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West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor

Metro is evaluating a new light rail transit line that would connect downtown Los Angeles to southeast LA County, serving the cities and communities of downtown Los Angeles, unincorporated Florence-Graham community of LA County, Vernon, Huntington Park, Bell, Cudahy, South Gate, Downey, Paramount, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia. The West Santa Ana Branch (WSAB) Transit Corridor Project is a 19-mile corridor that is undergoing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process to prepare the corridor for light rail use. The project’s name originates from the southern portion of the route south of the Metro Green Line that follows the old Pacific Electric streetcar alignment known as the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor.

The project area is home to 1.2 million residents and a job center to approximately 584,000 employees. Projections show the resident population increasing to 1.5 million and jobs increasing to 670,000 by 2040. Population and employment densities are five times higher than the LA County average. This rail corridor is anticipated to serve commuters in a high travel demand corridor by providing relief to the constrained transportation systems currently available to these communities. In addition, the project is expected to provide a direct connection to the Metro Green Line, Metro Blue Line , Metro Regional Connector and the LA County regional transit network.

Per Measure M and Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) financial forecast, as amended, the Project has a $4 billion (B) (2015$) allocation of funding (comprised of Measure M and other local, state, and federal sources). Per Measure M, funding becomes available in two cycles as follows:

Measure M Expected Opening Date LRTP Funding Allocation (2015$)
FY 2028 $1 billion ($535 million Measure M)
FY 2041 $3 billion ($900 million Measure M)

This project is also part of the Twenty-Eight by ‘28 initiative that highlights 28 Metro projects for potential completion by the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Project Goals

The main goals of the WSAB project are to:

1. Provide mobility improvements
2. Support local and regional land use plans and policies
3. Minimize environmental impacts
4. Ensure cost effectiveness and financial feasibility
5. Promote equity

Current Status

Metro formally initiated the environmental process through the original public scoping meetings held for the WSAB Project in Summer 2017. In March 2018, the Metro Board authorized further study of an additional four Northern Alignment options in response to comments received during the scoping period and ongoing technical analysis. These new options were presented to the community for input during the Winter/Spring 2018 Community Update Meetings. In May 2018, the Metro Board selected two Northern Alignment options -  Alternative E: Union Station (underground) and Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core (underground) - to be carried into the Draft EIS/EIR for further study. As a result of the new Northern Alignment options, updated scoping meetings were held in July 2018. All comments submitted during that time are part of the official record and will be analyzed and addressed as part of the environmental review process.

Based on the comments received as part of the scoping process, ongoing coordination with corridor cities, particularly cities in the south, and ongoing refinement of technical and environmental analyses in order to minimize or avoid environmental impacts, the Metro Board considered and took action in December 2018 that updated the project definition to be used in the environmental studies.

Key updates to the project definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerial structure over the I-10 freeway will be added; this structure will begin on the north side of the freeway and continue south to the Slauson Station
  • Five aerial grade separations will be added along the corridor

The following project components will be removed from further consideration:

  • Three proposed stations (Washington, Vernon, and 183rd/Gridley)
  • Optional Bloomfield extension and station
  • Alternative G2 (Pershing Square design option)

As directed by the Board, a separate Feasibility Study will be conducted for a potential station at the LA River and Rio Hondo confluence site in South Gate to determine whether to advance it into environmental review after the completion of the environmental process for the WSAB Project.

The current updated end-to-end project capital cost for the two alternatives (Alternatives E & G) is estimated at $6.5 to $6.6B (in 2018$). The cost includes Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) right-of-way estimates, but these numbers are contingent upon negotiation with the freight railroads. The first-last mile (FLM) cost estimates will be prepared during the Advanced Conceptual Engineering phase and will increase the project capital cost estimate.

Public involvement is of vital importance for all communities involved. Therefore, community outreach will continue throughout the environmental process to educate, inform and gather input from stakeholders. To submit your feedback on the project, please use our comment form .


Northern Alignment Alternatives

The Northern Alignment Alternatives identified to proceed into the Draft EIS/EIR are:

  • Alternative E: Union Station (underground)
  • Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core (underground)

In addition, station location options are being considered for the termini stations proposed for Alternatives E & G.  In December 2018, the Metro Board took action that resulted in changes to some of the termini station options being considered for Alternatives E & G including:

  • Alternative E: Alameda - Union Station Forecourt – station was relocated further east of Alameda Street, closer to Union Station.
  • Alternative E: MWD design option – no changes
  • Alternative G1: 7th St/Metro Center – no changes
  • Alternative G2: Pershing Square design option – station was removed from further consideration.

Project Map

West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor_Project Overview Map

Northern Alignment Map

Contact Us

Please use the following contact tools to access more project information, ask questions or provide comments.

Meghna Khanna
Project Manager
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
One Gateway Plaza, M/S 99-22-7
Los Angeles, CA  90012
(213) 922-6262


The WSAB Transit Corridor Project’s environmental process is well defined by federal requirements stipulated in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state environmental requirements stipulated in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The flow chart below highlights the major milestones in the process from beginning to end. The project is currently in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/ Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) study phase.

Various topics will be addressed in the environmental document including land use and planning, noise and vibration, transportation and traffic, parking, and air quality – to name a few. Mitigation measures will also be identified, and community input gathered, incorporated and used to select a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). During the environmental process, community meetings and public hearings will take place along the corridor to engage the community, solicit input and address questions.

Project Timeline

Project Timeline


In February 2013, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)  approved the Alternatives Analysis (AA) Study of the corridor that analyzed opportunities to connect Los Angeles and Orange Counties along a 34-mile long corridor from Union Station in LA County to the City of Santa Ana in Orange County.  The AA study recommended Light Rail Transit (LRT) as the preferred transit mode and two northern alignment alternatives (West Bank 3 and East Bank) for further consideration.

In 2015, Metro conducted a Technical Refinement Study (TRS) building upon the analysis and recommendations from the SCAG AA with a focus on the LA County segment of the Pacific Electric Right-of-Way (ROW)/WSAB corridor. In September 2015, based upon the West Bank 3 alternative, four new northern alignment options were identified as part of the TRS:

  • Option A: Pacific/Alameda
  • Option B: Pacific/Vignes
  • Option C: Alameda
  • Option D: Alameda/Vignes

The TRS provided updated capital cost and ridership forecasts, as well as analyzed specific challenges identified in the SCAG AA for the LA County segment.  In April 2017, Metro released the Northern Alignment Options Screening Report, which analyzed the six alignment options for the northern portion of the project.  Upoon review, the Metro Board of Directors approved carrying forward the four Northern Alignment Options identified in the TRS for environmental study and initiating the scoping process for this project.

Metro formally initiated the Draft EIS/EIR phase in summer 2017 with public scoping meetings held along the corridor. In March 2018, the Metro Board authorized further study of an additional four Northern Alignment options in response to comments received during the scoping period and ongoing technical analysis. These new options were presented to the community for input during the March/April 2018 Community Update Meetings. In May 2018, the Metro Board selected two Northern Alignment options to be carried into the Draft EIS/EIR for further study:

  • Alternative E: Union Station (underground)
  • Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core (underground)

As a result of the Metro Board actions on the Northern Alignment Alternatives, an updated scoping process was conducted in summer 2018 to receive formal public comments on the proposed project alternatives. Based on the feedback received through the original public scoping period (summer 2017), updated scoping period (summer 2018), and other ongoing outreach efforts, the Metro Board considered and took action in December 2018 that updated the project definition.

Key updates to the project definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerial structure over the I-10 freeway will be added; this structure will begin on the north side of the freeway and continue south to the Slauson Station
  • Five aerial grade separations will be added along the corridor

The following project components will be removed from further consideration:

  • Three proposed stations (Washington, Vernon, and 183rd/Gridley)
  • Optional Bloomfield extension and station
  • Alternative G2 (Pershing Square design option)

As directed by the Board, a separate Feasibility Study will be conducted for a potential station at the LA River and Rio Hondo confluence site in South Gate to determine whether to advance into environmental review after the completion of the environmental process for the WSAB Project.

The Gateway Cities Council of Governments (COG) , which represents 27 cities in Southeast Los Angeles County, developed a Strategic Transportation Plan (STP) that unified the vision for all elements of the transportation system, including the WSAB transit component.  The STP developed local resources and builds on previous transportation studies to create an integrated transportation system for the 27 cities in the Gateway Cities Subregion. The STP enables individual cities to understand how their transportation plans and decisions impact neighboring cities and vice versa — how individual cities fit within the larger region.


WSAB Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan (TOD SIP)

In order to maximize the transit investment that will be made in the WSAB corridor, and to ensure that communities along the corridor equitably benefit from the investment, Metro facilitated the development of a Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan (“TOD SIP”). The Plan was funded by the FTA Pilot TOD Project program, and completed in partnership with the City of South Gate, and Eco-Rapid Transit.  The TOD SIP is an effort that is distinct from the environmental process currently underway for the WSAB Project to define the transit corridor alignment and station locations.

What is the TOD SIP?

The Plan provides an overarching vision and strategic guidance for local WSAB jurisdictions to use as a reference as they develop and implement their own plans, policies and economic development and mobility strategies in the 12 station areas along the alignment. This information will support station areas in equitably and sustainably transforming, as well as in becoming safe and accessible via multiple modes of mobility.

Six strategies and a host of related actions are described in the Plan:

  • Establishing shared Governance approaches within the corridor for collaboration among local jurisdictions;
  • Ensuring Equitable Development & Community Preservation go hand in hand in the station areas and populations in the corridor today can stay in the corridor in the future;
  • Transit Supportive Planning to allow appropriate density and enforce consistent development standards in the corridor;
  • Placemaking to ensure the public realm is active and inviting across the corridor;
  • Mobility, Access & Connectivity for users of all transportation modes; and
  • Sustainability & Resilience to ensure that current environmental justice issues in the corridor are addressed and 21st century infrastructure is put in place to serve future needs while minimizing resource use.

The 12 station areas along the WSAB corridor have been characterized in the TOD SIP by type or typology, and the plan provides key characteristics and visualizations of the five development typologies. A vision for each station has been articulated, along with a concept plan representing development that could occur, assuming that the identified priority actions are taken. The ½-mile walk shed and 3-mile micro mobility (bicycle and other human powered device) shed for each station area has also been studied, and a network of facilities that would ensure 360-degree access to each station has been identified.

With the common understanding established in the TOD SIP, each WSAB community can more effectively direct public resources toward attracting the types of station area development and businesses that are aligned with their particular needs and individual competitive advantages. Adopting coordinated governance strategies and policies, as well as development guidance and access strategies will produce more equitable, sustainable, and impactful benefits for corridor communities, and more transit ridership overall, than would result from local jurisdictions acting alone. Further, taking a unified position to guide and influence regional, state and federal policies, and advocate for a share of regional resources should result in more resources for all.

With the completion of the TOD SIP, city and county staff are expected to review the recommendations with their local decision makers and stakeholders, and use the guidance within the Plan to inform their own station area planning, programs and implementation actions.

Materials

WSAB TOD SIP

WSAB TOD SIP Appendices

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Melani Smith, Senior Director, Countywide Planning & Development, at (213) 922-7276 or smithm8@metro.net .


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