Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Public Transit Sprint

L.A. 2024
Hello Everyone:

Blogger has finally exorcised museums from the brain and is now ready to move on to another subject-The Summer Olympics.  The City of Los Angeles has officially become the American bidder to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.  For the lucky winner, hosting an Olympic Games is a symbol of prestige.  Los Angeles has hosted a Summer Olympics twice-in 1932 and 1984. Now, Los Angeles is in the running to host the 2024 Olympics.  One of the byproducts of getting an olympic games is that it forces a city to upgrade its transportation system.

Moving visitors from one event venue to another, quickly and efficiently, is absolutely crucial to a successful Winter or Summer Olympics.  The tantalizing possibility of hosting a third olympic games has motivated Los Angeles County transportation official to try to fast-track two of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority highly anticipated projects.  Laura J. Nelson writes in a shot piece in the Los Angeles Times, "Eyeing L.A.'s Olympic bid, Metro seeks to accelerate two rail projects," about efforts to accelerate the Purple Line subway extension and the LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) train station and people mover.

Purple Line extension map
Ms. Nelson writes, "in letters sent Tuesday and obtained by The Times, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority formally asked to join a Federal Transit Administration pilot program that could accelerate construction on a subway to the Westside and a rail connection to Los Angeles."  Both are necessary projects, not just to make the city more attractive to those whole will be deciding which city hosts the 2024 Games.  A city the size of Los Angeles is sorely lacking in non-automobile transit options.

With federal approval, Metro would pursue an extremely aggressive timeline to complete the Purple Line subway extension and LAX train station and people-mover by 2024, according to Metro Chief Executive Phillip Washington.  Ms. Johnson writes, "The $2.3-billion will connect downtown with West Los Angeles."  Construction on the subway extension is planned in phases: "...first, from its current terminus in Koreatown to Mid-Wilshire, slated for 2024; then, to Century City in 2025; and finally to the Department of Veterans Affairs' campus in West L.A. in 2036."

Rendering of the LAX Train Station and People-Mover
The accelerated plan would feature concurrent construction on all three phases.  As a native Los Angeleno, the prospect of concurrent construction on a three-part public transport conjures up nightmares of endless gridlock.  Mr. Washington assured The Times that completing the project a decade ahead of schedule would reduce construction costs, reduce construction impacts to dense urban centers, and expedite transportation benefits to the region.  The Purple Line is extremely vital to the success of the Olympics, given that event venues would be spread out all over the city and getting visitors from the aquatic events at USC to events at UCLA quickly, efficiently, and ON TIME is paramount.

Boston 2024 logo
Los Angeles became the U.S. candidate to win the Olympic bid when Boston, original American candidate, dropped out because of cost concerns.  The name of the host city will be revealed in 2017.  Paris and Rome are considered Los Angeles's main competition for the final selection. Winning the right to host an Olympic game is often the engine for new infrastructure projects.  The most recent American city to win the right to host an Olympic Games-Salt Lake City won the right to host the 2002 Winter Olympics in 1995-the city fast-tracked tow light rail projects which began operation in 1999 and 2001.

Passenger service for the Purple Line is scheduled to begin on May 31, 2024, according to the draft schedule accompanying the letter from the Metro to the Times.  Laura Nelson writes,  "The Los Angeles bid proposes an Olympic start date six weeks later."  Metro is anticipating funding for the third phase of the Purple Line from a $1-billion federal grant and $525 million from local taxpayer revenue, according to the letter from Metro.

The Opening Ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics
Los Angeles, California
In the meantime, the $333-million rail service between Downtown and LAX is currently slated to open in 2028.  However, blogger speculates that if Los Angeles does win the right to host the 2024 Games, this date might be moved up four years in order to accommodate visitors.  Ms. Nelson writes, "The 'people mover' will probably resemble the terminal trains in use at other major U.S. airports..."  Blogger imagined something more along the lines of the People Mover ride at Disneyland.  As it stands now, "...the train will run from the LAX terminal area to a consolidated car-rental facility, ground transportation hub and a station on the Crenshaw Line at 96the Street and Aviation Boulevard."  This north-south train, intended to connect the Mid-City Expo Line to the South Bay Green Line, is schedule to debut in 2019.

Fireworks from the Closing Ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics
Los Angeles, California
All of this sounds exciting and certainly (slight bias here) Los Angeles has the ability to pull off an infrastructure project of this scale.  Construction is already in progress, so it would not be like starting from scratch.  Whether or not Los Angeles wins the right to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, the fact that Metro is trying accelerate the pace of new public transit construction is encouraging for a city in bad need of more efficient, reliable, and affordable options.

No comments:

Post a Comment