Closing Argument: Damien Goodmon Talks Expo Safety at Farmdale Station

As part of a collaboration with Intersections, South L.A. I had a chance to speak with Damien Goodmon, the head of the Citizen’s Campaign to Fix the Expo Line.  While I jokingly refer to Goodmon as “my evil twin,” a reference to both some people getting us confused and his no-holds barred style of advocacy; I’ve come to respect him for relentlessly pushing his causes even though I don’t agree with him all the time. Of course, I’ve never been on the receiving end of one of his attacks.

On Monday, we were joined by Intersections’ film maker Molly Gray and we chatted about the campaign, lessons learned, the Crenshaw Suhway, and what are the next steps for the Citizens’ Campaign.  At one point (not included on the film) he stresses that it’s the Citizen’s Campaign to FIX the Expo Line, not defeat it.  In their view, there are still crossings that need to be improved before they can rest.

When asked about Farmdale Station, Ground Zero for the battle over grade crossings and safety, and whether he was happy with it, Goodmon gave a complicated answer, “Absolutely not. But it’s hard not to claim victory when you see what they were going to do at this intersection and others … I want to believe the kids are safer than they would have been. Safe would have been grade separating it.”

Intersections posted the video as well, feel free to join the conversation there as well.

  • Anonymous

    There is no doubt that grade separating transportation that has greater mass and speed from pedestrians or cyclists is safer. It’s also going to cost at least $159 million a mile to complete the Expo lines 15.1 miles to Santa Monica for a total of $2.43 billion:

    http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/transportation/2012/0430-l.a.-expo-line-to-open-late-over-budget.asp

    These high installation costs are becoming the norm for light rail train projects in LA with the east LA Gold Line extension costing $152 million a mile to build:

    http://www.lightrailnow.org/news/n_la_2010-01a.htm

    The upcoming Crenshaw Light Rail Line will be 8.5 miles long and is currently projected to cost $164 million a mile or $1.4 billion total.

    http://www.metro.net/measurer/images/expenditure_plan.pdf

    There is a upcoming Rapidway project for either Sepulveda Blvd or Van Nuys Blvd and Metro has about $200 million set aside for it. But, many people believe either of these 10 mile projects can be light rail. Judging from these previous LRT projects, this means that a light rail project could easily soar to over four times the funds that Metro has set-aside.

    Metro has $1 billion set-aside for the 5-mile long Sepulveda Pass project that is scheduled to begin work on in 2030. The expectation by many, including Metro, is that this will be a light rail project, but it will probably have to be a tunnel due to lack of space. The estimated length of 9 miles for the Purple Line subway extension is expected to cost $4.2 billion, or $466 million a mile. So, the Sepulveda Pass project could easily be more than $2 billion to complete.

    With these demands for increased spending for each light rail project, it’s going to be difficult for Metro to complete all of these major transit projects without another source of funding or being fiscally conservative and sticking to the original plan.

  • Anonymous

    Can someone explain to me why we can’t build this stuff on a berm?

  • Anonymous

    He gets cut off at the end?

  • Jerard Wright

    Berms require a much wider right of way for the earthen soil/fill to support the structure.

  • LAofAnaheim

    Metro Legal fees associated with the Expo Phase II certification and NSFR amounted to nearly $70K, right? So what kind of proof does Damien have that the amount spent by Metro to fight the Farmdale crossing could have just been used to grade seperate it? I cannot imagine it being more than the $70K spent by Metro lawyers for the recent court cases.

  • “But it’s hard not to claim victory”

    Is that an admission the expensive demands he stridently claimed were necessary actually were not? And don’t forget some of his allies openly spoke of their desire for the line to be underground for the entire length (which is what Goodmon has claimed as his stance for Crenshaw).

    Despite all his antics Mr. Goodmon’s minute and a half of fame are winding up. I don’t expect his Cranshaw campaign will get very far and after that what is he going to do, move to Claremont and start a campaign about the Gold Line Foothill extension?

    In the rear view mirror of history, fading fast…

  • David D.

    I remember when Damien Goodmon first appeared on the scene and came across as a transit advocate. Alas, he turned out to be another NIMBY “civil rights” activist…

  • Is it true that the station at Farmdale was a compromise, the idea being that trains would stop there and not just run through, and FixExpo still didn’t want that?

  • Anonymous

    Aha! Thanks for the answer

  • Anonymous

    He could insist that it serve downtown Pomona instead of running parallel to Metrolink’s most frequent rail line from San Dimas all the way to Montclair (and later to Rancho Cucamonga if the Gold Line ever makes it to ONT and if ONT is still in business).

  • “Is it true that the station at Farmdale was a compromise, the idea being that trains would stop there and not just run through, and FixExpo still didn’t want that?”

    Yes, Goodmon complained it fell short of what was needed — a tunnel.

  • Alan Fishel

    Damon Goodmon is a is a political want to be and will use
    any platform to get recognized. He cost us hundreds of thousands if not a
    million plus dollars and delays with his fight to “save the children” at the
    Farmdale. All he wants is a start in local politics, does he really care about
    the children or only his rise to political power? Now he wants to cost us a
    million plus again with his fight to put a unneeded section of the Crenshaw
    line underground where rail service ran on the surface in the past on a very
    wide street. Damon needs to be ignored. Giving him print space only benefits
    Damon and cost every one else. 

  • Nathanael

    What are you suggesting when you say “sticking to the original plan”?  If by “sticking to the original plan”, you mean stopping people like Goodmon from inflating costs… well, you have a point.