LA Metro boosts plan for bus and rail on Vermont Avenue stretching from Hollywood to Athens

The hash-marked green line running north-south along Vermont Avenue indicates the location of projects proposed in the Vermont Transit Corridor by LA Metro on Sept. 22, 2022. (map courtesy of LA Metro).

Vermont Avenue is the second-busiest transit corridor in Southern California after Wilshire Boulevard, yet plans to add a light rail train along the north-south artery from Hollywood to South L.A and beyond would take decades to complete and cost billions of dollars not yet in hand.

In an effort to get something done faster, the L.A. County Metro Board of Directors voted 12-0 on Thursday, Sept. 22, to divide the stagnated Vermont Transit Corridor project into three phases, with two of them to be completed sooner rather than later.

A bus on Wilshire Boulevard turns onto Vermont Avenue in Los Angeles, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

People board and exit a bus on Vermont Avenue on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

People wait for a bus on Vermont Avenue at Wilshire Boulevard, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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In the near term, the plan calls for building new bus shelters, adding more bus service and putting in bus-only lanes on Vermont.

This first phase would address both the slow service riders face on this major artery, and ways to improve the experience.

The hash-marked green line running north-south along Vermont Avenue indicates the location of projects proposed in the Vermont Transit Corridor by LA Metro on Sept. 22, 2022. (map courtesy of LA Metro).

The LA Metro buses travel an average of just 10 miles per hour on the Vermont Avenue corridor stretching south from Hollywood Boulevard to Koreatown, USC, Florence, Hyde Park, the 105 Freeway and 120th Street. The buses run on schedule about 70% of the time, LA Metro reported.

Board member and Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said 45,000 people board buses along Vermont every day, yet she lamented service reductions implemented recently. “We need to do better,” said Mitchell, who co-authored the motion.

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The new plan also calls for building a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project along Vermont Avenue. A BRT is a dedicated bus service that has its own lanes not shared with cars. A BRT has separate bus stops, usually in a cut-out at curbside. An example of a BRT is the Metro G Line (Orange) in the San Fernando Valley.

Metro called for this phase to open no later than 2027.

Once again, money is an issue. Though recognized as a rail line that would carry a large volume of passengers, Metro included Vermont rail in its 2009 long-range strategic plan as an “unfunded project.”

The agency would need to seek funding from the federal government for constructing a BRT, the report stated. Only about $425 million is allocated for the Vermont Corridor projects in Measure M, a half-cent sales tax measure passed by county voters in 2016 and used by LA Metro to fund capital projects.

For the longer-term, envisioning a12.5-mile light-rail train, the board moved to set aside about $42.5 million of Measure M funds for …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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