Metro’s Green Line train has been carrying riders to and from Redondo Beach since 1995, but soon it could travel four miles deeper into the South Bay, ending in the city of Torrance.
On Thursday, Metro’s Board of Directors moved forward with two possible routes for the train. Both would extend the line from the existing Redondo Beach station to the under-construction Torrance Transit Center, passing through the city of Lawndale along the way.
One possible route, referred to by Metro as “alternative one,” would use an existing rail corridor to get there, simplifying the construction process. It would stop just once on the way, at a proposed transit center in Redondo Beach.
The other option, “alternative three,” would take the train down Hawthorne Boulevard, stopping at the South Bay Galleria before continuing to the transit center in Torrance. Metro will no longer consider two other alignments, including one that would run briefly along Artesia Boulevard.
According to Metro’s initial estimates, a train running along the Hawthorne Boulevard route would cost between $110 million and $327 million more to build than the option using existing right-of-way. But it could mean slightly more riders; the agency predicts an additional 300 daily boardings with the Hawthorne alternative.
Torrance officials told the Metro Board Thursday that the city would be best served by alternative one, as it had the best chance of being complete by the 2028 Olympics (at which time Metro aims to have completed 28 major transit projects, including this one).
Residents of Lawndale pushed back against both routes for the project, arguing that the benefits of improved access to LA’s rail network would be outweighed by the inconvenience of construction on the light rail and the eventual noise of the train passing through residential areas. Neither route would have a stop within the city.
“The project alternative that the city of Lawndale would want is no project,” said Lawndale community development director Sean Moore. If the project does move forward, he told the board, it should be underground.
Lawndale mayor Robert Pullen-Miles agreed, saying: “undergrounding is really crucial for this project to be successful.”
Moving some or all of the project underground would likely increase the cost of construction significantly.
Boardmember Janice Hahn, who represents the South Bay as a county supervisor, said that she was “trying to listen to everyone’s concerns and build consensus.” But she also stressed that she was unwilling to support efforts to stop the project.
“I want to build it in the next decade,” said Hahn.
Boardmember and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said there was still time to make the project more palatable for Lawndale residents.
“If anyone feels not listened to then we’re failing,” he said.