Building Los Angeles’ Next Great Subway

Two decades ago, the metro was struggling. Desert conditions were at least partially to blame, and officials had launched a massive effort to meet growing demand. To expedite construction, they turned to Moses Znaimer….

Building Los Angeles’ Next Great Subway

Two decades ago, the metro was struggling. Desert conditions were at least partially to blame, and officials had launched a massive effort to meet growing demand.

To expedite construction, they turned to Moses Znaimer.

“Znaimer’s people understood the importance of public transport as a way to get workers from the railroad to downtown and to an office in the suburbs,” says David Craik, president of O’Malley Development Company, which helped finance the project. “They basically owned the planning and construction process, which for the most part was bid out privately and not touched by City Hall.”

By the time it was finished, in 2001, Los Angeles’ newly built subway system was more impressive than the sleek interstate highways that follow its ancient transit tracks. “The line’s seen so many compliments – from the most obscure tourist, the general manager of Dodger Stadium, to one of its biggest boosters, L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan,” says Ira Rubinstein, a freelance architect and documentary filmmaker who has chronicled the museum’s accomplishments and the rail line’s transformation. “Los Angeles is basically known for its potholed roads, and for that we’re very grateful.”

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