With 4 million residents, Los Angeles is the center of a metropolitan area that is home to 14 million

people in Southern California within a narrow stretch between the Pacific to the Santa Monica and San Gabriel Mountains. For decades, auto-centric growth has sent the city down a path of unsustainable development. In the 1980s, due to the exploding population, the county and region decided to return to rail-based public transport and build a network of metro and light rail lines.

Benefits of Light Rail

  • Light rail transportation (LRT) uses about a third less energy and emits about half the CO2 of buses and trucks; passenger cars use about the same amount of energy per passenger mile.
  • LRT best provides the quickest and most cost-effective service for interurban transportation in a metropolitan area.
  • LRT promotes transit use and increases person throughput across their service corridors.

Historical Highlights

As of October 2022, LA transit-served a total length of 180 km, with two subway lines (Red & Purple Line) and four largely grade-separated LRT lines (Blue, Green, Gold, and Expo Lines) including:

14 July 1990: Metro Blue Line opened

30 Jan 1993: Union Station, Westlake/MacArthur Park

12 Aug 1995: Metro Green Line opened

13 July 1996: Westlake/MacArthur Park, Wilshire/Western

12 June 1999: Wilshire/Vermont, Hollywood/Highland

24 June 2000: Hollywood/Highland, North Hollywood (10 km)

26 July 2003: Metro Gold Line Union Station, at Sierra Madre Villa (22 km) 15 Nov 2009: Metro Gold Line Union Station, Atlantic (9.6 km)

28 Apr 2012: Metro Expo Line 7th Street/Metro Center, La Cienega/Jefferson (12.3 km)

20 June 2012: Metro Expo Line La Cienega/Jefferson, Culver City, and Farmdale stations added (1.6 km) 05 March 2016: Metro Gold Line Sierra Madre Villa, at APU/Citrus College (18.4 km)

20 May 2016: Metro Expo Line Culver City, Downtown Santa Monica (10.6 km) 07 Oct 2022: Metro Pink Line (K) Expo/Crenshaw, Westchester/Veterans (9.7 km)

Current Projects

The Regional Connector is planned to connect the various light rail lines in the city center via a tunnel following Flower and 2nd Streets (3 km), with three new stations: 2nd/Hope, 2nd/Broadway, and Little Tokyo/Arts District at 1st/Central. Construction started in Oct 2014 for completion by the end of 2022.

The second phase of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension will add another 19.8 km from Azuza via Pomona (2025) to Montclair (2028).

A planned Purple Line extension to Westwood/VA Hospital following Wilshire boulevard, 14.4 km in distance, with seven new stations: Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega (2023), Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City (2025), Westwood/UCLA, Westwood/VA Hospital (2027).

An East San Fernando Valley Light Rail addition between the G Line (Orange – BRT) Van Nuys station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station in the northwest of the city (2028).

Street Upgrades

Ongoing and planned projects are not all about rail improvements, but also address road improvements:

  • The downtown L.A. Regional Connector, a $1.8 billion 1.9-mile light rail subway is expected to open in early 2023. While a lot of Metro’s “civil improvements” around stations (mostly street widening and repaving, but also some sidewalks) are termed “restorations,” Metro calls this one a “reconfiguration.” This sort of street widening at Metro Stations is common; it has already happened at many stations along Metro’s Blue, Red, Purple, and Expo Lines.
  • The 3rd Street Bike Lane Gap Closure involves repaired pavement, reconfigured lanes, and the installation of other critical safety improvements on 3rd Street from Main St to Alameda St. Improvements include fresh paint, upgraded crosswalks, and the repurposing of one travel lane to calm traffic and create space for protected bike lanes in one direction.
  • Improvements along Adams Blvd will include pavement repair, signal upgrades, bike lanes, lane reduction, pedestrian beacons, pedestrian refuge islands, and other safety treatments.
  • Plans to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety, mobility, and connectivity on parts of Martin Luther King Jr Blvd (MLK), Avalon Blvd (Avalon), and Gage Ave (Gage).

CREED LA is a non-profit alliance of labor organizations concerned with sustainable development in Southern California that comply with state and local laws. To learn more about how LA Creed is having a positive impact on your community visit https://creedla.com.