By Bianca Barragan, September 10, 2015
LA's Olympic dreams include a big-time r
enovation of the Coliseum and the creation of athlete housing along the LA River, but the Games could also help get two pivotal transportation projects finished years ahead of schedule. The LA Times reports that Metro has officially asked to participate in a pilot program from the Federal Transit Administration that would kick the construction into overdrive on the Purple Line extension and speed up work on the Crenshaw Line's connection to LAX so that both are done in time for the 2024 Games that LA might be hosting.
The LAX/rail connection would link the Crenshaw Line stop at Ninety-Sixth Street and Aviation to a people-mover train that will take riders to a transit hub, a rental car facility, and the terminals at LAX. The Crenshaw Line is expected to open in 2019, but the link to LAX is currently scheduled to open four years after the Olympics, in 2028. If Metro's approved, it would be finished in time for the 2024 Games.
The Purple Line extension is presently planned to open in three sections: the first will run from Western to La Cienega along Wilshire, due in 2024; the second will go from La Cienega to Constellation Avenue in Century City, due in 2025; and the last phase would travel all the way to the Veteran's Affairs campus in West LA and be ready by 2036. The completion of the subway to the VA would pass UCLA, an Olympic venue for sports like water polo.
2036 is 12 years too late for the 2024 Games, but with federal approval and an "extremely aggressive" construction schedule that would allow for "concurrent construction" of all three phases of the subway, the Purple Line could be up and running on May 31, 2024, according to a draft schedule included with Metro's request to join the pilot. That's six weeks before the start date of the Olympics proposed in the bid book.
The Times notes that winning an Olympic bid often spurs new transit projects, noting that when Salt Lake City won the bid for the 2002 Winter Olympics, they hustled to get two light rail lines running in time for the Games. But LA hasn't won yet; that decision won't be made by the International Olympic Committee until 2017.
· Eyeing L.A.'s Olympic bid, Metro seeks to accelerate two rail projects [LAT]
· 7 Very Big-Deal Plans in Los Angeles's New 2024 Olympics Bid [Curbed LA]