes that's a 45 minute detour. They'd just take an Uber in that case.

Crawford Jan 5, 2022 7:27 PM

Extremely unlikely. LA has already built a ton of rail transit, and transit share has actually dropped. LA had higher transit share with a bus-only system. It's pretty implausible that adding a few more lines will have a differing impact than previous investments.

That said, it doesn't mean that these aren't prudent investments. There are benefits beyond whether there's a paradigm shift in mobility.

Ridership is usually linked to relative difficulty of driving, not ease of transit, and LA is extremely hospitable to driving. You ride transit in, say, Paris not because the Metro is necessarily amazing, but because driving a car is foolish and near-impossible. There's nowhere in LA where someone can't easily move around and park using private vehicles.

Also, LA's transit investments, while impressive for U.S. standards, are pretty minimal for global standards. They're building one subway line. That's it. The rest is just trolleys and BRT. The commuter rail is diesel-only, isn't even grade separated, and has barely any ridership. The subway will have two lines, in a metro of 18+ million. The region is so decentralized that high transit share is highly unlikely, ever, in such an affluent nation.

kittyhawk28 Jan 5, 2022 7:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9494020)
Extremely unlikely. LA has already built a ton of rail transit, and transit share has actually dropped. LA had higher transit share with a bus-only system. It's pretty implausible that adding a few more lines will have a differing impact than previous investments.

That said, it doesn't mean that these aren't prudent investments. There are benefits beyond whether there's a paradigm shift in mobility.

Ridership is usually linked to relative difficulty of driving, not ease of transit, and LA is extremely hospitable to driving. You ride transit in, say, Paris not because the Metro is necessarily amazing, but because driving a car is foolish and near-impossible. There's nowhere in LA where someone can't easily move around and park using private vehicles.

Isn't transit share dropping due in part to poorer riders simply being priced out of the region? If hypothetically the city's housing becomes less expensive (accommodated by major rezoning around transit stops), then we should see boosts in ridership?

I don't think the car will outright be replaced by transit, but my main question was that whether or not transit expansion over the next 40 years will be enough to make it viable to live and work around LA without needing a car for day-to-day routines.

edale Jan 5, 2022 7:39 PM

The ongoing Purple Line extension is going to be a real game changer for transit in LA, I think. It's going to be awesome to finally have a subway under Wilshire, connecting Downtown LA and Koreatown to the museum district on at Fairfax (LACMA, La Brea tar pits, Peterson, Academy of Motion Picture museum), Rodeo Drive/Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood/UCLA, etc. Those are some big destinations for tourists and locals alike, and I think it's going to be the spine of LA's transit system going forward. Also, finally having a true rail connection to LAX is a big deal, as is the people mover being constructed there. I'd like to see the LAX stop served by a faster train to DTLA or other points of interest, but it's still a pretty big accomplishment to finally provide a rail option to the millions of people who fly through LAX every year.

Some things I would personally prioritize for future improvements are:

1) Extend the Red Line to connect to Burbank Airport and Metrolink (and future CAHSR) station

2) Extend the Crenshaw Line north to connect to both the Purple and Red Lines.

Long term, I'd love to see another E-W line connecting DTLA with WeHo, hitting Echo Park, and Silverlake heading out of downtown, and then going along Santa Monica Blvd to West Hollywood.


That said, Southern California will always be a car-centric region. I agree with Sopas, though. Regional transit investment is about providing options. We already have very extensive driving infrastructure here, so I welcome the regional transit investments.

homebucket Jan 5, 2022 7:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9494020)
Ridership is usually linked to relative difficulty of driving, not ease of transit, and LA is extremely hospitable to driving. You ride transit in, say, Paris not because the Metro is necessarily amazing, but because driving a car is foolish and near-impossible. There's nowhere in LA where someone can't easily move around and park using private vehicles.

I think this has got a lot to do with it. DTLA still has far too many surface parking lots and garages. In fact, one of their recent proposals is building a residential tower on top of an existing garage, rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. Lots of new towers in South Park but they're all on massive parking podiums. Seems like DTLA has been adding more parking rather than decreasing it. I bet if you eliminated 50% of parking downtown, public transit usage rate would increase dramatically. Make parking more difficult and people will have no choice but to take the train into DTLA.

jmecklenborg Jan 5, 2022 7:47 PM

Transit ridership is much if not mostly by people who can't afford a car. It only takes a single car to enable 4-5-6 dirt-poor people to almost completely avoid riding the bus.

edale Jan 5, 2022 7:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittyhawk28 (Post 9494033)
my main question was that whether or not transit expansion over the next 40 years will be enough to make it viable to live and work around LA without needing a car for day-to-day routines.

As a sometimes transit user in LA, I can tell you the biggest obstacle to using the system for me was the 'first mile/last mile' challenge. I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood that actually is served by a metro stop. However, I am just a little too far to comfortably walk to the station (~25 min walk). I don't have a bike, and I wouldn't want to take it on the train and to work with me anyways. I can take a bus, but it takes a bit of planning and good luck to make the bus and make the train. Subway headways are 10 mins (at peak! more like 20 outside of that). Just way too many hurtles to jump when I can drive in 25 mins and park pretty cheaply. If there was a better connection to the subway, I'd use it way more. But it's just too much effort to use, when driving is faster, easier, cleaner, etc.

Steely Dan Jan 5, 2022 8:00 PM

^ back when I was a car-feee bachelor in Chicago, I used a folding bike to solve a lot of "last mile" situations.

Now that I have two young children, if transit doesn't get us easily and directly to our destination, the we definitely use our car.

edale Jan 5, 2022 8:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steely Dan (Post 9494070)
^ back when I was a car-feee bachelor in Chicago, I used a folding bike to solve a lot of "last mile" situations.

I think biking in Chicago is probably quite a bit better than LA. I'm not really an adventurous biker, and I am definitely too intimidated to bike on LA's streets (absent a dedicated bike lane). When I was in SF in November, I biked all around there with some local friends, and that was very cool. Still a little scary at times, but most of the streets up there are pretty much at a pedestrian scale. Whereas many of LA's surface streets feel like mini freeways...

homebucket Jan 5, 2022 8:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittyhawk28 (Post 9494033)
I don't think the car will outright be replaced by transit, but my main question was that whether or not transit expansion over the next 40 years will be enough to make it viable to live and work around LA without needing a car for day-to-day routines.

I think it's already viable today, to be able to live and work around LA without a car. You just have to live near a rail line stop and keep a car for trips outside of the city or do car sharing.

Obadno Jan 5, 2022 8:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittyhawk28 (Post 9493985)
LA's rail transit expansion plans over the next few decades are pretty amazing for an American metro region.

Will it shift LA away from the car

NO but its not due to lack of trying, the primary reason is that the urban form of LA and other post ww2 north American cities are car oriented from a foundational level. It will take DECADES of replacing and retrofitting existing structures and neighborhoods to change this.

You may see neighborhoods along the transit lines that are transit oriented but you are not going to see LA be NYC, its simply not going to happen unless you obliterate exiting LA and start over al la Napoleon the 3rd did to Paris or ya know a good World War style flattening.

jigglysquishy Jan 5, 2022 8:46 PM

I can't comment specifically on LA riders, but I'm delaying my long awaited LA vacation until the rail lines are running. Having to rent a vehicle for a vacation not only greatly increases the cost, but you lose too much time in traffic.

Crawford Jan 5, 2022 8:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jigglysquishy (Post 9494133)
I can't comment specifically on LA riders, but I'm delaying my long awaited LA vacation until the rail lines are running. Having to rent a vehicle for a vacation not only greatly increases the cost, but you lose too much time in traffic.

The rail lines are already running. LA has had a large rail network for about 20 years now.

That said, pre-pandemic I was in LA relatively frequently, and can assure you that a rental car is a much faster, easier way to get around town.

I can't imagine relying on buses and light rail to get you from Santa Monica to the Getty to West Hollywood, etc. Parking is cheap and convenient, and traffic moves quickly. Look at LA surface streets. They're huge.

Xing Jan 5, 2022 8:54 PM

They’re doing this already, but LA needs to really market its transit as much as possible, and it has to educate the public on how the transit system works.

Also that purple line is indeed a game changer. I would also think that line that follows the 405 would have some heavy use, as that stretch of freeway is some of the busiest in the country, with constant heavy traffic and jams.

downtownpdx Jan 5, 2022 9:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 9493993)
I don't believe that LA's transit expansion plans are enough to shift the city away from the car. BUT, it's all about OPTIONS, which is what living in a big city should be about, right? The more public transit, the better.

So true, this is really about options. A lot of arguments against mass transit claim how it won't improve traffic. But if it's built completely enough within a well planned land use system to be convenient, it can easily pull people out of their cars, whereas building more freeway lanes ultimately just keeps them driving. And we have look at the issue less in terms of "relieving traffic congestion" and more in terms of choices. A livable city/ metro provides options so that you can avoid the traffic, the car expense, the parking, the stress etc. and just get from here to there another way.

mhays Jan 5, 2022 9:15 PM

To really address this question, we'll need to hear about buses. Rail plus the current bus system will have a limited effect.

LA has a lot of hurdles beyond infrastructure, but a better bus system would go a long way.

iheartthed Jan 5, 2022 9:17 PM

I would argue that L.A.'s transit development shouldn't be so much about forcing behavioral changes on existing residents. Instead, it should be aimed at attracting new people that will gravitate towards transit oriented lifestyles, and also giving that option to existing residents that want it already.

kittyhawk28 Jan 5, 2022 9:17 PM

Perhaps another way to enhance LA Metro ridership would be to enhance the region's Metrolink commuter rail system. If we overlay the regional Metrolink System with the planned built-out and 2028 LA Metro Rail systems, there's promise that enhanced Metrolink services would funnel more passengers into Union Station, in turn, complementing LA Metro's expansion and ridership:

LA Metro Network Measure M Build-Out + Metrolink: https://i.imgur.com/Gxyp4nM.png

2028 LA Metro Network + Metrolink:
https://i.imgur.com/6Eq2Xwx.png

One of the problems with Metrolink is that currently it has sluggish frequencies, that make it very inconvenient to use for most commuters. Metrolink is trying to improve this by its SCORE Program + Link Union Station project, with the aim of offering 30 minute all-day or peak frequencies on the core sections of all lines across the system by 2028:
https://urbanize.city/la/sites/urban...?itok=ya6h8mg5
https://i.imgur.com/9MA1R0A.png
https://i.imgur.com/47jIEDB.png

Hopefully, these improvements should make it more viable for the region to have reliable and more convenient regional rail service, and correspondingly improve the ridership of LA Metro if there are increased numbers of commuters using Metrolink instead of driving to workplaces in the city.

MAC123 Jan 5, 2022 9:17 PM

It's not just rail that's needed. A good buses system, amazing bike infrastructure, and an actual ability to be able to walk the city.
I won't say the improvements are enough, but they are a major step in the right direction.

craigs Jan 6, 2022 3:23 AM

LA will likely remain autocentric for the foreseeable future, because of the physical cityscape and entrenched car culture. But that doesn't mean transit will never increase its share of local trips, or that someday in the future transit will play a much bigger role in LA's mobility and culture. It is entirely possible that younger generations of native Angelenos as well as newcomers from other places will come to embrace transit more than their predecessors, as the system becomes more comprehensive and is seen as an established part of the cityscape and one of the reliable, available mobility options. In fact, I think it's likely--but not right away.

In the meantime, transit capacity is especially useful for large one-off events, which LA has a lot of (street festivals, major league sports events, concerts, etc.). It's possible that transit leaders can convince many people attending such events to use transit on such days, rather than brave traffic paralysis--if transit leaders can both sell it to the public, and set things up right (enhanced day-of service, bus-only lanes, etc.). This is what happens in the Bay Area--suburbanites who usually drive everywhere for everything nevertheless pack BART to the gills when they come into SF for ballgames, festivals, large protests, etc.

homebucket Jan 6, 2022 4:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9494059)
Transit ridership is much if not mostly by people who can't afford a car. It only takes a single car to enable 4-5-6 dirt-poor people to almost completely avoid riding the bus.

That’s not necessarily true. Ridership is high in cities where it’s the better alternative to driving. There’s plenty of white collar workers that commute via public transit in cities with higher transit usage, where employee parking is limited and traffic is horrendous due to bottlenecks on freeways. During peak times, twice as many people cross the Bay via Transbay Tube vs the Bay Bridge.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 4:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by craigs (Post 9494546)
LA will likely remain autocentric for the foreseeable future, because of the physical cityscape and entrenched car culture. But that doesn't mean transit will never increase its share of local trips, or that someday in the future transit will play a much bigger role in LA's mobility and culture. It is entirely possible that younger generations of native Angelenos as well as newcomers from other places will come to embrace transit more than their predecessors, as the system becomes more comprehensive and is seen as an established part of the cityscape and one of the reliable, available mobility options. In fact, I think it's likely--but not right away.

In the meantime, transit capacity is especially useful for large one-off events, which LA has a lot of (street festivals, major league sports events, concerts, etc.). It's possible that transit leaders can convince many people attending such events to use transit on such days, rather than brave traffic paralysis--if transit leaders can both sell it to the public, and set things up right (enhanced day-of service, bus-only lanes, etc.). This is what happens in the Bay Area--suburbanites who usually drive everywhere for everything nevertheless pack BART to the gills when they come into SF for ballgames, festivals, large protests, etc.

That has already been happening in LA for quite a number of years now, definitely pre-pandemic. LA Book Fair at USC and USC football games at the Coliseum, would always make the Expo/E Line crowded, as well as the LA Auto Show with the Blue/A Line. Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game would make the Gold Line/L Line crowded; in fact this recent Rose Parade/Rose Bowl Game, my partner and I noticed the Gold Line was very crowded, with plenty of riders wearing red sweatshirts (I guess Utah and Ohio State are both red). Metro Rail doesn't go directly to the Rose Bowl, but there were shuttle buses running between the Memorial Park Station/Parsons lot and the Rose Bowl.

Chinatown Summer Nights, CicLAvia, New Year's Eve at Grand Park, protests, etc., would also make for crowded Metro trains.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 4:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by homebucket (Post 9494050)
I think this has got a lot to do with it. DTLA still has far too many surface parking lots and garages. In fact, one of their recent proposals is building a residential tower on top of an existing garage, rather than tearing it down and starting from scratch. Lots of new towers in South Park but they're all on massive parking podiums. Seems like DTLA has been adding more parking rather than decreasing it. I bet if you eliminated 50% of parking downtown, public transit usage rate would increase dramatically. Make parking more difficult and people will have no choice but to take the train into DTLA.

Well, because of zoning requirements, somewhat ironically, parking did indeed increase in downtown LA because they built more residences---each unit of housing has to have parking.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 4:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edale (Post 9494068)
As a sometimes transit user in LA, I can tell you the biggest obstacle to using the system for me was the 'first mile/last mile' challenge. I'm fortunate to live in a neighborhood that actually is served by a metro stop. However, I am just a little too far to comfortably walk to the station (~25 min walk). I don't have a bike, and I wouldn't want to take it on the train and to work with me anyways. I can take a bus, but it takes a bit of planning and good luck to make the bus and make the train. Subway headways are 10 mins (at peak! more like 20 outside of that). Just way too many hurtles to jump when I can drive in 25 mins and park pretty cheaply. If there was a better connection to the subway, I'd use it way more. But it's just too much effort to use, when driving is faster, easier, cleaner, etc.

I'm a sometimes transit user too, but I guess I'm a little fortunate in that the nearest Metro Rail station (South Pasadena station on the Gold/L Line) is only a little over a half mile from where I live. Depending on traffic lights and how fast I walk, I can get there in 12-15 minutes. Pre-pandemic, when I was going downtown more often, I was taking the train instead of driving downtown.

bossabreezes Jan 6, 2022 5:25 AM

LA will never be anything other than car centric, probably for forever. The city is gigantic, is doing very little to densify. At this rate, there will not be any significant change in density, since outside of very few locations we do not see true density being built. A 6 story apartment building with at least one parking space per unit is not density that will propagate an urban environment that supports a populace that mainly uses public transport.

LA could be much denser, but the politics show that many locals prefer a high density of homeless to higher density residential developments.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 5:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bossabreezes (Post 9494634)
LA will never be anything other than car centric, probably for forever. The city is gigantic, is doing very little to densify. At this rate, there will not be any significant change in density, since outside of very few locations we do not see true density being built. A 6 story apartment building with at least one parking space per unit is not density that will propagate an urban environment that supports a populace that mainly uses public transport.

LA could be much denser, but the politics show that many locals prefer a high density of homeless to higher density residential developments.

And where do you live?

bossabreezes Jan 6, 2022 5:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 9494639)
And where do you live?

Is there a rule that says only native Angelinos are able to comment on this thread? If you don’t like my message you can just ignore it.

Im closing on a place in Silver Lake, am I only allowed to comment after the keys are in my hand?

The LA pumpers on this thread are some of the most ridiculously fierce defenders of LAs shortcomings. No wonder things change at the pace of molasses around here.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 5:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bossabreezes (Post 9494644)
Is there a rule that says only native Angelinos are able to comment on this thread? If you don’t like my message you can just ignore it.

Im closing on a place in Silver Lake, am I only allowed to comment after the keys are in my hand?

The LA pumpers on this thread are some of the most ridiculously fierce defenders of LAs shortcomings. No wonder things change at the pace of molasses around here.

No, I was just curious. No need to get your panties wadded up. Where are you from originally, if I may ask?

homebucket Jan 6, 2022 5:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bossabreezes (Post 9494644)
Is there a rule that says only native Angelinos are able to comment on this thread? If you don’t like my message you can just ignore it.

Im closing on a place in Silver Lake, am I only allowed to comment after the keys are in my hand?

The LA pumpers on this thread are some of the most ridiculously fierce defenders of LAs shortcomings. No wonder things change at the pace of molasses around here.

I don't think anybody is pumping anything in this thread. It seems like the LA forumers are very aware that they live in an autocentric place. Most, if not all the posters have stated this already. The point is, it's improving and as urbanists we should promote development and infrastructure that continues to improve it.

craigs Jan 6, 2022 5:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bossabreezes (Post 9494634)
LA will never be anything other than car centric, probably for forever.

Never say never.

Quote:

The city is gigantic, is doing very little to densify. At this rate, there will not be any significant change in density, since outside of very few locations we do not see true density being built. A 6 story apartment building with at least one parking space per unit is not density that will propagate an urban environment that supports a populace that mainly uses public transport.
At least you changed your perennial negative bloviating about LA to 6 stories--it was hilarious when you claimed that "nothing over 3 stories ever gets built" here, and then we showed you Urbanize LA, etc. So--6 stories it is, and still unacceptable to you. It's hard to believe you're actually moving someplace that you've been shit-posting about for so many years. At least, if it's true, you'll actually learn something about LA.

Quote:

LA could be much denser, but the politics show that many locals prefer a high density of homeless to higher density residential developments.
And yet you claim to be moving here anyway.

ssiguy Jan 6, 2022 7:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 9494184)
To really address this question, we'll need to hear about buses. Rail plus the current bus system will have a limited effect.

LA has a lot of hurdles beyond infrastructure, but a better bus system would go a long way.

Exactly!

Toronto' subway ridership is very high yet the system is quite small for the city's size at just 75km. So why is it so successful?...............because Toronto has a great connecting bus/streetcar network with very high frequency all day and night. Toronto realizes that a rail network is only successful if you can get people to and from the stations quickly which is why it has the best surface transit system in NA. If Torontonians had to wait more than 5 minutes at any point during the day for transit they would bitch up a storm.

LA has fallen into this trap {like nearly all US cities with newer systems} of "build it and they will come" and that works with highways but not transit. Rail without good service from both the trains and the connecting buses is little more than a make-work project.

SAN Man Jan 6, 2022 2:21 PM

To the OP's question, I say no and here's why, LA is a huge decentralized place of 19 million people scattered over 2,300 urbanized square miles. There is stuff everywhere and in all directions in the urbanized area. It isn't a city where everybody in the suburbs want to get to 1 or 2 centralized places for their 9 to 5. It's not that type of city. At build out you won't be able to see a difference in traffic congestion and the car will be as popular tomorrow as it is today in LA.

jmecklenborg Jan 6, 2022 2:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ssiguy (Post 9494693)
Exactly!

LA has fallen into this trap {like nearly all US cities with newer systems} of "build it and they will come" and that works with highways but not transit. Rail without good service from both the trains and the connecting buses is little more than a make-work project.

LA's bus system is very good by U.S. standards. The problem is that the buses get snarled in rush hour gridlock. Light cycle after light cycle with no movement.

destroycreate Jan 6, 2022 3:42 PM

When I lived in Koreatown, I was just 1 block away from the Wilshire/Western Metro station so I definitely used the metro anytime I wanted to go to DTLA, Hollywood, or visit a friend in Pasadena. It's really about convenience and accessibility. A large portion of LA residents don't have that option.

And since there were no options to get me to the West Side without doing a major time-consuming detour, that's where my reliance on Metro would stop. I think the vast majority of folks who own cars in LA are in that same pickle - as much as one wants to be pro-transit, if it's not an easier option than the car, why go out of your way? Plus, surprised to see that nobody has mentioned this, but since 2020 crime and safety on Metro has become an issue in the news...people openly using crack/heroin on the train, a couple of transit workers were stabbed recently, etc., so this bad publicity has definitely not been helping with ridership combined with so many office workers WFH.

On a positive note, the purple line extension down Wilshire from DTLA to Westwood will be huge. I now live in Beverly Hills, basically at the intersection of Wilshire and La Cienega where they're building a new Metro station (set to open in 2024 I believe). I will definitely take the Metro if going to DTLA, dinner in Koreatown, or even to The Grove which would be a short walk from the upcoming Wilshire/Fairfax station. Currently, a huge swath of the West Side is not served in anyway by a subway, but with the purple line completion under LA's arguably most important artery, that should definitely help.

What I wish we could get is that Crenshaw line connecting the purple and red lines, to go through West Hollywood. It's such a densely populated area and tourist-dependent area, it's so frustrating to see nothing on the books for that anytime soon.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 5:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by destroycreate (Post 9494887)
When I lived in Koreatown, I was just 1 block away from the Wilshire/Western Metro station so I definitely used the metro anytime I wanted to go to DTLA, Hollywood, or visit a friend in Pasadena. It's really about convenience and accessibility. A large portion of LA residents don't have that option.

And since there were no options to get me to the West Side without doing a major time-consuming detour, that's where my reliance on Metro would stop. I think the vast majority of folks who own cars in LA are in that same pickle - as much as one wants to be pro-transit, if it's not an easier option than the car, why go out of your way? Plus, surprised to see that nobody has mentioned this, but since 2020 crime and safety on Metro has become an issue in the news...people openly using crack/heroin on the train, a couple of transit workers were stabbed recently, etc., so this bad publicity has definitely not been helping with ridership combined with so many office workers WFH.

On a positive note, the purple line extension down Wilshire from DTLA to Westwood will be huge. I now live in Beverly Hills, basically at the intersection of Wilshire and La Cienega where they're building a new Metro station (set to open in 2024 I believe). I will definitely take the Metro if going to DTLA, dinner in Koreatown, or even to The Grove which would be a short walk from the upcoming Wilshire/Fairfax station. Currently, a huge swath of the West Side is not served in anyway by a subway, but with the purple line completion under LA's arguably most important artery, that should definitely help.

What I wish we could get is that Crenshaw line connecting the purple and red lines, to go through West Hollywood. It's such a densely populated area and tourist-dependent area, it's so frustrating to see nothing on the books for that anytime soon.

I agree with you here.

Also, I'm surprised Glendale and Burbank haven't tried to lobby for Metro Rail transit into their cities. Both are big job centers, and whenever I'm in Glendale, the buses always seem well-used, and I often see people waiting at the bus stops. If not Burbank, then Glendale I would think would be a great candidate for rail transit---I'm rarely in Burbank but often in Glendale, so I see the transit use there.

kittyhawk28 Jan 6, 2022 5:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 9494825)
LA's bus system is very good by U.S. standards. The problem is that the buses get snarled in rush hour gridlock. Light cycle after light cycle with no movement.

In my experience the buses were actually pretty nice during the period when they weren't collecting fares (sadly that ends later this month). Boardings were fast, stop times at bus stops were relatively short, and buses often came at 5 minute intervals or better on key corridors. What I really like was how in the past 2 decades Metro basically put a high-frequency bus service on most of the main arterial roads of the city, and with rapid buses with limited stop services. Ridership is pretty high on these buses, especially the 720 bus along Wilshire (which I can see now why they are prioritizing building the Purple Line extension).

The problem is right now, even as rail ridership grows, bus ridership declines. I think one of the issues is LA's current anemic pace at rezoning for higher density housing around transit stops. They recently produced a promising rezoning plan for the next 8 years, with the aim of upzoning 243000 parcels across the city, many of which are around transit stops, for additional capacity of up to 1.4 million new units of housing in order to meet their 486000-unit RHNA goal by 2029, so maybe the declining transit ridership could turn around during this decade.

Here's a link to LA's 2021-29 Housing Element Plan: https://planning.lacity.org/odocumen..._High_Res..pdf

Crawford Jan 6, 2022 5:21 PM

I don't think high(er) density is necessarily the issue. It's that LA land use/lifestyle/cultural patterns don't really fit with high capacity transit corridors, at least for the non-poor.

For example, there's that vaguely South Florida/Latin American-feeling high density apartment canyon between Westwood and Bev Hills. Not sure if that microneighborhood has a name:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0620...7i16384!8i8192

In theory, it would be perfect for high capacity transit. Tall, dense towers along LA's premiere linear corridor, with heavy existing bus service and rail eventually. But that area has very low transit ridership, isn't pedestrian friendly and is unlikely to ever morph into a traditional urban corridor.

kittyhawk28 Jan 6, 2022 5:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 9495015)
I agree with you here.

Also, I'm surprised Glendale and Burbank haven't tried to lobby for Metro Rail transit into their cities. Both are big job centers, and whenever I'm in Glendale, the buses always seem well-used, and I often see people waiting at the bus stops. If not Burbank, then Glendale I would think would be a great candidate for rail transit---I'm rarely in Burbank but often in Glendale, so I see the transit use there.

I think the plan right now, at least in the short-term, is to improve Metrolink services to those areas by building two new infill stations between Burbank and LAUS, and improving service frequencies to 7.5-15 minutes. I think there's a long-term plan by Metro to build a Burbank-Glendale LRT, but that's currently a strategic unfunded project until another transit tax measure is approved or if Metro can get a new stable source of revenue from the state or Feds. For example, Metro is seeking the state to allocate $17 billion out of its $31 billion surplus this year to transit expansion in the LA area.

kittyhawk28 Jan 6, 2022 5:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9495036)
I don't think high(er) density is necessarily the issue. It's that LA land use/lifestyle/cultural patterns don't really fit with high capacity transit corridors, at least for the non-poor.

For example, there's that vaguely South Florida/Latin American-feeling high density apartment canyon between Westwood and Bev Hills. Not sure if that microneighborhood has a name:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0620...7i16384!8i8192

In theory, it would be perfect for high capacity transit. Tall, dense towers along LA's premiere linear corridor, with heavy existing bus service and rail eventually. But that area has very low transit ridership, isn't pedestrian friendly and is unlikely to ever morph into a traditional urban corridor.

That's exactly why they're building the Purple Line extension, to serve the linear high-density corridor along Wilshire.

destroycreate Jan 6, 2022 5:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9495036)
I don't think high(er) density is necessarily the issue. It's that LA land use/lifestyle/cultural patterns don't really fit with high capacity transit corridors, at least for the non-poor.

For example, there's that vaguely South Florida/Latin American-feeling high density apartment canyon between Westwood and Bev Hills. Not sure if that microneighborhood has a name:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.0620...7i16384!8i8192

In theory, it would be perfect for high capacity transit. Tall, dense towers along LA's premiere linear corridor, with heavy existing bus service and rail eventually. But that area has very low transit ridership, isn't pedestrian friendly and is unlikely to ever morph into a traditional urban corridor.

That stretch is called the Wilshire Corridor. I actually love that area, but it lacks any walkable amenities whatsoever unfortunately so isn't really a "neighborhood".

Crawford Jan 6, 2022 5:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittyhawk28 (Post 9495050)
That's exactly why they're building the Purple Line extension, to serve the linear high-density corridor along Wilshire.

Right, and that's my point.

It isn't transit oriented, already, despite having ideal density and transit access. Those condo dwellers aren't likely to start taking transit.

sopas ej Jan 6, 2022 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Crawford (Post 9495088)
Right, and that's my point.

It isn't transit oriented, already, despite having ideal density and transit access. Those condo dwellers aren't likely to start taking transit.

And the Purple Line extension isn't being built just solely for them. More others will ride it.

And, that's just one particular stretch of Wilshire. And guess what, there won't be any stops along that Wilshire Condo Corridor anyway.

Going west, there'll be a Wilshire/Rodeo station in Beverly Hills, and then the next stop is in Century City, and then the next stop will be Wilshire/Westwood---completely bypassing that high-rise condo stretch.

mrnyc Jan 6, 2022 7:48 PM

some subway is good out there for sure, but more than any other city la is the one i wish for the most to bring the streetcars back.

i guess car drivers would never go for it anymore, but still i wish they would experiment with it somewhere to see what happens.

kittyhawk28 Jan 6, 2022 7:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 9495253)
some subway is good out there for sure, but more than any other city la is the one i wish for the most to bring the streetcars back.

i guess car drivers would never go for it anymore, but still i wish they would experiment with it somewhere to see what happens.

Most of the core Pacific Electric streetcar network is already back in some form, either in the form of existing/planned LRT lines (A Line, E Line, West Santa Ana Branch), or Metrolink Lines to the Inland Empire. What's really needed IMO, besides expanding new lines, is to really speed up or even upgrade the light rail lines to metro-level service quality (E Line in particular), as well as enhance Metrolink.

mrnyc Jan 6, 2022 8:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kittyhawk28 (Post 9495275)
Most of the core Pacific Electric streetcar network is already back in some form, either in the form of existing/planned LRT lines (A Line, E Line, West Santa Ana Branch), or Metrolink Lines to the Inland Empire. What's really needed IMO, besides expanding new lines, is to really speed up or even upgrade the light rail lines to metro-level service quality (E Line in particular), as well as enhance Metrolink.

yes but i wasn't thinking of inter-city, i meant along the city streets. :tup:

mhays Jan 6, 2022 8:20 PM

Streetcars would be too slow, and get stuck too easily. How about making the buses better -- more bus lanes, light priority, bulbed stops, rain/sun/wind shelters, etc.

homebucket Jan 6, 2022 8:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mhays (Post 9494184)
To really address this question, we'll need to hear about buses. Rail plus the current bus system will have a limited effect.

LA has a lot of hurdles beyond infrastructure, but a better bus system would go a long way.

LA actually has a very robust bus system. It has the 3rd largest fleet in North America (17% of which are high capacity articulated buses), and 2nd highest ridership. It has 2 BRT lines, with dedicated lanes (busways), with 3 more in the pipeline. And they will have a fully electric bus system by 2030.

SAN Man Jan 6, 2022 9:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mrnyc (Post 9495278)
yes but i wasn't thinking of inter-city, i meant along the city streets. :tup:

Wouldn't a streetcar that is fixed on rails and running in traffic be a slower mode of transportation from the current bus system?

Busses have the flexibility to move around traffic backups and the city can build bus pull-outs to let traffic pass by as passengers load onto the bus.


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