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Regional Connector Debate Ready for Round 2

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2008, at 01:07PM

Connector Route Connector routing as art: a sketch by former LADOT Assistant GM James Okazaki.

Next week Metro is holding a pair of meetings on the Regional Connector, a project designed to create through-trips for the agency's light rail lines. Unlike November's meetings, which were just about taking opinions, with no feedback or Q&A, this time Metro has some possible alignments that they'll be looking to present, with Q&A to follow a project update.

It's almost certain that Metro will bring to the table a plan that has the Connector run at-grade through Downtown. A likely route would have the tracks continue north from the Blue Line at 7th/Metro, surfacing around 3rd or 2nd streets. The line would then turn right and proceed at-grade to Alameda before connecting to the Gold Line eastside extension. As we discussed before, an at-grade routing simply will not work for Downtown.

In the spirit of Q&A, I leave you with three questions I would put to Metro:

  1. At-grade service means running 300' long trains across several key north-south streets at very short intervals. How would this impact traffic and pedestrians Downtown?

  2. Downtown's north-south corridors are ground-zero for marches and protests. Is it acceptable for a critical rail corridor to be paralyzed every time a march occurs?

  3. Given the importance of this project, isn't it worth taking the time and finding the money to do it right and not face the same kind of cost-cutting issues we see today on the Gold Line and Expo Line?

There are two Metro Connector meetings next week. The first is Tuesday, February 26th, at 6:30pm at the Japanese American National Museum (369 E. 1st Street). The second is Thursday, February 28th, at noon at the Central Library (630 W. 5th Street).


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