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The team of Metro staffers that are planning the Westside Subway Extension are holding a meeting on March 17 to discuss a significant issue: should the subway have a station at Wilshire and Crenshaw boulevards?
Stations cost about $200 million to build and there’s been a wide-ranging discussion in the Park Mile section of Wilshire Boulevard about the prospect of having the subway stop there. This is the area surrounded by the communities such as Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Windsor Village, Fremont Place, Wilshire Park and others (click on the above Google map to see a larger aerial view of the neighborhood). Some people in the area want a station, others don’t. Because there hasn’t been consensus — and this is an issue dating back to early subway planning days of the 1980s — the meeting is being held to discuss the issue and to allow Metro staff to gauge how residents now feel about it.
The station is being considered as part of the subway extension draft environmental impact study and Metro staff will issue a recommendation whether or not to build it in that document. The decision, however, will ultimately be up to the Metro Board of Directors.
Here are a few facts and ideas that frame the issue:
*The Crenshaw station would be just one-half mile west of the current Wilshire/Western station. That’s pretty close compared to other stations on the Westside Extension, which are being planned to be about a mile apart. However, if the Crenshaw station is not built, there would be a two-mile gap between the Wilshire/Western station and a station at La Brea. That’s pretty far.
*The area around Crenshaw and Wilshire is mostly residential and fairly low density in terms of population when compared to Koreatown to the east and Wilshire Boulevard west of La Brea. Preliminary projections suggest that the number of people using the station would be low compared to other stations, though on par with some existing and planned stations. That raises the question over whether money spent on a Crenshaw station might better be spent on other aspects of the line.
*One of the concerns in the community is that a new station will bring additional development. That is probably correct, though new development may occur over time anyway. The question is how much. Generally speaking, the current zoning regulations in place do allow for some additional development — as is the case in much of Los Angeles — but not all that much compared to more dense areas to the east and west.
*There is also the matter of the Crenshaw Line light rail project, which will have one terminus at Crenshaw and the Expo Line — about three miles south of Crenshaw and Wilshire. There are no current plans to extend the Crenshaw Line to the north and the Crenshaw Corridor Northern Segment Feasibility Study indicated that it would probably be better to bring that line up to Wilshire west of Crenshaw, possibly at La Brea, Fairfax or San Vicente.
*Another question sure to be batted around: if a station is not built now, will residents regret that in 10 or 20 years? You can’t really go back and add a station to a line already in operation without shutting it down. And that’s hard to imagine happening.
What do you think? Let us know your opinion by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, to make your views an official part of the study, send them to WestsideExtension@metro.net or on the new Westside Subway Extension page on Facebook.
The press release about the March 17 meeting is below.
METRO TO HOLD COMMUNITY MEETING FOR WESTSIDE SUBWAY EXTENSION OPTIONAL CRENSHAW STATION
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, in collaboration with the City of Los Angeles Planning Department, invites the public to a community meeting on March 17 to discuss the optional Wilshire/Crenshaw station under evaluation for the Westside Subway Extension Project. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (DEIS/DEIR) currently underway for the Westside Subway Extension identifies Wilshire/Crenshaw as an optional station.
“There is not community consensus in this area as to whether there should be a Wilshire/Crenshaw Station,” said Project Director David Mieger. “We promised the community that we would give them an opportunity to discuss this question. Their input will be one factor in helping us develop our recommendation.” He noted that the study must continue to evaluate a station at Wilshire/Crenshaw.
The staff recommendation about the Wilshire/Crenshaw station will be part of the overall recommendations at the conclusion of the Draft EIS/EIR process. Following a public review period, a “Locally Preferred Alternative” will be presented to the Metro Board of Directors who will make the ultimate decision.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the upcoming meeting to learn more about the Westside Subway Extension project. Officials from the City of Los Angeles Planning Department will also be on-hand to discuss land use planning guidelines for the area.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Wilshire United Methodist Church
4350 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
This meeting is served by Metro Line 20, 210, 710 and 720. Free parking is available. Spanish & Korean translation will be provided.
Metro anticipates releasing the Draft EIS/EIR for public comment in summer 2010. The Metro Board of Directors will decide on the recommendations later this year.
Special ADA accommodations are available to the public for Metro-sponsored meetings. All requests for reasonable accommodations must be made at least three working days (72 hours) in advance of the scheduled meeting date. Please telephone the project information line at 213.922.6934. The TDD line is 800-252-9040.
For additional information, visit the Westside Subway Extension project web site at metro.net/westside. Project information can also be found for “Metro Westside Subway Extension” on Facebook. The project information line is 213-922-6934.