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Traffic, Stop: LaBonge Opines on Need to Expand Metro Rail Lines

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Photo by Fred Camino via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr

Photo by Fred Camino via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr
In an opinion piece published today in the Daily News, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge (CD4) asserts the need to expand the region's rail transit lines in order to alleviate traffic.LaBonge calls the current scope of the Red Line subway, with its North Hollywood terminus, "a fraction of what our growing city needs." He suggests that the MTA "expand the Red Line by connecting the neighborhoods where people live to the regional centers of commerce, culture and education."

Specifically, he's calling for the extension of the Red, Purple, and Green lines, and proposes that be done in a "cost-effective way," which he believes can be accomplished if the routes are laid along the " freeway and former Red Car rights of way," and going above grade rather than tunnel for subway tracks.

However, he does see one key underground expansion, calling for the Red Line to:

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continue north underground from the North Hollywood station terminus to Valley Plaza at Victory and Laurel Canyon boulevards. From there, it should go northwest to the 170 Freeway and come above ground. Then, it should follow the center of Highway 170, using the existing public right of way, to Interstate 5 and continue north to Santa Clarita.

What rhymes with "subway to the sea"? How about LaBonge's idea for a "subway to USC"? He also sees the need to push the Gold Line Westward via the 134 Freeway through Glendale, Griffith Park, all the way to the Burbank Airport.

LaBonge adds that it's important the expansions take place with and that the initial "mistakes" made in the current routes be addressed, such as getting the Green Line to go all the way to LAX, and that in his 4th District, they "run a short-hop monorail from Hollywood and Highland to the Hollywood Bowl."