This week’s hot topic regarding the future of L.A.’s Metro Rail network is the fabled Downtown Connector. The Connector will enable you to travel from Pasadena to Long Beach, without ever making a transfer. You see, someone thought it might be a good idea to have the Gold Line terminate at Union Station, and the Blue Line end at 7th Street Station. Which means if you want to keep riding, you have to get on the Red Line. Brilliant.
Blogdowntown and Angelenic have been covering the Connector meetings, along with renderings and possible routes. What baffles the mind, is that Metro is actually considering above ground options through Downtown. BDT is on the money when it says the only option is underground.
This raises an issue on a much larger scale. We’re extending the Gold Line above ground. We’re building Expo above ground. We’re talking Crenshaw above ground. Why? Because above ground is cheaper.
Cheaper is never better. Cheaper costs you in the long run. It costs you in 50 years when the city, already crippled by an exploding population, is forced to spend millions more to replace all those old light rail trains from the 2000s with subways. It costs you in urban blight. You know how that building from the 70s that looked cool when it was built, but now looks like… well, a building from the 70s? What will L.A. look like with a bunch of above ground trains 50 years from now?
Photo from yuzu’s photostream