Transporting the masses has always been a zero-sum game in Los Angeles. L.A. was built by streetcars; then modern L.A. was built around the car. Only recently have Angelenos begun to realize that any metropolis of 16 million*, no matter how lowrise, cannot live on roads alone. The long-term project to rebuild the Red Car network got underway in the ’80s, but 2008 was a turning point. That’s when L.A. County voters approved Measure R, a 30-year tax to, among other things, build multiple Metro Rail lines. In 2016, they doubled down on Measure R by raising the tax and making it permanent, via Measure M. The map below includes all existing and planned Metro rail and BRT lines, as well as a couple of unrelated projects that are largely funded and likely to happen. Note that some of the timelines below are based on Metro’s Twenty-Eight by ’28 Olympics program, which is not fully funded. (*Depending on how you measure it, there are somewhere between 13 and 19 million people in Greater Los Angeles.)
This map is influenced by the famously efficient transit maps of the German–speaking world; it even features the historic German standard typeface, DIN (although that’s because it happens to be one of the official typefaces of Metro). Unlike most schematic maps, it uses 30- and 60-degree rather than 45-degree angles, reflecting the natural and built geometry of the L.A. Basin and San Fernando Valley. It also includes Metro’s planned future naming conventions and colors for rail and BRT lines.
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