I favor sharing the next priority after Expo to the Beach with the Gold Line extension, but I do NOT favor shoving Phase 2 of the Expo Line behind the Gold Line extension.
Sorry, but I can't support the idea of a light rail line going out on a single track that far. Azuza and beyond should be Metrolink territory. Maybe i'm just blinded by my time in San Francisco/The Bay Area - but you've got regional, and you've got local. I get that Los Angeles is too spread out to have a system like the Muni, but a Gold Line to the SGV before any of the current crop of proposals is ludicrous. Crenshaw, Expo 2, DTC, should come well before it. Hell, if I was a politician, I'd make its approval tied to funding for a Purple line extension to La Cienega.
Then I suspect, Adam, you'll like what I wrote to the Metro Board--in a nutshell, it supports a full Expo Line and sticks it to the entire county to find a way to simultaneously build a Crenshaw Corridor Line, a Downtown Light Rail Connector Line, a Foothill Gold Line and a Wilshire Subway.
United we stand, divided we fall! Enough of the childishness on the part of the politicians!
Here's my e-mail/letter:
To Metro Board Chair Pam O'Connor and the Metro Board:
The County of Los Angeles is suffering from an immediate and dramatic lack of transportation-related funds, which result both from:
1) A decades-long lack of foresight in transportation planning, worsened by a lack of balance between transportation and other local, state and federal budgetary priorities
2) A political override of prioritizing a series of "pet projects", in that these projects (all worthy and decades overdue) are not being built in an order that is best for county taxpayers and commuters, over the establishment of a prudent rail transit network to benefit the entire county
<<BOLD>>I strongly urge the Metro Board of Directors to adhere to a full Exposition Light Rail Line as its top priority in the Constrained Portion of the Long Range Transportation, and to similarly adhere to a Strategic Plan that encourages all segments of the County of Los Angeles to increase the necessary funding of all the projects required to create a countywide rail network.<<BOLD>>
Although it is my contention that the County of Los Angeles is ignoring the potential of a Green Line Construction Authority to best fund the first portion of the Crenshaw Corridor rail line with FAA and other federal funds, I must remind you that the southernmost portion of the Crenshaw Corridor project is still congruent with a Green Line/LAX extension.
I have a great deal of respect for the San Gabriel Valley and its consensus in favor of a Foothill Gold Line extension, but the ridership for the first portion of the Gold Line still suffers from the failure to build the Downtown portion that would have connected it to the Metro Blue Line. This same failure of connection between the Eastside and Expo Light Rail Lines will become glaringly evident in the next two years, and we must as a County stop treating the Downtown Connector as a distraction from other, more well-known projects such as the Wilshire Subway and a full Foothill Gold Line to San Bernardino County (both great projects that I support).
<<BOLD>>It is therefore my recommendation that the Constrained Portion of the Long Range Transportation Plan retain the Expo Line to Santa Monica as its leading and prioritized project, but that the County subsequently commit in its Constrained Plan only to the first portion of the Crenshaw Corridor Project (Green Line to LAX) and for a Foothill Gold Line to Azusa. The funds for both the completed Crenshaw Corridor and Gold Line projects should only be pursued after the full Expo Line to Santa Monica is funded.<<BOLD>>
Neither the Crenshaw Corridor advocates, nor the Foothill Gold Line advocates, nor the Wilshire Subway advocates, should "get their way" at the expense of other worthy projects and their advocates elsewhere in the county until a funding mechanism is achieved to best satisfy all parties. <<BOLD>>A completed series of Crenshaw Corridor, Foothill Gold Line and Wilshire Subway projects cannot function properly without a Long Range Plan that is appropriately planned and funded as an integrated network, and these require a Downtown Connector.<<BOLD>>
We must as a County work together to achieve the political consensus and the political will to create a 21st-century mass transit network, and we must recognize the worthiness of all projects being promoted in order to end the political and financial stalemate that we've backed ourselves into for the past half-century.
Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D. President, The Transit Coalition