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Did the Red Line Subway Slow Traffic Growth Over the Cahuenga Pass?

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The North Hollywood Red Line Station | Photo by puck90 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

The North Hollywood Red Line Station | Photo by puck90 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
When the Metro Red Line finally opened two additional stations in the Valley 10 years ago, increases in ridership began to swell. In 2000, the average daily boardings were 83,230. In 2009, it grew to 146,723 boardings. In nearly the same time period, the average traffic increase on L.A. Freeways has grown 10 to 15%, but on the 101 Freeway over the Cahuenga Pass, the average increase has been just 2%.

The findings come from the Daily News, which this weekend published a trio of subway articles.

"Over the last decade, we have experienced a steady increase in traffic on almost all our highways throughout the region," said Doug Failing of Caltrans told the paper. "But when you take a look at the 101 - particularly when you look at the Cahuenga Pass - we haven't seen the growth there that we've seen in other places around the county."

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No official studies on the effect of the Red Line in the Valley on traffic have been conducted. When stations opened in the NoHo Arts District and at Universal City, ridership projections for the line expected to be at 200,000 boardings a day, but it's currently at 153,000 in 2010.

One critic is County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. "The Red Line doesn't even save time," his spokesman Tony Bell said. "It's difficult to park at the Red Line station, and the 101 continues to be a congested mess."

But the Red Line is only one piece of the puzzle. As the system as a whole grows, such as the addition of the Orange Line Chatsworth extension, ridership is expected to grow.