Thursday, January 08, 2009

Is There Any Chance We'll Be Riding A Subway To The Sea Before We're Old and Grey?

Probably not. Like most of you, I was disheartened to read earlier this week that the Metropolitan Transit Authority's timetable for the much-discussed "subway to the sea" means we'll be card-carrying AARP members before ever getting to ride it.

If, of course, these dates are met -- and honestly, I still wonder if even the promise of a subway to Westwood by 2032 is too optimistic. (At least I'll still be just 58 -- perhaps we'll celebrate Franklin Avenue's 30th anniversary by taking a group ride down the Purple line; see you there.)

Jason at MetBlogs LA asked Metro about the timetable, and got back some pretty unsatisfying answers from a PR rep:

The next steps before subway construction could start are estimated to take 2 to 3 years. This includes full environmental review, approvals, engineering and design. We then estimate that construction could take about 7 years (1) depending on what the final project ends up being & (2) if all funding is available.

The funding generated by Measure R will come in over a 30 year period and therefore the schedules are based on an allocation of these revenues to many projects over the life of the sales tax. The schedule for the Westside project which identifies completion to Westwood by 2032 is driven more by the availability of funding than the time needed to construct. The actual time needed to construct the Purple Line Extension to Westwood would be considerably less than 23 years.

In case you missed it, here's what Metro has currently set as a timetable for rapid transit:
Subway to La Cienega -- 2019
Subway to Century City -- 2026
Subway to Westwood -- 2032
Expo Line light rail phase II, Culver City to Santa Monica -- 2015
Gold Line light rail extension -- 2017
Wilshire Boulevard bus lane in city of Los Angeles -- 2015
Crenshaw Boulevard light rail or bus rapid transit -- 2029
Green Line to LAX -- 2016 to 2018
Westside to San Fernando Valley transit project along the 405 Freeway -- 2038
Regional Connector downtown light rail -- 2018

I guess it's at least encouraging to see the Expo Line (gah, c'mon Metro, grow a pair and bring back the "Aqua Line" name!) expected to hit Santa Monica in six years.

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