As anyone who follows public transportation in LA knows, every new project in this city has faced some sort of community resistance or homeowner lawsuit (Expo Line, Westside subway, Crenshaw Line, etc). The one exception until just now was the Regional Connector line, a two-mile Downtown link to tie together the Expo, Blue, and Gold Lines, which would make it so that people could travel directly from Santa Monica to East LA and *Long Beach to Azusa without transferring--everyone seemed happy with this one, especially since it's fully underground, will create three new Downtown stations (planned for Second/Hope, Second/Broadway, and First/Central), the Feds like it, and the final environmental impact report is just about done, with full completion on the line expected this decade. Well, philanthropist/art collector/city father Eli Broad and a group of Downtown "property owners, stewards, and users" have joined together to form the Community Connector Coalition, and they hate all of the current plans for the line. (Broad, of course, is building an art museum on Community Redevelopment Agency land on Grand Ave., which he got a pretty good lease deal on.) All the stations should be moved, says the group in an August 30 letter to Metro obtained by Streetsblog. Problem: choosing train routes and stations is a careful, tedious process that takes years of study, planning, and community input (five years in this instance).
Broad and friends think their choices for stations and tunnel routes will make the $1.2 billion project cheaper. If you're interested in their ideas, click here to read the letter. While everyone is encouraged to share their opinions with Metro during the planning process, their rather forceful suggestions are coming a little late in the game, as Streetsblog points out. Forceful, you ask? Read below:
The Community Connector Coalition's interests are on Bunker Hill primarily. But we know that there is no benefit to transit riders on Bunker Hill if there is no Regional Connector. Therefore, the Coalition looks forward to working closely and aggressively with you and your consultants so that this simple route adjustment, with its several preferable alternatives (or the best parts of them) still can be achieved. Also, to underline their seriousness, Broad and the CCC tell Metro they should contact them through their attorney. Probably some interesting phone calls happening at Metro HQ right now.
· Billionaire Makes Last Minute Effort to Re-route Regional Connector [Streetsblog]
· Regional Connector [Curbed LA]