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City Council Approves Support of Ballot Measure M, the L.A. County Traffic Improvement Plan

Post Date:September 20, 2016 11:19 AM

LA-metro-logo1The City Council of the City of West Hollywood has unanimously approved support of Measure M, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (Metro’s) ballot measure, which Los Angeles County voters will decide upon in the general election on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Measure M, the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, proposes to increase the sales tax countywide to improve mobility and support transportation improvements to regional bus and rail transit networks, streets, and highways.

If approved by two-thirds of voters in Los Angeles County, Measure M would generate approximately $860 million annually. Measure M proposes a Local Return program for municipalities to use for transportation-related capital and program expenditures. Based on 2018 projections, Measure M’s proposed 17 percent Local Return program would generate an additional $509,000 annually for the City of West Hollywood.

Metro has indicated its intention to accelerate rail service to the City of West Hollywood. In a letter to the City of West Hollywood on Friday, September 16, 2016, Metro CEO Phil Washington outlined Metro’s commitment to proceed with key technical studies for a proposed Metro Rail project that would connect the Metro Red Line and Metro Crenshaw/LAX Northern Extension through West Hollywood. The City of West Hollywood has been conducting outreach and building support for the light-rail transit line proposal, which would more directly connect the City of West Hollywood to the existing Metro regional rail network and to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), and provide new mobility choices for underserved communities along the corridor.

“The City of West Hollywood always strives to find collaborative solutions to traffic and gridlock,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “That’s why we are extremely pleased with the progress the City has made advocating for Metro rail to come to our community in the near term. Also, Measure M will help fund a comprehensive approach to mobility — not only rail, but also active transportation projects and new technologies.”

“The battle to bring a subway line to West Hollywood has been ongoing for a long time and my thanks go out to Metro for making a possible connection to West Hollywood a priority,” said Mayor Pro Tempore John Heilman. “There is more work to be done and ensuring the passage of Measure M is essential to making rail connect to West Hollywood.”

The proposed Metro Crenshaw/LAX Northern Extension through West Hollywood would connect four existing lines (Red, Purple, Expo, and Green), which would optimize the existing Metro rail network by greatly enhancing regional connectivity. The rail route would provide increased access to health care destinations, such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Olympia Medical Center, and Miracle Mile Medical Center, and it would bring rail connections to major shopping and entertainment destinations within the City of West Hollywood, such as the Sunset Strip, Santa Monica Boulevard, and The Gateway, as well as regional destinations such as the Miracle Mile, the Beverly Center, the Beverly Connection, the Hollywood Bowl, and Hollywood & Highland. The completed Northern Extension, as proposed, would attract nearly 40,000 average daily riders. With the completed Green Line, it would provide a one-trip ride from the South Bay area (Torrance) to Hollywood’s Metro Red Line station at Hollywood & Highland.

Metro has outlined a schedule to move forward with the proposal as part of its “Operation Shovel Ready Initiative,” which represents a potential 20-year acceleration of the project. Metro has confirmed that:

  1. By June 2017, Metro will complete the Crenshaw Line Northern Extension Feasibility Study that began in May 2016 and is currently underway;
  2. In 2017 and without a gap, Metro will proceed with the Alternatives Analysis (AA)/Engineering Refinement Study to determine a preferred alignment;
  3. In 2018, Metro will proceed with an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on a preferred alignment; and
  4. Concurrent with these studies, Metro committed to pursuing additional funding to accelerate construction.

“Vote ‘yes’ on Measure M this November,” said Councilmember John D’Amico. “and help WeHo connect to Metro’s growing rail system.”

“West Hollywood has spent a lot of time and energy to make a subway along our portion of Santa Monica Boulevard a reality in our lifetime,” said Councilmember John J. Duran. “We know our residents support mass transit by huge numbers and Metro’s commitment in positioning WeHo to be rail ready by 2020 means we are headed in the right direction.”

“Rail in West Hollywood is finally within reach and we are grateful to the Metro Board and staff for partnering with us to make a subway to WeHo become reality,” said Councilmember Lindsey P. Horvath. “Go to the Yes on M website and check it out. Tell everyone, ‘yes’ on M.”

The City of West Hollywood has long supported increasing its transit options. The West Hollywood City Council unanimously adopted a Resolution in June 2015 to support Metro placing Measure M on the ballot. The West Hollywood City Council, in July 2015, unanimously called for the formation of a local advocacy committee, West Hollywood Advocates for Metro (WHAM), and established a City Council Subcommittee to work directly with staff and Metro to secure the light rail line for the City. WHAM has been working with the City of West Hollywood to engage major stakeholders and the community. In addition, a countywide grassroots coalition, All on Board, was formed to demonstrate the regional benefits of the light-rail project.

Residents in West Hollywood have consistently demonstrated support for additional transit options by voting in significant numbers in favor of countywide tax measures for transportation projects, with the highest percentage of support from any city in Los Angeles County. In 2008, Los Angeles County Sales Tax Measure R was approved with 66.7 percent; voters in the City of West Hollywood supported Measure R with an overwhelming 83.6 percent of the vote.

For additional information, please contact Joanna Hankamer in the City of West Hollywood’s Community Development Department at (323) 848-6395 or at jhankamer@weho.org. For people who are deaf or hearing impaired, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.

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