Echo Park Community Warns Metro: Hybrid Plan for Route 2 Terminus Untested, Illegal
At 1:00 P.M. down at Metro Headquarters Board Room, the Metro Board Planning and Programming Committee will vote on a staff proposal to accept a "hybrid alternative" to the Route 2 Terminus project. Last week, Streetsblog discussed the broken process that led to the "hybrid" where the community proposed a design that would have calmed traffic and added open space to the road but LADOT rejected that proposal because it didn't do anything to add capacity to the road. Basically, all three agencies had to agree on a design, and despite Metro's approval of the local design, it had to "compromise" with the LADOT on what is now being called the "hybrid option."
There's just one small problem. The "hybrid option" has never been studied, yet Metro now seems determined to push this option as the "locally preferred alternative." Not only was this option not included in any environmental documents, it doesn't appear on Metro's project website and doesn't even appear on a documents on the alternatives that are being considered on the project website.
Unfortunately, Metro isn't just violating its contract with the community to have an open and transparent process by pushing an alternative that hasn't been studied; it's also possibly violating state law concerning environmental review. After all, if agencies can just add an alternative at the end of the environmental review without studying it and declaring it the "preferred alternative;" then what is the point of the review in the first place?
The local community, which had worked hard on its own alternative that increased open space and viewed the road as a public resource, not a sewer to flush cars through, isn't going to give up without a fight. The following excerpt is from a letter they sent to Metro staff and board members in advance of today's meeting.
Today's vote provides an interesting challenge for the Metro Board. What is more important to them? Voting to preserve the public process, empower a community and follow environmental regulations; or bending over backwards to widen a street and funnel even more traffic into a community that doesn't want it.