Los Angeles has had dalliances with various mass-transit ideas the way Jennifer Aniston has relationships with other celebrities: They seem perfect until the heartbreak starts. So we're both excited and nervous with the announcement of the winning proposals of A New Infrastructure: Transit Solutions for Los Angeles, an open ideas competition for Los Angeles' public transit announced yesterday.
First place went to Joshua G. Stein, Jacob M. Brostoff, Jaclyn Thomforde, and Aaron Whelton for their concept Más Transit, where regional high-speed rail is added to Los Angeles without disrupting current roadway congestion using a new raised infrastructure.
The competition launched in November after L.A. County voters passed Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase that will raise more than $40 billion for transit initiatives. Participants were instructed to come up with new solutions for transit infrastructure that could be bolstered by the stimulus package, as well as generate new concepts for proposed rail lines and existing routes.
Even though the dreamy train-populated utopias envisioned by the competition's winners might feel a bit over-ambitious for the car-clogged freeways, Los Angeles is already on track to add two major routes to its existing system: The city's Gold Line extension to East L.A. will open this summer, and the Expo Line from downtown to Culver City is scheduled to open in 2010.
Architectural powerhouse SCI-Arc sponsored the competition along with the Architect's Newspaper and will hold an exhibition of the winners at SCI-Arc's downtown L.A. location until March 28. The entries—which came from fields as diverse as architecture, engineering, and urban planning—were judged by local starchitects Thom Mayne, Eric Owen Moss, and Neil Denari as well as city planning director Gail Goldberg and transportation experts like Art Center's Advanced Mobility Research director Geoff Wardle. All winning proposals can be viewed at the Architect's Newspaper.