Los Angeles Pacific Electric Railway upgrade plan, 1948
Even through its declining years, the old Red Car system was incredibly extensive. Thus, in 1948, the LA Chamber of Commerce and a Who's Who of LA power brokers - Mayor Fletcher Bowron, the City Attorney, a laundry list of corporate executives - came up with a plan to take over the Red Car system and to run trains in the median of the freeway system which was then on the drawing board. Then as now, traffic sucked in LA, and it was clear that buses and cars weren't going to be enough to handle the expected influx of two million new Angelenos.
About half of the existing Red Car lines would be upgraded with crossing gates and dedicated approach tracks to DTLA, so the trains wouldn't get stuck in traffic. The other major Red Car routes would be rebuilt from scratch in freeway medians. This map includes a bunch of freeways that were never built, like the "East Bypass," which was planned to run directly through DTLA parallel to San Pedro Street, the "Santa Monica Parkway," which was supposed to be built following Melrose and Santa Monica, and the "Inglewood Parkway," running where the Crenshaw Line runs now.
This plan was surprisingly good, but the LA City Council refused to bite, believing that freeways would be enough for the foreseeable future. (It didn't help that Angelenos detested the Red Car system.) I pulled the preliminary plan from Metro's archives, and filled in the gaps, using 1940s-era population density maps and best practices for station spacing.
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