In July, Mayor Eric Garcetti asked Metro to look into what it would take to get Downtown Los Angeles's beloved funicular operating again as a fun diversion and lazy way up Bunker Hill. In a report completed last month, they suggest building the emergency evacuation stairway for the railway recommended by state regulators, says the Downtown News—that feature has been a thorn in the side of the nonprofit Angels Flight Railway Foundation, which runs the funicular; though they have been working on designs for an evacuation stairway, they've said it would be really expensive and not all that effective in getting people off the railway in an emergency.
The state's railway regulator, the California Public Utilities Commission, has said that it won't allow people to ride on Angels Flight until an emergency stairway is built. It looks like they're going to win that fight. In a statement to the DN, Metro says "Angels Flight is an L.A. treasure, but it must strictly conform to state and federal safety rules."
The foundation's working on an initial design for the walkway, but says they won't know how much it will cost to build until that design is finalized with the CPUC. (The foundation had been discussing some alternatives to the standard concrete stairway that the CPUC wants—alternatives that the AFRF thought would be more effective, including "a collapsible track that could rise during emergencies"—but ended up scrapping those.)
Money is a big issue for the nonprofit foundation, which has had to pay the funicular's $50,000-a-year insurance premiums even though there are no passengers riding on the railway. The stairway design project is expected to cost another $31,000. They are currently fundraising to cover the costs of both.
· Angels Flight May Get Evacuation Walkway [DN]
· Mayor Garcetti Trying to Get Downtown's Angels Flight Funicular Reopened ASAP [Curbed LA]