Governor Schwarzenegger lit up the blogosphere last week following his comment (however off-the-cuff) that double-decking the 405 freeway might become necessary for traffic relief during a news conference. I’m writing today because to explain why this is a long-way off.

For the record, the Governor was referring to the prospect of double-decking the 405 in order to add tracks for a light-rail line, not “slapping another freeway on top of the 405” (CurbedLA)

Of course, even just a right-away for trains down the 405 would bring some joy to the thousands of UCLA-bound commuters who travel through the Sepulveda Pass.

But I think it is important to point out (no matter how disappointing) that the construction of any kind of rapid transit down the 405 is like #30 in the Long Range Transportation Plan, aka Metro’s List of Things To Do.The Long Range Transportation Plan, which was approved by the Metro Board of Directors, is a planning document which lists the projects for which Metro has the financial ability to build. It was revised in 2009 following the passage of Measure R, which ensured that there would be a steady stream of money from a half-cent sales tax to build transportation projects, including (my beloved) Westside Subway Extension and the downtown Regional Connector.

There are a lot of projects with committed funding listed in the LRTP, including several already under study, like the Westside Subway Extension, Phase 2 from the Eastside Extension, and the Orange Line Extension. A project called San Fernando Valley I-405 Corridor Connection is on the list, slated for completion much later than most, but has not undergone any kind of serious study (Metro Planning and Programming Committee memo to Board of Directors, October 14, 2009, p. 23):

  • FY2010: Metro Gold Line Extension
  • 2010/2011: Expo Phase 1
  • 2013: Orange Line extension
  • 2018: San Fernando Valley East North-South Rapidway
  • 2015: Expo Phase 2 and bikeway
  • 2015: Wilshire BRT
  • 2017: Foothill Extension
  • 2018: Crenshaw Corridor
  • 2029: LAX Green Line extension
  • 2019: Regional Connector <–hoping to accelerate timeline on this project through 30/10 plan.)
  • 2019: Wilshire Subway to Fairfax
  • 2026: Wilshire Subway to Century City
  • 2027: West Santa Ana ROW Extension
  • 2033: South Bay Green Line extension
  • 2036: Wilshire Subway to Westwood
  • 2039: San Fernando Valley I-405 Corridor Connection (Mode TBD)

So there is a commitment in the LRTP to fund such a project, but it hasn’t been formally studied. Nobody knows definitively, not even the Governor, whether such a project would be elevated, subterranean, or at-grade.