Expo Line Seeks Public Participation
Phase One of the Exposition Light Rail Transit Project is in the final stretch to completion and wants to add an addition station at Farmdale Avenue
By Yussuf J. Simmonds
Titled 'Project Update' (PU) the Exposition Light Rail Transit Project (Expo Line) is seeking the public's blessing to add a station near Dorsey High School near Farmdale Avenue. As with any large-scale public development, questions and concerns will always be raised and need to be addressed in a meaningful way. Notwithstanding, there are usually suspicion and apprehension in the Black community when changes and modifications are being made to existing projects and promises. The station at Farmdale is no exception.
Â In order to give the community an opportunity for input, Samantha Bricker, the Chief Operating Officer for the Exposition Authority spoke with the Sentinel and she made it clear that the call for meaningful dialogue was genuine. "At present, we are at about 70 percent completed on the construction," she said, referring to the Expo Line. "We have stations going up, installing the power poles, and the art is being produced, and the cables are being put in all the way along the entire line."
The entire line that she referenced was explained in an illustrated booklet, and as she spoke, she moved through the pages methodically showing the pictures of the project while she described the contents of each page. The Phase 1 from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City is approximately 8.6 miles at an estimated cost of $862 million according to the PU. Completion is projected to be 2011.
Bricker also said, that the upside of the daily ridership will pay dividends in less cars being on the road, less pollution and a cleaner (greener) environment--in addition to a decrease in travel time to and from Downtown.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will be conducting a public participation forum at Dorsey High School specifically to engage the community about the proposed station at Farmdale Avenue. "It will be next Tuesday (June 1)," said Bricker, "and that will be the opportunity for the community to weigh in on the Farmdale Station because the big decision makers on this will be the PUC."
In explaining why the PUC is now seeking community input after the project is already 70 percent completed, Bricker said that the Farmdale Station was not part of the original project. It is an addition--an additional station along the 8.6-mile corridor. When asked what will happen if the public, the residents and those who will be impacted, decided 'we do not want a station here' then what?
Her response was, "It's really the PUC's decision. They make a determination every time the tracks cross a street, they (the Expo Line) have to get their (PUC's) approval." Using that rationale, it seemed like an exercise in futility since the people's word does not appear to count. "It goes back a hundred years, and they have that authority," she said.
From beginning to end, the corridor map at present shows 11 stations. And according to the PU, the benefits of the Farmdale Station will include a new station for the neighborhood, increased mobility, good paying construction jobs and access to neighborhood conveniences such as school, shopping, healthcare, etc.
Any objections will surface at the public participation meeting at Dorsey High School next Tuesday.