Soapbox – The train to somewhere
Destination is most important factor for the C Line Expansion
by Kevin Mitchell
Metro has been touting how the new C Line will connect the South Bay to greater Los Angeles. They state in their presentations that their goal is to connect the South Bay with North Hollywood, while avoiding Downtown Los Angeles. So from the Torrance Transit Center, you’re going to take the C Line to the K Line to the E Line to the D Line to the B Line.
Inglewood, and its revitalized Hollywood Park area, home to SoFi, The Forum, and Hollywood Park Casino, provides a case study for the missed opportunities for effective rail integration. The new K Line stop at the Inglewood station is a little over a half a mile away from W. Manchester Boulevard and Prairie Avenue where The Forum is located. It has turned out to be too far for the public to abandon their cars and use the train. The traffic jams out of SoFi are becoming legendary. The city is exploring a remedy, but it is certainly a pain point that might have been avoided with better planning. This serves as an illustration of the need to consider destinations as the primary driver for ridership. No one cares about going to North Hollywood if you can’t access Dodger Stadium. No one wants to go to El Segundo if you can’t access LAX.
Unfortunately, Metro keeps promoting this idea of connectedness without asking what it is that is being connected. They know full well, people do not want to ride a train and then have to board a bus. Buses are a city’s least desirable form of transportation. Drivers do not give up their cars for buses.
Redondo Beach has a very important community development project in the works with the South Bay Social District, formerly The Galleria. New retail, new live/work spaces, new hotel, and a new fascia on Hawthorne and Artesia boulevards will be an attractive destination.
Stuart Miller, a spokesperson for The Galleria, in a December 22, 2022 letter to Metro, stated “The proposed Green Line extension route along the railroad right of way offers no significant destinations, while the new South Bay Social District will be built just a matter of feet away from the proposed station location on Hawthorne Boulevard.”
The E Line provides a relevant comparison. Beginning at the Santa Monica Pier, it travels through the Westside to Culver City and USC/Exposition Park, then into LA, past Staples/Crypto Arena and LA LIVE, to then connect with the B Line to N. Hollywood or Union Station.
The E Line uses the wide meridians of Colorado and Exposition to bring riders to relevant locations like Bergamot Station, the Amazon Studios Media Hub in Santa Monica, and on to the Culver City Ivy Station and then USC and Downtown. Primarily the train is buttressed by wide streets, and not residential backyards.
The South Bay needs revitalization to be relevant as an urban destination. The South Bay Social District is central to this need. A Hawthorne Boulevard station can help bring this much needed revitalization by attracting ridership to the front door. Currently, Hawthorne Blvd. suffers from neglect, and a lack of vision from the surrounding municipalities. Lawndale’s C Line ‘no build’ stance creates a ‘no win’ scenario where railroad right of way residents, by default, will be burdened with a high-frequency train line in their backyards. Torrance has also proven itself to be belligerent about this project, demonstrating a clear lack of vision and a willingness to victimize adjacent communities to demonstrate their disdain.
It has become clear, Metro will be putting in a train.
The Hawthorne Blvd. Option should become the ‘preferred option’ that Lawndale, Torrance and Redondo Beach should all get behind.
Kevin Mitchell is a 25 year resident of Redondo Beach. ER