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U.S. News

Next Stop: LAX! - Public Transit Booms in L.A.

By Mara Lafontaine · July 25, 2023

In brief…

  • In his final address as Metro Board Chair, Ara Najarian celebrated two key rail projects, the 'K-line' and the 'Regional Connector.'
  • The K-line will connect passengers to Los Angeles International Airport by 2024.
  • The agency has hired more than 300 'transit ambassadors' and tripled its 'homeless outreach teams.'
  • Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass will succeed Councilmember Ara Najarian as Chair of the Metro Board.
The platform view of Southwest Museum Station. Los Angeles, CA.  Supykun, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Los Angeles and its Metro Board celebrated two giant rail projects that were completed over the last year - a long-anticipated addition to the city’s growing transit infrastructure. The $2.1 billion, nearly six-mile K-Line boasts seven new stations, including West Adams, Baldwin Hills, Leimert Park, Hyde Park, and Inglewood. The K-line will eventually reach Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) when construction concludes in 2024.

The $1.8 billion Regional Connector, which opened last month, revolutionizes commuting through downtown L.A. “You can get from East LA to the Santa Monica Pier and everywhere in between without changing trains,” Metro Board Chair Ara Najarian said during his annual “State of the Agency” address, as he highlighted the three “sparkling new” underground light rail stations in the Little Tokyo Arts District, historic Broadway, and Bunker Hill.

Najarian also noted the completion of more than four miles of dedicated bus lanes and safety improvements along Venice Boulevard between Palms and Mar Vista. He then praised the Metro’s ‘Drug-free’ campaign for a 30% reduction in drug-related complaints since its launch in February, noting the agency has hired more than 300 transit ambassadors to add “eyes and ears” to the rail lines.

Najarian said the agency has tripled its homeless outreach teams from 8 to 24, with plans to invest almost $14 million in outreach to un-housed individuals next year.

Going forward, Metro has broken ground on the East San Fernando Valley Light Rail project, which will serve Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, and Pacoima for the first time in decades. “It will also connect with the Van Nuys Amtrak and Metrolink station, further expanding the inter-regional transit connections throughout our county, state and country,” said Najarian.

The Chairman also had a word of praise for Metro’s ‘Rail-to-Rail Active Transportation Project,’ a highly innovative 5.5-mile bicycle and pedestrian path in South L.A., slated for completion in 2024.

Najarian, who also serves as a city councilmen, will be succeeded by L.A. Mayor Karen Bass as Metro Board Chair.