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Review process begins for Regional Connector; light rail expansion will provide 'one seat' ride

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, January 30, 2012, at 10:06AM
via Metro website

A rendering for the new Regional Connector project. The final environmental reports have just been released.

After nearly five years of route planning, environmental assessment and community input, the Regional Connector project is inching closer to it's final construction date with it's release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Final EIS/EIR).

The Connector is a 1.9-mile, fully underground light rail line and this final report is a "culmination" of all of the environmental and technical research that went into planning the expansion, as well as representative of stakeholder and community input.

Over the next month, this report will be reviewed by the public and discussed by the Metro Board of Directors, leading up to tweaks in the design and the actual construction slated to begin in 2014.

The Regional Connector will connect the Metro Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line. It will create two regional light rail lines including a north/south route from Claremont to Long Beach and an east/west route from East L.A. to Santa Monica.

It will also bring three new stations to Downtown; one on Grand Avenue, one on Broadway and another in the Little Tokyo/Arts District.

According to Metro's website, the Connector is supposed to help ease traffic for L.A. commuters by providing a "one seat ride," as well as helping to improve air quality and reducing L.A. County's carbon footprint.

The Connector will provide access to about 90,000 passengers and minimize the need for transfers, leading to decreased travel times across the County by 10 - 20 minutes.

The final EIS/EIR documents bring this project one step closer to launch, but they aren't the easiest to understand - so Metro is offering a solution: Two open houses are scheduled for early next week, where the public is encouraged to come ask questions about these reports.

The open houses take place Tuesday, Feb. 7. from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Colburn School of Music and Wednesday, Feb. 8, from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the Japanese American National Museum.

Final design plans for the Connector are scheduled through 2013.

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