Hearings on Expo Phase II DEIR Begin Tomorrow

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The Exposition Construction Authority, the quasi independent agency charged with building the Expo Line, will hold three hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement tomorrow.  There will be two more hearings next week, and each provide an opportunity to make your voice heard on what kind of Expo Line you wish to see.

The largest issue to be resolved is what alignment Phase II should take although other issues, such as whether or not grade crossings are built at-grade or below-grade and the future of the Expo Bike path are also up for discussion.

The environmental documents favor the construction of the light rail extension down Exposition Boulevard, along the existing Right-of-Way, an alternative also favored by Friends 4 Expo Transit.  However, some activists in Santa Monica are pushing for the train to go down Colorado Avenue to avoid passing close to their public schools.

The grade-crossing issue has been around for nearly as long as Expo has been under debate.  A group of homeowners and activists in the Cheviot Hills Area are insisting that no rail be built that isn’t below ground because of safety and congestion concerns.

Last, but not least, the issue of whether or not the Expo Construction Authority will take the lead on building the bike lane that should connect the downtown to Santa Monica needs to be resolved.  The Expo Construction Authority seems to be backing away from a commitment to build it to avoid federal oversight.  However, bike advocates that have long-supported the bike trail urge the Authority Board, most of whom are elected officials to change the staff decision.

The calendar for the public hearings, and how to comment if you can’t make them, can be found after the jump.  You can find the Draft Environmental Impact Statement here.

Wednesday, February 18, 5:00 P.M. to 8 P.M.
Santa Monica High School
Cafeteria
601 Pico Blvd
Santa Monica, CA
Parking available in the North Student lot on the north-east corner of the campus

Monday, February 23, 5:00 P.M. to 8 P.M.
Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services
Gymnasium
3200 Motor Avenue
Los Angeles, CA
Parking available on campus.

Wednesday, February 28, 5:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M.
Webster Middle School
“Daniel’s Den”
11330 West Graham Place
Los Angeles, CA
Parking available in local school lot and off Graham Place and along adjacent streets

  • Bike path! Bike path! Bike path!

  • Bike path! Bike path! Bike path!

  • So, do I bring a megaphone or a megaphone and FLAME THROWER?

    That bike path must get built, and if it doesn’t I’m joining Goodmon’s Army.

  • Clarifications:

    Friends 4 Expo Transit supports the right-of-way vs. the Venice-Sepulveda alternative on the eastern part of phase 2 because it is faster, much less expensive, has greater ridership, and has fewer environmental impacts.

    Colorado vs. Olympic for the western end in Santa Monica is the other main choice. Colorado is favored by many in Santa Monica to preserve the coral trees in the median of Olympic and avoid the visual impacts of the Olympic option’s aerial structure and 35-foot-tall terminus station downtown.

    The bikeway is not a part of the phase 2 California environmental clearance (EIR) because it is incompatible with federal funding for the bikeway. Therefore environmental clearance for the bikeway and seeking more funding was transferred to the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, apparently as was done for the Orange Line busway in the Valley.

    The Expo Authority says they have provided for the bikeway in their plans and will include it in the final design and construction contract to be built at the same time as the rail line. Friends 4 Expo strongly supports the bikeway and will help monitor and facilitate that a good design is completed and approved.

  • Bob Zwolinski

    I am a Santa Monica homeowner living near the intersection of Olympic & 14th.
    I prefer the Olympic Blvd option. The coral trees in the median do not add much to Olympic’s horrifically bland industrial visage. The Olympic alignment would prevent the taking away a lane of traffic in each direction [as the Colorado alignment would do] and also provide faster running times with the proposed grade separations.
    I’m sure the folks living in those new Colorado Blvd apartment/condos immediately adjacent to the ROW will become instant NIMBYs if the Colorado alignment is selected.
    But in reality, either alignment in Santa Monica will do just fine. 1 block will not make any difference.
    Let’s just get this line up and running ASAP!
    We needed it 30 years ago. We’re desperate for it now!

  • Olympic and Colorado today both have two traffic lanes and a parking lane in each direction, and either would lose a lane in each direction for tracks.

    The Olympic option would take away the parking lanes but keep two traffic lanes. Tracks would be in the current median, and the left traffic lanes would be converted to station platforms, left turn lanes, and landscaping.

    The Colorado option would take a traffic lane in each direction for the tracks. Expo Authority’s proposal would also take away curb parking on one side, but the City’s proposal would request a CPUC waiver for a narrower 24-foot trackway (like Judah Street in San Francisco) that would keep parking on both sides.

    See http://friends4expo.org/news.htm for more.

  • Went to the Santa Monica Planning Department meeting on Monday.

    This one is going to be interesting ladies and gentlemen.

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