It’s time to declare victory in the battle for a Leimert Park Metro station.
In an exceptionally fast-moving turn of events — by government standards, anyway — the Metro Board has voted today to fully fund what had been considered optional Crenshaw/LAX Line stations at Leimert Park and Hindry Ave.
The move comes just one day after the L.A. City Council voted to spend a total of $55 million in future Measure R fund for the two stations.
While the final battle rushed to a swift conclusion, the fight for a Leimert Park station has gone on since at least 2010, when Metro staffers originally rejected the idea of an underground station as too expensive, while offering too little benefit at an estimated $131 million.
That was followed by a second request for a Leimert Park stop from County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, which received a conditional approval — it would be built only if the entire 8.5 mile project, including the station, could be built out within the original $1.7 billion budget.
Yet that decision ignored the importance of Leimert Park, not just to the local community, but to the city at large. The area is the historic cultural heart of the city’s African American community, one of the largest black middle class communities in the U.S. And an area so vibrant that Wikipedia quotes filmmaker John Singleton as calling it “the black Greenwich Village.”
Not to mention one that could, and should, be a draw for day trippers and tourists from Southern California and around the world. But only if they have what they consider a safe, convenient way to get there.
Before this week, that didn’t look likely. Read more…