By now the consensus is that L.A.’s traffic won’t be ameliorated by catering solely to cars; the more we widen freeways, the more we induce demand. Over the next decade, however, a number of new transportation projects from Metro and the private sector—some tried-and-true, some straight-up bizarre—will seek to dramatically reshape the way we navigate urban space.
Private Sector Projects
The congested neighborhoods below the Hollywood Sign could finally get some relief, thanks to a Warner Bros.-backed skyway to the landmark. A similar gondola may soon connect Union Station and Dodger Stadium. Though neither is more than a proposal as of yet, the latter could be rider-ready as early as 2022.
Elon Musk’s idea for blasting magnetically levitated pods through massive steel tubes has spurred the growth of three L.A.-based companies. Ukraine, China, and Abu Dhabi have signed on for hyperloops; could an L.A.- to-San Francisco route be next? If Musk is true to his tweets, we could see the beginnings of one in 2019.
In August, the scooter company Bird announced it’ll pour $1 per day per scooter into the construction and maintenance of safer, protected bike lanes even as it pushes to nix the current helmet requirement. Likelihood of this move lessening citywide scooter ambivalence: low.
The Boring Company
Musk’s hyperloop counterpart relies on turbocharged tunnel-boring machines to create a network of underground highways accessible—to pedestrians and drivers— via automated “skates” that would whisk riders through tunnels at up to 150 miles per hour. Two proposals—one for a proof of concept beneath Sepulveda Boulevard and another for a tunnel linking Dodger Stadium to the Red Line—are pending.
Uber has promised to bring passenger drones to L.A., with a version of the service running by 2023—relying at first on human pilots before handing the job of to robots. The goal is to launch tens of thousands of flights from rooftop skyports daily
Van Nuys Line: By 2027 a $1.3 billion light-rail will cruise up Van Nuys Boulevard at street level from the current Orange Line bus station. Terminating at the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station, it will bring long-awaited rail access to some of the most transit-dependent communities in the county.
Sepulveda Pass: Eventually the Van Nuys Line will be connected via the Sepulveda Pass to the Expo and Purple lines—an alternative to the grueling slog on the 405. Metro is considering light- and heavy-rail trains as well as a rubber-tired train and a monorail, with the goal of opening something by 2035 at the latest.
Regional Connector: Facilitating cross-county travel by linking East L.A. to Santa Monica and Azusa to Long Beach, this $1.76 billion, 1.9-mile segment of track will bring three new stations to downtown and connect the current 7th Street/ Metro Center station to the Gold Line by 2021.
Purple Line Extension: The long-awaited, majorly embroiled (thanks for that, Beverly Hills) link from DTLA to Westwood is scheduled to open in its entirety by 2024. With stops including LACMA, Rodeo Drive, and UCLA, it’ll cost about $8.2 billion.
Crenshaw Line: When it opens late next year, the $2 billion line will span 8.5 miles between the Expo and Green lines, connecting riders to LAX—and potentially Inglewood’s new NFL stadium—via an automated people mover.
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.