This Thursday the Metro Board meets for the last time in 2009 in a special meeting this Thursday at 9:30 A.M. in Metro’s Headquarters next to Union Station. As normal, there’s a full agenda, with plenty of controversial and interesting items on the agenda. Some old friends, such as the Mayor’s, optimistic plan to build every Measure R transit project in the next decade to some new items such as a debate over whether or not to study building a subway on the Crenshaw Corridor.
As normal, the agenda is divided into three parts, a consent agenda where all items will be voted on at once, a non-consent agenda with the more controversial ones, and a supplemental agenda added later.
Oddly, some of the more controversial items appear on the consent calendar. The Mayor is asking for a full review of Metro policies, budgeting and staffing to analyze the best ways to "speed up" the Measure R timeline so that all transit projects could be completed in ten years. That item is joined by several others, including a proposal to add four "quad gates" to various stations on the Gold Line Eastside Extension to improve on the safety amenities around the rail line.
However, the most odd item to appear on the "consent" agenda is the declaration that the "hybrid" alternative for the Route 2 Terminus Project be labeled the"Locally Preferred Alternative." It’s not all that odd that the "Locally Preferred Alternative" is hated by the locals, but it is at least a little strange that the Board Secretary doesn’t think that a Board Item that has been fought tooth and nail by local community groups deserves its own debate by Board Members. Maybe they’re hoping that the Board won’t hear any of the questions on whether or not designating an option that wasn’t studied in the environmental documents could be declared a "Locally Preferred Alternative" is legal or not.
For more background on the difference between the "Locally Preferred Alternative" and the alternative preferred by the locals, check out these two stories on the recent history of the project and the community’s threat to sue if Metro moves forward with what they’re calling the hybrid alternative.
But that isn’t to say that the non-consent agenda is a sleeper.
Highlighting the agenda is a Metro proposal that outlines plans for and funding for the environmental documents for the Crenshaw Corridor. That may not sound controversial, but added to the agenda is an amendment by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that expands the amount of the light rail line that could run below grade, pending the results of the review. Ridley-Thomas’ motion already has strong support from the Crenshaw Community and activists will be bussed to the Board Room to voice their opinion.
Community members are worried that a light rail line through the heart of the Corridor would be a safety hazard, would remove too much street parking and hinder revitalization efforts more than help them.
As normal, Streetsblog will "live tweet" the meeting. Whether I’ll do it in person or over the phone remains to be decided.