Metro Board votes to fully fund Leimert Park Village and Hindry stations for Crenshaw/LAX Line

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas explains his motion to the Metro Board on Wednesday. Photo: Los Angeles County.


Stations at Leimert Park Village and at Hindry and Florence avenues near Westchester for the Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail project were funded today by the Metro Board of Directors, ending a two-year long controversy over whether the stops would be built.

The vote was 10 to 1. The motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas included five other co-signers — including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor/Metro Board Chair Mike Antonovich — meaning supporters only needed to drum up one more vote to secure approval from a majority of the Metro Board.

Voting for were Ridley-Thomas, Villaraigosa, Antonovich, John Fasana, Jose Huizar, Ara Najarian, Pam O'Connor, Don Knabe, Richard Katz and Mel Wilson. The vote against was from Diane DuBois, who expressed concerns about taking reserve fund money from Metro that may be needed later for other purposes.

To read the entire motion, please see this post from earlier today.

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to use $55 million in Measure R local return money to help build the two stations — $40 million for Leimert Park Village and $15 million for Hindry.

The motion directs Metro to add another $80 million to that from Metro's general fund for the coming year's fiscal budget. The motion says that it will cost up to $120 million to build the undergroud Leimert Park Village station and $15 million for the street-level Hindry station.

Metro will soon release bids from construction firms that want to build the $1.763-billion Crenshaw/LAX Line. The Metro Board had previously asked those bidding if they could construct the optional stations within the project budget, meaning there was no assurance the stations would definitely be built; it would depend on the bids.

In the meantime, both community and political support for the station has continued to grow. Many community members continued to protest that Leimert Park Village — the traditional center of African American culture in Los Angeles — would not be well served by a station one-half mile to the north at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Crenshaw. There were also complaints, too, that other Metro Rail projects included stations as close — or closer — together.

The Crenshaw/LAX Line is being funded by the Measure R sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008 as well as a federal TIFIA loan. The 8.5-mile rail line will run between the Expo Line at Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards and the Green Line, just south of Los Angeles International Airport. The project is currently forecast by Metro staff to open in 2019.

One issue remains unresolved. The Crenshaw Subway Coalition has called for undergrounding the line between 48th and 59th streets, an 11-block section where the train will run at street level through Park Mesa Heights. Putting the line in a tunnel there would cost more $200 million and the Metro Board has thus far not committed to change the project to that extent.


25 replies

  1. Steve Hymon wrote: “One issue remains unresolved. The Crenshaw Subway Coalition has called for undergrounding the line between 48th and 59th streets…”

    I disagree that this issue is unresolved. First, the selected alternative does not include an underground section through Park Mesa Heights. Second, the Metro Board did not fund an underground section here. And third, Mark Ridley-Thomas several years back asked Metro staff to report on the cost/benefits of such a section, and Metro staff responded that the tunnel was neither necessary nor cost-effective.

    Through a fair and open process, involving thousands of people in hundreds of meetings, and through binding Metro Board votes, the Crenshaw Line has been scrutinized and ultimately approved as it currently stands. The line is now (technically) under construction, with no contingency or design happening for the possible inclusion of a tunnel under Park Mesa Heights.

    So I believe this issue has been resolved. People can keep yelling all they want, that doesn’t mean there is any chance of them getting their way.

  2. This article is rather vague on one key matter: will this new rail line actually connect to LAX (rather than just the Green Line station near LAX)?

  3. @Warren: Are you referring to a SFV-to-SGV alignment, or a straight shot from DTLA to the SGV (maybe via Huntington, etc.)? Both sound like good ideas.

  4. Awesome. Now extend this line North to Hollywood via San Vicente, Fairfax and WeHo.

  5. It is great to see Metro approve the Hindry station since Metro didn’t intend to build a station in Winchester. However, for the Metro to cave into the residents of Leimert Park is unfair to other areas who are fighting to get a rail line built, i.e., East SG Valley and SFV.. Metro should had at least demanded the residents of the Leimert Park area to raise 50% or more for the station by way of a transit property tax.

    • To Warren and “Atheistically Yours” (evidently too shy to use his/her first name) – Steve Hymon could probably explain this in gerater detail, but I think this relates to “Measure R Local Return Money” which requires a certain percentage contribution for ALL communities in LA County, plus an additional percentage contribution from cities and towns which want to participate more fully in the Metro system. The City of LA and its residents contribute MUCH more in total dollars than many other cities in LA County which are NOT Los Angeles – thus, there is rightfully greater investment in rapid transit within the City of Los Angeles. Also, the City of Los Angeles itself is more densely populated than older, gracious, genteel treelined communities which are not part of the City of LA. Under the “Measure R Local Return” regulations, residents who live in those less-densely-populated communities cannot avail themselves of more-frequent rapid transit options because those options require more financial support, thus a more-densely populated tax base – AND community leaders who can convince taxpayers in those independent communities, to pay the taxes which residents of the City of LA pay, to keep the LA Metro system running frequently in the City. Again, I think Steve Hymon could explain this in greater detail, but in short: taxpayers and elected officials of independent cities in the County of LA, are getting what they agreed to pay for: a “bargain” system. If you only want to buy a scooter, don’t rant against your neighbor who invests in a truck.

  6. Well, they’re adding bus-only lanes to Wilshire Blvd and it looks like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills said “no thanks”. Go figure.

  7. Was there ever a consideration to have the community vote for a station or more under grounding ? Personally, the street is plenty wide for safe street running, so the fact the 2 stations are now being added/paid for, would in my opinion is a much better result for the community. Plus with the segment at ground, they are doing over sidewalks, planting trees, lighting etc which are improvement to the community as well. All around, seems like a win-win for the community. Now lets hope the building bids can find cost savings to maybe shave back some of these costs.

  8. This is a great day for Los Angeles as this city strives to become a leader in world class transportation.

  9. Great News for our City and for Leimert Park! Very Proud to see what progress we are making. Go Metro!

  10. Atheistically Yours, please know what you are talking about. 11% increase is operating funds for Orange Line to relieve mid-day overcrowding in the FY 2014 budget. Continued construction of new bus Division near Union Station. Service hours added for buses to reflect revised scheduled run times in the new budget. Continued purchase of new bus equipment. Deferred Maintenance program includes bus maintenance facilitiy improvements. Etc., etc.

    • I DO know what I am talking about! I live in the SGV , where ZERO bus line imporovements are made! I am typing this from a “standing ride only“ southbound Line 266 that has only seen service REDUCTIONS, never an increase!

  11. Atheistically Yours…
    Our diverse city needs a diverse transit system. LA already tried having a 100% bus only transit system between 1963-1990, at the same time spending all its infrastructure money building freeways. We all know now that didn’t work out so great. The buses were slow, infrequent, and did nothing to support the communities they passed through. Unlike building freeways which only create divisions, rail helps link the city together.

    • And THAT is the problem! The MTA is all about “linking“LA, whereas it is supposed to be a COUNTY-WIDE agency! Those of us that live outside of LA get NO improvements on anything that is NOT light-rail related! The SGV gets ZERO bus line improvements though MTA is allegedly a “county-wide“ agency! BULL!


  13. This is also great news for our City and County, and will bring our many cultures together for festivals and volunteer projects. People to People and Face to Face are very old technology, but they work very well. We grow best when we open our mental doors and let others see into our hearts.