It’s been a big month for transportation and infrastructure investment in Los Angeles! Major projects at LAX and the Port of Los Angeles received approval and efforts to get Angelenos out of their cars benefitted from significant progress on rail transit and bicycling initiatives.
1. LAX SPAS
The Los Angeles City Council recently approved a $4.76 billion modernization plan for LAX, including moving the northern runway, terminal additions, a consolidated car rental facility, an elevated people mover and a transportation center with links to light-rail service. On May 14, City Council approved additional technical amendments to the LAX Specific Plan. According to the Los Angeles Times, “labor leaders, prominent businesspeople and civic groups, heralded the decision as a significant step that will boost the sluggish local economy and further transform LAX.”
2. Southern California International Gateway (SCIG)
After nearly eight years of review and environmental analysis, the Los Angeles City Council last week approved BNSF Railway’s proposed SCIG project, which will allow cargo arriving at the Port of Los Angeles to be transferred onto rail within a few miles of the ports, improving air quality, reducing truck traffic on local highways and creating thousands of construction and permanent jobs. At the same time, SCIG will support California’s international trade industry, which accounts for more than a million jobs statewide. As a Los Angeles Times editorial noted, “this project will produce badly needed jobs and a cleaner environment.”
3. Expo Line Phase 1
The Expo Line celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of Phase 1 with ridership levels that have nearly reached 2020 projections with more than 25,000 average weekday boardings! USC football fans, students on school field trips and commuters are discovering their city and enjoying traveling by rail.
Photo by Elizabeth Daniels
4. Expo Line Phase 2
Construction of Phase 2, which will bring rail back to Santa Monica for the first time in 50 years, is well underway, with major progress on the bridge structures throughout the alignment and track starting to be installed this summer. The City of Los Angeles also launched the environmental process for development around the existing Culver City station and the four planned stations in Los Angeles. Public workshops are scheduled for May 30 and June 1 to gather feedback on land use and streetscape concepts.
5. Bicycling in L.A.
The old saying was, “nobody walks in L.A.” But they’re certainly bicycling! This is Bike Week, with activities ranging from the blessing of the bikes to “Bike to Work Day.” It continues into the weekend with “Bike Local Weekend,” with local businesses offering discounts to those who arrive by bike. CicLAvia celebrated a successful Bike to the Sea last month and is already planning for the Iconic Wilshire Boulevard ride next month.
Metro's Dave Sotero, in yellow jersey, leads cyclists departing Union Station during the 2011 Bike Week L.A. The series of events is meant to encourage people to ride their bikes more. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times / May 18, 2011)