Restoration of Historic Streetcar Service in Downtown Los Angeles (E1907459)

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in coordination with the City of Los Angeles (the City) is proposing to restore historic streetcar service in downtown Los Angeles. FTA is the federal lead agency pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared at the direction and under the supervision of the City of Los Angeles as the local lead agency. Development of the Project and its environmental review process are being managed through the joint cooperation of the City Department of Transportation (LADOT), Bureau of Engineering (LABOE), and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Additional support is being provided by the City Council District 14 and Los Angeles Streetcar Inc. (LASI), an independent non-profit agency.
  
Project Description

The Project proposes to enhance mobility options to residents, employees and visitors of downtown Los Angeles through expanded transit circulation service and as well as support the growth and revitalization of downtown Los Angeles.

The 7th Street Alignment Alternative

The 7th Street Alignment Alternative would construct and implement streetcar service along an alignment that would begin at the corner of Hill and 1st Streets. From 1st Street, the streetcar would turn south on Broadway, traveling to 11th Street where it would turn west and continue on to Figueroa Street. The streetcar would then turn north on Figueroa Street and travel to 7th Street, where it would turn east. From 7th Street, the streetcar would turn north on Hill Street, then continue back to 1st Street, completing the circuit. Potential inclusion of a Grand Avenue Extension would also provide a two-way alignment spur west along 1st Street, beginning at Hill Street, and continuing south along Grand Avenue to a stop north of 2nd Street. The loop would be up to 3.8 miles in length.

Platforms

The current plans include up to 24 platforms. The streetcars would make stops at 23 stations along the alignment, and the potential Grand Avenue Extension includes one additional station. The number of platforms is subject to change based upon further design of the Project. With varying configurations, the platforms would generally consist of a raised concrete pad approximately 8 feet wide by 70 feet long. Some of the streetcar platforms would be shared by Metro, other regional operators, and LADOT DASH buses. Shared platforms would generally be approximately 120 feet long, though physical constraints on some street segments could limit them to approximately 70 feet long. The maximum curb height would be approximately 8 to 14 inches. Platforms would be located adjacent to the sidewalk under the Project, although the Grand Avenue Extension would include a platform in the center of Grand Avenue. Platforms would transition from the sidewalk to match or nearly match the floor height of the streetcar vehicles. Platforms would be designed and constructed to connect to the sidewalk in a way that meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and building access requirements.

Overhead Contact System (OCS)

Electrical power would be supplied to streetcar vehicles through an OCS. There are two potential configurations for the OCS catenary wires, which would supply electrical power to the streetcar vehicles. One configuration would be to support the contact wire with a span wire between two poles located on either side of the street, perpendicular to the streetcar track. Another configuration would support the contact wire from cantilever arms connected to single poles. Configurations would be site-specific and be made based upon engineering design and aesthetic considerations. Both of these configurations could use decorative poles chosen to be consistent with the streetscape. OCS poles would be approximately 25 to 30 feet tall and would be typically installed at intervals of about 80 to 120 feet, with added poles at turns. Wire heights above the tracks would typically range between approximately 18 and 19 feet in the public right-of-way.

Traction Power Substation (TPSS)

The streetcars would be powered by an estimated five TPSS units spaced relatively evenly throughout the alignment to provide Direct Current power for the streetcars. The TPSS units would measure approximately 17 feet long by 11 feet wide by 11 feet high, although these dimensions could vary. The footprint needed for the TPSS installations could be up to approximately 250 square feet. Each TPSS unit would typically be placed in an off-street location, such as a parking lot or other suitable site. At one location, 2nd Street and Grand Avenue, the currently recommended potential TPSS site may need to occupy space in the public right-of-way.

Maintenance and Storage Facility

The Project would require a Maintenance and Storage Facilty (MSF) on an approximately 1.25 acre site on the west side of Broadway between 2nd and 3rd streets. The MSF would provide a location for secure storage of streetcar vehicles when they are not in operation, and for regular light maintenance of the vehicles to keep them clean and in good operating condition. The MSF would consist of an enclosed building and an outdoor area where routine inspections, maintenance work, and light repairs could be performed. The MSF would have sufficient storage capacity to handle the needs of the streetcar system, with paved maintenance aisles, a pit track, overhead crane, paved truck access, staff offices, parts storage areas, and a machine shop. An employee parking area may also be provided. The MSF would comply with the City’s Green Building Code and also meet minimum Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design certification requirements.

ALTERNATIVES CONSIDERED

The EA for the Project evaluated two alternatives: the No Build Alternative and the 7th Street Alignment Alternative. Under the No Build Alternative, the proposed streetcar service would not be implemented in downtown. The 7th Street Alignment Alternative is the preferred alternative, and would construct and implement streetcar service along an alignment that would begin at the corner of Hill and 1st Streets. From 1st Street, the streetcar would turn south on Broadway, traveling to 11th Street where it would turn west and continue on to Figueroa Street. The streetcar would then turn north on Figueroa Street and travel to 7th Street, where it would turn east. From 7th Street, the streetcar would turn north on Hill Street, then continue back to 1st Street, completing the circuit. The current plans include up to 24 platforms. The streetcars would make stops at 23 stations along the alignment, and the potential Grand Avenue Extension includes one additional station. The streetcar system would be electrically powered using an OCS and a series of TPSS.

The Project includes a Grand Avenue Extension Design Option that would construct and implement streetcar service along an alignment that would begin on Grand Avenue north of 2nd Street adjacent to the Disney Concert Hall, then continue northward until turning east on 1st Street. The terminal point would be Grand Avenue north of 2nd Street rather than Hill and 1st Streets.

Two sites were assessed for the MSF: (1) the southeast corner of 11th and Olive Streets; or (2) the west side of Broadway between 2nd and 3rd Streets. There are no significant environmental difference between the sites. However, the 2nd Street/Broadway site does have some operational advantages. The 2nd/Broadway site has the potential to provide access to the site from both Broadway and Hill Street. It is also a larger site and is located close to one end of the streetcar alignment which may provide some operational advantage/flexibility which would equate to some operations cost savings. Lastly, this site is on the streetcar alignment which is an important consideration to control both capital and operating costs. After considering operational needs; costs associated with purchasing, constructing, and operating the sites; existing land uses; site access; environmental considerations; and any community input received on the sites under consideration, LADOT selected the Broadway site as the preferred MSF location. As presented in the attached memorandum “Selection of the Preferred MSF Site” (Attachment A) neither MSF site demonstrates a comparable advantage or disadvantage with regard to environmental impacts. One exception would be the moderate noise impact at the Broadway site; however, this impact can be reduced or avoided by incorporating mitigation measures as proposed in the EA. For either site, the environmental impacts are not expected to be significant, and are discussed in detail in the project Environmental Assessment, Chapter 4.

 

Report
(Click on italicized text to view report)
Review Status Public Review Period
PDF iconFinding of No Significant Impact    
PDF iconNotice of Availability (Environmental Assessment)    
PDF iconEnvironmental Assessment Closed July 23, 2018 - August 21, 2018
Appendices - Volume II Closed July 23, 2018 - August 21, 2018
Appendices - Volume III Closed July 23, 2018 - August 21, 2018
Appendices - Volume IV Closed July 23, 2018 - August 21, 2018
Notice of Preparation Closed January 3, 2013 - February 11, 2013
Initial Study    
Notice of Availability Closed June 24, 2016 - August 8, 2016
Draft Environmental Impact Report Closed June 24, 2016 - August 8, 2016
DEIR Appendicies (A - M)    
A - Final EIR LA Streetcar    
B - Final EIR LA Streetcar    
Mitigation Monitoring Program    
CEQA Findings and Statement of Overriding Considerations