LA Metro Red Line Elevated Extension to the 105 Ⓜ️ Future Transit USA
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LA Metro Red Line Elevated Extension to the 105 Ⓜ️ Future Transit USA

October 11, 2019

Hey everybody thanks for tuning into
Los Angelist! Today we’re going to look at Metro’s proposed Vermont Avenue red line subway extension, a project that could separate the red and purple lines and
provide the densely populated, economically depressed and already
transit-dependent neighborhoods along Vermont Avenue with some of the best and
fastest interurban rail service ever seen in the state of California; A
glorious complete reversal of course following many decades of environmental
racism, car-centric urban planning and disinvestment. Access to adequate and
affordable public transportation is the number one factor in any individual’s
ability to escape from poverty, so a new public transportation line of this
quality through some of the poorest neighborhoods in Los Angeles County
would be a game-changer in every sense. But to understand the significance of
this project it helps to have some background on how Metro Rail came to be in the first place. In the waning years of the 1970s, following several decades
of inaction, the County of Los Angeles had become fed up with the increasingly
obsolete and congested freeway system’s monopoly on public transportation in
Southern California. To remedy the situation, Proposition A was placed on
the 1980 ballot and passed into law by Los Angeles County voters. For the first time
in history Los Angeles had not only a concrete plan to rebuild its long-lost
interurban electric railway system, but also the funds it would need to do so.
When voters went to the polls that year the only piece of today’s Metro rail
and bus rapid transit network that already existed was the El Monte busway, which had been constructed in the 1970s and which now serves as the
northeastern portion of Metro’s Silver Line bus service. Skeptics of the day
said that rail could never again work in Los Angeles. ‘Los Angeles was too
sprawling and not dense enough to bother spending the money’ they would say. Some claimed that the redevelopment of rail would be to the detriment of existing
bus riders, and were unwilling to believe that the two modes could complement each other with their respective strengths and weaknesses. All were proven wrong
for in not too many years the El Monte busway would no longer be the only
meaningful piece of dedicated public transportation infrastructure in the
County of Los Angeles. This map shows the original vision for Los Angeles Metro
rail as presented to LA County voters in 1980. On a typically beautiful day in
1990 the first Metro rail line opened to the public; The Metro blue line, which
today runs from downtown Los Angeles to Long Beach.
in 1993 the first section of the Metro red line subway was opened to the public,
running from Union Station to MacArthur Park. In 1995 the Metro green line was
completed as part of the 105 freeway, which as the concept of induced demand
and the need for walkable breathable transit oriented neighborhoods becomes
better known and understood by local policymakers, will hopefully be the final
or second last freeway ever to be constructed in Los Angeles County –
depending on whether or not a new freeway is constructed in the high
desert as part of the planned XpressWest bullet train from LA to Las Vegas.
In the year 2000 the Metro red line tunnel to the San Fernando Valley was
completed and the subway as we currently know it was born. In 2003 the first
section of the Metro Gold Line was opened to the public, connecting Union Station with Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley. In 2005 and
2009 Metro opened its two current bus rapid transit lines; The orange line to
Chatsworth and the Silver Line extension to San Pedro. Both were originally
intended to be rail lines. In the years to come additional portions
of Metro’s original 1980 rail plan will come online, including extensions to LAX,
Westwood, Long Beach via Torrance and a brand new line from LAX all the way
north to Sylmar via the 405 and the Sepulveda Pass.
Since the Metro Silver Line exists Almost entirely in the medians of the
10 and the 110 freeways, a theoretical Silver Line to rail conversion would
only be as useful as the Metro Green line, which has the lowest ridership of all of
Metro’s rail lines thanks to the aforementioned reasons, and of course the
lack of a direct connection to Metrolink trains in Norwalk. So while it is
theoretically possible to convert the Silver Line to rail as originally
intended, it would not be worth the expense. Especially when there is an
alternative rail route that would serve the same neighborhoods with far more
walkable and desirable service; Vermont Avenue. Vermont Avenue has always been a
transit oriented street. In the first half of the 20th century the street’s
broad median hosted tracks of the Los Angeles Electric Railway’s ‘F’ line from
Athens to Boyle Heights among others. While all Los Angeles
streetcar service ended in 1963, the constituency for public transportation
along Vermont Avenue did not disappear. To this day, the north-south bus routes
running along Vermont Normandie and Western Avenues are some of the most
heavily trafficked bus lines in the United States. The lack of rail service
since the end of streetcar service however, fits into a broader pattern of
political discrimination against historically transit-dependent
working-class neighborhoods of color, many of which were economically
devastated by the loss of passenger rail service and the convenient affordable
access to downtown jobs that had gone with it , but never saw the public
investment needed to remedy the situation. At least until now.
Measure M won in a landslide at the ballot box and that was very much by
design. In the months leading up to the election, city and county officials
repeatedly altered the order in which certain projects were prioritized in
order to appease key voting blocs in neighborhoods that were seen as likely
to vote against the measure if their local projects were not prioritized.
Since the Vermont Avenue constituency largely consisted of people who already
used transit, their votes were taken for granted and in the months leading up to
the election most of the public discussion revolved around projects in
areas that were seen as politically important, and not around the projects
that would be best able to serve the greatest total number of riders. But at
least in LA that pattern is finally beginning to change. Fresh off the
successful passage of 2016’s Measure M in March 2017 the Metro Board of
Directors made a seemingly small alteration to Metro’s Measure M plan;
Instead of continuing the long tradition of ignoring transit dependent
neighborhoods of color in the infrastructure budget, the directors
agreed that the amount of need for reliable transit along Vermont Avenue
was simply too great to be constrained by upgraded bus service alone. So, they
decided that in addition to the planned bus rapid transit project down Vermont
Avenue, there could also be an extension of the red line heavy rail subway,
straight through the heart of Los Angeles all the way to 120th Street in the neighborhood of Athens, including new connections with
Metro’s existing green and Expo light rail lines. South of Gage Avenue, Metro
red line trains will emerge from the tunnel and continue south along Metro’s
first elevated heavy rail viaduct. This will save Metro a whole lot of money and
will allow funds from two previous sales taxes passed before 2016’s Measure M
to be used for the project. Due to fears that Metro’s subway tunneling can cause
a methane explosion similar to one that occurred underneath a Ross Dress for
Less in the 1980s, politicians of the time blocked the use of two transit
funding taxes for underground tunneling. While it was later determined that a
similar methane explosion to the one at Ross could not be triggered by Metro’s
tunneling, the ban remains in place and those funds can still only be used for
above-ground rail projects. The elevated section of the red line will continue
along Vermont Avenue as far south as Athens, including a new connection with
the Metro green line. None of this is to say that the Vermont Avenue subway
extension is a done deal by any means. An extension of the red line subway to the
Green Line is still only one out of five possible build alternatives Metro is
considering for Vermont Avenue, so in the coming months it is imperative for those
of us who recognize what a game-changer this project could be to show up to
community meetings related to Metro’s Vermont Avenue project and voice our
support for *BUILD ALTERNATIVE 5* – Bus rapid transit in addition to an
extension of heavy rail from Wilshire to the Green Line. What do you think about
this project? Was Mayor Garcetti right to include Vermont Avenue’s transit project
in his recent list of projects to accelerate, and hopefully at least break
ground in time for the 2028 Olympics? Do you think an elevated line not in the
median of a polluted freeway would be more pleasant to ride than the Green
Line? Let us know in the comments! And of course, thanks for tuning in. Please like
this video and subscribe to Los Angelist for more videos on politics and
transportation in Southern California.


  • Reply Michi Bradley November 28, 2017 at 3:48 am

    At 3:28, the fill-in for the Orange Line is actually the old PE right of way down the middle of Sherman Way. As far as we know, that section will never get built. The Orange Line uses the old SP right of way further south of where the Orange Line is illustrated.

  • Reply G2I Media November 28, 2017 at 3:48 am

    I love this idea and I really hope they do it. However, I do have to say that I don't think the problem with the green line is that it runs down the median of the 105, it's that it runs from nowhere to nowhere. If it connected directly to LAX on the west and to the Norwalk / Santa Fe Springs Metrolink station on the east, it would be so much more useful to so many more people. I know these issues should be fixed as part of measure M, but I would like to see the Metrolink connection in particular prioritized just because it's a relatively simple expansion.

  • Reply Erik Griswold November 28, 2017 at 6:34 am

    Thanks for Highlighting the fact that revenues from Props A & C can still not be used for tunneling. Love this video and I support this project 110%

  • Reply PedroKid89 November 28, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Elevated rail is the way to go.
    Faster and Safer because it is grade separated.
    Cheaper and quicker to build.
    Vermont is a great option but I would like to see it extend all the way to San Pedro and end at Gaffey and Westmont.
    There should also be a parallel line on the east side of the 110 Freeway along Broadway from Wilmington to Downtown LA.

  • Reply Kirk Gaw November 28, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    I hope MTA serves residents and riders along the Vermont corridor! We need a Vermont line MetroRail from Hollywood to South LA.

  • Reply Levine Levine November 29, 2017 at 6:21 am

    All the existing light rails in Los Angeles are under utilized. Supply has exceeded demand. They all require government subsidies one kind of another. As the rail business is operated by the government, labor unions will extract generous contracts just like fire and police.. Eventually, governments must increase higher taxes to maintain just the existing rail system. As more people abandon Los Angeles and California in general there will be less tax base to support these rail.

  • Reply Sgt DeBones December 5, 2017 at 4:17 am

    Correction: It's a bus rapid transit corridor project. Subway construction won't happen for another couple of decades. And the Silver Line was intended to connect the 2 busway corridors along the I-10 and I-110 freeways

  • Reply Jeffrey Chan December 12, 2017 at 12:31 am

    definitely needs a subway extension south of Vermont Ave, not a BRT. But I would say better extend it to Redondo Beach Blvd in Gardena/Harbor Gateway transit center would be the best. The project can divide into two phrase with initial phrase to Expo/Vermont station, while the second phrase to Gardena. Portion south of Gage Ave should be elevated, while the rest is underground. It will create one seat ride from NoHo to Gardena, as well as a rapid transit in South LA, considering 204/754 is the second busiest corridor behind Wilshire Blvd.

  • Reply Latoya Austin December 25, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Thumbnail looks like a ripoff version of the London tube

  • Reply SGG December 30, 2017 at 2:32 am


  • Reply SGG December 30, 2017 at 2:32 am


  • Reply Dee Low December 30, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    Omg this would be amazing for South LA!

  • Reply Richard Sequeira December 31, 2017 at 12:48 am

    The San Gabriel Valley is worthy of having rail. Not everyone lives by the Gold line stations. What we need is the conversation of the Silver line to rail. Currently, El Monte Station has dozens of bus lines that feed the station. It seems as though Los Angelist did not observe El Monte Station with the thousands of passengers running around to catch a bus. The current bus routes would feed the rail system to Downtown. Just because the Blue line already services the South LA, It does not mean that such corridors out to be ignored, for example, the San Pedro community would be a great place for rail as well.

  • Reply Bob Zwolinski December 31, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Thank you for all of the work you put into this and posting it! Much appreciated! I personally would like to see heavy rail down Vermont. But It may be a bit overkill, since the Silver line is only 1.5 miles east. [A bus service that costs $1 to $2 dollars more than regular bus or rail. I don't get this premium cost that deters ridership]. We'll see what we get.

  • Reply Chuck Haynes January 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm

    Waxman is a nut case who has hurt California to no end. Bring back all the "Red Car" and "Fruit Salad" streetcar lines. They worked when I was a kid and they'll work now.

  • Reply frank cedillo January 9, 2018 at 1:09 am

    I think they need to push for a green line extension from Norwalk to Anaheim along the freeway I say that cause as previously stated it's a train with no real destination and pushing it into orange county would take it from LAX to Anaheim that would be a good run with a light rail station near Disneyland , Knott's and Angels stadium

  • Reply ben vad January 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

    What the fuck is environmental racism?

  • Reply Brian R January 16, 2018 at 4:42 am

    If that is the case where would you put the yard on the new yard for the new red line

  • Reply Chase Marshall January 17, 2018 at 1:40 am

    wait…..Those taxes are still available for elevated lines?….Not to point out the obvious but why dont we combine those funds with measure R and M to accelerate the red line extension to the Arts district and make other heavy rail projects above ground on raised dirt like freeways with overpasses…thus reducing noise and I dunno repeal that ban on the money going to digging underground….This is why I always say if it makes sense it doesn't with a politician.

  • Reply ubago79 January 19, 2018 at 3:09 am

    I I I kopnNZZÁShe
    was dog

  • Reply Manuel Araujo January 19, 2018 at 5:56 am

    This is a long time coming extension. Yet, not only should it go south to the green line but also north to Glendale. The line should extend north to Los Feliz, Glendale Metrolink station and under Brand blvd to the 134 Fwy. I know that there is demand north of sunset as currently, Kaiser Sunset suttles employees to and from the Glendale Metrolink station.

  • Reply Jamal Hale January 20, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    I think this is a GREAT IDEA!

  • Reply Lachlan100801 January 21, 2018 at 8:28 pm

    Ok, I like good public transport, but what in the name of mohammad's left tit is 'environmental racism'? Are the fucking trees klansmen over there?

  • Reply Dabbing Mannequins Gaming January 27, 2018 at 8:47 am

    I would prefer building rail where the people live rather than where the cars travel, as that way more transit-dependent lower-income residents can get convenient access to the reliable public transit that they heavily rely on.

  • Reply Hannah Miyamoto February 2, 2018 at 5:19 am

    We need to get the ridership numbers; a pre-metro LRT design might be sufficient for Vermont, and if at-grade south of Gage, considerably less expensive, while substantially more efficient than bus transportation.

    One key issue: Would dumping Crenshaw and Vermont LRT/HRT traffic onto the Expo line overload the Expo line at peak hours?

  • Reply LB February 3, 2018 at 9:51 am

    Good job man awesome

  • Reply bobbywjamc February 7, 2018 at 2:12 am

    About time they included Vermont. Pivotal in public transport

  • Reply paul sleeping February 8, 2018 at 10:38 am

    I'm just blown away that this line was not built first especially when you mentioned that this area has been and continues to be dependent on mass transit. We humans are just stupid. smh

    It just continues to show that being poor is the worst thing that can happen to you. There is no fairness when it comes to money.

  • Reply PedroKid89 February 10, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I would love to see elevated monorail lines that run down Major Streets like Vermont, Broadway, Western etc.  They would be quiet and totally grade separated.
    Then underneath you could also add bike paths that are separated from cars.

  • Reply wclifton968 February 10, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Los Angles voters should vote to build Monorail because its cheaper than metro & tram/light rail & doesnt disrupt local stores when roadworks block peoples views of local stores so they dont go to these stores, they close & unemployment goes up & monorail doesnt do that so Los Angles voters should vote for monorail.

  • Reply Elevation Station Productions February 12, 2018 at 8:18 am

    You deserve way more subscribers my friend!

  • Reply Frank Garrett February 14, 2018 at 3:22 pm


    -Craig F. Thompson

  • Reply kae4466 February 18, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    i was one of those votors who voted on that measure in 1980. the demise of the p.e didnt help either .

  • Reply Eduardo Chicas February 22, 2018 at 4:05 am

    The metro redline can go northeast to Bob Hope Burbank Airport by 2028

  • Reply wclifton968 February 26, 2018 at 7:12 pm

    the train in the thumbnail looks like a knockoff NYC r32 train type

  • Reply fordjw111 March 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    What's needed is public input on new bus/rail lines and extentions for bus/rail lines. Not rely heavily on public input but enough to get some ideas from people who use public transportation quite often. With public input ideas and Metro's ideas, it would make some projects easier to plan, I assuming.

  • Reply Walter Clark March 2, 2018 at 7:38 pm

    One reason for rail, mentioned above, is that bus service couldn't be extended.
    How can that possibly be? Surely as more buses are added, there's less cars. Doesn't putting in rails reduce road space? If elevated, why not elevated roads for buses.

  • Reply iamthepinkylifter March 5, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Great video, thanks!

  • Reply CoasterCraft Productions March 16, 2018 at 4:16 am

    The Red Line will not switch routes and very hell expensive i prefer Silver Line to be Converted to Rail while a new brt should go to the vermont corridor

  • Reply dale stewart March 18, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    I hate how people frame everything in race these days, it doesn't matter what color you are, you deserve good public transportation! 🙂 – but good vid otherwise bro

  • Reply BuizelBus March 22, 2018 at 4:17 am

    Elevated works. Here in Vancouver nearly all the train lines are elevated and it's become iconic, since it's driverless so you can see out the front. Of course, they tunneled where there wasn't space, but most of the tunnels are either cheaper cut and cover or reused tunnels from long ago.

  • Reply BillionGODSun March 28, 2018 at 1:20 am

    These rails ars not bein put in the "poorest" communities in L.A.

    Many of the People Native to the Communities where the rails are finally bein contructed are bein rapidly displaced

    Usc students & other new arrivals to those Communities are the benefactors of these long overdue improvements

  • Reply The Noid April 19, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    Ok anyone interested in a mint condition blue line opening day poster first one with $5k can have it oh and btw on another note whatever happened to the L.A. to L.V. high speed rail train project?

  • Reply FatherElectric April 23, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    what a broken city!

  • Reply Dee Low May 8, 2018 at 7:28 am

    Please do an update now that Metro released their new six rail options down Vermont!

  • Reply adjutant May 15, 2018 at 6:23 am

    I used to have to travel from hollywood to south central on the bus for work. I always wondered on the bus ride, 'where the hell is the north-south rail line along western or vermont?'

  • Reply Bhadbarbie June 19, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    I think light rail would be a better idea

  • Reply jeffrey thomson July 7, 2018 at 7:56 pm

    Biggest problem for Metro Rail is security. Or lack of it. LAPD has contract since July 2017 but they can't even check tap cards and write tickets (Sheriff Deputies used to do that). 30,000 a day use the system without paying and cause 80-90% of the problems. I'm from NY and grew up riding trains and subways. It took a long time to learn it's always a mistake to let the inmates run the asylum. That lesson remains to be learned here.

  • Reply Ignacio Pena August 5, 2018 at 11:36 am

    I live right in front of the rail road tracks that metro wants to expand and they are also planing to use eminent domain to take away my home and 46 other homes in my community. Most of the homeowners here are older and some are retired living on a fixed income (social security). Everything you say sounds like a good idea, but it isn’t. I don’t think 4 miles of metro line is worth 46 familie’s livelihoods. If we all get bought out not only will we not have enough money to buy a home at a reasonable rate but all of us would have to compete for available housing in our community. I wish that people can see the dark side of a metro build. The dark side of eminent domain. I hope when you see this video you read my comment and understand my grief and frustration.

  • Reply donald tumblin August 21, 2018 at 11:50 pm

    I say dump the silver line bus and do the train ,but don't stop it at 120th street why take it all the way into san pedro maybe as far as PORT OF CALL since their rebuilding that too

  • Reply John Salazar August 29, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    We need a conector from the Valley to the west side when the purple line is finished.

  • Reply gblueslover2 October 26, 2018 at 3:30 am

    Thank you LA for thinking of all the commuters…

  • Reply Ulises Uribe December 24, 2018 at 4:04 am

    I don't get it

  • Reply Craig F. Thompson December 30, 2018 at 11:44 pm

    How about THIS as a possibility?! Extend the Purple Line out to Santa Monica, To Lincoln Blvd., then turn south on Lincoln to a point just south of the freeway, then bring it above ground, elevating it along Lincoln all the way to LAX?!?!

  • Reply Supernova Strike January 7, 2019 at 12:21 am

    Wait, if tunneling is banned, why are they extending the Purple Line (a fully underground route), and making tunnels for their light rail? Every Metro light rail line (except for the Green Line) has underground stations.

  • Reply Bendy Snowball February 7, 2019 at 7:21 am

    0:26 "Environmental racism"…did I hear that right? What the fuck is that?

  • Reply pigjubby1 February 12, 2019 at 2:59 am

    The REAL Red Line….

  • Reply William Wang March 2, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Elevated rail lines would be nice outside urban areas because for one, more people would live there and two, trains don't have to yield for cars to cross

  • Reply look at this guy here March 20, 2019 at 3:49 am

    should be tunnel but should run between vermont and western to service both corridors to san Pedro

  • Reply cheongyei April 19, 2019 at 7:30 am

    "environmental racism" – you "progressives" just keep adding meaningless combinations of words to the urban dictionary.

  • Reply Zabi De Beaumont May 6, 2019 at 6:08 am

    I like above ground more. Just because I love looking out to the different neighborhoods that I pass by, plus it's cheaper to build above ground than it is to tunnel. Though the Vermont corridor could be benefited for sections of the track to be submerged at times when it is needed.

  • Reply Juan Garcia May 14, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Just like new york

  • Reply Brian Gross May 17, 2019 at 9:00 pm

    Does density/ridership really support heavy rail? Seems like more of a light rail density

  • Reply Jermaine Sam May 30, 2019 at 8:15 am

    I hate to be the one to say it but people don't wanna give up their cars to pay $100/mo for a pass to be stuck in a train car with stinky homeless people and druggies.

    Until the security people enforce/kick off homeless riders that don't have passes, people aren't going to embrace public trans. Especially the bus, idk how many times drivers just let crazy people on.

  • Reply E.V. Gaming July 25, 2019 at 6:12 am

    Elevated rail or Monorail or how about an Elevated BRT. Subway yes, but that should've been part of the Red Line Subway excavation during construction back in the 80s & 90s.

  • Reply Sean Ward July 31, 2019 at 9:14 pm

    There would be so much less noise and fewer slowdowns from traffic congestion if they just lifted the ban, and let metro expand underground.

  • Reply Mish S August 18, 2019 at 10:26 am

    Environmental racism? Are you mentally ill? We are here to talk about transit, not Neo-Bolshevik Trotskyist Frankfurt School nonsense.

  • Reply Johnny Perez September 30, 2019 at 5:56 am

    I live off Vermont, if I had a metro line connecting me to work I would gladly take the train vs drive.

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