Expo Line News
Expo Line Light Rail Phase 1 Phase 2 Criteria Neighbors
8/9/13 — Ken Alpern's CityWatch column The Expo Line: From the Court of Public Opinion to the Supreme Court...And Back Again gives a good history of what it took to get the Expo Line approved and built!
8/5/13 — Expo Line wins at California Supreme Court! Their Opinion concludes (pp. 2-3):
Although we conclude the EIR fails to satisfy CEQA's requirements in the first respect claimed, we also conclude the agency's abuse of discretion was nonprejudicial. Under the particular facts of this case, the agency's examination of certain environmental impacts only on projected year 2030 conditions, and not on existing environmental conditions, did not deprive the agency or the public of substantial relevant information on those impacts. (Environmental Protection Information Center v. California Dept. of Forestry & Fire Protection (2008) 44 Cal.4th 459, 485-486.) We will therefore affirm the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which affirmed the superior court's denial of Neighbors's petition for writ of mandate.See coverage on L.A. StreetsBlog, Metro's The Source, and LA Times. And a comment on our Facebook page:
A lot of HOA money was wasted, and now NSFR owes attorney's fees and costs. Worse yet, NSFR had bargaining power to get concessions for the neighbors, but didn't get any.
7/30/13 — Expo Authority presentations for the 7/24 Santa Monica and 7/30 Los Angeles Construction Updates are posted.
7/13/13 — Good news for Phase 2! The CPUC's Proposed Decision on the rehearing of the Phase 2 crossings would re-approve all of its crossings. Its final step will be by the Commission itself in a month or so.
They didn't wait for the California Supreme Court ruling, but do explicitly address the issue of the baseline year (page 39). Wonder if this foreshadows the California Supreme Court decision?
1/30/13 — The Expo Community Meeting update meeting today included this timeline:
12/15/12 — Phase 2 construction is well along, with bridge abutments completed at Cloverfield, Centinela, Sepulveda, and National; rebar for columns up at Cloverfield and Sepulveda; and much of the right-of-way graded with OCS pole footings in place.
NFSR's lawsuit over the Final EIR is before the California Supreme Court after conflicting appellate court rulings on the issue of baseline year. The case is fully briefed, and has attracted a large number of amicus briefs. The court denied NFSR's motion to stop construction.
NFSR's motion for rehearing of the street crossings was accepted by the California Public Utilites Commission. CPUC Proceeding A 11-12-010; ALJ's 10/23/12 Scoping Memo; Expo Authority's 11/9/12 Opening Brief; NFSR's 11/9/12 Opening Brief (PDFs). An Evidentiary Hearing is scheduled for 12/17-18/12 in Los Angeles.
12/13/12 — Expo Line ridership continues to grow. Only in its first year, its average weekday boardings were 22,066 for November.
6/20/12 — Phase 1 opened the rest of the way to Culver City!
4/28/12 — Phase 1 opened to the public to La Cienega station, and Friends 4 Expo was formally recognized at the grand opening ceremony the day before!
4/17/12 — The 2nd Appellate District unanimously ruled against (PDF) NFSR's appeal (12/5/11 post below).
3/23/12 — Here's the official announcement: Expo Line will open to La Cienega on Saturday, April 28!
3/23/12 — At the Appeals Court hearing on phase 2's EIR this morning, NFSR's John Bowman raised 4 points, but spent all of his time on only the first, the Baseline year. He argued CEQA requires "existing" traffic conditions as the Baseline. The 3 judges asked a lot about what year and why.
Expo's Robert Thornton and Metro's Ronald Stamm made the points that every California transportation agency does Baseline projections this way, appropriate for big, long-term projects. Expo used official projections from SCAG and the three cities for 2030.
Conclusion was only the "matter will be submitted", but the tentative decision (below) was against NFSR and they didn't seem persuaded by Bowman's answers.
3/9/12 — The 2nd Appellate District's Tentative Ruling (4 Mb PDF) would deny NFSR's appeal and affirm the trial court decision. The final decision will happen after oral arguments scheduled for March 23, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. 2nd Appellate District Case Number B232655; Curbed LA (also see 12/5/11 post below)
1/26/12 — Metro's The Source reported today,
At today’s Metro Board meeting, agency CEO Art Leahy announced that pre-revenue testing for the Expo Line will begin this coming Monday. The testing is intended to simulate actual service with trains running on a regular schedule, but with no customers on board. Trains will be operating between the Expo Line terminus at 7th/Metro Center and the La Cienega/Jefferson station while work continues on the final station in Culver City.
12/13/11 — Metro still plans extensive testing before Phase 1 can open, including the best way to unload and load trains at 7th and Flower and safety drills such as earthquake and fire. Opening to La Cienega would not be before late February, or could be combined with the Culver City station in April-May.
12/5/11 — NFSR's appeal of the 2/22/11 denial of their challenge to Phase 2's Final EIR is now "fully briefed". 2nd Appellate District Case Number B232655 ; NFSR's opening brief; Expo's brief; Metro's brief; NFSR's reply brief (PDFs)
11/29/11 — Metro's The Source anounced today that "Expo Line handed over to Metro by Construction Authority":
Expo has turned the system over to Metro for Pre-Revenue Operations. Once Metro determines that the system is safe to operate, the line will open to the public. We anticipate an opening to the Jefferson/La Cienega station early next year, but Metro will determine the actual opening date since they will be operating the line.
11/14,15/11 — Expo Authority's Design Update community meetings were held in Santa Monica and Cheviot Hills.
3/18/11 — We celebrated a great milestone today, as the Expo Authority board unanimously approved the $547 million Phase 2 design-build contract to the Skanska-Rados joint venture, including the Sepulveda aerial station and Westwood station no-parking design options. Here's its budget breakdown (all PDFs) and Expo's newsletter.
Friends 4 Expo Transit has endorsed no parking at the Westwood station: 170 spaces would fill up very early for a station with over 5,000 daily boardings, and a park/greenway would be a much better neighbor.
2/22/11 — The judge ruled today, DENYING the NFSR lawsuit against approval of the Expo Line phase 2 Final EIR! Enter case BS125233 at the Superior Court's website . Expo media advisory (PDF). Judge's ruling (PDF).
As we've noted before, the Final EIR’s extensive documentation found no significant traffic, safety, or noise impacts at its street crossings after mitigation. Conversely, NFSR's long deep tunnel beneath the existing railroad right-of-way is unprecedented, never built on any modern U.S. light rail line.
2/17/11 — The City of Santa Monica's first Bergamot Area Plan Workshop was held at Pier 59 Studios, 2415 Michigan Avenue, Bergamot Station. More at shapethefuture2025.net .
12/21/10 — The NFSR lawsuit against approval of the Expo Line phase 2 Final EIR was heard today in the Los Angeles Superior Court, Norwalk, Department H. You can access information for case BS125233 at the Superior Court's website , and opening briefs by NFSR and the Expo Authority here (3-4 MB PDF page images).
Judge Thomas I. McKnew, Jr.'s Tentative Order (1 MB PDF) denied NFSR's petition. He will issue a final decision soon, taking into account last week's new Sunnyvale West Neighborhood Association v. City of Sunnyvale appelate court decision. Coverage by Streetsblog LA , The Source , LA Weekly , Curbed LA , LA Subway blog .
And be sure to see the excellent L.A. Times op-ed today by Light Rail for Cheviot's Karen Leonard and Sarah Hayes!
12/9/10 — L.A. Weekly reporter Gene Maddaus ("L.A.'s Light-Rail Fiasco") was on KPCC's AirTalk today with Friends 4 Expo's Darrell Clarke. Maddaus' article gave a reasonable description of the Expo Authority's "Negotiated Design-Build" procurement process, but overstated cost overruns (moving the Culver City aerial station from phase 2 into phase 1 and adding two new stations at USC and Farmdale were improvements, not overruns). Much of the schedule delay is due to L.A. DWP taking so long to move power lines so the La Brea and La Cienega bridges could be built. And how much of the remaining cost overrun would have been kept by a Design-Build contractor as risk premium?
11/24/10 — The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has issued a determination of Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Supplemental Environmental Assessment (EA) prepared for the improvements at Farmdale Avenue and Exposition Boulevard that include the Farmdale Avenue station (more, including documents, at Expo Authority website). Expo can now contract for construction of the Farmdale station.
11/17/10 — According to Metro's The Source today the Expo Line will be formally known upon opening as ... the "Expo Line"! And will be aqua-colored on maps. At least until everything is reorganized when the Regional Connector is opened and trains run through from Santa Monica to East Los Angeles.
10/11/10 — Get On Board! is a new flier from Expo Line neighbors in the Cheviot Hills area. "Reject the fear! Get the facts!"
8/7/10 — See the new Facebook Hello Expo page!
7/29/10 — At last! The California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the settlement agreement for an at-grade crossing with station at Farmdale Ave. by Dorsey High.
5/9/10 Light Rail for Cheviot: A Westside Community Coalition urges supporters of phase II of the Expo Line to contact elected officials to support four important improvements.
5/7/10 The CPUC ruling today set the schedule to complete approval for the Farmdale Ave. crossing by Dorsey HighSchool. You are invited to a Public Participation Hearing on June 1 at 6 p.m. in the Dorsey High auditorium.
Yesterday the Expo board approved the settlement document with the LAUSD for the Farmdale Station. It limits crossing speed to 15 MPH, in addition to the full stop at the platform (image).
5/6/10 The question of what will be the official color / name for the Expo Line will need to be answered soon. Metro's The Source online poll has a majority for Aqua, followed by Bronze and Pink (you can still vote). We enthusiastically endorsed the Aqua Line back in 2006, as a great color for a branch of the Blue Line that goes to the ocean in Santa Monica, passing many aqua-colored landmarks along the way, a vibrant color fitting this diverse and vibrant corridor.
3/22/10 CPUC ALJ Bushey's Interim Decision Certifying Addendum to Final Environmental Impact Statement/Final Environmental Impact Report was released. This provides an Addendum to the Phase 1 Final EIR to cover a station at Farmdale by Dorsey High, necessary before the CPUC can decide for the station (more on CPUC potential settlement at Farmdale).
3/12/10 Expo Authority released a response to the lawsuit. An excerpt::
Given the long and careful planning history, and the urgent need for traffic relief, we are extremely disappointed that a small faction of the community seeks to delay the extension of a project that has the overwhelming support of the communities on the Westside.
3/10/10 Opponent NFSR's lawsuit (900K PDF) against the Phase 2 Final EIR, filed 3/5/10, seems broad-brush and unsubstantiated.
It bears repeating that the Final EIR’s extensive documentation found no significant traffic, safety, or noise impacts at its street crossings after mitigation. It follows the Pasadena Gold Line's standard of quad and pedestrian gates with an excellent safety record (no accidental deaths in nearly 7 years).
Conversely, NFSR's long deep tunnel beneath the existing railroad right-of-way is unprecedented, never built on any modern U.S. light rail line.
3/3/10 This "neighbors
working with neighbors for the neighborhood"
flier (2 sides color
or 1 side b&w,
PDFs) was initiated by neighbors in Rancho Park, Cheviot Hills, Westwood
Gardens, and West of Westwood who want to work constructively to
integrate the Expo Line into their neighborhoods.
2/4/10 Expo Line phase 2 decision! After nearly four hours of public comment, the Expo Authority board voted against delay (2-5-0), for certification of the Final EIR (6-0-1), and for selection of the preferred alternative (7-0-0). Decisions on the Design Options for a bridge at Sepulveda and no parking at Westwood were deferred.
Thank you everyone who spoke and wrote this would not have happened without you!
1/27/10 Act now for Expo Line phase 2!
We’re in the home stretch of the most important Expo Line decision since light rail was chosen in 2001 but a few long-time opponents are trying to delay or kill its Phase 2 from Culver City to Santa Monica.
We need your help!
On February 4 the Expo Authority board will vote on the Phase 2 Final EIR (Environmental Impact Report), which they must approve for final design and construction of this critically-needed project to proceed.
The Board wants to hear from you, and you will influence their vote. Here's what you can do:
1. If at all possible come speak at the Expo Authority board meeting, 2:00 p.m., Thursday, February 4th, in the Board of Supervisors’ Hearing Room 381B (the big room facing Temple St.), 500 West Temple St. (at Grand Ave.), Los Angeles.
2. Email the board members in your own words, why the Expo Line is important to you personally and to please support the Recommended Preferred Alternative, without delay.
We've waited years for this alternative to horrible Westside traffic, that will serve this dense corridor's many residents, jobs, and recreational, educational, and cultural opportunities, plus provide landscaping and a bike path.
The opponents, after failing to detour the line from its straight path to Santa Monica, now demand unprecedented special treatment for one neighborhood under the guise of “Build it right or don’t build it.” But their prohibitively expensive, long deep tunnel beneath the existing railroad right-of-way has never been built on any modern U.S. light rail line and would threaten Expo’s completion.
We support consistent application of Metro's Grade Crossing Policy. The Final EIR’s extensive documentation found no significant traffic, safety, or noise impacts at its street crossings. It follows the safety standard of quad and pedestrian gates that have given the Pasadena Gold Line an excellent safety record, and gates are only down half the time that typical traffic signals are red.
The first half of the Expo Line is under construction only because thousands of people spoke up for light rail in 2001. Now is the time to speak one more time, to approve Expo’s phase 2 Final EIR without delay!
12/15/09 This week begins the home stretch for the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Expo Line phase 2, the rest of the way from Culver City to Santa Monica that opens about 2015.
We expect the FEIR to be released
1. Support the Expo Authority’s preferred alignment along the railroad right-of-way in Los Angeles and Colorado Ave. in Santa Monica. It has greater ridership, is 4-6 minutes faster, has less than 2/3 the cost, and has fewer environmental impacts than the Venice-Sepulveda alternative.
2. Support consistent application of the Metro Grade Crossing Policy. The environmental study found no significant traffic, noise, or safety impacts at the crossings proposed to be at-grade. Note also that of the many US light rail lines opened after 1980, not one has built a long, deep tunnel below an existing railroad right-of-way as a few around Cheviot Hills are calling for.
3. Seek LA City approval of slightly narrower lanes on Overland and Westwood to support priorities of pedestrians and bicycles, not just cars, and preserve existing parkways and mature street trees.
4. Support the station at Westwood Blvd. (with the greatest projected
boardings in phase 2) but with a park/greenway, not a parking lot.
We also recommend preferential parking in the adjacent neighborhood upon
opening, and would minimize the height of soundwalls to be less visually
12/8/09 In response to the LA Times article, "Expo Line project costs and delays are ballooning", despite the its cost increases, the Expo Line's entire 14.2 new miles from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica will have cost the same as only four miles of subway, about $2.2 billion. When completed in 2015 it will provide relief to the parallel I-10 freeway two decades before the Purple Line Wilshire subway is scheduled to only reach Westwood.
The fact that it's over the original budget and behind schedule is not new news. The budget increases to move the aerial Culver City station into Phase 1 and cover construction cost inflation were approved in April 2008 and November 2007, respectively.
A major part of the delay has been LADWP taking so long to move high-voltage power lines on La Brea and La Cienega where rail bridges are being built. DWP only finished at La Cienega in July. The August 2009 Expo Board Presentation stated: "Contractor’s latest schedule update shows a 44-week project delay. Delay in completing the cable design for LADWP overhead power lines at the La Cienega structure is driving most of the delay."
Also see Expo Authority's response on Metro's The Source.
10/14/09 The Expo Authority held three community meetings on the Phase 2 Final EIR before it is released.
Monday, October 5
Wednesday, October 7
Wednesday, October 14
9/15/09 Friends 4 Expo's general meeting, Tuesday 7:00-9:00 p.m., Hamilton High School library, 2955 South Robertson Blvd., just north of the Santa Monica Freeway (map).
9/6/09 See the new versions of the Expo Line, Light Rail, and Phase 2 pages with large photos like the Phase 1 construction photo galleries. Same content but more dramatic if you have a fast Internet connection.
8/30/09 More photos added to the Phase 1 construction photo galleries, including some older before photos.
8/11/09 After detailed presentations on the study of 40 potential maintenance yard sites and much public comment and discussion, the Santa Monica City Council tonight unanimously (6-0) approved a motion for the seven points of the staff recommendation, with the additions of "city-owned or controlled linear buffer of approximately 120 feet" in the first point, plus (1) Expo continuing its process with the community and (2) to also assess Site E201 (9th-Olympic-11th-Colorado). More
7/28/09 Expo Authority filed its Amended Application in Proceeding A0702007 for the Farmdale crossing with the CPUC today:
Amendment to Application (224K PDF)
Exhibits B-1.1 and B-1.2
(1.3M PDF) Farmdale Closed with Pedestrian Bridge
7/2/09 On the Farmdale crossing by Dorsey High, from the June 15 Expo Board Minutes, following the Closed Session:
4/24/09 See our response on today's CityWatch.
4/8/09 Welcome to our refreshed website, reflecting last week's Expo Board direction on the preferred alignment. Phase 2 has been simplified and updated (retaining a link to other options considered), and the Expo Line and Light Rail pages have new, larger photos.
4/2/09 The Expo Authority Board supported LRT 2, per the Expo Authority's statement below. Thank you, everyone who came to speak or wrote to them.
The Expo Authority's schedule is to release the Final EIR in October 2009, award the Design-Build construction contract in January 2010, and open to Santa Monica 2014-15.
4/2/09 Today's Expo Board meeting presentation included this update on the CPUC process for Farmdale:
Farmdale Pedestrian Overcrossing
3/30/09 Good news: for the Expo Line phase 2 the Expo Authority staff report posted today (PDF) recommends LRT 2 (the Exposition right-of-way and Colorado) as the preferred alignment in the Final EIR, and calls for continued work with cities and stakeholders during the FEIR process on issues raised during the DEIR Grade Crossings, Maintenance Facility, and Bikeway.
Friends 4 Expo endorsed option LRT 2. The right-of-way has 2/3 the cost of Venice-Sepulveda, 4-6 minute faster travel time, greater ridership, and fewer environmental impacts. Colorado Ave. in Santa Monica has lower cost, fewer impacts, and smaller scale than Olympic Blvd. Click for F4E's full comments (PDF).
3/3/09 The Santa Monica City Council voted unanimously to support the Colorado route, oppose the proposed maintenance yard next to a residential neighborhood, and make a number of other comments on the Draft EIR (details).
2/15/09 The bikeway is not a part of the phase 2 California environmental clearance (EIR) because it is incompatible with federal funding for the bikeway. Therefore environmental clearance for the bikeway and seeking more funding was transferred to the cities of Los Angeles and Santa Monica, apparently as was done for the Orange Line busway in the Valley.
The Expo Authority says they have provided for the bikeway in their plans and will include it in the final design and construction contract to be built at the same time as the rail line. We strongly support the bikeway and will help monitor and facilitate that a good design is completed and approved.
The public comment period on the DEIR will extend for 45 days beginning
Wednesday, January 28, 2009 and
Three public hearings will be (all 5:00-8:00 p.m.):
The City of Santa Monica will also hold a community meeting:
12/23/08 CPUC Commissioner Chong's Alternate Proposed Decision made available today (link; LA Times) would approve the crossing application for Harvard but still calls for a pedestrian bridge or rail bridge at Farmdale. Its summary of changes from the ALJ's 10/22/08 Proposed Decision is:
12/2/08 Measure R has officially passed with a final count of 67.93% YES, clearing the way for Expo Line phase 2 funding. Removing the need for federal funding allows construction to begin in 2010 and be complete around 2014 (updated schedule)!
11/10/08 The revised CPUC schedule is now that comments on the Proposed Decision are are due 11/24/08 and the matter will be targeted for the 12/4/08 Commission Meeting Agenda.
Next steps are parties' comments and reply comments, and a final decision by the CPUC November 21.
10/10/08 Friends 4 Expo Transit endorsed Measure R, that will fund Expo Line phase 2 and other critical rail transit lines for Los Angeles County..
10/10/08 Metro's next round of Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study (aka Wilshire Subway to the Sea) public meetings were held (more info):
8/22/08 The CPUC Evidentiary Hearing will resume September 2, apparently confirming that no settlement came from mediation. Here is the updated schedule, delayed three weeks from 5/9/08 below.
8/13/08 The CPUC Evidentiary Hearing on the proposed crossing at Farmdale by Dorsey High School was suspended Monday, and the parties were directed to mediation with three options: rail bridge, rail undercrossing, and pedestrian bridge (images from Expo Authority).
According to the LA Times Bottleneck Blog, a proposal has been made and the Construction Authority is going to take that proposal to its board on Monday. If not accepted, the hearing would resume September 2 and the at-grade crossing would be back on the table.
7/23/08 The Mid-Corridor / Segment B Construction Overview schedule from the 7/23/08 Expo Community Meeting PDF presentation (page 7) details:
The following construction activity will continue behind the K-Rail (concrete barriers) through March 2009:
We'll be seeing very impressive progress over the next eight months!
7/2/08 From the Expo Authority:
The California Public Utilities Commission is holding a Public Workshop on the Exposition Construction Authority's grade crossing application for the Harvard Avenue grade crossing near Foshay Learning Center. The workshop is designed to provide the public an opportunity to appear and be heard on issues related to this proposed grade crossing for the Exposition Light Rail project, portions of which are currently under construction.
In requiring this workshop, the 6/20/08 CPUC "Amended Scoping Memo and Ruling of Assigned Commissioner Determining the Further Scope and Procedural Schedule" specified (date corrected):
A public workshop will be held at the Foshay Learning Center on July , 2008, as detailed in the schedule below, to discuss the design options regarding the proposed crossing at Harvard Blvd., and to allow for the public to comment. The issues to be addressed at the July  public workshop shall be limited to the crossing design and potential use of the Harvard Blvd. pedestrian crossing.
This is only about the existing pedestrian tunnel in front of Foshay, that the Expo Authority proposes to reinforce so the tracks can be built over it, and the CPUC request they also evaluate building a new pedestrian bridge to replace it.
6/26/08 In today's meeting the Metro Board preserved the Expo Line phase 2 priority as the next rail project to be funded. It decided to defer approval of the new Long Range Transportation Plan, including whether to add the Foothill Gold Line to its funded plan, until after a proposed new L.A. County 1/2-cent sales tax for transportation may be on the ballot in November. More details at StreetsBlogLA and LA Times Bottleneck Blog.
6/11/08 Expo Authority's Phase 2 Community Meeting on grade crossing determinations for the remaining crossings at Overland, Westwood, Barrington, Centinela, Sepulveda, and Charnock was Monday, June 9 at the Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, 3200 Motor Avenue, LA.
In short, the Expo Authority proposed all remaining crossings (Overland, Westwood, Sepulveda, Charnock, Barrington, and Centinela) would be at-grade (presentation). Added lanes are proposed for traffic mitigation.
5/23/08 See our response on today's CityWatch.
5/9/08 Today CPUC Administrative Law Judge Koss specified this schedule for the remaining two phase 1 crossings, at Farmdale by Dorsey High and the existing pedestrian tunnel at Harvard by Foshay Learning Center (updated 6/26).
5/8/08 Metro's next round of Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study (aka Wilshire Subway to the Sea) public meetings were held (more info):
Metro's draft Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) comments were due April 25.
4/24/08 The Metro Board approved increasing the life-of-project (LOP) budget for the Exposition Light Rail Transit Project Phase I Culver City Aerial Station and Structure by $54 million, increasing the LOP budget from $808.3 million to $862.3 million. The City of Culver City is contributing $4 million of this. The work would save approximately $10 million in construction costs for the interim at-grade station at Washington/National due to escalation, inefficiencies associated with building the permanent station around an operating railroad, and the construction/demolition of the interim at-grade station.
4/10/08 The Exposition Construction Authority's next phase 2 Community Workshops detailed most proposed grade crossings, station and parking locations, bike routes and more. (pdf notice):
3/12/08 Today CPUC Administrative Law Judge Koss specified this schedule for the remaining two phase 1 crossings, at Farmdale by Dorsey High and the existing pedestrian tunnel at Harvard by Foshay Learning Center:
2/6/08 Metro's next round of Westside Extension Transit Corridor Study (aka Wilshire Subway to the Sea) public meetings were held (more info):
2/1/08 Statement on Farmdale Ave. crossing.
1/10/08 Los Angeles County Transportation Funding Collaborative conference: what are the best options for LA County to fund the comprehensive transit network we need beyond the Expo Line? Information.
12/20/07 Today the CPUC authorized all Expo Line phase 1 grade crossings and separations except Farmdale Ave. (Dorsey High) and Harvard Blvd. (to receive further comment on the need for a hearing regarding the existing ped tunnel at Foshay Middle School).
12/19/07 New construction photos posted, construction of the concrete deck over the trench at Exposition and Figueroa.
11/29/07 The Metro Board voted (Agenda) for additional funding (from $663.3 million to $808.3 million) to cover construction cost inflation (item 6A), and an additional $50 million in Prop. 1B bond funding to move the ultimate Culver City aerial station between Washington and Venice Boulevards into phase 1 (item 8).
11/20/07 The proposed decision released today by the California Public Utilities Commission Administrative Law Judge would grant all Expo Line grade crossing and grade separation applications except Farmdale (at Dorsey High School) and possibly Harvard (at Foshay Middle School) which remain open. It becomes binding when the Commission acts on it.
11/1/07 The Expo Board voted today for the staff recommendation to move forward with options 1 and 2 (LRT on right-of-way and LRT on Venice-Sepulveda) into the Draft EIS/EIR study; to continue discussion with the FTA on option 3 (BRT on right-of-way); and to report back next month on Supervisor Burke's request for bus ridership on Venice Blvd. They also supported the Wesson-Burke-Parks motion for staff to report back in a month on a range of options for the Farmdale Ave. crossing at Dorsey High School.
10/23/07 The Santa Monica City Council requested the Expo Authority study a second alignment option along Colorado Avenue west of 17th Street (yellow line below, potential station locations in blue, updated from 10/25 Industrial Lands workshop). The staff report notes, On-grade light rail corridors provide greater opportunities over time for retail businesses, enhanced pedestrian environments and walkable connections to the neighborhoods.
10/22/07 The analysis presented at this week's meetings on the refined alternatives' Effectiveness (Regional Connectivity), Environmental Impact (Community Disruption and Property Impacts), and Cost (Boardings and FTA Cost-effectiveness) recommends LRT on the right-of-way and along Venice-Sepulveda for the Draft EIS/EIR. It also recommends further study of BRT on the right-of-way.
Of the other alternatives added following the Scoping meetings, Monorail and PRT failed Regional Connectivity; LRT on Venice-Lincoln and other streets failed Environmental Impact (community disruption of right-of-way takes and aerial structures); and LRT to Venice Beach failed FTA Cost-Effectiveness, serving many fewer jobs. Projected phase 2 daily boardings were:
10/16/07 The CPUC Administrative Law Judge ruled (1.2 MB PDF) today to "proceed to the issuance of a proposed decision" on Nov. 20 for all Expo Line phase 1 grade crossing and separation applications except Application 07-05-013 for Farmdale (the corner of Dorsey High).
He set out a schedule for Public Participation and Evidentiary Hearings for Farmdale on Nov. 5-6, briefs due Nov. 30, replies due Dec. 14, and a proposed decision Jan. 15, 2008.
10/9/07 The Construction Authority has scheduled public meetings for Expo Line Phase 2 Initial Screening Results the refined alternatives for its environmental study. All meetings are 6:30-8:30 p.m. Announcement flier (1.5M PDF).
The Expo Line will also be part of the Thurs., Oct. 25 City of Santa Monica Industrial Lands workshop, including the Bergamot Station and Mid-City Expo Line station locations, part of its Land Use and Circulation Element update. It will be at 6:30 (6:00 registration), Lincoln Middle School cafeteria, 1501 California Ave. See the City's website for details and RSVP.
Early environmental scoping meetings scheduled for the Regional Connector (across downtown LA from the Expo and Blue lines to the Gold Line) Alternatives Analysis (AA):
9/28/07 This week's LA CityBeat article "Dozing in the Slow Lane" featured our advocacy for the Expo Line.
9/27/07 The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) process for the phase 1 grade crossings continues forward. Following briefs both sides on 9/7 and responses on 9/17, the Administrative Law Judge issued a ruling today directing the Expo Construction Authority to provide additional information by 10/9 about the Event Management Plan for USC and the practicability of a grade-separated pedestrian crossing at Farmdale by Dorsey High. Details.
9/5/07 The California Transportation Commission approved its full $314,653,000 portion for construction of Expo Line phase 1, following the uncertainty and delay of the state budget. LA Times link.
8/14/07 The Construction Authority's website has been nicely refreshed.
7/15/07 Action Alert: Governor's budget threatens Expo Line funding!
State budget negotiations threaten $314 million for Expo Line construction.
Please contact asap Governor Schwarzenegger (http://www.govmail.ca.gov or 916-445-2841), and also your state legislators (especially if they're Republicans), to oppose further cuts in public transit funding in the State budget.
Current budget negotiations continue to threaten State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds. Specifically, the Republican Caucus continues to insist on additional cuts to the Public Transportation Account, putting at risk all transit and highway projects listed in the STIP, especially a critical $314 million allocation for the Expo Line phase 1 from Downtown L.A. to Culver City that's only now beginning construction.
The Administration, working closely with the California Transportation Commission, had removed only transit allocations from the CTC’s July 25-26, 2007 agenda while at the same time leaving all highway allocations in place on the same agenda. We have now learned that the allocation for the Exposition Light Rail project will be on the July agenda; however, the State budget must provide enough funds to public transit in order for the CTC to make these allocations.
7/12/07 F4ET General Meeting in the Hamilton High School library, 2955 South Robertson Blvd., just north of the Santa Monica Freeway (map).
We felt it was a good time for speakers from the Construction Authority to present their quality design work on the Expo Line, to its longtime supporters and the larger public.
6/7/07 The Construction Authority announced additional alternatives from the Scoping process to be assessed for their effectiveness, environmental impacts, cost, and transit supportive land use:
Following initial screening, the Expo Board will determine (with FTA concurrence) the final alternatives to be included in the full environmental review process, including grade separations per the MTA Grade Crossing Policy. We expect this late summer or early fall, 2007.
5/16/07 The Construction Authority filed the remaining phase 1 grade crossing applications with the CPUC on May 8th. Proceeding A0705012 covers Trousdale Parkway Pedestrian Crossing, Watt Way, Menlo Avenue, and Vermont Avenue by USC. Proceeding A0705013 covers a four-quadrant gated at Farmdale Avenue by Dorsey High. Also be sure to see the Construction Authority's 5/14/07 new detailed Reply (67873.pdf) to the earlier appeals.
5/11/07 The Phase 2 Scoping Report is now available for download on the Construction Authority website. See pages 5-12 for a comprehensive Summary of Issues Raised from "over 1,800 separate submittals":
4/22/07 The Construction Authority has filed applications for most of the grade crossings on Expo Line phase 1 with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The three crossings by USC (Vermont, Watt Way, and Trousdale Walk) and the one by Dorsey High (Farmdale Avenue) haven't been filed yet, pending completing discussions with CPUC staff. Here are links to the three main documents describing them:
4/17/07 Expo Line Project Status Open House, Culver City Senior Center, including construction update and design of La Brea and La Cienega bridges see new La Brea bridge image.
4/10/07 Here is a YouTube video of the Gold Line grade crossing at Indiana Ave. in South Pasadena. It shows the crossing gates descending in about 13 seconds, with total time just over 30 seconds (same as a typical intersection's red light); how pedestrian gates work (note the additional exit gates); and the relative sounds of car traffic, crossing bells, the train horn, and the train passing.
4/6/07 Listen to KPCC's "AirTalk" Expo Line panel discussion, recorded Thursday, April 5, at the Palms/Rancho Park Library (and scroll to the bottom; link updated 4/22).
4/2/07 Deadline for written Scoping comments. See www.buildexpo.org/phase2.htm for more information. Thanks everyone who contributed great suggestions! Here is the submission from Friends 4 Expo Transit (950K PDF).
3/30/07 Friends 4 Expo Transit's Open Letter to the Cheviot Hills Homeowners Association documents false statements in their 3/27/07 "Light Rail Update".
3/21/07 Project Status Update Meeting (on phase 1 construction) at Dorsey High School PDF flier
3/17/07 L.A. Times article "Cheviot Hills residents differ on light rail".
3/15/07 The four Construction Authority environmental Scoping meetings have completed (pdf flier). This is the opportunity at the beginning of the process to learn about the phase 2 (Culver City to Santa Monica) study and tell the consultants everything you'd like them to study route options, station locations, issues, suggested mitigations, etc.
Here is the current timeline (from Phase 2 Scoping Presentation 3M PDF):
Here is the Expo Line phase 2 environmental study and preliminary engineering timeline from the Construction Authority's RFP No. 5-06:
2/1/07 Hope you've seen L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez's recent columns on miserable Westside traffic, including Jan. 28 devoted to the Expo Line and the history of its right-of-way by Cheviot Hills.
A new group Light Rail for Cheviot has formed in Cheviot Hills to support the Expo Line on the right-of-way, already with an extensive website.
Friends 4 Expo Transit is featured in the PBS special "Edens Lost and Found", narrated by Jimmy Smits, to be broadcast Thursday, January 11, 2007 at 10:00 p.m. on KCET channel 28. For more see edenslostandfound.org.
This is a great day: after years of advocacy and planning, construction is about to start on the first half of the Expo Line, finally an alternative to horrible Westside traffic congestion!
A lot of people have been helping Expo for quite awhile it was inspiring seeing so many assembled together. Here are some Friends 4 Expo with elected officials:
From left: #3-Culver City City Councilmember Carol Gross, #9-State Senator Sheila Kuehl, #11-County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, #12-Santa Monica City Councilmember and Metro Board First Vice Chair Pam O'Connor
8/24/06 The Metro Board could not agree on a color today. The final motion adopted the name "Expo Line" and deferred the color issue. Supporting the "Metro Expo Aqua Line" had been Board members Yvonne Burke, Zev Yaroslavsky, Gloria Molina, and Pam O'Connor.
Among the 135 emails to the Board (all but seven for Aqua), were these memorable comments:
We continue to endorse Aqua as a great color for a branch of the Blue Line that goes to the ocean in Santa Monica, passing many aqua-colored landmarks along the way, a vibrant color fitting this diverse and vibrant corridor.
6/29/06 Exposition Construction Authority community meeting on Flower Street Design Improvements, at Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. Contact Genetha Eddins at (213) 243-5506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
6/28/06 F4ET General Meeting at Hamilton High School Library. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of MTA Board approval of Expo light rail!
6/13/06 The Santa Monica City Council approved purchase of the Sears Automotive Center site at the southeast corner of Colorado and 4th for the future Expo Line terminus station, using $35,450,000 in Big Blue Bus Railway reserves.
5/17/06 Community Open Houses sponsored by the Construction Authority:
5/1/06 We're over a lot of hurdles, and actual construction of the Expo Line (phase 1 from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City) is close to beginning! You'll soon see clearing of the right-of-way and utility relocation, with major construction within a year.
Great news on state funding for the Expo Line: The California Transportation Commission approved $208 million in Traffic Congestion Relief Program (TCRP) funds in March (which had been committed back in 2000 but suspended due to state deficits) and another $315 million of State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds in April. Together these will cover $523 million of phase 1's $640 million approved budget.
Here's how you can help achieve funding and a timely groundbreaking for Expo Line phase 2, the rest of the way from Culver City to Santa Monica:
Governor Schwarzenegger and the state legislature are debating placing an infrastructure bond on the November ballot. They will make critical decisions in the next few weeks, which could provide funding for Expo phase 2. See Infrastructure for instructions on how to fax or email your State Senator and Assembly member.
3/2/06 The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority Board authorized award of the contract for final design and construction this afternoon to top-ranked proposer FCI/Fluor/Parsons, following the Federal Transit Administration's issuance of the Record of Decision earlier this week another really big milestone!