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Meet Elsie and Soyeon.

Source: LA Metro

“Elsie” and “Soyeon” are two tunnel boring machines (TBM) that are currently digging Metro’s Purple Line subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard through the Miracle Mile neighborhood. Slowly but surely, these machines are digging the tunnels that will carry Angelenos from Beverly Hills to Downtown LA, starting in 2023.

The Purple Line extension is L.A.’s top mass transit priority, and for good reason. It represents a massive step forward in breaking L.A.’s car addiction. It’s also an opportunity to transform commutes and living patterns for the better, and to make the Miracle Mile, one of L.A.’s most vibrant, culturally rich neighborhoods, an even more desirable place to live, work, and play.

But exclusionary zoning and housing scarcity prevent the Miracle Mile from fully benefiting from the Purple Line; in fact, most of the land near the new stations is restricted to single-family homes only. By banning apartments mere blocks from the Purple Line, these rules limit Metro access to those who can afford Miracle Mile homeownership (where the median home price is $1.7 million), and perpetuate a car-centric built environment, even next to Metro.


The Wilshire Corridor today

Abundant Housing LA believes that to solve our region’s housing crisis, we must build lots of denser housing, especially in high-income, high-opportunity neighborhoods with good access to transit and jobs.  Like the Miracle Mile.  

We also believe that Angelenos of all levels of income and all backgrounds have a place in the Miracle Mile of the future, and should be able to benefit from the region’s investment in transit.  Everyone should be welcome, not just people who are able to afford an expensive house.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with the Friends of the Purple Line, a group of neighborhood volunteers, to develop the Friends of the Purple Line plan, our first-ever grassroots urban plan.


The Friends of the Purple Line Plan

To address the profound need for new housing in the Purple Line corridor, we need to change the rules that make apartment building illegal. The Friends of the Purple Line plan would allow taller buildings on major commercial corridors, and would allow small apartments and fourplexes in residential areas within one mile of rail.  We think that this will create 36,000 new homes near transit by 2035. 

Our plan would also require new residential construction near the Purple Line to set aside 10-23% of units specifically for lower-income Angelenos.  We think that this could create up to 8,000 new affordable homes.

We’re also proposing tenant protection provisions beyond what’s currently required by law. Existing apartment buildings would be ineligible for upzoning, which would avoid displacing current tenants. And before landlords can take an existing rent-stabilized apartment off the market (as a precursor to constructing a new building), they’d have to pay tenants $23,000-$57,000 in cash compensation, pay one year of rent in a comparable apartment, and offer the tenant a rent-stabilized apartment in the new building, at the rent that the tenant was previously paying.

Finally, our plan seeks to make the Miracle Mile neighborhood safer, more beautiful, and easier to enjoy on foot.  To do that, it would create new parks and plazas, widen sidewalks, paint crosswalks, plant trees, and add protected bike and bus lanes.  It would also increase bus service frequency on routes intersecting with new Purple Line stations (as called for in Metro’s NextGen bus plan), eliminate on-site parking requirements, and introduce a per-space fee on new parking garages to fund streetscape improvements, parks, and plazas.


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How You Can Help

The Purple Line extension is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the Miracle Mile and for L.A. The Friends of the Purple Line plan will ensure that our region’s ambitious investment in Metro is matched by our commitment to making it accessible to more Angelenos across all walks of life. By accommodating dense new housing around Purple Line stations, we can hold down rents, make the Miracle Mile more prosperous and inclusive, and create a template for car-free living that will be a model for Los Angeles and beyond.

If this sounds like a city that you want to live in, here’s how you can help: