Light Rail Could Finally Get Priority Over Cars at Intersections in Los Angeles
Steven Sharp reports on changes proposed to service on the Metro Expo Line, one of the Los Angeles region's few transit ridership success stories of recent years.
An ordinance proposed by City Councilmember Mike Bonin "would instruct the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to maximize signal priority for the Expo Line at street crossings and report back to the City Council within 60 days on strategies to speed end-to-end travel times and improve on-time reliability by 90 percent," reports Sharp.
Currently, "the light rail line, which runs predominantly at-grade between Downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica, is frequently forced to stop for cross traffic at 22 ungated intersections along its route," according to Sharp.
The trains are under the control of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, but those intersections are the responsibility of the city of Los Angeles. The lack of signal priority for Expo Line trains has been a popular talking point for transit advocates in the city pushing the city to live up to its promises about transitioning to a less car-centric transportation system. A bus route near Downtown Los Angeles, recently liberated from cars in a temporary bus-only lane, provided visual evidence of the benefits of prioritizing high-capacity modes of transportation.
The Expo Line recently gained attention when Metro cut service on the line and many other routes in the system, including bus routes. The public outcry was enough to convince metro to restore previous headways during peak travel times.