New options are on the table for a long-proposed extension of the C (Green) Line from its current terminus in Redondo Beach to Torrance, according to a presentation scheduled for the August 12 meeting of the South Bay Service Council.

Project overview for C Line extension to TorranceMetro

The project, which has $891 million in local funding thanks to sales tax increases approved under Measures R and M, calls for adding 4.5 miles of new for adding 4.5 miles of track at the western end of the C Line, with new stops at the South Bay Galleria and the Torrance Transit Center. Metro forecasts that the extension will yield between 4,700 and 5,400 daily passengers.

When we last year from the project in 2018, Metro staff recommended studying two build alternatives for the project in an environmental impact report, including an alignment in the median of Hawthorne Boulevard (a former streetcar right-of-way) and within the Metro-owned Harbor Subdivision. Both of those options would largely have run at-grade, though aerial structures were proposed at several key locations.

Four years later, the draft environmental report is analyzing the same two corridors - but with a lot more grade separation.

Metro ROW Alignment Elevated/At-GradeMetro

The first alternative, retained from the original staff recommendation, would see trains travel at-grade and on elevated structures within the Harbor Subdivision, with grade separations proposed at major crossings such as Inglewood Avenue and Manhattan Beach Boulevard.

Metro ROW Alignment Trench/Below GradeMetro

A second alternative, a new addition to the mix, would once again run within the Harbor Subdivision, but place light rail trains within a trench rather than at-grade. This option comes in response to demands from the City of Lawndale to run the train below ground, rather than at street level and on viaducts through a largely residential neighborhood.

Hawthorne Bl ElevatedMetro

The third option, planned in the median of Hawthorne Boulevard, would see the C Line jump the 405 Freeway to run in the median of Hawthorne Boulevard. But unlike the earlier alternative, which had called for at-grade operations, Metro is now studying the Hawthorne alignment as a fully elevated option.

Under its current timeline, Metro expects to release the draft environmental study for the project in either late 2022 or early 2023, with the final study expected in 2024.

Completion of the C Line extension is expected between 2030 and 2033 under the Measure M schedule, though Metro officials have looked for ways to accelerate that timeline.