Taking Measure of LA's Westside Subway Project

Yonah Freemark assesses one of the nation's most important public transportation improvement projects, LA's long discussed Westside Subway project which is closer than ever to construction, but still a long ways off from completion.
March 27, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Advertised for decades as the "Subway to the Sea" as its prospects grew and dimmed repeatedly over time, LA's currently proposed Westside Subway project will actually terminate in Westwood, more than three miles from the Ocean. With the project having reached a key milestone with the recent release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report by Metro, the region's transportation authority, Freemark takes the opportunity to appraise its significance and unanswered questions.

According to Freemark, the project is one of the most practical and urgently needed transit improvement projects in the country. "It would offer an alternative option for tens of thousands of daily riders and speed travel times by up to 50% compared to existing transit trips. It would serve one of the nation's densest and most jobs-rich urban corridors and in doing so take a major step forward towards making L.A. a place where getting around without a car is comfortable."

While the proposed line's impact will be substantial, with estimated travel time savings more than almost any other transit project in the country, questions remain about the project's timeline and station location. In the article, Freemark explores the reasons for the generally unacceptable 25-year project timeline and for serious questions about station location, specifically at its terminus in "a pedestrian-hostile environment" at the Westwood/V.A. Hospital.

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Published on Sunday, March 25, 2012 in the transport politic
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