LA Politicians May Be Corrupt and Incompetent, but Metro ... Is Doing Its Job!

ALPERN AT LARGE--As stated before in my previous CityWatch articles (but this is NOT my idea, just state and federal standards for infrastructure projects), major New Starts for infrastructure is something Americans will pay for regardless of where you live. But big projects require Consensus, Planning and Funding...in that order.  

Anyone who's shown up--or who did NOT show up but wish they did--to the Sepulveda Transit Corridor meetings has left very, very intrigued by the presentation, and the thoroughness as well as the transparency evident on the part of Metro. 

For many years I've referred to the north-south Valley to Westside to LAX Line as the "Holy Grail" of the Metro Transit System because we were all reaching for it but it was out of our reach. 

I remind you that it was just a few short years ago that the Expo Line reached the beach--which would neeeeeeeeever happen, if you heard its opponents in 2001. The Wilshire Line Subway--which we were told would neeeeeeeeever happen--is on its way to a fighting chance of reaching the Westside by 2023 or so.  

The future Olympics in Los Angeles is one heckuva powerful motivator to enhance the mobility, tourism, economy, etc. and the transit system being built is an obvious, prima facie part of that.  

(And perhaps if the politics of hate can be dropped a bit, maybe the Mayor and Governor can work with the Orange Man in the White House to prioritize subway/transit funding for Los Angeles; you can still detest him, but the need for subway/rail construction in New York and Los Angeles enjoys pretty bipartisan support at this time.) 

It's not Metro's fault that the City and County of Los Angeles has either a homeless crisis on its hands, an affordable housing crisis on its hands, and a developer/zoning/planning crisis on its hands, but they're at least exploring all options and they want input: 

1) No, they can't speak to every Neighborhood Council (too many meetings, too little time and staff), but I think that any follow-up presentation might be possible if the Valley and Westside coalitions of Neighborhood Councils work together and propose a weekend location, time, and date. 

2) Metro has a homeless problem--not their fault, and perhaps the Mayor and the City Council, and their county counterparts, can establish locations for the homeless to stay and make it ILLEGAL to make residence on a train or bus, and make it ILLEGAL to prevent or discourage other riders to use transit.  

Call me whatever name you want, but it's not Metro's fault that its Board lacks the spine and/or maturity to do the right thing by its taxpaying constituents.  

3) Want the Wilshire Subway to also reach the beach, regardless of Santa Monica NIMBYism from its tony, northern residents? Fine--Metro is considering either a Sepulveda Blvd. or Centinela Blvd. north-south approach from the Expo Line to the airport, with its Wilshire Subway open to possible westerly extensions in the future. 

4) Want the Wilshire Subway to go straight to the airport? Fine--Metro has an option to study that, too, with a curve from Wilshire/Bundy/Centinela to go down Bundy/Centinela to the airport. 

5) Want the Sepulveda Line to connect to 405 freeway-adjacent stations, or do you want it to make a straight shot up from UCLA to Van Nuys? Metro is studying both. Parking will be an issue for either Metro or the City of Los Angeles to contend with. I'm pro-parking, as are most of you reading this (I know some of you folks are anti-parking but scream a lot; fine, be that way, you groupthinkers!). 

6) Want the Sepulveda Line to be a rubber tire-monorail down the freeway? Fine--I doubt it'll work with respect to capacity, but ALL options will meet UCLA's connectivity needs. 

7) Want the Centinela Blvd. corridor to be the easier, ocean-adjacent route to meet the needs of both Lincoln Blvd. and Sepulveda Blvd. corridor constituents? Fine--Metro is studying that, too. Yet will it meet the needs of both, or neither corridors? Not sure, and while Metro is certain it will connect with Playa Vista, at least they're studying it. 

In short, the Department of Justice is swooping down on City Hall while presidential wannabe Eric Garcetti will have to refocus on his crisis-laden City. The County also must have its supervisors GROW UP and do the right thing with respect to its own counterparts to the City's crises.  

But also, in short, Metro is doing its job! Let's support them whenever and however we can.



(CityWatch Guest Columnist, Kenneth S. Alpern, M.D, is a dermatologist who has served in clinics in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties, and is a proud husband and father to two cherished children and a wonderful wife. He is also a Westside Village Zone Director and Board member of the Mar Vista Community Council (MVCC), previously co-chaired its Outreach Committee, and currently is Co-Chair of both its MVCC Transportation/Infrastructure and Planning Committees. He was co-chair of the CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee and chaired the nonprofit Transit Coalition and can be reached at alpern@marvista.org. He also co-chairs the grassroots Friends of the Green Line at www.fogl.us. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Dr. Alpern.)