Ridley-Thomas: Expo Line Dooms South L.A. to Second Class Status

2_25_10_expo_line_usc.jpgPhoto of Expo construction at USC via Treehugger.com

If the rumblings out of Cheviot Hills of a potential lawsuit weren’t enough proof that the battle over the Expo Line hasn’t been settled by approval of the environmental documents at this month’s Expo Board Meeting; an editorial by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, that slams the construction plans for at-grade crossings in South L.A. and into the Westside has been appearing in some local papers and the Los Angeles Business Journal.

Sounding more like Damien Goodmon than his predecessor, Expo-backer Yvonne Burke,  Ridley-Thomas writes that the construction of at-grade light rail will doom South L.A. to be an underdeveloped urban area for generations:

It’s a vicious cycle: Once an at-grade train
is put into an at-risk neighborhood, the area is unlikely to ever
develop the density and vehicle traffic required to meet the
grade-separated crossing standard.

Some argue an at-grade
crossing can be built as a first-step, to be followed by an elevated or
underground crossing in the future, when an area has developed. But the
at-grade crossing is itself a barrier to development and neighborhood

In other words, the current Grade Crossing Policy
discriminates against underdeveloped neighborhoods, denying them
opportunities to enjoy the same economic prospects as areas that have
already been substantially developed.

Ridley-Thomas sits on both the Metro Board and the Expo Construction Authority Board, so his crusade to change Metro’s policy when it comes to grade-crossing at intersections has some teeth.  With the California Public Utilities Commission still not having approved the plans for two crossings, changes to the grade-crossing policy could have an impact on the design of Expo Stations and major intersection crossings in both phases. 

Some Expo advocates worry that any design changes would delay the opening of the line. But if you read the editorial in its entirety, it doesn’t sound as though Ridley-Thomas thinks a delay of the opening would be such a bad thing.

  • Redebbm

    I Still think being against at-grade light rail is just the newest scapegoat to be against rail. These people should put their money where there mouth is. If you want grade-seperated, pay for it. I’m amazed expo went through at all with the economy in this shape, but since it is get it to Santa Monica ASAP. Enough excuses.

    I have no sympathy for the residents in Cheviot Hills as well, you buy next to a right-of-way that is on you, you wouldn’t buy a house next to a freeway and then claim that the cars are too loud?

    Residents of Cheviot Hills should move to Chino Hills, its perfect for them. No Right-of-Ways. Or perhaps the problem goes beyond a train driving through like any other car already there?

  • “[G]et it to Santa Monica ASAP. Enough excuses.”

    This is typical of the perspective of people who will experience the line as riders, but not as neighbors. From a neighbor’s perspective, noise and safety tend to be much more important than building the line quickly.

    The benefits and costs of rail aren’t evenly distributed. Asking neighbors to take one for the team on a design that can and should be better is unlikely to be convincing. The sincere grade separation advocates argue that this is better for everyone: neighbors, riders, the transit system as a whole, even motorists (whose opinions are the basis for Measure R).

    It does require us to slow down and spend some more money on each line though. It’s worth it in the long run.

  • Eric B

    What the editorial categorically denies is the idea that if rail comes by, you don’t NEED to move as many cars through the area. His argument about making it difficult for cars to access store parking lots ignores the changes in urban design that can happen around rail stations (i.e. store fronts move to the street and are pedestrian-accessible). It’s true, rail will impact development, but not in the way Ridley Thomas expects. If he were truly for grade-separated rail, he would be the first in line to eliminate density restrictions along proposed transit routes. Allow developers to build higher with less parking requirements in transit-accessible places and maybe you’ll find new revenue sources (e.g. impact fees) available for grade separation.

  • Erik G.

    So how many overpasses can be built on Expo Phase One for the cost of Ridley-Thomas’s $700,000 office refurbishing?

  • Redebbm

    @Chewie I was in no way implying let’s build it so fast that all the safety gets taken out. I’m implying, no lawsuits, the residents knew about the right-of-way, or were they just ignoring it all these years? I personally am not bothered by rail noise, i’m the type that needs city noise to sleep, however these residents knew of the area they were living in and thus should not cry to metro to not use their own right-of-way, its like saying I can’t build a pool because the sound might disrupt my neighbor. That’s really unheard of.

    In the defense of neighbors (i’m trying) it may bother them, sound walls are the compromise here. Compromise is the issue. Not telling metro to put it below-grade under an EXISTING right-of-way, and then tell them to come up with the money. That would be unprecedented and a slap in the face to all NIMBY neighborhoods that argued against lines put near them. There are many areas that at-grade works, and others that don’t. Personally I know how to look both ways before crossing railroad tracks, all the measure taken can’t 100% safety-proof a line

    Also, I would love grade-seperated (faster, more efficient) but we just don’t have the money, the busses in the area run at-grade but I don’t see anyone arguing they might run over a person, as well as the thousands of cars that traverse the area during rush hour.

  • @ Redebbm

    We have plenty of money with Measure R to build this line grade separated. It’s really a choice between a lot of rail partially at grade or a smaller amount that’s separated. What really pisses me off is that Metro pretends like that isn’t really a choice.

    I bet they’ve already decided the basic parameters of all the rail they want to build for the next 30 years. Hence, you could make an argument that their public outreach is more cosmetic than substantive. I just wish we had a chance to vote on a smaller, more grade separated and soundproofed rail system.

    That system would be faster, quieter, and safer. BTW way I don’t think everything needs to be underground. Elevated w/ sound walls suits me just fine.

  • Eric Tooley

    I don’t believe that Mr. Ridley Thomas has any interest or care for the Expo Line, after all it is not even in his district. His real concern is for the upcoming Crenshaw Corridor light rail. This is yet another example of politicians pushing his or her agenda at the expense of the city. The ballooning costs (that we all pay for as we sit in traffic) of the Expo Line are a result of politics and greed, not need.

  • Eric B

    “I bet they’ve already decided the basic parameters of all the rail they want to build for the next 30 years.”

    Coincidentally, they have: it’s call the Long Range Transportation Plan and it was approved in late 2009 after a PUBLIC process.

    How Metro is handling the Regional Connector through Little Tokyo shows that they are in fact responsive to legitimate concerns. The compromise, which was just added to the EIR Alternatives in the past week or so, is a win-win because it accomplishes all of Metro and the community’s objectives.

    Now if you have a great idea to dig up the hundreds of millions of dollars that allows Metro to complete the line and be grade separated, say it. Just saying “build it shorter” does not achieve the primary objective of the line: a rail connection from Santa Monica to LA.

  • Redebbm

    @Chewie I think that will start to get into a bigger issue, Gold Line and Blue line residents will wonder why measure R is helping to grade-seperate expo and not theirs. Personally your proposal is ideal but in the wrong area. I think more money needs to be poured into the Westside extension of the Purple Line, and Crenshaw, expo is a small piece of the pie and needs to reach Santa Monica to have the potential it deserves. Purple needs to be high capacity and “subway to the sea” needs to be dumped (if not cost effective) in favor of a better subway on the westside.

    @Eric Tooley What does this mean for the Crenshaw Corridor Light Rail? I know its in his district but does this mean he will oppose it as a light rail at grade? or is Crenshaw going grade-seperated?

  • Eric B

    @ Redebbm,

    MRT is positioning himself to be for Crenshaw, but only entirely grade separated. Current proposal is to grade separate all but about 12 blocks of it or so, but he wants even that below grade. I wish he weren’t trying to hold up Expo to make his point

  • ry

    The Eastside Gold Line is already starting to show that mass-transit trains (rumbling or not) “through busy intersections in front of shops, homes and schools” are, contrary to what he writes, an EXCELLENT way to define an area as an important and vibrant center of economic and social activity. Certainly, they are both more defining and more inviting (not to mention quieter) than an equivalent number of busses grinding up and down the streets.

  • Jerard

    Here’s another faulty point. It’s not the grade separation that will spur the redvelopment, its the zoning, building codes around those land-uses around the station that will do that will do the bulk of that. Look around the Vermont/Santa Monica, Vermont/Beverly and Vermont/Sunset Subway stations. Those are grade separated and not much has occured in the way of redvelopment. So does that mean that the subway has been poor in redevelopment, no it means that there’s a greater factor at play here that makes the redvelopment occur, one factor is the City of LA’s business relationship with development and new development.

    Besides the La Brea and La Cienega Stations on Expo will have grade separations AND will be in areas that can be redeveloped AND are in areas that are not built up.

  • BIkeHair

    Some of the most vibrant urban public places I have seen of late around around at grade rail. particularly in Portland OR and Minneapolis, MN. This conversation still sounds to me like advocates searching for a cause.

  • Yuri

    Wow, this article by Ridley-Thomas is amazingly silly, car-centric and anti-light rail. Basically he wants a subway. Otherwise a neighborhood with “speeding” and “rumbling” at-grade light rail is “second-class”. Uh huh. Second-class like San Francisco, Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna, etc. That would be a step up for South LA wouldn’t it? He has no concept of transit oriented development. Everything must cater to the automobile. Avoid at all costs to inconvenience a driver by a millisecond. Every intersection is as “busy” as La Cienega and La Brea. It’s tough to have progress in this city with “second-class” leadership like this.

  • @ Eric B

    Regarding the LRTP and Measure R. I voted for Measure R, but not because I’m thrilled with everything in it. I hate the freeway money in it, and I hate the fact that I’m forced to choose between at-grade rail or no rail at all.

    The esoteric planning process that led to the LRTP is not adequate. LA County approved Measure R, but I wonder if Metro has the guts to draw up an alternative, grade separated plan for the rail money and let people vote on that.

    I want to climb up a few more rungs on Arnstein’s ladder of citizen participation. A vote is citizen control, not tokenism. A vote is what this issue deserves.

  • ML

    I have a vote we can take: How about we ban any comparison between San Francisco County and Los Angeles County or between SF Muni and LA Metro?

    Via the National Transit Database–2008

    LA Metro: 1513 square mile service area, serving 8.626,817 residents
    SF Muni: 49 square mile service area, serving 824,525 residents

    If you want to compare BART and Metrolink, fine. Or if you want to compare the metro regions, also fine.

    But the performance of any technology or operational practice in SF is MEANINGLESS is the context of LA.

    SF Muni serves a tiny little land area with few people in it, and a much simpler operational environement.

    Wanna make a comparison? Try Houston, or maybe Chicago.

    But please, no more Boston, no more Baltimore, no more SF.

  • I’m sorry not to have read everyone’s comments prior to this, but where is Ridley-Thomas getting this stuff?

    There is ample evidence that when at-grade light rail is properly done, there is a very good chance that local development will flourish.

    The Gold Line and it’s extension have ample evidence of this. The Blue Line and the Green Line show how poorly planned and designed rail station really do nothing for the area surrounding the rail – but I’d love to hear how community sentiments about the need for free parking around the station, and the need to not impede car traffic in any way around the station, made sure the stations around these lines pretty much suck for development.

  • There’s an empty plot of land at 103rd Street station? What’s stopping development?

  • MRT has most of Expo phase I and parts of phase II in his district: http://ridley-thomas.lacounty.gov/Pages/district_map.htm.

    The “hinders development” idea may be flawed to some extent. There are examples of development going up around at-grade rail in Downtown Long Beach, Compton, Staples/LA Live, and in Pasadena (e.g. Del Mar station).

    Of course, the noise impacts AT rail stations are less than then noise impacts BETWEEN rail stations when the trains are going quickly, particularly if there are crossing gates with bells (safety-noise trade off). I agree that there is no real noise issue when the trains are going slowly (e.g. Marmion Way). But of course, slow trains aren’t as useful as fast trains, other things equal.

    I would urge people to go out to South LA and do some walking. Go to where the Blue Line is moving quickly, near homes, without sound walls. Metro’s EIRs may meet technical standards for noise mitigation, but they don’t meet a common sense standard everywhere.

    Freeways often do a better job of noise mitigation. That’s sad. I hope I never have to compliment a freeway again :)

  • “I would urge people to go out to South LA and do some walking.”


  • @ Spokker

    What, you’re not afraid are you? I got the idea after seeing Damien Goodmon do it on some web videos. He did it with a decibel meter. I don’t have one. But there is definitely something to be learned from doing that.

  • Sam

    Where does Ridley-Thomas get his information? Having just toured the Phase 1 construction area, there are grade separated crossings in areas that don’t appear to be all that “wealthy.” What is the basis for the statement in the LABJ that “land values will decrease” along a light rail line?

  • Jerard


    A Movie Theater is being planned and developed next to the 103rd Street Station as a joint redevelopment between the CRA and Metro.

  • Eric Tooley

    “@Eric Tooley What does this mean for the Crenshaw Corridor Light Rail? I know its in his district but does this mean he will oppose it as a light rail at grade? or is Crenshaw going grade-seperated?”

    Ridley-Thomas is pushing Metro to grade separate more of the Crenshaw Corridor by “claiming” that the Metro grade crossing evaluation is flawed on the Expo Line, Once the grade-crossing policy is changed (if it is changed) it effects all future transit lines and his pet project. He wants the Crenshaw line built as light rail 100% grade separated (no matter what the cost). I am totally for grade-separation, but where will we find the money for all of this? Not from the Federal government or from the State of California. I love how Los Angeles mass transit is “designed” by politicians. Sigh.

  • Does this mean the San Fernando Valley is third class?

    The Orange bus rapid transit line or BRT which runs 14 miles across the valley costs a third of what the Expo line will cost and it carried more passengers per day on average than the comparable length Gold line before it’s extension. It’s amazing how much people are willing to spend using other people’s money.

    There has never been a death on the Orange line busway to the best of my knowledge. It’s safety record is incredible and yet people insist that we have to have rail and it has to be elevated or below ground. Do you realize that it takes time for people to get in and out of the hole in the ground for a subway or on and off of a elevated platform? Going at a slower speed at street level can equal the time it takes to get to a destination compared to elevated rail travel or a subway.

    Buses have several advantages over rail besides much lower costs and that includes being able to reroute onto another street and also making fewer stops to take you more directly to your destination. In December Metro added the 902 bus line which runs parallel to the Orange 901 BRT line just north on Burbank Blvd. The idea is to releave the Orange line of its biggest passenger congestion which is taking people from the subway to Van Nuys blvd. The 902 makes a stop at Valley college and Van Nuys Blvd only, before heading north on Van Nuys Blvd. The Orange line stops at Laurel Cyn, Woodman, Valley college before stopping at Van Nuys Blvd. No street or rail or bus stop was added. Just simply additional buses which can be at least partially offset by canceling the peak hour additional Orange line buses which were added to handle the overflow of people from the subway to Van Nuys Blvd.

    Another benefit of the Orange line is the bicycle path that runs parallel to it. Do to the extreme safety efforts of making sure vehicles do not cross paths with the busway when a bus is approaching there is now about 18 world class, in safety, cross walks for cyclists and pedestrians that connects the bike/pedestrians path.

  • The Orange Line runs at 18MPH and the Red Line runs at 30MPH, I’ll take the extra time it takes me to walk down the stairs. People drive because it’s faster and easier than taking transit. 18MPH ain’t gonna cut it in the sprawl of LA.

  • @Dennis

    Yeah, the Expo line is supposed to be getting a bikeway along side it, just like the Orange Line (if the parties involved can agree who’s going to pay for it).

    So, does that take away your point of pride for the Orange Line? Sorry if it does.

    And by the way, let’s leave the transit planning to the professional. Yes, a network of fully underground subways would be AWESOME. It’s never going to happen. We don’t have that kind of money. The fact that the Purple Line got ressurrected (and if we need a subway ANYWHERE in the LA basin, it is along Wilshire Blvd.), is amazing in itself.

    We are just limited as far as building grade separations. The fact that we are getting as many as we are getting along the Expo LIne, is, I feel, once again, nothing short of a miracle. I believe there’s about nine of them along Phase I and II, including the trench by USC.

    So buck up, little campers, and wipe away those tears. It’s not so bad.

  • “What, you’re not afraid are you?”

    I’m getting ready to visit that new movie theater in Watts.

  • Yuri


    Unfortunately the San Fernando Valley did get third-class treatment. The Orange Line should have been a light rail if it weren’t for politics getting in the way of good urban planning yet again http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LACMTA_Orange_Line . BRT only makes sense for low density areas. Even medium density areas like the valley overload a BRT which as you said is why they need to add more capacity via the 902. A BRT just cannot scale up like a LRT. I was kind of surprised that the Blue Line was originally designed for a 2 car train because its ridership estimates were too low http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metro_Blue_Line_(LACMTA). They expanded to 3 cars but cannot go up to the 4 car limit because they don’t have the space for them at the stations. I’m sure the Expo will run 3 car trains and I hope they designed it to fit 4 cars with an eye to the future. If they didn’t, then it’s yet another short-sighted design in the LA portfolio. Back to the Orange Line, the good news is that it should be easy to convert the BRT to an LRT once those dumb regulations are repealed, which is what I think will happen eventually.

  • Joseph E

    Although I don’t support delaying Expo Phase 2, I do think the grade-separation policy should be rethough, though perhaps not for the same reasons as Ridley-Thomas.

    Currently, grade separations are used as a way to maintain “Level of Service” for cars crossing the rail lines. That is, they put in a grade separation to keep down the number of cars in each lane on cross streets, at rush hour. That’s why adding a lane to a cross-street at the grade crossing can make the crossing qualify to stay at grade.

    So the current grade crossing policy has nothing to do (directly) with improving transit, pedestrian or bike access, and nothing to do with developing the neighborhoods around stations and along the line.

    For someone who does not drive a car, the car-oriented “level of service” of Sepulveda Blvd at Exposition, or Slauson at Crenshaw, is irrelevant. For Metro operations, all that matter is that pedestrians (customers) and buses can get across the tracks quickly. At-grade trains, even every 4 minute in both directions, leave plenty of time for pedestrians and buses to cross, if buses and pedestrians are given the priority over cars.

    Instead of adding a lane for cars at these crossing, we should be devoting a lane to bikes and buses, expanding sidewalks, and changing signal timing to favor pedestrians. Buses should have red lights turn to green, and should be timed to pass in between trains. Also, the at-grade rail line needs priority at intersections, like the Expo will get in the fast, 55 mph section, or like Metrolink, whether by gates or signals.

    If this is our ideal for at-grade light rail, then we need a different standard for grade separations. I suggest that the density of housing, jobs and pedestriand destinations, and the frequency of transit crossing the rail line, should determine grade separation. Intersections with tons of pedestrians and dense development, like Westwood or Little Tokyo, should get subways. Places with lots of pedestrian and bus cross-traffic but lower density could get elevated crossings. And crossings in medium to low density suburbs would be at grade. The policy would look to current zoning and plans.

    Under this policy, if Ridley-Thomas wants grade separations along Crenshaw, he should get the zoning changed to allow dense, pedestrian and transit oriented development, with limited parking and less room in the streets for cars. Then the Crenshaw line would need to be grade separated, for the pedestrians and transit.

  • So is MRT saying that Pasadena is doomed to 2nd class status? What a chump!

  • Bob

    Are Cheviot Hills stakeholders more important than the stakeholders in Arcadia? The Foothill Extension crossing at Santa Anita Avenue in Arcadia meant the at-grade criteria of Metro’s grade crossing guidelines. Arcadia voters voted which required a 2/3 vote to pay the difference to grade separate the Gold Line at Santa Anita Avenue.

    Has Cheviot Hills offered to pay the difference to grade separate the crossing? The answer is NO!

    Light Rail is designed to run at-grade. It is not a subway or elevated system, although some sections can be elevated and below grade.

    Today, we look at everything being 100% safe, no matter what the cost is, and we think man is better than God.

    The main thing that we see now in all levels of government and with some people are hidden agendas. Grade separating Expo is not the issue, the hidden agenda is to build Expo as a subway, and this extra cost will kill the project.

    If Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas was really cared, he would not have left the Expo February 4, 2010 Board Meeting Early after making a motion for METRO to re-examine its grade crossing guidelines that was never second. He did NOT vote for the Final EIR, but has his reprehensive abstain from voting, which is still a NO vote. If the Supervisor cared about this project, he would have stayed and not leave the meeting early.

    We see so many half-truths and lies floating all around about light-rail. Most of us are too busy listening to our iPods, texting while driving and immersed in Tiger’s Love affair that we don’t care about things that will help us.

    The Final EIR did look at other options that Expo’s Board could have adopted at the meeting and that Supervisor Ridley-Thomas could have moved, but his hidden agenda appears also to be anti-rail.

    We must learn to look at what is not said – we hear statements about a worst-case scenario about how long a crossing will be blocked in a given period of time, but nothing is said that traffic signals at major intersections block the traffic even longer.

    We talk about safety, but yet we don’t require every intersection to be grade-separated, we don’t put up heavy walls on a divided road to prevent accidents, like happened last night in Diamond Bar where a car went over the divider with an off duty LAPD officer dying. We have to remember that nothing is 100% safe and that we will have equipment failures from time to time.

    Yes, my agenda is improving public transportation. A 100% grade separated double track system is the most safe and best in moving people, but as long as we don’t want to pay for such a system, we try to do with what we have.

    As we watch other nations improve their highways and railroads to be competitive with us, we jump over backwards with the few peanuts that are thrown to us. It may be too late now to correct our transportation problems as countries like China, who is building hundreds of miles of grade-separated subways and light-rail systems as well has spending $300 billion to have about 25,000 miles of high speed rail operational by 2020 knowing that a good infrastructure will help them gain world economic leadership after losing it about 200 years ago doing what the U.S. is doing now.

  • Over the years I’ve come to understand that much of the contention revolves around a monumental difference in perspectives. One side sees everything from the train out. I and others see everything from outside the train in.

    This is on display numerous places. Most recently it can be viewed through the Eastside Extension reports, with the failure of people to even notice the damaging effects of cramming that design down those streets. But perhaps the most illuminating were the responses by some on the LAPD revoking Expo’s 24-hr construction permit, because of their abuses. The impacts of construction work during all hours of the day for 5 years in the middle of an otherwise quiet residential community were supposedly non-existent and far less important than building the project X months sooner.

    So the failure to see the community division from sound walls, quality of life and business impacts from worsened congestion, traffic spilling over into residential areas, emergency response times, and let alone increased public safety hazards are given much less weight by at-grade advocates than by a person who lives in a community or is directly impacted by a project. Yes, at-grade rail advocacy is built on a mountain of lies and unsubstantiated claims, but that’s secondary to what I think is this larger more prominent characteristic: the failure to understand (or care) that new systems built to operate in existing environments have to attempt to accommodate the realities of that environment.

  • Spokker

    What hinders development more in South LA, a light rail line or the perception of crime? Who wants to open a business if it’s just going to be tagged up?

    Expo will provide much-needed transportation options with or without development. It’s up to local leaders to parlay that into opportunities for development.

  • Ridley-Thomas is pandering and grandstanding. Which just makes him a standard issue parochial Southern California politcian. And still with the attempts to flog the “the damaging effects” of the Eastside extension? By all reports the phony controversy Molina tried to raise with her rants and manipulative scaring up a handful of folks claiming concerns has faded. Metro is doing some additional safety enhancements and the community has quickly adjusted to this new transportation option.

    And Mr. Goodmon continues to avoid hard question about the community impact of underground construction. I hear folks in Little Tokyo are not as enthused about the underground station option now that they are learning what this would entail. I think Goodmon’s grade separation claims constitute a true example of an ongoing strategy built on a “mountain of lies and unsubstantiated claims”.

  • DW

    “Expo Line Dooms South L.A. to Second Class Status”

    I’d say that it’s the single-parent families, lack of education, lack of self-discipline, and reliance on government that is doing that to South LA.

  • DW

    “you wouldn’t buy a house next to a freeway and then claim that the cars are too loud?”

    Are you kidding? Why do you think all those sound walls got built?

  • Joel C

    Damien said: “Over the years I’ve come to understand that much of the contention revolves around a monumental difference in perspectives. One side sees everything from the train out. I and others see everything from outside the train in.”

    I agree it’s a difference of perspectives, but I divide it a different way. The conflict is between those who are looking for solutions, and those who see only ugliness and sinister motives.

    I put myself in the first camp. I enjoy hearing the Blue Line pass through my neighborhood. And I enjoy taking the train as far as I can in my daily journey to work. I chose where I live largely based on the existence of the train.

    I pity those people like Damien who can only see a genuine asset like a light rail line as an evil monster.

  • Joel C

    Ridley-Thomas said: “Once an at-grade train is put into an at-risk neighborhood, the area is unlikely to ever develop the density and vehicle traffic required to meet the grade-separated crossing standard.”

    Interesting speculation. What is this statement based on? Has Mr. Ridley-Thomas provided any research that demonstrates a causal relationship between at-grade rail and stunted economic development?

    Maybe as a County Supervisor, Mr. Ridley-Thomas should focus on working with local planning staff to change zoning around these stations, to create vibrant economic zones around these stations. My bet is that he will do no such thing.

  • As a County Supervisor, Ridley-Thomas has very little to do with the zoning near the Expo and Crenshaw lines, since virtually zero affects the unincorporated area (the primary exception is west of Crenshaw Boulevard, where behind the stores fronting Crenshaw on the west side around 48th Street is unincorporated View Park). Yvonne Burke worked on the Transit Oriented Districts ordinance with Regional Planning, something that, to my knowledge, Ridley-Thomas has not addressed one way or another. There is the “health zone” that he is developing as part of the revitalization and reconstruction of King-Drew Medical Center in Willowbrook, which got a good deal of Call for Projects money – we’ll see how it works out. The much touted deputy for “sustainability, mobility, and economic development” Dan Rosenfeld is not touting his accomplishments, since there has not been too much on the sustainability or economic development side from the Second District.


Westsiders Vent at Last Night’s Expo Meeting

  Last night the Expo Construction Authority held a community meeting in the Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services Gymnasium, right in the heart of a community that has historically been opposed to construction of Phase II of the Expo Line.  As expected, it was hard to find a supporter of extending light rail […]