Metro Staff Recommends Westside Subway to Go West of 405 Fwy, West Hollywood Spur Left Out
Transit planners at Metro today released their recommendations (.pdf) for the Westside Subway extension, and for many, the preferred alternative is no surprise. A nine-mile route from Koreatown to the Veteran's Administration, just west of the 405 Freeway, was chosen, but preference for some hotly debated sections, such as tunneling under Beverly Hills, were carried forward for further study. Ultimately, the decision will be in the hands of Metro's Board of Directors, who are expected to decide upon the issue at their October 28th meeting.
The $4 billion alternative to the Veterans Administration building was always seen as the most realistic direction because it stood with the best chances, based on ridership/distance/budget formulas, at earning funding from the federal government. Extending the Purple Line to there would boost ridership by some 80,000 trips daily, about 8,000 more than if the subway terminated at UCLA (a $3.7 billion project). If the train was extended into Santa Monica and near the ocean, trips would have been upped to 105,000 (but at the cost of $5.7 billion).
One major upset for some was that a proposed spur through West Hollywood -- often referred to as the Pink Line -- did not make the cut. With it, a subway system that stops at the V.A. would see 93,000 trips ($6.7 billion) daily and 120,000 if it headed into Santa Monica ($8.4 billion).