AirTalk for December 5, 2012

Downtown LA streetcar could revolutionize public transportation

LA Streetcar

Los Angeles Streetcar Inc

This is a rendering of the streetcar planned for downtown Los Angeles. (Image from Los Angeles Streetcar Inc.)

This week, voters in downtown Los Angeles approved crucial financing to fund a streetcar project. Seventy-three percent of residents voted to raise $62.5 million in funding with a property tax on local housing. The money will go towards the $125 million project, a streetcar which would run along three of downtown’s busiest streets and connect several neighborhoods, including South Park, Civic Center, the fashion district, and the old banking district.

If everything goes according to plan, the streetcar will be completed by 2015. Supporters see the streetcar, which would run seven days a week, 18 hours a day, as the missing link in Los Angeles transportation. The project would make much of the heart of downtown truly car-optional. While there has been some criticism of the voting process, which allowed residents of downtown to vote, but excluded non-resident property owners, there is no organized opposition.

How would a downtown streetcar change local life? Would the project make downtown neighborhoods more accessible? Are you looking forward to the changes to L.A. public transportation, or are you committed to car culture?

Guest:

Michael Smart, lecturer in urban planning at the University of California Los Angeles Institute of Transportation Studies

Map:

Below is the alternative alignment for the Downtown L.A. Streetcar. Learn more about the Alternatives Analysis process and the Locally Preferred Alternative at Metro’s Streetcar page, located here.


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