Packed Expo Board Agenda for Tomorrow Afternoon – Sepulveda Station, No Parking at Westwood, Phase II Contract Award

Looking east at Exposition and Sepulveda. It's hard to imagine a light rail and elevated train station will be here in five years. Photo: ##http://www.flickr.com/photos/29300710@N08/##LA Streetsblog/Flickr##

Tomorrow 2:30 P.M. today, at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, the Expo Construction Authority Board of Directors will meet and vote on several major issues, not the least of which is awarding the Phase II “design-build” contract to Skanska/Rados Expo 2 Joint Venture.

But first there’s two issues that need to be dealt with.  In the February 2010 meeting where the Board decided to proceed with Phase II of the line, the Board approved construction of a parking lot at Westwood and an at-grade station at Sepulveda and Exposition.  In the case of the parking lot, the Board directed staff to continue to study removing the station parking from the plan for the Westwood Station.  Similarly,the Board asked staff to study constructing a “flyover” at the Sepulveda intersection.  In both cases, the staff is now urging the Board to reverse their decisions for Westwood parking an and at-grade station at Sepulveda.

Both Los Angeles City Councilmen who represent the area near the crossing of Sepulveda and Exposition have been long-time advocates of an above-grade station  for the intersection.  City Councilman Bill Rosendahl threatened to vote against any Expo alignment that had any at-grade crossings in the Westside, although he later relented because he didn’t want to vote against the first rail project for his district.  Koretz would have voted against the plan for Phase II, but because of a quirk in the rules creating the Expo Board, he was denied the chance to vote.  Now, both Council Members are sponsoring a resolution that would use City of Los Angeles dollars to pay for the grade-separated crossing for Sepulveda.

Even if the Expo Board approves the elevated station, if Rosendahl and Koretz can’t get the rest of the Council to go along with this plan, then the design would revert to the original at-grade station design. The Rosendahl/Koretz motion will also be heard tomorrow by the Los Angeles City Council.

We’ve already discussed the debate over whether or not the Westwood Station have parking, and it now appears that the station will only have twenty spaces for local parking and none for station riders.  The environmental documents for the project show that a parking permit system can protect the neighborhood from a flood of station commuters looking to “park and ride.”  How Expo will fill the open space, be it green space, some form of retail or something else, has yet to be determined.  We should note that the motion asking for further study of this option came from County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who has been the target of some criticism in recent months on Streetsblog.  The parking free design actually costs less than the design with the parking by just short of $80,000.

But if you’ve become addicted to debates over the Expo Line, there’s still a few wrinkles to  be ironed out.  The controversial maintenance facility in Santa Monica, the Venice Boulevard light-rail bridge, Exposition/Stewart maintenance facility, and the Phase 2 bicycle path are all issues that have yet to be resolved.  The final design for the Venice Boulevard light-rail bridge is underway.  The bicycle path is undergoing a second environmental review in response to a lawsuit.

We’ll be live tweeting the meeting, and will announce the results of the final votes here when the vote is completed.

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