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Under Dodger Stadium and More: Latest High-Speed Railway Routes Through LA

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One of the newest proposals sees the high-speed train leave Union Station and travel under Elysian Park. Color code: Light blue=at grade, yellow= trenched, purple=underground.
Two weeks ago, City Councilman Ed Reyes spoke at a Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum luncheon and talked about one of the newest proposals in terms of a high-speed rail route through LA. In this scenario, part of the LA-Anaheim line, the train would leave Union Station, traveling at grade (in other words, at street level), and pass through the Cornfield Park before burrowing underground to go beneath Elysian Park and Dodger Stadium. Then, it would re-emerge, shooting up near the 2 Freeway, for instance. Reyes prefers this alternative to proposals that have the train leaving Union Station, traveling down Spring on viaducts--essentially an elevated bridge structure--before snaking along the river (an image showing that route is after the jump). Right now, the High-Speed Rail Authority, the state agency overseeing the project, is still determining different designs for routes around Los Angeles, and everything is still "purposefully vague" in terms of design, according to Jill Sourial, Council Deputy for Ed Reyes. But after the jump, some of the LA streets and neighborhoods expected to be affected by the Los Angeles to Anaheim line, one of nine segments of the $40 billion plus rail line.

A rep for the High-Speed Rail Authority says that this segment of the line could see early service by 2018. If this whole crazy high-speed rail actually gets built, that is.

Ignoring the larger issues of how the whole line will be paid for, whether lawsuits will impede the line, and issues of noise and vibrations (all stuff that'll come out when the draft EIR for the line is released), the maps below simply show the routes being considered for the Los Angeles to Anaheim line (there's also a Palmdale to LA and a San Diego to LA line).

As far as the path into Los Angeles from the south, the train will follow the same route as Metrolink, going along the river until it cuts across the Arts District and enters Union Station. At this point, a couple of things haven’t been decided, according to a spokesperson for the High Speed Rail Authority. Will the train go under or above the First Street Bridge? Will it enter Union Station at grade or will it enter Union Station on viaducts above Metrolink's path, essentially piggybacking the other railway? Regardless of what route it takes, the streets impacted in the Arts District are likely to be 1st Street and Santa Fe, according to a rep for the authority. When it enters Los Angeles and leaves the city, the train will likely go over private and public property, according to the rep. Hello, eminent domain!

Right now, here's the newest pathway being considered--the yellow path is what's now being looked at. You can see how the route travels up the river and then crosses the Arts District to enter Union Station. See below:

What's important to know about the Los Angeles-Anaheim route is that much revolves around Union Station. If the train enters Union Station at grade, or on viaducts, it has to leave the station that way because it can’t drop quickly enough, for instance, to change configuration. Reyes' office asked for proposals that see it leave Union Station at grade, for instance, which changes how it would enter Union Station.

But regardless of how the train leaves Union Station, everyone agrees the streets impacted would likely be Main, Spring and Broadway. And there's another proposal put forth by the High-Speed Authority that would see the train on viaducts, snaking along the river and then traveling along the river. Because Reyes has been pushing his LA River Revitalization project, the issue of having the train travel along the river--along Taylor Yard in Cypress Park, for instance--is extremely sensitive, a story covered by the Los Angeles Times last fall.

Additionally, Reyes isn't a fan of having the train travel down Spring Street on viaducts. In his mind, it's a doomsday scenario that has a bullet train hurtling above the street on huge viaducts. Others may find the image of a train above the city sexy.

Below is one of the alternatives, a route that goes across the river, In case you can't see the graph below: Pink= viaduct, light blue=at grade and yellow= trenched.

And below, another proposal. This has the train on viaducts before going underground at Elysian Park. Again, this alternative leaves the river alone. All these options are still on the table, according to the High-Speed Rail Authority. "Per our agreement to the City Council, we will offer two alternatives for leaving Union Station," says a rep for the High-Speed Rail Authority.

While it's not part of this line, the big question mark in terms of neighborhoods being affected by the railway is Boyle Heights, which could be impacted by the San Diego to Los Angeles line. Already cut up by the freeways, Boyle Heights is a tender spot. Everyone knows this, and no one is talking much about possible routes. The railway for this line “could follow the LOSAN [the existing rail tracks] all the way down to Vernon,” says a rep for the authority.“It could go through Boyle Heights, there has been no discussion on where it would go yet.”

Meanwhile, the process of designing the LA-Anaheim route will continue. As Sourial pointed out, it's still very early in the design phase, and "there are little changes every week," she says. The draft EIR for the entire line will be released in early 2011.
· High Speed Rail Authority [Official Site]