Last night Metro held its first public hearing for the Regional Connector project at the Japanese American National Museum in the Little Tokyo/Arts District, and more than 100 community members, including residents, civic and business interests, came out to weigh in on the draft environmental impact statement/report before the project goes before the Metro Board in late October.
By and large, there was widespread support for the 1.9-mile project designed to connect Metro Rail lines through Downtown, which would create faster travel times and a one-seat ride throughout the county. The majority of comments stated a preference for the fully underground light rail transit alternative that passes underneath the intersection of First and Alameda rather than travel across the intersection at street-level. Many people said this was the best way to build the project without creating a barrier at street level in the Little Tokyo/Arts District community.
Here’s a summary of some of the other issues and concerns expressed at the hearing:
- There were concerns about construction impacts on small businesses in the project area. People asked what mitigations Metro will implement.
- Business interests said they were interested in compensation for potential impacts during construction.
- A request that the stations be named by downtown districts rather than streets.
- Requests that the 5th/Flower Station not be removed from project plans. The 5th/Flower Station was identified in the Draft EIS/R as a possible station to be eliminated to keep the project within budget.
The function of the public hearing was only to record public comments, not to respond to specific questions. The project team will address community concerns within the final environmental document itself.
Watch the recording of the public hearing on Metro’s web site here.
The next and final public hearing on the Regional Connector will be held at the LAPD’s Deaton Auditorium next Monday, October 4.
Here’s some crucial project dates to watch: the public comment period officially ends October 18. The project will go to the Measure R Delivery Committee Oct. 21. The Metro Board will consider the Draft EIS/R and recommended route October 28.