RE-EVALUATION MAJOR INVESTMENT STUDY REPORT
February 24, 2000
Submitted by: Korve Engineering
Submitted for: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
S.1 Status of Current Transit Investments in the Mid-City / Westside Transit Corridor
S.2 Purpose of this Study
The central question is whether a significant investment is warranted for transit improvements in the Mid-City/Westside study area. The answer is yes for the following reasons.
S.4 Corridor Recommendations
Based on the "spider network" analysis (1997 & 2020), there are at least three major east-west corridors:
S.5 Overall Study Area Implementation Strategy
S.6 Technical Overview
1. PURPOSE & NEED
2. ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED
2.2 Alternatives Being Considered
2.2.1 No Action
2.2.2 Transportation System Management (TSM)
2.2.3 Alternative 1 - Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Option 1: Bus running in existing curb lane with bus station located on existing sidewalk. ...
Option 2a: Median running bus lane within existing right-of-way, with bus station located at the far side of the intersection with a non-standard lane transition through the intersection. ...
Option 2b: Median running bus lane with bus station located at the far side of the intersection with a standard lane transition in mid-block. ...
Option 3: Bus station located in the center of Wilshire with bus lanes on both sides. ... The disadvantages are that bus doors have to be on the left side to access the center platform, which means that only dedicated BRT buses with special doors would use the express lane (also means non-standard buses are required); only one travel lane in each direction along Wilshire if curb parking is allowed during off-peak hours; and no left turn movements are allowed at the key intersections (left turn lanes could exist at intersections where there is no bus station). ...
The estimated cost for design and construction of Option 2a or 2b for the full route length from Vermont Avenue to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica (14.0 miles) is approximately $169,000,000 (1999 dollars). Option 3 would cost somewhat less because the existing median would be preserved. Option 1 would cost considerably less since minimal street work is required and no replacement parking would be required. The cost estimate for the minimal operational segment (MOS) from Vermont Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard (4.9 miles) with Option 2a or 2b would be approximately $62,000,000, with commensurate cost reductions for Options 1 or 3. All estimates include costs for traffic related impacts and development of off-street parking. ...
2.2.4 Alternative 2 - Exposition Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)
Major Issues. For the purpose of this study, it was assumed that the typical maximum operating speed of the BRT on dedicated busway would b 55 mph, equal to that of a LRT system. But there are a number of possibilities that may make this speed unattainable. As an example, a bus traveling 55 mph would likely require railroad type gates at highway crossings. While gates on a rail system operate in fail-safe mode, gates on a busway may not have this luxury. At present, there are no such installations in the United States and loop detectors alone may not provide the necessary threshold of safety appropriate for this speed. If busway highway crossings are governed solely by traffic signals, the maximum bus speed at the crossing may be much slower than 55 mph, primarily due to a lack of a positive barrier that a gate would provide.
Another issue is the frequency of headways on the busway. On a LRT system, up to three cars can operate as one train, allowing a minimum headway of 4 to 6 minutes. This would only minimally impact the surrounding traffic patterns if the traffic signals were properly coordinated with train movements. To maintain similar ridership, a BRT system using using a single articulated bus would have to decrease its headway three to four times, substantially reducing the time the crossing is open to vehicular traffic. This could result in a significant impact to surrounding traffic. To reduce this impact the BRT could utilize signal priority rather than full preemption, thereby causing less disruption to cross traffic.
A third issue is operating a BRT system that would have a significant portion of the alignment operating in mixed traffic on city streets. A fast running time between Santa Monica and Los Angeles is critical in attracting new ridership. It should be emphasized that any deviation from the Exposition ROW would increase the end to end travel time and may result in lower patronage. The running time using the ROW would be approximately 44 minutes between Metro Center and downtown Santa Monica. An alternative alignment using Venice Boulevard between La Cienega and Sepulveda Boulevards would increase that time approximately 12 to 13 minutes. If the line continued on Venice Boulevard to Lincoln Boulevard, and finally north to Santa Monica, the running time may be nearly double that of using the Exposition ROW for the entire route. The Phase II modeling will allow a more definitive analysis of these scenarios.
Other major issues related to BRT operation occur primarily in residential areas and include potential noise and vibration, air pollution, visual impacts, and pedestrian safety. Noise and vibration impacts would depend upon the bus frequency, speed of operation, and the type of bus used. Air pollution could significantly be reduced by the use of non-diesel buses. Landscaping similar to that described for a LRT system could reduce visual impacts. Pedestrian safety issues at crossings could be addressed through the use of special audible devices activated by the bus, tactile warning strips, and pedestrian gates. this and all the issues noted above will be thoroughly analyzed in Phase 2 of this study.
The estimated cost for the full route length of Alternative 2 from 7th/Flower to Santa Monica (15.6 miles, 10.8 miles of which would be in a dedicated busway, and the remainder a Rapid Bus on city streets), including 36 BRT vehicles (and a credit of 17 standard buses that would no longer be required in regular MTA service) is approximately $188,000,000 (1999 dollars). ...
2.2.5 Alternative 3 - Exposition Light Rail Transit (LRT)
Alignment. In this alternative, an LRT operation would start from Metro Center (7th and Flower Streets), utilizing the existing Long Beach Blue Line tracks to Washington Boulevard. At this location, it would branch off the Blue Line and proceed south on Flower Street to the Exposition ROW, which it would follow to downtown Santa Monica via the Exposition ROW. Two similar alignments are being considered for this line, Alternative 3a (baseline) and Alternative 3b (Minimum Grade Separations). ...
From Vermont Avenue to downtown Santa Monica, Alternative 3a (baseline) would follow the refined alignment submitted to the LACTC (now MTA) in the 1994 Draft Alternatives Refinement Study prepared by BRW, Inc. It would employ grade separations at La Brea Avenue, La Cienega and Jefferson Boulevards; National, Washington, Robertson, and Venice Boulevards; and Bundy Drive. ... Box cut & cover grade separations at Overland Avenue; and Sepulveda, Sawtelle, Gateway, and Pico Boulevards were also part of the study. Existing grade separations at National Boulevard (east of Motor Avenue and Motor Avenue would remain unchanged. ...
Alternative 3b for this segment would also follow the Alternative 3a alignment but would only have the following aerial grade separations: La Brea Avenue; the existing railroad separations at National Bou8levard and Motor Avenue; Overland Avenue; Sawtelle/Pico Boulevards; and an aerial structure between 10th Street and the Santa Monica Civic Center complex on the south side of I-10 near Ocean Avenue. The overall length of this line from Metro Center would be 15.5 miles. ...
Major Issues. Issues related to LRT operation occur in residential areas and include noise and vibration, visual impacts, and pedestrian safety. Noise primarily comes from bells and train horns at crossings while vibration is related to the type of track bed and the distance to nearby structures. ...
There have been suggestions to reroute the LRT north on La Cienega Boulevard, turning southwest at Venice Boulevard and traveling to Sepulveda Boulevard. At Sepulveda, the alignment would turn northwest and continue back to the Exposition ROW. This alignment would allow the LRT system to avoid traveling thorough residential areas. This detour would add nearly 1.5 miles to the project, extend travel times by 12 minutes, and increase the overall cost by approximately $120,000,000.
The estimated cost for the full route length of Alternative 3a from its connection to the existing Blue Line (14.2 miles), including 21 LRT vehicles (and 14 standard buses to supplement the existing fleet to allow better station connectivity) is approximately $589,000,000 (1999 dollars). ...
The estimated cost for the full route length of Alternative 3b from its connection to the existing Blue Line (14.4 miles), including 21 LRT vehicles (and 14 standard buses to supplement the existing fleet to allow better station connectivity) is approximately $431,000,000 (1999 dollars). ...
2.2.6 Alternative 4 - Wilshire Subway Heavy Rail Transit (HRT) (via Pico/San Vicente)
2.2.7 Alternative 5 - Wilshire Subway Heavy Rail Transit (HRT)
2.2.8 Alternative 6 - Wilshire Aerial Heavy Rail Transit
2.2.9 Monorail on Wilshire Boulevard
3. TRANSPORTATION ANALYSIS
4. ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS AND CONSEQUENCES
5. COST ANALYSIS
6. COMPARATIVE COSTS AND BENEFITS
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
MARCH 23, 2000
SUBJECT: MID-CITY/WESTSIDE TRANSIT CORRIDOR STUDY
de la Vega (Mayor Riordan's transit deputy) proposed a substitute motion
to proceed to EIR with BRT ("Bus Rapid Transit") only along Exposition,
but detouring along Venice and Sepulveda Boulevards (around Cheviot Hills).
The good news: we're moving forward, there is relative consensus, the Cheviot Hills opponents no longer have a reason to object, Venice Boulevard could become a remarkable new transit-oriented place, there is room within the 100-foot Sepulveda Boulevard right-of-way to add light rail (and still keep most of the parking), and if properly designed the travel time won't slow by more than five minutes.
Thanks again for all your support! Our goals now are to broaden public support over the coming months, work with elected representatives to secure funding, and participate in the EIR process to assure a good result for the Westside.