Editorial: Why Elon Musk’s Tunnel to Dodger Stadium Is a Very Bad Idea

A closer look at a plan for Los Angeles linking Dodger Stadium to the subway points to the proposal’s many flaws.

2 minute read

September 4, 2018, 7:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

Los Angeles, California

trekandshoot / Shutterstock

Not long after revealing a proposal for high-speed rail to the O’Hare Airport in Chicago, Elon Musk moved on to Los Angeles and unveiled his grand plan to construct a tunnel connecting Dodger Stadium to the Red Line. Alon Levy examines The Boring Company’s plan and concludes that its many problems outweigh any potential benefits.

For one, says Levy, the cost estimates seem low and based on questionable assumptions, particularly because any Red Line terminus would be located in a dense area with complex construction needs. In addition, the proposed plan would not move enough riders:

By Boring's own admission, the line would only have enough space for 2.5 percent of Dodger Stadium's capacity. The small tunnel diameter and very small vehicles ensure that capacity would be limited from the start with no room for expansion.

Levy also argues that the proposed route to the Red Line does not make sense when Union Station, just over a mile from Dodger Stadium, already serves a multitude of rail lines. Achieving maximum benefits for a tunnel such as this needs to be an important consideration, says Levy:

Dodger Stadium-Vermont is not really useful except for those traveling from Hollywood or North Hollywood to Dodger Stadium; the tunnel would be unused except for a short period before and after a Dodgers home game. It might be useful to Musk as a proof of concept in the unlikely event he can fulfill his promise of cheap construction, but it cannot make money with such low utilization.

In the end, Los Angeles needs to reject a project that is not likely to succeed, concludes Levy. “If Musk wants to bore tunnels, he should do so under private property and side streets and pay the owners a negotiated fee rather than getting access to a potential metro corridor,” he adds.

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