Pre-construction activities—like moving utilities—have been going on for a year and a half, but today marks the first day of big-time construction on the 8.5-mile Crenshaw Line light rail, which will run through Inglewood, Leimert Park, and Hyde Park. There was an official ceremony—with bigwigs like Mayor Garcetti, Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx—this morning at the Expo Line's Crenshaw station, where the Crenshaw Line will terminate, likely in an underground station below the current stop. Protesters from the Crenshaw Subway Coalition showed up before the groundbreaking, airing their disapproval at a stretch of the line that will travel on street-level through Park Mesa Heights. The group's other big wish, a station in the heart of Leimert Park, was granted last year (many others besides the CSC pushed for the stop too). The $2-billion rail line—costly because much of it is elevated or underground and supposed to open in just five years, somehow—will connect to LAX, likely via a people mover near or at the future Century/Aviation station, though that's not yet confirmed. Besides allowing a connection to the airport and boosting ridership on the intersecting Expo and Green Lines, the Crenshaw Line is likely the only opportunity for West Hollywood to get rail.
Metro already decided it was too costly to build a WeHo spur on the Purple Line extension, which also starts construction this year. But thankfully the agency has already conducted an initial study (pdf) on extending the Crenshaw Line north, connecting to the Purple Line, and then heading up through WeHo, either on Fairfax, La Brea, or San Vicente, and connecting to the Red Line in Hollywood. Obviously, many projects are earmarked before this one—Green Line South Bay extension, the Gold Line extension further into the eastside, rail connection over Sepulveda Pass, etc—so it's far off, but not a complete pipe dream.
· Metro Breaks Ground on $2B Crenshaw Line [LA Times]
· Crenshaw Line Archives [Curbed LA]