Wednesday, June 9, 2010

In their desperate attempt to justify building Expo Line street-level crossings that will result in countless preventable accidents and deaths, the Expo Authority staff and board members (in particular Councilman Bernard Parks, Council Member Jan Perry and Supervisor Yvonne Burke) have resulted to falsely claiming that the community’s concerns about public safety, child safety and requests for grade separation are new and untimely. The following are just some of the public comments regarding public safety, child safety and grade separation that can be found in MTA’s own Expo Line environmental review documents.

(We’ve added a 4-page fact sheet for print and distribution: download pdf)

Excerpts from the December 1994 MTA Expo Alternatives Refinement EIR Study

Pg. S-21 & S-22 – Design Enhancements to the Refined Alignment in the ROW:

Based on the community meetings there are additional operating and design features that could make the refined alternatives outlined in this section more acceptable to community groups and individuals. Two features, transit guideway depressed below ground level and additional grade separated crossings and underpasses at intersections are discussed in Section 3.7. [….] The additional enhancement features discussed below are not part of the recommended refined alternatives in this Report. Rather, it may be appropriate for these design features to be determined as mitigation treatments for adverse impacts of the project alternatives. [….]
Option 1: Grade Separate at All Major Arterial Street Crossings [….]
Option 2: Depressed Profile Through Residential Areas [….]
Option 3: Grade Separations at All Major Crossings Plus Depressed Profile Through Residential Areas

Pg. 3-2 – Public Input to the Refinement of Alternatives:

Major community concerns about implementing a transit project along the ROW [tracks] centered around the following: [….] Public safety especially for children where the transit project would cross intersections or operate near schools.

Pg. 7-2, 7-3, & 7-6 – Public Comments at Dorsey H.S. Community Workshop on May 4, 1993:

“An elevated line would open up more streets.”
“Do not put an aerial crossing at La Brea Avenue – do cut and cover.”
“Put the line underground or not at all.”
“Do grade separations at all major intersections.”
“Use below-grade crossings at intersections.”
“Separation should be underground at La Brea Avenue.”
“Where 7th Avenue is connected to the fire station the street should stay open.”
“Pedestrian crossovers are needed.”
“Student access will be a safety problem.”
“Children crossing the ROW [tracks] is dangerous.”

Pg. 8-2 & 8-3 – Public Comments at CA. Afro-American Museum Community Workshop on May 6, 1993:

“The entire line through this area must be aerial for safety reasons.”
“At intersections, the system should go underground.”
“MTA needs to grade separate at major cross streets, i.e., Crenshaw Boulevard, and Western and Vermont Avenues.”
“Speed is better with an aerial line.”
“Whatever is put in at Wilshire Boulevard should be treated the same at Exposition Boulevard – they should be comparable.”
“Hide an aerial system behind trees and shrubs.”
“Put a pedestrian bridge crossing at Harvard Avenue for school.”
“Noise from horns is a big problem; an elevated line means no horns.”
“Safety is a big concern.”

Excerpts from the Feb. 2000 MTA Mid-City/Westside Transit Corridor Study Re-Evaluation/Major Investment Study Report

Pg. A-5 – Community Involvement/Perceptions – Exposition LRT – Summary of Public Comment:

[S]ubstantial discussion occurred regarding safety at crossings and how design features could accommodate safety concerns, and about environmental issues such as noise and vibration.

Excerpts from the Oct. 2005 Expo Line Phase 1 – Final Environmental Impact Study/Report

Pg. 6-5 – Community Participation – Summary of Scoping Comments (May 23 – June 23, 2000):

The following provides a brief summary of the primary issues raised by commentors during scoping.

Public Safety. Members of the public expressed concern about the safety aspect of rapid transit, especially in residential areas, adjacent schools and at intersections, and indicated pedestrian safety at intersections and near schools as their most significant concern.

Excerpts from the Oct. 2005 Expo Line Phase 1 – Final Environmental Impact Study/Report
Volume 2-C Public Hearing Transcripts on the 2001 Draft Environmental Impact Report

Draft Environmental Impact Report Public Hearing Transcript – West Angelus Church on May 9, 2001:

Pg. 90 – John Freund: I am disappointed. What our present transportation authorities envision is basically what we have since the end of the 19th century. [….] This public transit I believe should not run on the surface. Below ground it is a little more expensive, as we know from the subway, but we can elevate it, we can put it in the air. And we can have monorails or we can also have what they call air bus, gliding at 30, 50 or 100 feet above us, no level crossings, no danger to pedestrians, no congestion on the street, more room, more space available under these corridors for commercial and public purposes. In short, something which looks into the 21st century.

Pg. 95 – 96 – Charles Adelman: As for the Exposition corridor, the proposal again, you have a choice of bus or rail. Rail is clearly the alternative that is much nicer…The only poroblem you have with it here again is that on the segment from USC down to…whatever the street it is, that it runs down the middle of the street in a residential street – Arlington I guess it is – it is a residential street. There will be people running across the street, and human nature being what it is, you will have accidents. So I think the desirable alternative, we need to find a way, to find the money to run it underground as a subway through that segment. And then when it gets off of the middle of the street and is on its own right-of-way, running the high-speed run there, but having grade separation at grade crossings so as to avoid the accidents like we have on the Blue Line all the time with the people who seem to think that they can beat the train. So I think that would be a greatly preferred alternative.

Pg. 100 – Presley Burroughs: Those homes east of La Brea, the right-right-of-way facility needs to be trenched, separated, and secured.

Pg. 101 – 102 – Evenlean Jackson: I have nothing against the MTA where they are traveling, but going through our community, like we said, we have schools. We have Dorsey High School, Foshay, and all the school kids.

Pg. 105 – 106 – Clint Simmons: There was a study done in France, as well, I think as Switzerland or one of the others, where they’re putting this type of rail in. And they have found the best way to go is underground. USC recognized it. They hav ea lot of technical people here, and they knew what problem that would – what they would experience, and that’s why they don’t want the so-called surface rail to pass through that area. They want it to go underground. Cheviot Hills knew it, and they didn’t want it to come through their area. But yet the MTA and I find people who live in the area can sit and tell us what is best needed. [….] If you’re going to put something in here, lets make it practical and make it compatible with the community. At the present time what I’m looking at is not compatible with the community at all.

Pg. 108 – 109 – Tony Clarke: The MTA does not have a very good track record as far as keeping people’s safety concerned concerning the tracks. What about Foshay? What about Dorsey? Are our kids less important than Palms’ aesthetic effect as far as they’re concerned? I think our kids should be thought of more besides the community in not going through there. You know. What about our kids? That’s the issue. Or at least that’s one of the issues that I have. You know, you guys haven’t thought about that, or from what I have read, it has not been thought out completely. You know. Like I said before, you guys do not have the best track record in trying to keep people safe. And I’d really hate to hear on the news that a kid got hit. That would be really great for you guys. You know. In conclusion, this should not go through anybody’s community. Just like Palms area it made a detour, if that’s the case, at least for our kids, detour it through our areas. Do not put our kids’ safety in jeopardy.

Pg. 113 – Evelia Cervantes: We do not need an elementary to get hit by a Metro or an MTA coming through. Kids crossing the street on San Pedro get hurt every day – just about every day just crossing the street, because the cars passing by. Just a car, let alone – let alone a train coming 10 miles per hour like she said. It’s going to hit somebody. It’s going to hit a car, it’s going to hit a truck, it’s going to hit something, and we do not want no problems.

Pg. 114 – Frederico Aguilar: [I]t’s going to be dangerous for our kids. We have a school on 28th and San Pedro. It’s a bunch of little kids going through those streets, and it’s – some of them are accompanied by an adult, and some of them are on their own. So it’s very, very dangerous for our kids, and it’s going to be not too good for our community.

Pg. 118 – Elizabeth Blaney: This route, this right-of-way will go right through residents’ backyards; it will be dangerous for children.

Pg. 120 – 121 – Jimmy Smith: I’m in favor of the project. Not as is. [….] It has to be built properly. If that means it has to be built with more money, so be it. An example would be Dorsey High. I live right next door to Dorsey High. I went there. It has to be separated completely from Dorsey High. If that means the same thing that has to be done at SC underground or whatever, that’s the way it has to be done.

Pg. 122 – Martha Vazquez: In your proposal the train is going to pass right next to our homes, and this is going to be very dangerous for our children.

Pg. 123 – Luz Vizcarra: I oppose this proposal because I have grandchildren and children that go to 28th Street School and this is going to be very dangerous for them.

Pg. 124 – Rogelio Macedonio: The community has informed me that there is 28th Street Elementary School with many children in this school, and the train running right next to it would cause many dangers to these children, and so therefore we are very much opposed to it.

Pg. 124 – Raul Elizariasus: This proposal will be running the train right behind our yards, and it’s going to be very dangerous for our children.

Draft Environmental Impact Report Public Hearing Transcript – Peterson Museum on May 7, 2001:

Pg. 27 – Rudyard Clark: I’m all for that light rail particularly. The only comment I have about the project would be if it were to – the subway portion near USC, if it possibly could be extended a little farther west for safety reasons and to help speed up the line. And also I have comments on other projects, too. The Blue Line, Long Beach to Los Angeles Blue Line, there’s been a number of fatalities there since 1990. If perhaps maybe grade separations could be added, maybe a subway cut, uncovered subway situation on the Blue Line between downtown Los Angeles and city of Long Beach.

Pg. 41 – Linda Bradshaw: I’m very gratified to know that you’ve got an elevated section over La Cienega…But I would wonder why you don’t have the elevated section going all the way down.

Pg. 61 – 62 – Chris Ford: One way to improve the speed, as has been mentioned, obvious is grade separations. Up in the Bay Area BART carries 450,000 passengers a day, and I believe succeeds in great part because its own its own rail; sometimes it’s raise like a monorail, sometimes it’s grade level, but it is fenced off, grade separated, there’s no way a human being or car can touch BART or its third rail, and you don’t want to. But the point is it goes on its own track, and nothing stops it except the rain. We could improve on that here, I think.

Pg. 63 – Bill Mullins: [T]he term seems to be grade separation, but if light rail or monorail or subways don’t have to stop with the traffic – I’m from Boston, and I think that’s the whole point. If you don’t have to stop for the traffic, it’s the one thing that gives the Blue Line a black eye. The Blue Line is great. But every once in a while some joker tries [to] beat the train.

Draft Environmental Impact Report Public Hearing Transcript – Veterans Admin. Hospital on May 15, 2001:

Pg. 218 – Jamie Corcio: Having a train, a light rail running on streets is not the safest. And we know. We’ve had accidents with the Blue Line. We’ve had terrible accidents there.

Excerpts from the Expo Line Phase 1 LRT Final Environmental Impact Report/Statement Supplemental Public Review Period October 14 – November 28, 2005

Pg. c-3 – City of Culver City – City Council and Redevelopment Agency:
Approximately 139 comments/issues were raised by the City of Culver City, including those related to parking (8), pedestrian crossing (1), traffic (3), transit (20), construction effects (10), land use (11), air quality (6), public safety (3), bus service (8), noise and vibration (33), water resources (4), bikeway/bikeway facilities (7), visual (1), geology and soils (2), and general comments (21).

Pg. c-8 – City of Los Angeles:
Comment. The proposed Project should be modified to extend the Flower Street Design Option Undercrossing to Vermont Avenue to eliminate the visual barrier of safety walls.

Pg. c-12 – University of Southern California:
Comment. A rail line between the park and campus would become a safety hazard to increasing number of students and visitors in the area.

Pg. c-17 – Natural History Museum:
The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (Museum) has expressed concerns regarding pedestrian and vehicular safety and access, and visual barrier posed by the Flower Street Design option.

Pg. c-19 – Baldwin Neighborhood Homeowners Association:
BNHA’s safety and security concerns include the queuing areas that will be provided between the LRT tracks at Farmdale Avenue as well as the type of fencing proposed, the type of security that will be provided, and the at-grade crossings adjacent to Dorsey High School and Foshay Middle School.

Pg. c-21 – South Park Stakeholders Group:
The South Park Stakeholders Group stated their concern about the possible noise, vibration, pedestrian safety, and vehicle safety hazard impacts the Project may contribute to from increased LRT operations in the community adjacent to the existing Metro Blue Line located in the South Park District of Downtown Los Angeles.

Additionally at the September 18, 2002 MTA Planning & Programming Committee meeting, Mr. Clint Simmons, who was then leading a predecessor group, Concerned Neighbors Along Exposition Right-of-Way, had his presentation put on the record.  The presentation begins with the clear statement that one of the group’s primary concerns is “SAFETY FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN.”  Included in the presentation, which is part of the MTA meeting minutes (link to large file) are pictures of trench structures the group was proposing as an alternative.

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