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Regional Connector Down to Two Alternatives

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, May 07, 2008, at 05:41PM
2nd Street with Regional Connector Metro

A rendering of 2nd street with above-ground operation of the Regional Connector.

Planning for the Regional Connector is down to two preferred alternatives, one above ground and one below. Costs for the two differ by only $150 million.

At a meeting of the Bringing Back Broadway Streetcar Committee this afternoon, Metro staff presented the Connector project, intended to link the Blue and Expo light rail lines with the two parts of the Gold Line. At peak times, 48 trains per hour will use the Connector.

The cost difference between the two was much narrower than many had expected. The above-ground Connector estimates came in at $650 million, with a subway alternative at $800 million.

Eight alternatives were presented at meetings in February, but only two will move forward in the Alternatives Analysis process.

The above-ground alternative -- Alternative 3B in Metro's original presentations -- would begin below-grade on Flower, connected to the existing tail tracks at the 7th / Metro station. It would come above ground at 4th, where it would have a surface station. It would cross 3rd street at-grade below cutting into the 2nd street tunnel and turning east. The Connector would turn north off of 2nd, using Main and Los Angeles streets in a paired-couplet configuration before turning right at Temple and connecting to the Gold Line above the Little Tokyo / Arts District station.

2nd street would be removed from normal auto service, and only a single access lane would be provided along the portion travelled by the Connector.

The below-ground alternative -- Alternative 5 from the original eight -- would run as a complete subway, heading north on Flower and turning east under 2nd. It would surface in the lot currently occupied by the Office Depot in Little Tokyo, and would cross Alameda at-grade. Stations would be located roughly at 5th & Flower, 2nd & Hope and 2nd & Spring / Main.

Metro hopes to complete its Alternatives Analysis within a year, and start the process of going after Federal New Start funds. Staff today said that the Connector project should score as one of the most competitive projects in the country.

Initial operation plans would have trains running north-south and east-west, with one line running Long Beach to Pasadena and the other from Culver City to East L.A.


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