Los Angeles makes on 2028 Olympics bet on sustainability

California’s megacity is betting on sustainable mobility to be ready to host the 2028 Summer Olympics

Los Angeles is already getting ready for the 2028 Summer Olympics, which will bring the California megacity back to the world’s centre stage. A great opportunity in terms of image, tourism, and business. And a unique opportunity for infrastructure projects that have long been considered strategic to a metropolis that is now close to reaching 20 million inhabitants.

Hence LA Metro, the city’s subway operator, is racing to complete the extension of the Purple Line, one of the most important public transportation lines that will connect the borders of Santa Monica with Westwood, Beverly Hills, Miracle Mile, and Windsor Square, all the way to Wilshire Center.

Work on the extension began in 2014 and is expected to cost a total of $9.5 billion (€9.5 billion). When completed in 2027 it will reach 9 miles (14 km), divided into three phases: Wilshire to La Cienega; Century/Constellation; and to West Los Angeles between 2025 to 2027.

Work had halted for several weeks due to safety concerns, but has now resumed after retraining, according to media reports. Men and vehicles are busy on a 2.6-mile-long (4.1-km) section, for which $2.4 billion (€2.4 billion) has been allocated.

Los Angeles rides the rails

And so the race to be ready for the Olympics continues. In addition to the Purple Line, there are numerous sustainable mobility projects that will change the face of LA’s transport system. On December 7, LA Metro announced it is seeking a new allocation of $1.9 billion (€1.9 billion) to build three light rail projects. The state of California is expected to announce project awards in January 2023, said LA Metro.

The first is the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, a 9-mile (14-km) light rail line that would run between the existing Orange Line and the San Fernando Metrolink Station. The second project is the extension of the Gold Line into the San Gabriel Valley, between the future Pomona Station and the city of Montclair. The third project, on the other hand, is expected to involve the construction of the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, another surface light rail that is expected to run 19.3 miles (31 km) between Artesia and Union Station in the Downtown Los Angeles area.

“These are transformational projects that will bring faster, more frequent transit and better mobility to important areas of Los Angeles County that are long overdue to receive rail projects,” said Glendale City Council Member and Metro Board Chair Ara J. Najarian. “These projects will also help complete the Metro transit network with better connections to local buses, Metrolink regional rail, jobs, schools and other important destinations.”

Los Angeles makes 2028 Olympic bet: to become a sustainable city

Los Angeles is not just a city, but an urban conglomerate that has transformed what used to be a region into a metropolis. The city government will mark the 2028 Olympics with several projects.

One of these concerns Inglewood, a separate municipality in Los Angeles County that, like Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica, is now considered a de facto part of the metropolis. Inglewood, a residential neighborhood where mostly African-American and Latino citizens live, hosts the SoFi Stadium, which was completed in September 2020.  This home to the Rams and Chargers football games will host the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2028 Olympics. The maxi structure is already among the most modern and sustainable stadiums in the U.S., and will become a symbol of the 2028 Games, which the mayor of Los Angeles wants to focus first and foremost on sustainability.

Sustainability has thus become the watchword for the city’s major projects, such as the new rail and subway lines that aim to reduce the infamous traffic congestion. According to a study by the multinational satellite navigation company, TomTom, Los Angeles ranked 59th among the world’s busiest cities in 2021, and on average for every half hour spent in a car, 18 minutes are lost in traffic.

Those who know the metropolis know that its highways become a carpet of sheet metal for several hours of the day. This is why there’s a collective effort to equip this huge city with an alternative transportation system.

The journey to initiating a significant transformation that will greatly increase the rail network has now started, and the 2028 Olympic commitment offers everyone a chance to focus on reaching the goal. It remains to be seen whether local and state governments, as well as all project stakeholders, will be able to win such an ambitious bet in a limited time.