Ten years after the MTA Red Line subway opened, it is clear that the current system is a fraction of what our growing city needs. We need more, and I want to be sure that we go the extra mile on planning so that we don't find 10 years down the line that we've shortchanged ourselves.
As a member of the Los Angeles City Council's Transportation Committee, a former Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member and a lifelong rail advocate, I recommend that MTA expand the Red Line by connecting the neighborhoods where people live to the regional centers of commerce, culture and education. There are several routes that I feel strongly that MTA should add to its plans.
Specifically, MTA should expand the Red, Purple and Green lines in the most cost-effective way possible, by using existing rights of way throughout the city. If we take advantage of freeway and former Red Car rights of way, we can dramatically reduce the cost of subway expansion. We can also go above grade in some areas, which would also save money.
In the San Fernando Valley, the Red Line should expand to communities in the North Valley that have grown dramatically over the past 20 years. Specifically, it should continue north underground from the North Hollywood station terminus to Valley Plaza at Victory and Laurel Canyon boulevards. From there, it should go northwest to the 170 Freeway and come above ground. Then, it should follow the center of Highway 170, using the existing public right of way, to Interstate 5 and continue north to Santa Clarita.