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Metro Blue Line trips could shorten by 10 minutes this fall

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The light rail line is getting a traffic light synchronization system through Long Beach

View of old Blue Line cars jeremy jozwik | Curbed LA Flickr Pool

Transit riders in Long Beach received some welcome news yesterday: Metro will finally synchronize dozens of traffic signals to give trains priority.

Long Beach Mayor and new Metro Boardmember Robert Garcia took to Twitter to announce that the long-awaited signal preemption system would arrive by this fall, shaving about 10 minutes off the train’s journey between Downtown LA and Downtown Long Beach.

As Longbeachize notes, the Blue Line passes through 32 intersections on its way through Long Beach—none of them programmed to give priority to the riders on the train over drivers in individual cars. Thus, a few red lights can add up to a half hour to the journey to and from Los Angeles.

Traffic light synchronization could be one of several changes in store for the Blue Line, Metro’s oldest and most-ridden light rail line. The agency is also considering improvements like an express train between Downtown LA and Long Beach and a new signal priority system at the Washington Boulevard wye where the Blue and Expo Lines intersect.

Just last week, Metro added a few new train cars to the line, which has been primarily serviced by the same set of cars since the early 1990s. The old cars should be completely phased out within the next few years.