January 15: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History


1887:  City Railroad Company purchases the East First Street Line.



1905:  Pacific Electric Railway‘s 6th and Main Station Opens.

6th & Main Depot, September 1947 (Click to enlarge)

1949:  Engineer Arthur C. Jenkins submits his “Report on Engineering and Economic Features of Pasenger Transportation Operations, Service and Facilities on the Pasadena Short Line, Pasadena Oak Knoll Line, Monrovia-Glendora Line, Sierra Madre Line, Sierra Vista Local Line, Baldwin Park Line of Pacific Electric Railway Company.”

The report is “one of several” covering the entire Pacific Electric passenger rail system which compares and contrasts present rail operations with “modernized” motor coach operation.

The report concludes that continued rail operation using either present equipment or new P.C.C. cars would result in heavy financial losses even if track and roadway and facilities were in first class condition.

The report recommends that Pacific Electric passenger rail service should be discontinued and that modern motor coach operation should be established to improve both service and profits.



1954:  Coverdale and Colpitts, an engineering firm retained by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, releases its report titled “Monorail Rapid Transit for Los Angeles.”

Rendering for proposed Los Angeles monorail at Sunset Boulevard (Click for more information)

The act creating the LAMTA requires the proposal of a new mass transit system for Los Angeles which would include a route across the San Fernando Valley and within 4 miles of either side of the Los Angeles River from Van Nuys Boulevard and Roscoe Boulevard in Van Nuys to American Boulevard at Broadway in Long Beach.

The proposal envisions the monorail running at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour, making the 45 mile end-to-end journey time take 66 minutes.

It also proposes underground stations (at Civic Center and 7th Street), with adjacent parking lot facilities “for the convenience of patrons using their own cars, rather than feeder buses or walking to reach the station.”

The report argues that:

“Monorail rapid transit was devised as a promising answer to the need, evident in many communities, of providing mass rapid transit in face of existing surface-traffic congestion and of the high costs of alternate forms of rapid transit, notably the subway.

In most instances, high speed movement of true mass-transportation vehicles on the surface is impossible because of interference from other traffic using the same arteries.

The cost usually involved for suitable private rights-of-way on the surface would be prohibitive.  A subway, of course, provides the private right-of-way and eliminates the hindrance of movement from competing traffic.

It is, therefore, an admirable solution in all respects, except that of cost.  Very few, if any communities can support this burden even when the population served is very dense and riding relatively uniform throughout a large part of the day.

When both surface and sub-surface solutions are unavailable, the only resort is to go above the surface…

Starting from the elevated, the problem is to strip away its objectionable features and improve its better ones with the aid of modern technical progress.  Monorail is the resulting answer.”