On Saturday the LA Times ran an article on the Purple Line extension that was real eye-opener for me. Let me say up front that I absolutely support the extension, and I’m glad the MTA is expanding our transit network. But I hadn’t realized how disruptive the construction would be, and I have to say I sympathize with the residents who are up in arms. They’re looking at years of noise, dust, traffic and general chaos. Even some of those who want to see the Purple Line go farther west are freaking out now that they’re realizing what it means for residents and businesses in the Wilshire Corridor.
If all goes well, the first phase of the project will be completed in nine years. That will only take the Purple Line to La Cienega. It will be over ten more years before it reaches its ultimate destination, the VA campus in West LA. I want to repeat the phrase “if all goes well”. Those of you who were around in the nineties will recall the mixture of disbelief and disgust that Angelenos felt during the construction of the Red Line, when stories about delays, cost overruns, incompetence and corruption appeared regularly in the news. The actual timeline for the Purple Line could easily end up stretching beyond current estimates, and I have no doubt it’ll cost way more than the MTA is telling us.
I am really glad the MTA is moving aggressively to expand our transit system, not just along this corridor but all over the county. I hope, though, that they’re letting residents know what they’re in for, and taking the time to listen to citizens’ complaints. The people who live along the Wilshire Corridor are going to be dealing with some real problems over the next two decades. The City of LA and the MTA need to do everything they can to minimize the disruptions.
Here’s the story from the Times.