The color-coordination confusion comes as the MTA struggles with mapmaking symbols for its transit system.
In multicultural Los Angeles, naming transit lines after colors is a sensitive task. Transit officials privately said it would be inappropriate to call the Exposition Boulevard line — which runs through both African American and Latino neighborhoods — the "Black Line" or "Brown Line."
And, of course, the "White Line" would never show up clearly on a map.
But they have proposed naming the El Monte busway the "Silver Line" since that color was once assigned to the project when it was first constructed. And they have recommended designating the busway that runs down the Harbor Freeway the "Bronze Line" because it connects passengers to various South Bay beach cities where suntans are the norm.
Officials also are considering renaming the downtown-to-Wilshire Boulevard/Western Avenue extension of the existing Red Line subway the "Purple Line." The purple color and name would go with the Wilshire subway if it was eventually extended 13 miles to Santa Monica under a $4.8-billion proposal.
People seem to appreciate when the generic coding, coloring, or numbering of the built environment coincides with some particular aspect of local/regional/cultural/physical identity. Well-known recent case in point: how Daniel Libeskind's original design for the "Freedom Tower" in Lower Manhattan measures exactly 1,776 feet, to harken to the date of the American Declaration of Independence.