Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What about the Beverly Hills right-of-way on Santa Monica Blvd.?

Anyone traveling on Santa Monica Blvd. through Beverly Hills notices the unused, Metro-owned right-of-way on the southern side of the street.

It seems a bit of a missed opportunity?

It seems any subway alignment that runs via Santa Monica Blvd. through West Hollywood will head south to the Beverly Center instead of through the low density back end of Beverly Hills.

There are two basic ideas of how to use this right-of-way to increase mobility.

(1) Turn the right-of-way into transit-only lanes. This would take buses off of Santa Monica Blvd. and allow them to move quickly through this area, adding to their appeal.

(2) Turn the right-of-way into a modern streetcar or light-rail route between Century City and West Hollywood that could then be extended east on Santa Monica Blvd. to Hollywood and beyond.

(3) Do both. In Seattle's downtown transit tunnel, both buses and the new light rail share the tunnel.

Yes, this would require redesigning parking structures and redesigning part of Beverly Hills Civic Center, but that could be a great opportunity. However, it would be worth it as a light-rail/streetcar stop at Beverly Hills Civic Center would allow even more people to get to/from Beverly Hills.

I don't believe those homeowners on the north side of Santa Monica Blvd. would mind a light-rail/streetcar on the south side, as it would be more attractive than what is there now, which is nothing.

Perhaps West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Hollywood and the rest of Los Angeles can work together to create something wonderful for the future on this unused right-of-way.

What do you think?

1 comment:

ThomasD said...

Santa Monica Blvd definitely should have a streetcar between Century City and Hollywood/SMB Metro Station. Perhaps enlightened management at Fox and Paramount Studios would see the benefit of building NAMED stations near them and having 30 years of rights to advertise on Streetcars. That should be worth $10-15 million each. Given the hole project should cost under $150 million, $20-30 million in private contribution would mightily impress the Federal Transit Agency and Caltrans to complete funding without tapping Measure R funds.