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Fact Sheet 1 - Fall 2007

Fact Sheet 1: Study Background, Overview and Schedule

Study Description

Today, communities in and adjacent to the Westside Corridor experience day-long traffic back-ups as additional retail, entertainment and employment centers have been built and become fully occupied, and as more development occurs. Public frustration with delays caused by traffic jams on both freeways and city streets has dramatically increased.

The convergence of this increasing congestion, rising fuel and parking costs, land use densification, and Metro’s challenge to meet transit demands with buses, are among the many reasons why the Metro Board of Directors has authorized an Alternatives Analysis for the Westside Transit Corridor Extension. This Alternatives Analysis will review previous planning studies for a Westside Extension and update materials in relation to the new and changed conditions within the Corridor.

This includes evaluating changes or shifts in population, development, employment, and travel patterns. Upon completion of the Alternatives Analysis Study, the results and recommendations will be presented to the Metro Board of Directors, and the initiation of an environmental process may be authorized. It is anticipated that the environmental process would evaluate the following alternatives: a No Build, a Baseline or Transportation Systems Management Alternative, and one or more Build Alternatives which will include potential alignments, stations and modes.

Study History

The Metro Red Line subway was opened in segments starting from Downtown Los Angeles at Union Station. It began operations to Wilshire and Western Avenue in Koreatown in 1996. The last segment connecting to North Hollywood in the San Fernando Valley began operations in 2000. The Wilshire/Western segment was recently renamed the “Purple Line”.

In the 1980s and 1990s, extensive planning studies were conducted for a westward extension of the subway. This led to a Full Funding Grant Agreement with the federal government for a 2.3-mile extension of the subway from Wilshire/Western to Pico/San Vicente in 1994. In 1998, due to funding constraints, Metro suspended the project and focused its attention on developing bus and light rail transit options for the Westside. This ultimately resulted in a decision that the area was too big to be served by a single project. The Exposition Light Rail Transit (LRT) project, currently under construction, was planned for the “southern” portion of the Westside, with Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) slated to serve the area’s “northern” portion. Increasing congestion and growth since then has prompted reconsideration of a possible rail extension to the Westside for the northern area.

Although the Westside Extension project has historically been defined as a heavy rail subway mode, various new alternatives could emerge from the public scoping process that will take place as part of the Alternatives Analysis. These could include looking at alignments other than Wilshire Boulevard. Other modes that may be considered include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) with dedicated bus lanes, as well as at-grade, below-grade, and above-grade rail options. Additionally, funding constraints could dictate a series of phased extension segments that would need to be identified and evaluated with the goal of developing between two and four near-term operable segments.

Study Area

The study corridor will extend from the existing Metro Rail Hollywood/Highland and Wilshire/Western Stations to the Pacific Ocean. The northern boundary to the study area follows the base of the Santa Monica Mountains along Hollywood, Sunset and San Vincente Boulevards, and the southern boundary follows Pico Boulevard. The overall study area covers a swath that is of approximately 38 square miles.

Study Scope

The Alternatives Analysis will study and make recommendations based on the following topics:

  • The need for a mass transit alternative to address traffic growth and changing travel patterns

  • Review the potential level of service of various transit modes including heavy-rail subway, light-rail at-grade, elevated rail and BRT

  • Identify the potential construction and operating costs of various transit modes and alignments

  • Evaluate issues of noise, visual and traffic impacts from at-grade and elevated rail options

  • Economic impacts of new mass transit on existing land uses

  • Ability to serve the many activity centers on the Westside

  • Evaluate localized construction impacts and overall construction safety, particularly for options involving tunneling

  • Evaluate localized impacts resulting from the introduction and ongoing operations of a new transit project

Anticipated Study Results

At the conclusion of the study, the Metro Board of Directors may select one or more alignments and modes as a “Locally Preferred Alternative” and direct further environmental review of that selection. A fully defined project would need to go through complete environmental analysis and review before it could be funded or built.

Anticipated Study Schedule
Distribution of Early Scoping Notice September 2007
Definition of Purpose and Need October 2007
Public Scoping Meetings September/October 2007
Completion of Alternatives Analysis Study Report June 2008
Recommendation to Board of Locally Preferred Alternative Summer 2008


Where can I get information about the Alternatives Analysis and Environmental processes?

For additional information about the Westside Transit Corridor, please visit http://www.metro.net/westside or call the project information line at (213) 922-6934.

Listed below are several websites describing the Federal and State requirements that apply to the Alternatives Analysis and the Environmental processes.

The guidelines associated with an Alternatives Analysis (AA) for a transportation project seeking Federal New Starts funding may be found at:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/printer_friendly/planning_environment_3010.html

Updates to the AA guidelines are available at:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/printer_friendly/planning_environment_2590.html

The guidelines associated with an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a transportation project seeking Federal New Starts funding may be found at:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/planning/environment/planning_environment_3009.html

The guidelines associated with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a transportation project in California may be found at:

http://www.ceres.ca.gov/topic/env_law/ceqa/guidelines/art7.html

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