Shortly after Los Angeles was announced as the official host of the 2028 Olympics, the local metro system’s Board of Directors dreamt up a bright future for the area’s public transportation infrastructure, which is currently far less developed than those of other major American cities.
In January, several projects that originally had differing completion dates, including a public transit system through the Sepulveda Pass by 2033, a nine-mile extension of the Gold Line to Whittier by 2035, and a 19-mile rail line from Union Station to Artesia by 2041, received approval to be fast-tracked for completion dates prior to 2028 in a unanimous vote from the Board of Directors, according to Curbed LA. The vote brought the “Twenty-eight by ’28” initiative led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti closer to reality and was backed by funding from voter-approved ballot measures Measure R and Measure M.
While California residents and businesses continue to interpret the limits of Governor Gavin Newsom’s order for all individuals living in the state to stay home in an effort to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, more strategies for meeting the 2028 deadline have been put on the table. According to Streetsblog LA, the Beverly Hills City Council will vote on a proposal tomorrow to expedite construction on two subway stops that are part of the extension to the Purple Line Subway, one of the 28 initiatives set to be complete before 2028, during the city-wide lockdown. The Metro website expresses that “a full closure of Wilshire Blvd. between Crescent Dr. and Beverly Dr. was identified as a potential option to help work progress during the statewide pandemic health restrictions.”
The news may be surprising to locals, many of whom remember that the city of Beverly Hills formally opposed the construction of the very same subway extension in 2010. “The City remains very concerned about tunneling under residential properties and especially under the Beverly Hills High School,” the letter written by Beverly Hills Mayor Jimmy Delshad expresses to Donald R. Knabe, a former member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Concerns will likely be raised regarding the safety of keeping a construction site open during the state-wide lockdown. CBS Los Angeles reported that two contractors working for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority, one of whom was a documented worker for Walsh Shea Corridor Constructors, the firm building the Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail project, have recently tested positive for COVID-19. Additionally, funding may be more difficult to come by in the near future as the city reports an 80 percent drop in ridership, according to LAist. Announcements have not yet been made regarding the revised construction timelines of other Metro projects.