Metro rail's meanding path towards the Arts District just took another turn.

Last week, Metro announced that its Board of Directors will consider a motion at their January meeting which calls for further study of a proposed extension of the Red and Purple Lines from Union Station towards the Division 20 maintenance yard.

The motion - authored by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Supervisor Hilda Solis and L.A. Councilmember Mike Bonin - instructs Metro staff to do the following:

  • Assess the agency's long-term needs at Division 20 and accommodation of future station access, including:
    • Turn-back facility improvements.
    • Rail car storage, maintenance and test track to facilitate the third phase of the Purple Line extension.
    • Potential states at 1st Street, 3rd Street and/or 6th Street, with connections to the Arts District, the L.A. River bike path and the new Sixth Street Viaduct.
    • Potential funding mechanisms to offset costs of the proposed station(s).

The staff report is to be presented to the Board in April 2017.

A potential Arts District extension has been explored since 2010, when former L.A. City Councilmember Tom LaBonge directed a study of potential stations at 1st and 6th Streets.  A follow-up report was initiated in 2015 by outgoing Metro CEO Art Leahy, although the document failed to materialize.

In more recent months, controversy has brewed as some Arts District stakeholders alleged that the layout of the planned turnback facility would preclude an extension to 6th Street, an assertion that Metro officials have denied.