By Matt Stevens, October 2, 2013
Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso has grand visions of his trolley at
The Grove connecting museums and shopping complexes in the Mid-Wilshire
area. He envisions the old-fashioned trolley going down Fairfax to the
museums and along Third to the Beverly Center.
Months after floating the idea of a trolley that would connect the landmarks of the Fairfax neighborhood, billionaire developer Rick Caruso has teamed with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to study whether such a transit option could really work in the trendy part of town.
A spokeswoman for
Caruso’s real estate development company said Wednesday that the study
would examine “a few potential routes, including several options via
Fairfax Boulevard.” In a news release, Caruso Affiliated specifically
proposed a connection between the anticipated Metro Purple Line subway
station near LACMA and The Grove.
The feasibility study will begin this week, the statement said, and
will “evaluate the opportunities and challenges of extending The Grove’s
existing trolley to Fairfax and Wilshire including traffic,
environment, design, engineering, and cost analysis.” The study is
expected to take six to eight weeks.
“This neighborhood has become
the cultural center of Los Angeles, and the trolley is an innovative
way to bring people together and provide a memorable, unique experience
in our city,” Caruso said in the statement. “Other cities have great
streetcar lines that function very effectively. We are optimistic about
finding out a way to get this done in our backyard.”
In June, Caruso began talking up the idea of extending the old-fashioned trolley
that now runs through his Grove shopping center to other locations in
the neighborhood, including the Beverly Center and LACMA. He told The
Times then that he would throw "a significant amount" of his money
toward the idea.
He also envisioned that the trolley would make a loop around the
numerous attractions nearby, including the planned Academy Museum of
Motion Pictures on Wilshire Boulevard, the Park La Brea apartment
complex and the hip West 3rd Street shopping district.
The Caruso Affiliated spokeswoman said the company and the museum do
not have a single “preferred” route in mind and will await the results
of the study before laying out a more detailed plan.
Some residents in the area have expressed concern about how a trolley
could run down the district's already clogged streets. They staunchly
oppose laying new track, saying the trolley would jam traffic even more
and present many safety issues.
Transportation experts have also questioned exactly what kind of
public-private partnership Caruso is envisioning to pay for the system.
Two Los Angeles city councilmen, Tom LaBonge and Paul Koretz, supported the idea of the study, according to the news release.