Metro has released its final environmental impact report for the Regional Connector rail line--early! We hope that bodes well for a speedy construction. The line is set to run through Downtown and link up the Blue, Gold, and Expo Lines (at Seventh St./Metro and Little Tokyo), for no-transfer rides between Long Beach and Montclair and East LA to Santa Monica. The EIR looks at three "build" options and two no-build options (nothing at all and a shuttle option); the Metro Board of Directors has already voted on a preferred route that would travel underground from Seventh/Metro, north under Flower, then east under Second to Central Ave., before finally heading northeast under First and Alameda Streets. According to the EIR, "An underground junction would be constructed beneath the intersection of 1st Street and Alameda Street. To the north and east of the junction, trains would rise to the surface through two new portals to connect to the Metro Gold Line heading north to Montclair and east towards I-605."
Stops are planned for Second/Hope, Second/Broadway, and First/Central (that one would replace the current Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District station), with "pocket track" that would make it possible to add a future fourth stop at Fifth/Flower (that station was axed to cut costs). The Second/Hope station would also connect to Eli Broad's under construction art museum up on Grand Ave. with "an elevator from the station entrance to the plaza"--an entrance up on Grand happened to be on a wishlist that Broad and several other rich guys sent to Metro last fall.
The FEIR notes that a lot of people in Little Tokyo are concerned about the effects the project will have on the neighborhood's businesses. LT will lose about 130 off-street parking spaces in the process, but will get "parking services such as valet parking" during construction. Metro also promises to continue working with the community.
And if any tunnel nerds have been watching New York's progress on the Second Ave. subway and feeling jealous of their giant drill, here's a little news on the RC's Tunnel Boring Machine: plans call for it to be inserted northeast of First and Alameda at the Mangrove property and transported underground to Central Ave., south of First, "where it would begin excavating westward." That method would allow tunneling to go farther down Flower, to Fourth St., rather than only to Second and Hope.