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Op-Ed: Los Angeles Needs a Vermont Avenue Subway
Vermont Avenue, a north-south corridor running through Los Angeles west of the 110 Freeway and LA Metro's Blue Line, is ripe for a transit upgrade. Alon Levy writes, "While Vermont is the second busiest bus corridor in the region, after Wilshire, the plan is to equip it with BRT, and not rail, even though weaker corridors around the area are slated for rail extensions."
As Levy argues, a rail line would enable higher capacities and create fewer traffic hiccups along the route's many intersections. "Without Vermont, riders from farther east still have the Blue Line. But to the west, there are no good corridors: the Crenshaw Line is constructed partly at-grade, and only as far north as the Expo Line [...]"
Costly tunneling, Levy says, wouldn't even be necessary along the entire stretch. "Only the five and a half miles between Wilshire and Gage Avenue need be underground. South of Gage, the street widens considerably to about 180 feet across. On streets so wide, an elevated rapid transit line would not block the sun from the sidewalk, or emit too much noise bothering pedestrians."