Reimagining L.A. Rail

While I am an advocate of public transportation, I have written several times against the Wilshire subway, arguing that a single East-West line with nearly no connections to other train lines would be virtually useless. So instead of my usual complaining, I have come up with a plan to incorporate the Purple Line into a more extensive system that could serve nearly all of Central Los Angeles, and all I am doing is adding two lines and extending two others.

l.a. rail

The black lines are my proposed additional train lines.

The first thing I would do is extend the Purple Line all the way to the sea, as it was originally intended. Stopping in Westwood is just dumb.

Another addition would be a Crenshaw stop at Wilshire. That proposed station was eliminated because the population to use that stop was allegedly not there. Whether that is true or not, it leaves a big gap between stops at Western and La Brea.

Once that stop is in place, I would extend the Crenshaw line up to Wilshire. Again, just stopping at the Expo Line is nonsensical. Under the current plan, if someone wanted to get to, let’s say, Hollywood, they would have to transfer to the Expo Line and go all the way to Downtown to get the Red Line. That is really out of the way. At least with a stop at Wilshire, that person could transfer to the Purple Line and just go a couple of stops to Vermont.

But I have an even better plan than this — extend the Crenshaw line up Vine all the way to Sunset. This way people who live in the densely populated areas near Vine would have access to trains.

Along the same thinking, I would run a train the entire length of La Cienega, hooking up with the Purple and Expo Lines. The train would also connect to a People Mover to LAX.

North-South lines are essential to a comprehensive train system, and right now there is just one, the Red Line along Vermont. More are needed. My plan has two more; ideally, there would also be lines running up Western, La Brea and Fairfax, but I am trying to be realistic.

I would also add a line on Santa Monica Blvd. It would start at Union Station and run up Sunset initially. There would be a stop at Dodger Stadium, and turns onto Santa Monica where it begins at Sunset Junction. The line would become redundant with the Purple Line at some point, so I would stop this line at Century City.

I would prefer another East-West line down Beverly or Melrose as well, but again, I am trying to be realistic.

Under my plan, virtually everyone in Central Los Angeles would only be a few miles from a train. It is a reasonably comprehensive system that could reach most areas of the city.

As far as whether this would be above or below ground, well, that is the rub. I favor monorails, but I understand I am part of a small minority with that. Light rail sharing the road with cars and pedestrians on congested streets is not ideal. Subways would cost too much and take too long.

So what is the answer? I don’t know, but obviously more train lines are needed to form a real transit system, and I think my map is as good a place to start as any I’ve seen.