By Terelle Jerricks, Managing Editor
The San Pedro Waterfront Red Car completed its final trip at the conclusion of the Port of Los Angeles Lobster Festival on Sept. 27. Neither Supervisor Don Knabe’s nor the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board’s last ditch efforts were enough to save the beloved trolley.
When it was announced in March that the Red Car was going to be shut down, the port cited a $40 million price tag on the low end of cost estimates and $227 million to build out the line to all of the attractions on the waterfront from Wilmington on the north and to Cabrillo Marine Aquarium on the south.
On Sept. 17, Knabe made a motion to direct the CEO of Metro to provide a presentation for discussion in two months addressing what it would take to continue the Red Car on a limited basis and connect it to other Metro transportation lines.
A week later, the Metro wrote to Port of Los Angeles Executive Director Gene Seroka requesting that the Red Car continue limited operations until the county could devise a way to keep the trolley running with its financing.
While port staff agreed to meet with the Metro board about the Red Car in the coming weeks, the red trolley is officially dead.
The port frequently refers to its economic imperative of ensuring port operations while being a good friend of the community.
In a July interview with Random Lengths, Seroka noted that “Ports O’ Call isn’t going to do anything for the port, but hopefully it does something for the community and creates businesses that are going to be here.”
Former Red Car ambassador, Bob Bryant, considers this an example of Seroka talking out of both sides of his mouth.
Bryant recounted an episode in which he spoke in front of the Harbor Commission. He said Seroka followed him outside and told him that Harbor Commissioners Anthony Pirozzi and Dave Arian were doing everything they could to keep the Red Car operational in some capacity.
“Look what happened. They shut it down anyway.”
Though there have been discussions about the possibility of including 5,000-unit condos in addition to other development along the waterfront in an effort to draw people to the Los Angeles Harbor, little has been said about how to facilitate non-commercial transportation in and out of the harbor.
“That’s 10,000 cars,” Bryant said. “Joe [Buscaino] has not spoken up at all.” He calls the councilman’s silence cowardly.Read More