After talking about upgrading mass transit for a quarter-century, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously selected light rail as the best alternative for Crenshaw Boulevard on Thursday.
The vote by the Metro Board means that the project now advances to its final environmental study phase. As part of its vote, the Board accepted staff recommendations that light rail should be built instead of bus rapid transit and also selected a route, shown on the map above. (Here’s a link to the Crenshaw transit project page on the Metro website.)
The 8.5-mile-long project is due to be complete by 2018 and cost $1.3 billion in 2009 dollars. The light rail line would include a station at Aviation and Century near LAX and would require either a people mover be built to get into the airport or a later extension of the light rail line into the terminal areas.
Metro staff said that construction could begin in 2012 or 2013.
Board members made two amendments:
1. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ amendment calls for Metro staff to do a feasibility study to put the Crenshaw Line underground between 48th and 59th streets and to find a way to pay for putting that part of the line underground.
2. County Supervisor Don Knabe’s amendment removed a controversial site in El Segundo as a location for a rail maintenance yard. That means that another site will have to be found. Metro CEO Art Leahy said that a maintenance yard is a requirement to operate the line. An amendment to the amendment by Board member Richard Katz also removed a site in Westchester from consideration.
Dozens of community members spoke in support of the project and several offered pointed critiques. Some wanted to see more of the line not built on street level for safety reasons. Another member of the public requested that a station be added at Crenshaw and Vernon to serve Leimert Park Village.
Related post: How the Crenshaw Line would work