The Los Angeles city council recently approved an environmental report and final plans for the new streetcar system in downtown Los Angeles. The proposed plan is a one-way loop from South Park to Bunker Hill. The estimated cost of the LA Streetcar Project is a whopping $282 million, and the project is currently $200 million short of their estimated cost to begin construction. It has been reported that LA Metro has allocated “Measure M” money to help in the efforts to get the project off the ground. Additionally the nonprofit group Los Angeles Streetcar, Inc. (LAS, Inc.) is working to raise money from federal grants and public-private partnerships to infuse money into the project.

If financing can be secured, the estimated project completion date would be somewhere in 2020. The single direction loop would run an electric train along Figueroa Street near L.A. Live, through restaurant row on 7th Street, along the Jewelry District of Hill Street, past the historic theaters of Broadway, and alongside the new apartment buildings on 11th Street.

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The DTLA streetcar route was carefully chosen to further downtown areas that have been immersed in development and renovation for the past 10 years. The areas that the streetcar will envelop have minimal room for further development, however there is room for improvement on 11th Street, with a number of empty lots and one-story buildings. The goal of the Streetcar Project is to create a renaissance south of 11th Street through to the 10 freeway, an area largely in need of new life.

Another strength of the project is that the Los Angeles transportation scene can always use additional options. With ever-growing populations, this new form of travel has been well received by most LA residents. The streetcar would be an excellent supplement to the existing numerous subway and light rail stops, three new underground light rail stations scheduled to be completed over the next four years and a growing number of bus routes. Between tourists and local daily users, LAS Inc. estimates daily ridership at around 6,000.

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According to the recent environmental and financial report the Streetcar Project is anticipated to positively effect development and property values. Using the Portland Streetcar System as an active model, streetcars have been shown to be an excellent addition to the cityscape. Over the past decade, downtown LA has taken the shape of an innovative “built environment”. Residents see their city as connected, active, fun, and more sustainable than ever before. The LA Streetcar project fits with the image of the downtown area and helps get people where they want to go.

Once the streetcar is in place for residents and tourists can leave their cars at home and rely on the quick ride to Grand Central Market, one of Broadway’s beautiful historic theaters, or one of many exclusive restaurants, entertainment venues, hotels, etc.

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