DOWNEY – Gateway City community members had their last chance to get informed on the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor project on Tuesday, with Supervisor Janice Hahn and Metro holding an open-house and presentation at City Hall.
The 20-mile light rail project will begin in Artesia and connect the 13 gateway cities, including going through Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, and South Gate before terminating in Downtown LA at Union Station.
“It will totally revolutionize your commute if you’re going to Downtown LA,” said Hahn.
As of now, it looks promising that the City of Downey will have a rail line station built as a part of the project.
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Rodriguez said that the city has continued to lobby for a station to be built, however the project will first need to get environmental approval before station locations are confirmed. That vote should come early next week.
A representative for Hahn also confirmed via Metro that a Downey stop is being considered in the current plans but added that these plans were still “very preliminary” and that details should be finalized after a further study and technical work by Metro.
According to current plans, the station would be located on Gardendale Street, within the Rancho Los Amigos south campus.
The project is on a timeline to be completed in 2028, according to Hahn.
At Tuesday’s meeting, attendees were presented with eight potential routes – four initially proposed and four alternatives created after community feedback from last summer’s scoping meetings – labeled “A” through “H.”
Alignment A would start as an aerial configuration before transitioning into at-grade, jogging west towards Little Tokyo before transitioning into an aerial configuration before terminating at Union Station.
Alignment B would similarly start as an aerial configuration before transitioning into an at-grade, following on Vignes Street transitioning into an aerial configuration to terminate at Union Station.
Alignments C and D would be parallel to the existing Metro Blue Line as an aerial configuration transitioning at grade to be under the 10 freeway before transitioning back aerially through Alameda Street before terminating at Union Station.
Alignment E would start aerially before transitioning to an underground configuration all the way to Union Station.
Alignment F would again be parallel to the Metro Blue Line starting aerially before transitioning into an underground configuration, before transitioning back to an aerial configuration to terminate at two possible locations at Union Station.
Alignment G would start as an aerial configuration before transitioning to at-grade, heading west into Downtown with stations at Arts District and South Park, before terminating at two possible locations – one closer to 8th and Flower Streets, with service to the existing 7th and Metro Station with a pedestrian connection, and the other closer to 5th and Broadway Streets, to service the existing Pershing Square station also via a pedestrian connection.
Alignment H will start as an aerial underground configuration to reach Arts District / 6th Street Station.
The Metro Board of Directors will vote on the final alignment next week, May 24. Metro staff will be recommending that the board select either options E, F, or G.
Hahn said that she backs alternative E.
“From the very beginning, it had sort of a different alignment up north by Union Station. Because of all the comments we’ve heard, particularly from this region, they really wanted a convenient ‘one-seat-ride’ that they can get on and end at Union Station and not have to transfer,” said Hahn. “If we’re going to build transportation projects that get people out of their cars, it has to be convenient, easy, and it has to save them time and effort.”
When asked about Downey’s preferred route, Mayor Sean Ashton said that the city as a whole had not made a decision yet, however he - like Hahn - preferred route E.
“With option E, you have connectivity to Union Station which is really important because the northern part of this alignment is the second part that will go from Union Station out to Hollywood-Burbank Airport, and then from there possibly into Santa Clarita, possibly into Lancaster-Palmdale,” said Ashton. “That’s a northern option, that if you don’t go to Union Station, makes it extremely more expensive to connect that part of it.
“Also, with the Downtown area, there were concerns about going aerial, because of the disruptions that they’ve already had with all the at-grade lines, so they wanted to have something underground. With option E, you’re going underneath Alameda which isn’t going to disrupt too many of the buildings and the businesses, gives them access to the line, and as they’ve shown it’s going to be the highest projected ridership out of all the eight options.”
Additional information about the project can be found online at metro.net/wsab, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Residents are also encouraged to follow on social media for updates, at @metrowsab on Twitter or at metrowsab on Facebook. Those with questions can also call 213-922-6262.