Transpo headlines, Thursday, April 25: 405 project, politics of Leimert Park station

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

For the MTA, the buck stops at Leimert Park (LAObserved)

Supervisor and Metro Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas guest blogs, arguing that Metro must build a Leimert Park station for the Crenshaw/LAX Line whether or not it can be done within the project's current budget. Excerpt:

A decision on the station has languished, despite it being one of those rare causes seemingly everyone says they support. The station would connect Los Angeles to the city's African American cultural center, much like the current stations in Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Culver City and Mariachi Plaza have enhanced the appeal of those destinations.

But when the station came up for a Metro board vote in 2011, Metro's own staff was divided: some said the agency could afford the station, others said it was impossible. The Mayor — who effectively controls four of the board's 13 votes — insisted no additional money be put up for a station and persuaded a majority of the board to go along with him.

The Metro board must soon stop the hedging and make the right decision. In the first week of May, the leading bidder for the Crenshaw/LAX rail line will be made public, to then be approved by the board at the end of the month.

If the bid does not include the station, or if it says construction costs are beyond what had been expected, the Metro board must decide whether it can find additional resources for a station.

If Metro does not come up with a way to build the station, Leimert Park supporters, after being held waiting for two years, will be finally spurned.

We'll see what happens when the bid results are released in early May. Until then, this post offers a very interesting — and rare — view into Metro Board politics.

405 project stuck in the slow lane (L.A. Times)

The Times catches up with the news that the Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project is running behind schedule and has gone over budget. Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky isn't pleased with the way the project has been run while Metro officials say that some parts of the project have already opened (the Sunset Boulevard bridge, for example) and others will continue to open throughout 2013.

Meanwhile, in a blog post written off the 405 news, LAObserved's Mark Lacter says the 405 project should serve as a cautionary tale about the time and expense involved in extending the subway to Westwood.

Mayoral candidate survey: Eric Garcetti (L.A. Streetsblog)

Streetsblog throws some fresh transportation questions at the candidates for mayor of Los Angeles. Among the inquiries: who would they put on the Metro Board, what do they think of LADOT's leadership, what transportation project do they want to pursue in their first year of office, where will funds come from for pedestrian improvements, etc. Good questions. Eric Garcetti gets first crack at answering.


16 replies

  1. The problem with the Sepulveda Pass project… is that it’s a road project.

    At this point, it’s cheaper to build a railway line.

  2. Perhaps instead of spending close to one million taxpayer dollars on furniture for his office, Mr. Ridley-Thomas could have donated it instead toward the building of that station he so desires. Perhaps then, the board would see that he is serious.

  3. Evan, there is a station approved for MLK and Crenshaw Blvd. A Leimert Park station is .03 miles away from MLK and Crenshaw Blvd. (Walking does a body good!)
    If the Businesses and Residents want the Leimert Park Station, they should agree to pay for it.

  4. Mark-Ridley should have LA County pay for the LP station. The supes love to tout how they don’t have the financial problems of the City of L.A. and how smart they were and are with LA County budget being so superior. Surely ol’ Zev and Gloria would vote with MRT to have LA County pick up the tab, as the MTA is facing financial challenges such as the 405 over run and not having raised fares at the behest of our poorest residents. Why hasn’t MRT gone hunting in Sacramento or Washington for the funds to build LP station, or perhaps he knows there’s no money there either with inmates being “re-aligned.” Oh, yes, the MTA will just find the $$$ to make LP stations happen like pennies from heaven. Poor MRT is really feeling the heat from his constituents, but hasn’t a solution, nor the courage to even suggest a BID district as others have. Now, MRT’s rhetoric sounds almost as subversive as the Beatles song Black Bird if the good folks in his district don’t get an LP station. I guess that will make us all racists, right.

  5. The focus continues to be that the LP station would only service Leimert Park Village. While it would help bring traffic into an area that will, over time, be developed into a mini Culver City (Phase 1 of the Vision Theater is complete), the LP station would actually service the residents of the Leimert Park/View Park/Park Mesa Heights area. The issue with the Crenshaw/LAX lines is that it is being promoted as a commuter line like the functional Gold or Red lines. Instead, it won’t have any stops in the center of the neighborhoods it will impact the most. It is strictly being built to carry people to/from LAX.

  6. too bad the 405 freeway project hadn’t blown the budget with its cost overruns.. funny, they will find a way to cover that, but not put the $ into the LP station

  7. How about building the Leimert Park station INSTEAD OF the Crenshaw/MLK station?

    Comments anyone?

  8. Very good points Warren. I did read about Arcadia taxing themselves for that bridge. Much like how the DTLA streetcar residents/businesses taxed themselves to get that going soon. Definitely think residents should be more proactive in not just asking or demanding, but also contributing to a solution.

  9. @Jose Escobar, Exposition park has a lot to offer plus USC is a mini city within the City. What does Leimert Park has to offer?

    “Welcome to Exposition Park, the Crossroads of the Los Angeles Community. We’re more than a collection of world-class museums, sport facilities and recreational areas. Exposition Park also offers diverse cultural, entertainment and educational activities.”

  10. “Mark Ridley-Thomas needs to be informed that the residents of Arcadia paid for a bridge for their city that Metro could not afford to build. Those who are demanding this station be built should vote for a special distract tax in the Leimert Park area.

    “A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for the $12.5 million Gold Line bridge over Santa Anita Avenue Friday.
    City residents voted in 2006 to pay for a bridge over Santa Anita Avenue so that the Gold Line will not disrupt traffic along the busy thoroughfare.”

  11. @Jose Escobar, I believe the data suggests that middle and working class neighborhoods generally supported J while those in more affluent neighborhoods were the least likely to vote in favor of it.
    IMO, Metro should find funds to build the station at Leimert Park. If they can’t, I could live with taking the planned and funded stop that is 1/2 mile north and walking to LP. Either way, when the Crenshaw line opens, an all-train commute between North Hollywood and El Segundo wouldn’t take more than 1 hr + 2 transfers. Lets see the extra lanes on the 405 beat that during rush hour.

  12. @Jose Escobar: I’m sure the fact that the Leimert Park station would be underground would add a substantial amount to the cost. The Expo Park/USC and Expo Park/Vermont stations probably cost only a tiny fraction of the cost of an underground station.

  13. Whether it be Leimert Park Station or the 405 project, the excuse is always lack of funds, we need more taxes, blah-blah-blah.

    Can’t Metro find their own way of making money?

    A lot of people have said Metro is wasting valuable real estate at the train stations when they can be reaping in serious money from renting out some spaces to businesses. Can’t they look into that?

  14. I am a little ticked off the Mayor was so opposed to the Leimert Park Station. Why is it that USC has 3 stations serving their area, with two stations so close to each other (Expo Park/USC & Expo/Vermont) it takes less than 30 seconds to reach. This is part of the reason Measure J failed. When you neglect poorer neighborhoods, they won’t support your efforts to extend more tax revenues.