The Los Angeles rail system is growing fast—in a decade, there will be a single train running from Santa Monica to East LA, plus so much more—but will riders even be able to navigate around it all? Metro's naming scheme is all over the place; some lines are color-coded (Blue, Red, Green), while others are named after their main thoroughfares (Expo, Crenshaw). The system worked well enough when there were fives line and the map looked like this, but with all the new construction, and much more potentially on the horizon, things are poised to get very confusing. A new proposal (via Urbanize LA) would nip that problem in the bud by giving each line its own designated letter.
Letters would be assigned to lines based on opening date; the Blue Line would become the A Line, the Red Line the B Line, Purple the C Line, etc. H, I, and P would not be used, to avoid confusion with signs for hospitals, information, and parking. Colors would remain as secondary identifiers to help distinguish one line from another.
The new scheme would make navigation much easier when two lines share the same track. When a connector to the airport finally opens, the Green Line will run two paths—one to the South Bay, one to connect to LAX—and under this plan, each path would become its own distinct line: the D Line south, and the L Line north.
Inconsistent names are especially hard on tourists, who aren't well-versed in the idiosyncrasies of Metro. "Limited English Proficiency" riders are also at a disadvantage; it may not be obvious that the Blue Line is the one with the blue circle next to it. A renaming like this will give Metro the opportunity to tie up loose ends and the entire rail network will be sewn together with one solid identity as it moves into maturity.
Metro is still working on a plan to actually make it happen—they wants to get this process started ASAP so that riders have time to adjust before the system grows too much (the Expo extension to Santa Monica is set to open early next year, for starters). You can see entire presentation on the matter here. —Ian Grant
· Letter Designations for Fixed Guideway Lines [Metro]
· 9 Ways Metro's New CEO Can Revolutionize Los Angeles Transit [Curbed LA]
· New Metro Rail Map is Very Real and Pretty Spectacular [Curbed LA]