LACMTA wants to accelerate rail to West Hollywood

Written by Mischa Wanek-Libman, editor
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West Hollywood would see rail service become a reality through an accelerated schedule per a letter from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) to the city.

On Friday, Sept. 16, LACMTA CEO Phil Washington outlined LACMTA’s commitment to proceed with key technical studies for a proposed LACMTA rail project that would connect the Metro Red Line and Metro Crenshaw/LAX Northern Extension through West Hollywood. The city of West Hollywood has been conducting outreach for the proposed line, which would more directly connect the city of West Hollywood to the existing LACMTA regional rail network and to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and provide new mobility choices for underserved communities along the corridor.

Officials noted that the proposed Crenshaw/LAX Northern Extension through West Hollywood would connect four existing lines (Red, Purple, Expo and Green), which would optimize the existing rail network by greatly enhancing regional connectivity.

The schedule to move forward with the proposal is part of LACMTA’s “Operation Shovel Ready Initiative,” which represents a potential 20-year acceleration of the project. Metro has confirmed that it will:

  • Complete the current line Feasibility Study (by June 2017)
  • Proceed with an engineering study to determine a preferred alignment (in 2017)
  • Proceed with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) (in 2018)
  • Pursue additional funding to accelerate construction

West Hollywood says the city has long supported increasing its transit options.

On Sept. 20, the City Council unanimously approved support of Measure M, LACMTA ballot measure, which Los Angeles County voters will decide upon in the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. Measure M, the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, proposes to increase the sales tax countywide to support transportation improvements to regional bus and rail transit networks, streets and highways.

If approved by two-thirds of voters in Los Angeles County, Measure M would generate approximately $860 million annually. Measure M proposes a Local Return program for municipalities to use for transportation-related capital and program expenditures. Based on 2018 projections, Measure M’s proposed 17 percent Local Return program would generate an additional $509,000 annually for the city of West Hollywood.

Additionally, the West Hollywood City Council adopted a Resolution to support LACMTA in placing Measure M on the ballot in 2015 and it called for the formation of an advocacy committee, West Hollywood Advocates for Metro (WHAM), which has been working to engage the community. A countywide grassroots coalition, All on Board, was formed to demonstrate the project’s regional benefits.

The city says residents in West Hollywood have consistently demonstrated support for additional transit options by voting in significant numbers in favor of countywide tax measures for transportation projects.

“The city of West Hollywood always strives to find collaborative solutions to traffic and gridlock,” said West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “That’s why we are extremely pleased with the progress the city has made advocating for [LACMTA] rail to come to our community in the near term. Also, Measure M will help fund a comprehensive approach to mobility — not only rail, but also active transportation projects and new technologies.”