What if you hopped on the Grove trolley after lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, and road it to the end of the line to find yourself on the LACMA campus? It’s been a dream of billionaire developer Rick Caruso for a while now, and he’s convinced folks at LACMA that it may not be such a bad idea after all. The two groups, Caruso Affiliated and the LA County Museum of Art, are pooling resources to do a 6-8 week feasibility study to build a Fairfax Ave trolley line connecting the Grove with museums in the Miracle Mile.
Some may call it a folly trolley, but then again it won’t be long before the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire will also be home to the new Academy of Motion Pictures Museum as well as a Metro Purple Line stop (eventually connecting riders from downtown to the ocean.) The proposed extension of the trolley could turn south out of the Grove down Fairfax Ave ending at Wilshire though other options are also being explored.
“This neighborhood has become the cultural center of Los Angeles, and the trolley is an innovative way to bring people together and provide a memorable, unique experience in our city,” Caruso said in a statement. It could also drive more visitors to the already-packed Grove, and put the Mid-City area of LA more front-and-center on tourist maps.
The city was once covered in trolley rail lines connecting neighborhoods in a grid of tracks that were replaced in the 1940s and 50s with “trackless trolleys” (busses powered by overhead electric lines) and more street space for the automobile. Larchmont had its own tracks down the center, as seen in this 1930 photograph in front of the Balzer Market on Larchmont Blvd.
According to the LA Business Journal, the Mid-City West Community Council is not too enthused with the idea for an extension of the Grove trolley along already tight Fairfax Ave. It is pushing for a “rubber-tired” Fairfax trolley, made up of trolley-looking buses that would cover a wider area including Third Street, La Cienega Boulevard, Melrose Ave, Wilshire and Fairfax are approaching the Department of Transportation to promote that plan.