WEST HOLLYWOOD — Bringing a rail line to West Hollywood was the focus of a city-initiated community leaders breakfast Feb. 6 at the Jeremy West Hollywood.
City and transportation officials discussed the possible extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line now under construction north on Crenshaw Boulevard to Mid-City Los Angeles and then on to Hollywood and West Hollywood.
Discussion focused on the light rail project’s regional significance and regional connectivity that would link Torrance and Hollywood, provide a rail service from Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport, and a direct link to the proposed high-speed rail station in Burbank.
West Hollywood Mayor John Heilman kicked off the meeting by welcoming community leaders from across Los Angeles County, including transit enthusiasts from as far south as Hermosa Beach and the South Bay, to Crenshaw, Mid-City Los Angeles, Hollywood, and North Hollywood; and representing hospitals and hotels; chambers of commerce, businesses, and institutions; elected officials; and residents.
West Hollywood City Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath and Inglewood Mayor James Butts also spoke.
Butts, who is the second vice chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Board of Directors, called on transit infrastructure to break down boundaries between communities to “expand our concept of local” to more effectively share resources.
One such destination is the Stadium of Champions, the new NFL stadium at Hollywood Park, currently being built in Mayor Butts’ community for the Rams and Chargers, accompanied by a venue for the Clippers as well as new housing. The city of Inglewood is experiencing an unprecedented amount of private investment that is bringing the city back from the brink of bankruptcy.
Butts noted that advocates are encouraging “an epiphany amongst MTA board members as to why this project is so important to the overall system.”
Horvath thanked the growing coalition of regional supporters for the Northern Extension of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, and attributed their strong voice in 2016 with persuading the MTA to accelerate the project’s technical studies, which will provide shovel-readiness by 2020.
The line is projected to have a ridership of 90,000 daily riders. She shared that, “while the MTA is working through the technical design processes, what’s needed is a stronger, bigger, and louder coalition” that focuses attention not only on regional benefits, but on constructing the light rail extension by year 2028 to connect people to Olympic and Paralympic venues.
Mayor Heilman told the crowd, “we are here today, as members of WHAM [West Hollywood Advocates for Metro Rail] and the All-On-Board Coalition because, after many years of promises, we can finally see the train coming.”