By Aidan Rubel
LOS ANGELES — UCLA is situated in a city notorious for its terrible public transportation system. With Los Angeles being a very sprawling city, its bad traffic and lack of an elaborate subway system are some of the biggest reasons for its unimpressive public transportation, but that is in the process of changing.
The D Line of the Los Angeles Metro, one of Los Angeles’s few subway systems, is in the process of a major extension. Construction of the Metro’s Purple (D Line) Extension Transit Project began in 2014 and is approaching completion.
Currently, the D Line spans 6.4 miles and connects downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) with Koreatown. The extension, though, will further connect DTLA with Los Angeles’s west side and UCLA.
The D Line Extension Transit Project, which is composed of three sections, will extend the D Line another nine miles and will cost $9.5 billion. Half of this cost will come from the Federal Transit Administration.
Section 1, which is currently 70 percent complete, includes the Wilshire/La Brea Station, Wilshire/Fairfax Station, and Wilshire/La Cienega Station, and will be fully operational in 2024. Section 2, which is 45 percent complete, includes the Wilshire/Rodeo Station and Century City/Constellation Station, which plans to open in 2025. Section 3, which is 20 percent complete, includes the Westwood/UCLA Station and Westwood/VA Hospital Station and has an estimated debut of 2027.
The Westwood/UCLA Station will be the most accessible station for UCLA’s students. It will be located under Wilshire Boulevard between Westwood Boulevard and Veteran Avenue and its main entrance will be to the west of Gayley Avenue. The north and south of Wilshire Boulevard, along with the west side of Westwood Boulevard will house additional entrances to the heavy-rail subway system.
Moses X. Ball, Iris Yirei Hu, Gala Porras-Kim, Yunhee Min and Karen Hampton have been selected as artists who will be commissioned to create integrative artwork for the Westwood/UCLA Station of the Metro D Line.
The extension of the D Line will make it much more convenient for UCLA students to get around Los Angeles. From students commuting to and from class to students who just want to further explore the city, the D Line will make whatever transportation that is needed a more timely and pleasant experience.
This improved public transportation will also improve the education and employment opportunities of UCLA students. Easy access to other parts of the city means that UCLA students will be able to more easily broaden their horizons by interning, volunteering, or working at businesses not exclusively in the Westwood area.
Further, additional transit projects in the LA area will benefit UCLA students; namely, the Sepulveda Transit Corridor. The Sepulveda Transit Corridor will connect the San Fernando Valley with Westwood, and is planning to open a stop at LAX a few decades from now.
With that said, the Sepulveda Transit Corridor is in a much less advanced stage of its planning. Currently, it is in the environmental review scoping phase and is evaluating its options.
Half of the Sepulveda Line proposals advocate a heavy-rail subway system, similar to the Metro D Line. The other half propose a mid-freeway monorail, which is very unpopular among experts.
NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard) — homeowners who push against urban planning developments in an effort to “retain” their home and neighborhood value — as always, have something to say.
The Bel-Air Association made it clear that their preference is for no tunneling to take place under their residential neighborhood. Additionally, the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association is critical of the aerial rail that has been part of some proposals for the Sepulveda Transit Corridor.
UCLA’s administration has pushed strongly against these NIMBYs and has advocated for a station of the Sepulveda Transit Corridor on campus. UCLA’s administrative vice chancellor, Michael Beck, says,“Ensuring that the Sepulveda Transit Corridor includes a station in the center of campus is a top priority for UCLA.”
UCLA has also pushed for the Sepulveda line to directly connect with the previously mentioned D Line. The Sepulveda Transit Corridor’s final route will be decided by 2024.
Actions taken by government agencies across Los Angeles County and the rest of the country that improve public transportation are uncommon, so the D Line Extension Transit Project must be appreciated. The Sepulveda Transit Corridor is still a work in progress, but if you care about public transportation and what form the Sepulveda Transit Corridor takes, contact your local representatives to make your voice heard.
All in all, whatever form these public transportation options take, they will greatly benefit both UCLA’s student body and faculty and the city of Los Angeles.