A new, 12.5-mile north-south bus rapid transit project is coming to beleaguered Vermont Avenue in the 2020s, but a new private proposal could have it operating years earlier.
Local engineering powerhouse AECOM—which has designed the Gold Line’s Eastside Extension and parts of LAX’s master plan—recently submitted an unsolicited proposal to help design and build a bus rapid transit line on Vermont Avenue; think of an Orange Line running through South L.A., USC and Koreatown to the Vermont/Sunset Red Line Station in East Hollywood. Such a project would likely utilize exclusive lanes, offer all-door boarding, and reconfigure Vermont Avenue, from Hollywood Boulevard to 120th Street, with new bus shelters, landscaping, and signage. The line would connect to rail stations on the Red, Purple, Expo, and Green Lines.
Metro is now evaluating the proposal and will decide how to proceed with the proposed public-private partnership. Such a deal could mean AECOM would help fund and design the project for a return on their investment, possibly through a cut of the fares. Without AECOM’s involvement, a ground-breaking is planned for 2024, with a ribbon-cutting four to six years later. Striking a partnership, Metro and AECOM could slice years off that timeline.
Vermont is currently Metro’s second-busiest bus corridor (Wilshire is, unsurprisingly, the first) with more than 45,000 weekday boardings, about as many people who ride the Green Line on a typical work day. Vermont is also a densely populated conduit, with over 150,000 people living a half-mile from either side of the avenue. Not only could a Vermont bus rapid transit line change north-south travel patterns in the city, it could help spruce up a street that has long been undervalued and overlooked.
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