Do we really need to spend $13B to get to UCLA?
When Mayor Garcetti first threw in the idea of monorail for the 405 corridor, the idea was to save money on tunneling. Just this week, Metro released their concepts for the Sepulveda Pass corridor and UrbanizeLA has a write up including the updates being shown at the meetings. All modalities; including monorail, have a tunneled section into UCLA and Westwood and are upwards of $9-$13 Billion… well over the $5.6 Billion they have allocated for the first 2 phases in the Measure M Expenditure Plan.
So we bring up the question… Do we really need to tunnel to get to UCLA?
Van Nuys to LAX $6.6 Billion by 2028
… and thanks to www.caldera.la we have new map concepts to show
UCLA is an important destination for students, faculty, and attendees of sporting and other events at the University’s many venues. Direct access is vital, but it doesn’t mean we need to go billions over budget for a full subway stop when there are available air rights all over the Westside. With a fully automated elevated monorail system, we could build multiple lines along one corridor with terminating branches that end at the university without compromising the speed of commutes from the Valley to LAX. Using one line to zig zag and swerve just to hit destinations is a big part of what the CA High Speed Rail can attribute to its High cost overruns. Streetsblog has a write up on how the French offered to construct the High Speed Rail system, but recommended the project stay along the I-5 right of way to save time and money and create spurs to the cities just off the line. Because of politics, California turned it down and created the boondoggle we see today. The routing style of the French proposal is what we have in mind for Metro to look at for Monorail/HyRail.
Constructing elevated Monorail can range from $200-$300 million per mile. Even if Monorail was built in the most expensive way using the same techniques found on LA’s existing elevated light rail sections, that is roughly $300 million per mile. At that cost, the price for this concept would be about $6.6 Billion in total for the full 3 phase, 22 mile corridor from Van Nuys to LAX. That leaves money to construct an extension directly to the LA Stadium in Inglewood in time for the Olympics in 2028.
Full automation brings us to the next point. Multiple lines can coexist along the same trunk line with termini at different places while maintaining 2-4 min headways in each direction.
Line 1 Valley-UCLA
This line would give completely grade separated access to UCLA and a connection to the Purple line Subway.
It will start along the Metrolink corridor in Van Nuys then head down Sepulveda until just south of Ventura bl. It will then veer onto the 405 and stay within the right of way until the 3 way junction at Wilshire. It will then head east for an elevated station at Gayley then head north to terminate at UCLA’s front door.
This line would start at one of the LAX people mover intermodal stations, then head north along Sepulveda blvd. until it meets the 405. It would then continue along either the 405 or Sepulveda bl until getting to the 3 way interchange at Wilshire. It would then proceed east to the terminus at UCLA with a stop at the purple line at Gayley.
Line 3 Van Nuys-LAX
This is the line that would almost entirely be elevated along Sepulveda bl and the 405. This would give a rapid access with limited stops or veers off course to allow Valley to LAX trips in 15 minutes. Because this line stays its course, it is fast, efficient, and leaves open remaining funds to extend the line into Inglewood with direct access to the LA Stadium in time for the opening ceremony for the 2028 Olympics. It also leaves open the possibility to; at a later time, extend the line along the harbor subdivision towards downtown Los Angeles.
In conclusion, when studying a monorail system to save money from tunneling, Metro should look at options specific to the advantages of each technology. Heavy Rail is designed to be built underground or separated at grade. Light Rail is designed to be built at grade while sharing right of way and interacting with people and cars. Monorail is designed to be fully elevated. Lets take each for what it is and fully use them to our advantage. Should metro choose to look at a High Speed Monorail like HyRail, we are looking at speeds well above the 50mph they are currently studying with rubber tire monorail. Let’s learn from the mistakes of the CAHSR and build a system that’s both cost effective and FAST!!
Metro has 3 more meetings coming up:
Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m. – noon Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave. Culver City, CA 90230
Tuesday, July 30, 6 – 8 p.m. St. Paul the Apostle Church, 10750 Ohio Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90024
Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Marvin Braude Constituent Service Center, 6262 Van Nuys Blvd. Van Nuys, CA 91401. This will be a bilingual meeting. The English presentation will be at 10:30 a.m.; the Spanish presentation will be at 11:45 a.m.
The HyRail exists to support the mayor’s vision for monorail and create a fast, efficient, effective system for Los Angeles that is faster than the tradition rubber tire monorails currently proposed. We believe that in the case of the mountainous Sepulveda Pass corridor that a traditional rubber tire monorail may be too slow for the high demand this corridor will have; which is reflected in estimated ridership numbers, and that Linear Induction Motors are the answer. We are aware of a patented High Speed Linear Induction Powered Monorail on steel wheels that; with the savings from tunneling, have a grand vision for Los Angeles far beyond this corridor
Team HyRail asks that you look at what Metro is presenting and the cost of the system and judge for yourself… is this the way forward, or is there another way… and voice your opinion to Metro.
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