LACMTA Crenshaw Corridor


LACMTA Crenshaw Corridor

The Crenshaw Corridor project (also referred to as the Crenshaw-Prairie Transit Corridor) is a mass-transit project currently being proposed by Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority that will serve Crenshaw District, Leimert Park, South Los Angeles, Inglewood and LAX primarily along Crenshaw Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in South Los Angeles. The transit corridor will either be designed in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or Light Rail Transit (LRT) mode. It will make connections with the Green Line, potential LAX people mover system, Expo Line and Purple Line .

History

The origin of the Crenshaw/Prairie Corridor stems from the results of the Los Angeles riots of 1992, where then California State Senator Diane Watson and County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke saw the need to serve their transit dependent constituents while stimulating needed positive economic growth in South Los Angeles.A Major Investment Study (MIS) was initiated in 1993-94 [web cite
title=Crenshaw/Prairie Corridor Study
author=LACMTA
accessdate=2008-07-21
url=http://www.metro.net/projects_programs/crenshaw/default.htm
] . An architectural design and planning visioning was performed by the USC school of Architecture in 1996. A route refinement study followed in 1999-2000 to improve the shelf life of the Crenshaw-Prairie Corridor. With the alternatives narrowed down during the Route refinement study to create a new MIS in 2003. As of today's writing of this article this transit corridor is in the Alternative Analysis phase of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) with the mode to be determined and will be the next funded project for Metro after Expo Line Phase II is completed.

Currently local community leaders, neighborhood councils, current L.A. County Supervisor Yvonne Burke and Congresswoman Diane Watson have expressed enthusiastic support for the LRT mode, Watson telling Metro in a letter dated November 5, 2007, Comment ID 116-125 in the cited link: [cite web
title=Crenshaw-Prairie Transit Corridor Project Scoping Study
author=LACMTA
date=February 2008
accessdate=2008-07-21
url=http://www.metro.net/projects_programs/crenshaw/Crens%20Final%20Scoping%20Report%202-26-08.pdf
]

Having advocated strenuously for a light rail ‘spur line’ to carry passengers from the Wilshire Corridor down the Crenshaw Corridor and, ultimately, to LAX for 25 years now, I am delighted to offer continued encouragement, advocacy and feedback for a Metro study (to)…avoid aggravating (the) Leimert Park traffic bottleneck, Coliseum to Vernon;…Wilshire/La Brea station connection to Westside Corridor line, avoiding hydrogen sulfide;…fully consider (the) below-grade option.

Alignment

"This is the design as of this date taken from the results presented during the Alternative Analysis meetings described from South to North."

The transit corridor will either be designed in Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) or Light Rail Transit (LRT) mode. Either mode will begin from the existing Aviation Green Line and utilize the Harbor Subdivision Right-of-way until reaching Crenshaw Boulevard. There are design options along the right-of-way for LRT grade separations at the major crossings at; LAX (between 111th and 104th Streets to mitigate the South Runway avionics and at 104th Street to 98th Streets to mitigate heavy crossing traffic on Century Boulevard), the 405 Freeway (between Manchester and the on/off ramps), Downtown Inglewood (between west of La Brea Avenue and Centinela) and Crenshaw Boulevard to transition from the railroad right of way to Crenshaw Boulevard.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Century Blvd-LAX, Manchester-405 Freeway, La Brea-Downtown Inglewood, West Blvd or Prairie Avenue.

From Crenshaw/Right-of-way to Crenshaw/60th Street it was determined that there is a narrow street right-of-way. The BRT would operate under exclusive curb lane; the LRT would operate on a median running restricted to 35 mph. There is a LRT design option that could grade separate this section and tie into the proposed railroad grade separation.

*Potential Station location(s) at: None.

From Crenshaw/60th to Crenshaw/Vernon, Crenshaw Boulevard is a 150’ wide curb to curb landscaped parkway with plenty of right-of-way available to create the dedicated lane for BRT or LRT without disrupting the existing street landscaping along Crenshaw.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Crenshaw/Slauson.

From Crenshaw/Vernon to Crenshaw/39th Street has a narrow street right-of-way, carries heavy vehicular traffic, many vehicular turns and it is the heart of community with activity centers at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Leimert Park Village. Both BRT and LRT designs would operate with no dedicated lane with traffic and instead operate in “mixed flow”. There is a LRT design option under study for the LRT that could allow the LRT to operate in a short tunnel with stations at either end of this short 0.8 mile Leimert Park tunnel.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Crenshaw/Vernon (For tunnel option only) and Crenshaw/Martin Luther King Blvd.

From Crenshaw/39th to Crenshaw/Expo Station, Crenshaw Boulevard returns as a wide landscaped parkway with dedicated lane. At this point the current LRT design will end here. LRT service could continue towards Downtown LA by sharing tracks with the Expo Line. However, there is a design and feasibility study underway to consider continuing the LRT north toward Wilshire to link with the future Purple Line extension. The BRT design would continue down Crenshaw Boulevard and will end at the current Wilshire/Western Purple Line terminal.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Crenshaw/Exposition.

From Crenshaw/Expo to Crenshaw/Venice, Crenshaw Boulevard’s narrower curb-to-curb width between 70 to 100 feet and high vehicular traffic means there’s no room to implement a dedicated bus lane in this stretch. The configuration here will be “mixed flow”. For the Northern LRT feasibility study, this entire section would require full grade separation because there’s no room to create a dedicated lane for at-grade running LRT.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Crenshaw/Adams or Crenshaw/Washington.

From Crenshaw/Venice to Wilshire/Western (BRT), Crenshaw Boulevard’s narrower curb-to-curb width between 70 to 100 feet and high vehicular traffic means there’s no room to implement a dedicated bus lane in this stretch. The configuration here will be “mixed flow”. For the Northern LRT feasibility study, they determined during the scoping phase to eliminate the LRT running underground at this section due to the poor ridership, poor regional connectivity and environmental impacts of hydrogen sulfide soil which is more toxic to tunnel through than Methane.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Crenshaw/Pico or Crenshaw/Olympic and Wilshire/Western.

Future Planning Considerations

Northern Extension Crenshaw/Exposition to Purple Line

During the Northern LRT feasibility study, Planners will determine whether or not it is feasible to extend the northern route of the Crenshaw Corridor to meet with the future Purple Line extension at Wilshire Boulevard in the Miracle Mile area.

From the Crenshaw/Exposition station the route will follow the current BRT alignment until Venice Blvd except will be fully grade separated due to limited street right of way for at-grade running.

At Venice/Crenshaw, the route would turn west on Venice Blvd to San Vicente. The route will turn diagonally north on San Vicente until reaching La Brea Avenue or Fairfax. This would stay on either street until Wilshire Blvd. Due to limited available right of way, this alignment will be fully grade separated. Major advantages the (La Brea or Fairfax)-San Vicente route option has compared to a direct Crenshaw route to at least Wilshire Boulevard are:
*1) Greater residential and job density,
*2) Supportive land-uses for a high capacity subway,
*3) Stronger regional potential to link this corridor northward towards Hollywood in the future,
*4) Strong community support in the Hancock Park area and
*5) Fewer geotechnical soil impacts compared to the Hydrogen sulfide soil along Crenshaw Blvd north of Pico Boulevard.

*Potential Station location(s) at: Pico/San Vicente and Wilshire Blvd Purple Line connection.

Knockout panels at north and south ends of the optional Leimert Park tunnel.

Knockout panels are false walls that are used to temporarily cover openings inside tunnel walls for future considerations. Throughout the Red/Purple Line subway stations there are knockout panels connected to future station entrances that can be opened when demand and funding occurs.

For the Crenshaw Corridor LRT mode, due to limited transit funding there may be a need to defer the northern section between Expo and Wilshire to a future date when more money becomes available. But building a tunnel once to then have to come in at a future date build in an extension because increasing difficult due to the operations of the rail service, major disruption on the surface to the local businesses not just once for this building but to continue it again and will add time and more importantly expense to the Northern project potentially reducing its cost-effectiveness. One suggestion to remedy this potential headache is to build provisions for the Northern extension by; extending the tunnel past the Crenshaw/39th Street portal to at least Coliseum or Rodeo Road. At the future connection point at 39th Street the knockout panel will be used to cover that extended tunnel when the Northern route is extended to meet the Purple Line. [cite web
title=Crenshaw-Prairie Transit Corridor Project Status Report
author=LACMTA
date=March 19, 2008
accessdate=2008-07-21
url=http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2008/03_march/20080319P&PItem10.pdf
]

This provision could also be looked at in the southern end when ridership and traffic considerations between Vernon (at the optional tunnel) and 60th Street increase and there will be desires to grade separate those crossings. This would improve the feasibility of this occurring and reduces operational impacts for the LRT when constructing it.

Prairie-Hawthorne route option at Southern end of corridor.

From the beginning Study phases a second southern route was considered from then Hawthorne Mall through to Hollywood Park racetrack and then Great Western Forum primarily via Prairie Avenue and Hawthorne Blvd. During the February scoping update this route option was found not to be feasible due to limited right-of-way, high costs and reduced ridership compared to the existing Right of Way. Currently, the City of Inglewood and Metro are working out potential connections.

References


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