By Ramsay Goyal
Measure M, a half-cent sales tax increase funding traffic improvement projects in Los Angeles County, passed in the November election with 69.8 percent of the vote. Angelenos spend an average of 81 hours a year stuck in traffic. Currently, there are 10.2 million people living in LA County, with this number projected to grow by 2.3 million people over the next 40 years. Traffic congestion and air pollution are expected to get worse with more growth, and Measure M is intended to raise money to meet those needs.
The measure will allow for the extension of four of Los Angeles’ rail lines, the creation of 3 rail lines, and the addition of a 3.8 mile long streetcar in Downtown Los Angeles. In addition, three new Bus Rapid Transit routes were created. On a BRT route, a bus has signal priority, its own dedicated bus lane and all-door boarding to improve travel efficiency. Although Measure M will slightly raise taxes, it will overall benefit the Loyola community.
One of the biggest BRT routes is right in Loyola’s neighborhood: A 12.5-mile BRT line will be built on Vermont Boulevard between Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and 120th Street in the Athens neighborhood of Los Angeles. Commute time will be cut by 40 percent from the existing rapid line that travels on Vermont. The nearest BRT stop to Loyola, Vermont/Venice, is less than a five minute walk from Loyola’s front doors. This BRT line will connect with numerous other bus lines, the Green Line, which travels to Norwalk, El Segundo and Manhattan Beach, the Expo Line, which can be ridden from Downtown to Santa Monica and West LA, the Red Line which traverses from Downtown to Hollywood and Universal Citywalk and the Purple Line which journeys from Downtown to Koreatown. This new BRT line will make travel to and from school easier and shorter for Cubs who travel on the numerous lines that will connect to Vermont’s BRT.
The Sepulveda Pass rail corridor, which will be built with funds from Measure M, might impact students living on the Westside. The Sepulveda Pass-Interstate 405 commute between Interstate 10 and CA Highway 101 is one of the most heavily congested freeways in the United States with over 500,000 commuters daily. This rail project is a 10-mile, high-capacity transit corridor underneath the Sepulveda Pass of the 405 freeway. The project connects the San Fernando Valley to UCLA and the Westside by rail and provides a link between the Orange Line in Van Nuys and the future planned Purple Line Rail stop in Westwood
Finally, with Measure M passed, LAX will have a rail line running straight to its Central Terminal Area. The LAX Automated People Mover connects Metro Green Line Rail, Crenshaw/LAX Rail Line and Metro and municipal bus service at 96th Street and Aviation Boulevard to the Los Angeles International Airport with trains arriving every two minutes. The LAX Automated People Mover will be approximately two miles long and will include six stations – three in the Central Terminal Area and three outside of the airport at other LAX facilities. The LAX Automated People Mover system will be fully automated and grade separated from pedestrians and other vehicles. It will be designed for passengers with luggage and allow for reliable access to the airport. Each station within the Central Terminal Area will connect to moving walkways to ensure passengers can get to their terminals quickly.
Furthermore, The Crenshaw/LAX Rail line, which is currently under construction, will be extended north from its current planned stop at the Expo Line Crenshaw Station to the Red Line Hollywood/Highland Station. The LAX Automated People Mover will enable more people an easy access to the airport.
Measure M is expected to generate an estimated $860 million a year in 2017. Furthermore, based on the latest economic forecast by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan would add 465,690 new jobs across the region.
Overall, Measure M will be a benefit to the Loyola community to help Cubs get where they need to go quicker and easier than ever before.