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Damien Goodmon, Executive Director of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, Dale Stieber, CSC member and Tori Bailey Community Liaison and CSC member at the announcement of the Crenshaw/LAX Leimert Park Village Stop.
Photo by Brian W. Carter
Keeping Crenshaw corridor in mind
The recent announcement of a Crenshaw/LAX stop in Leimert Park brought out local officials, supporters, business owners and the community to celebrate in the news. The event also brought out local group, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition (CSC), which aims to make sure the Crenshaw District will profit from the rail line without being a hazard to it.
The CSC is a nonprofit organization made up of residents, merchants, stakeholders and community members in the Crenshaw District. Their goal is to make sure that the MTA’s $1.7 billion Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Project doesn’t undermine the community and will highlight the businesses within the corridor.
“Our roots actually go back to the Expo Line,” said Damien Goodmon, Executive Director of the CSC, “ for safety and environmental justice.”
It became a more coordinated organization with the inclusion of the Citizens’ Campaign to Fix the Expo Rail Line. The CSC became official in Summer 2011 when the needs of the Crenshaw District fell on deaf ears.
“A lot of people got involved because they didn’t want to be behind the curve, they wanted to be ahead of the curve on the Crenshaw Line,” said Goodmon.
The group works to help educate and inform the community on business concerning the Crenshaw Line. Some of their key concerns are making sure the community is involved in the line’s construction utilizing Black labor, consulting with the community about the project and keeping businesses abreast on information.
“The community has remained clear it wants the Crenshaw Line built underground…and it wants a station at Leimert Park,” said Goodmon. “The Crenshaw Subway Coalition made that the position of the day.”
Many have been vocal, including the CSC, about the line being underground at a certain point on Crenshaw Blvd. The CSC is rallying for 3 miles of the line to be underground. So far they have been successful in gaining most of their request but still have work to do.
“Two of the three miles are underground,” said Goodmon. “We’re fighting for that last mile, which just happens to be in that section that is Crenshaw Blvd’s scenic highway.”
The remaining section that is still above ground at this moment is between 48th St and 59th St. Goodmon says that they’re currently advocating for this last section to be underground.
“It’s critical that we get that because the fact is that you would have four-to-five long years of street-level construction,” said Goodmon. “If they build the whole three miles underground, they could mine the tunnel underground, without disrupting the surface.
“The way they would do right now, they would only mine up to King and then have cut-and-cover from King to Vernon, street-level from 48th to 59th and then cut-and-cover from 59th to 67th near Florence.
“Basically you’re looking at two-and-a-half miles of destructive construction that would decimate the regions last Black business corridor.
We can’t let that happen.”
The CSC is on a mission to make sure that this transportation system will run through Crenshaw with the community in mind, not in spite of. Goodmon intends on making sure the community is not forgotten.
“If built right, transit can be good but if built wrong, transit can be detrimental,” said Goodmon. “We want to make sure this is built right.”