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A Subway to the Sea or Not? Looking at the Realities of the Westside Subway

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New data for Metro's Westside Subway Extension detailing costs, ridership numbers and the chances of garnering federal funding for five proposed routes was released this week. Those five alternatives run the gamut from the touted "Subway to the Sea" vision that would take riders under Wilshire Boulevard to near the beaches of Santa Monica to alternatives that stops short of that, either at UCLA or just West of the 405 Freeway, serving the Veterans Administration. Two of the alternatives add a line connecting Wilshire and Hollywood via a line through West Hollywood.

Daily, 300,000 people commute into Metro's westside study area, which includes Santa Monica, UCLA, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, portions of Hollywood and communities along Wilshire from Koreatown and westward. Adding to that traffic, 102,000 people make trips that begin and end within the area and 123,000 begin their commute to leave the area. By 2035, those numbers are estimated to increase by around 25%. All that has Metro calling the Westside L.A.'s "second downtown" and a reason to finish subway plans that were squashed in the 80s.