The Expo Construction Authority is anxious to stop history from repeating itself.
When clearances for the first phase of the Expo Line appeared all but certain, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), a regulatory agency which regulates privately owned public utilities in the state of California, including electric power, telecommunications, natural gas and water companies, threw them a curve ball. The last government body to look over the environmental documents for Phase I, CPUC ordered substantial new reviews of two rail crossings which led to an additional rail station at Farmdale Avenue near Dorsey High School and a pedestrian bridge elsewhere. The new studies were championed by the Fix Expo campaign which compiled a large technical comments document and produced hundreds of letters of concern.
"The Westside of Los Angeles has waited too long for the arrival of mass transit and the community wants an alternative to the gridlock and congestion of the I-10 freeway," writes Gabriela Collins of the Expo Construction Authority. "CPUC approval of the Resolution on November 10, 2011 is an important step in keeping this project on track."
As Expo Phase II heads towards its date with CPUC on November 10, the Expo Construction Authority has set up a website for people to easily send comments to the Commission. Comments are due on Friday of this week, but supporters of the project won't have to comb through the environmental documents themselves, the Expo Construction Authority has already written the support letter outlining the clearances that the rail crossings have already earned and the outreach that Expo has done on Phase II. You can read the letter and submit it to CPUC if you wish by clicking here.
For it's part, the Authority believes that Expo Phase II deserves quick apporval from CPUC.
"Phase 2 of the Expo Line has had extensive public participation as over 9,000 comments were submitted and responded to during the environmental process and hundreds of people have attended hearings and meetings to provide input and comments on the project," Collins continues. "The Authority conducted an extensive study to environmentally clear the grade crossings, and the crossings have been deemed safe by the cities of LA and Santa Monica, Metro and CPUC staff. This petition, coupled with individual letters of support, will enable the community to express their strong support for the Resolution pending before the CPUC Commission."
Neighbors for Smart Rail, a Westside coalition of homeowners and community groups has argued in court that several of the crossings at major intersections are both unsafe for all road users and will create massive traffic backups. Opposition to final approval of the crossings at CPUC is expected, although a spokesperson from NFSR declined to comment for this story.