Indexed News on:

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Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



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Saturday, February 21, 2009

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Debate Over L.A.'s Newest Light Rail Line Shows Need for Elevated Instead of Street Level Design



To our readers:
One of the shortsighted decisions our local (Los Angeles County) transportation agency has made over the years is to buy up a few hundred miles of unused railroad tracks, and then spend most of itsr budget on building a subway. With most of the money spent underground, the MTA then pleads poverty when it designs the the other rail lines, and sticks to ground-level rail. What's wrong with that, you may ask? With the latest proposal for West L.A., called the Exposition Line, we'll have trains coming every five minutes, crossing a system of heavily gridlocked streets and creating even more gridlock for cars and danger for cars and pedestrians. This problem could be solved if the MTA simply spent a little more money and elevated the rail line. The benefit of this is we could use the several miles long by 100 foot wide strip for a linear park, we wouldn't have the added surface traffic gridlock from street blockage by trains, and we wouldn't have to worry about children getting hit by passing trains.

An EIR was released this month for the western portion of the Exposition light rail project:

http://buildexpo.org/phase2_overview.php

Please right comment letters demanding an all elevated project! Friday March 13th is the deadline to submit comments.

Elevated Rail works great in the SF Bay area! It can work here, too.

Apparently, a lot of the canidates for the City Council seat for this area agree...
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http://www.latimes.com/news/local/politics/cal/la-me-expo-candidates20-2009feb20,0,770358.story

2/20/2009 L.A. Times

The main difference is how strongly they view the need for the train to avoid street crossings along the right-of-way. Each said they believe money can be found to build underpasses, but none could identify a particular funding source.

Here is a summary of their views:

--Adeena Bleich: The fiscal conservative in her believes that the existing right-of-way should be used, but she would want to look at the costs closely to see if Venice-Sepulveda might make more sense. Bleich said that if the train uses the right-of-way, she could support street-level crossings only if "they can show the traffic impacts were low enough but, more importantly, if they can ensure that there's absolutely no way someone would be injured."

--Ron Galperin: His preference would be to use the existing right-of-way because the route appears to be the most cost-effective alternative that he believes would get the most people out of their cars. Galperin said he believes the train may have to go under or over some streets. "What I plan to do is walk each and every one of these intersections with neighbors," he said. "I think when you're on the ground . . . you get a better sense of how to do it and how to do it right."

--Paul Koretz: He prefers the Venice-Sepulveda route and could support the use of the right-of-way only if the train goes under key north-south arteries such as Overland Avenue and Sepulveda. "I would fight the line itself if all the crossings are at-grade -- I think that would be too dangerous and disruptive to traffic," Koretz said. "I would be happy to see it below grade all the way through, but the key is the crossings."

--Robert Schwartz: Unless other numbers surface, he agrees with a recent environmental impact report that says building the train on the right-of-way would cost less, require less construction and have a lesser effect on traffic. Schwartz said he would want to review safety issues before deciding whether street-level crossings could be built along the right-of-way. "I would certainly voice my opinion if I thought it was a mistake," he said. "We don't want to tragically lose people."

--Robyn Ritter Simon: She supports the use of the existing right-of-way, most notably because it would cost less and result in fewer parcels having to be purchased than building along Venice and Sepulveda. "Just because I want it to go down the right-of-way, there are conditions that I have," Ritter Simon said. In her view, the street crossings at Sepulveda and Overland absolutely must be separated because of traffic and safety concerns.

--David Vahedi: He believes that the Venice-Sepulveda route would put the train closer to more residents and potential passengers. If the right-of-way is used, Vahedi said, the train must go under Overland and Sepulveda and probably Westwood Boulevard.

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