RUNNING SINCE 2008

UTLA Stands Up for Our Children & Schools

Posted by Fix Expo Team On June - 20 - 2008 ADD COMMENTS

On January 16, 2008, the United Teachers Los Angeles House of Representatives stood up for the safety of children and the preservation of learning environments through HOR 11-7-07 Special Order #13:

Moved by Elaine LeBoeuf, seconded by Susie Chow that UTLA oppose the construction of the Expo Rail Line (light rail) as it is proposed. At least 5 schools are less than 100 feet from the at-grade (street level) rail which will be an extreme hazard to students, teachers and the general public. UTLA recommends that MTA build the train totally grade separated as it will be in Culver City and underground (as it will be at Figueroa Street at USC) in this high density area. Noise pollution is also a concern. Take it back to [the] Commission for a safer proposal.
Rationale: We are concerned about the safety and welfare of [the] general public (dogs and cats, too) in this densely populated area. Students will have difficulty concentrating with bells and whistles every 2 1/2 minutes. Sound walls can’t be constructed to mitigate this circumstance.

Special thanks go to UTLA Dorsey HS Chapter Chair Noah Lippe-Klein, and UTLA Community Relations Chair Elaine LeBoeuf.

The motion can be downloaded by clicking here.

Popularity: 1% [?]

(Schools within 1/3rd of a mile of the Expo Line)

At their November 13, 2007 meeting, the LAUSD Board unanimously adopted the Keeping Kids Safe Resolution presented by Board Members Marguerite LaMotte & Julie Korenstein supporting the position of the community requesting Expo Line grade separation at Farmdale (Dorsey HS), opposing Expo Line at-grade crossings in close proximity to school sites that aren’t sufficiently mitigated, and directing their legal department to fight to such ends.

Continue reading to view the full text of the resolution:

Whereas, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Expo Light Rail Line is proposed to operate primarily at-grade;

Whereas, According to the Summary of Metro Blue Line Train/Vehicle and Train Pedestrian Accident Report (7/90-6/07), in 17 years of operating primarily at-grade, the Metro Blue Line has become the nation’s deadliest and most accident-prone light rail line in the country, and statistics indicate 88 deaths and 795 accidents have occurred in urban areas with lower vehicular and pedestrian traffic volume and residential density than the Expo Rail Line corridor;

Whereas, The proposed Expo Line’s median-running and side-street running designs from the intersection of 11th and Flower Streets to Arlington Avenue and Exposition Boulevard is the exact replica of the most accident prone portion of the MTA’s Blue Line;

Whereas, The Los Angeles Unified School District Distance Criteria for School Siting precludes schools from being built within 128 feet of an active rail line; unless the risk is found to be less than significant;

Whereas, The property line of Susan Miller Dorsey High School, with a student population of over 1,600, is within 20 feet of the proposed at-grade Expo Rail Line crossings;

Whereas, The property line of Foshay Learning Center, with a student population of over 3,400, is within 50 feet of the proposed at-grade Expo Rail Line crossings;

Whereas, The Expo Line is proposed to operate within walking distance of Foshay Learning Center, Theodore T. Alexander Science Center Elementary School, Weemes Elementary, Baldwin Hills Elementary School, and Dorsey High School;

Whereas, On a daily basis thousands of students walk in close proximity and cross the Expo Line tracks, which encompasses several safe passage school routes;

Whereas, To ensure a quality learning environment, interior and exterior noise levels must maintain acoustical standards not exceeding American National Standards Institute guidelines (ANSI S.12.60-2002) and criteria established by the Collaborative for High Performing Schools (CHPS);

Whereas, The Expo Rail Line trains will blow its horns on approach and through each at-grade crossing near District schools as frequently as 30 times per hour;

Whereas, Horn blowing would not be required if the Expo Line is constructed above or below grade, and noise impacts would be significantly reduced;

Whereas, The increased traffic and vehicles idling near the school sites will have an adverse effect on the health of school occupants;

Whereas, MTA is making the investment to eliminate all at-grade crossings on the Expo Rail Line in the City of Culver City; and

Whereas, MTA is making the investment to construct an underpass at Figueroa Street and Exposition Boulevard adjacent to the University of Southern California; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Los Angeles Unified School District supports the position of the community, which opposes the at-grade design of the Expo Light Rail Line at the Farmdale crossing;

Resolved further, That the District is opposed to the operation of any at-grade design of the Expo Light Rail Line along streets in close proximity to school sites, unless it is demonstrated that alternative mitigation measures will eliminate all safety hazards; and be it finally

Resolved, That the Governing Board of the Los Angeles Unified School District directs the Superintendent to exhaust all legal options in working with the MTA to eliminate all at-grade crossings along the proposed Expo Line that present a significant risk to pedestrian safety.

The Resolution can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking here.

Popularity: 2% [?]

Motions have been passed by the directly impacted South LA Neighborhood Councils opposing the Expo Line’s current street level design through South LA and supporting the community’s alternative for a below grade alignment (underground or trench) from the Exposition Park trench at Figueroa to La Brea (4 of the 8.6 miles of the Expo Line).

Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council, which represents the Baldwin Hills, Baldwin Village, Baldwin Vista, Crenshaw Manor, Leimert Park and Village Green communities passed their motion on December 18, 2007: pdf

Empowerment Congress North Area Neighborhood Development Council, which represents the University Park and Jefferson Park communities passed their motion on December 6, 2007: pdf

West Adams Neighborhood Council, which represents the area around Dorsey HS passed their motion in the summer of 2007: pdf

UPDATE: United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council, passed a resolution on September 4, 2008, meaning all four of the directly adjacent neighborhood councils in South LA have passed similar resolutions opposing street-level crossings in South LA and supporting grade separation.

The full text of the ECWANDC Resolution is available by continuing to read…
Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council

Expo Line Project Resolution & Recommendations
December 18, 2007


Whereas, there would be a substantial environmental impact to the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council area from the currently proposed light rail Expo Line project, which will operate all hours of the day and will impact the community frequently and consistently for generations;

Whereas, at-grade crossings proposed at Arlington Avenue, 7th Avenue, 11th Avenue, Crenshaw Blvd, Buckingham Road and Farmdale Avenue pose a grave safety risk to motorists and pedestrians, particularly the elderly, disabled and children;

Whereas, much of the Expo Line design is similar to Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Blue Line, which to date has killed 89 people and been involved in over 798 accidents, making it the deadliest and most accident-prone light rail line in the country;

Whereas, the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s 1998 Booz-Allen, Hamilton study identified the major cause of the Blue Line accidents as the high ridership of the line, large vehicular and pedestrian traffic around station locations, diverse socio-economic population, high residential density and slow traffic speeds of vehicles, conditions which are all similar or greater in intensity on the Expo Line corridor;

Whereas, train crossings are predicted in upwards of every 30 times per hour per intersection;

Whereas, the property lines of several schools, parks and places of worship are within 50 feet of the Expo Line, and a large youth population is within walking distance of the tracks;

Whereas, traffic counts at the intersection of Washington Blvd & National Blvd in the city of Culver City, state of California, and at the intersection of Jefferson Blvd & National Blvd in West Los Angeles, state of California where grade separations are proposed are lower than traffic counts at Crenshaw & Exposition where no grade separation is proposed;

Where as, train horns, bells, whistles, track switches, crossing gates, overpasses, sound walls, street closures and crossing gates cause noise, blight, division, and traffic congestion, and obstruct easy access to emergency services and parks;
Whereas, crossing gates at 7th Avenue & Exposition will severely impact emergency response times of Fire Station 34;

Whereas, crossing gates at Farmdale Avenue & Exposition will severely impact emergency response times of Fire Station 94;

Whereas, traffic circulation will be severely disrupted with the closure of 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue;

Whereas, the closure of Rancho Cienega park access will nearly completely eliminate access from the northside of the tracks;

Whereas, the closure of Baldwin Hills park access will completely eliminate access from the northside of the tracks;

Whereas, short-term budgeting and decision-making has not made a full accounting of the life cycle costs of at-grade Expo Line crossings, which include negative externalities such as pollution mitigation for idling queued vehicles, the cost for increased highway storage capacity to accommodate traffic backed up by the train, the loss of productivity and delays due to crossing gates and train-auto and train-pedestrian accidents, the cost of lawsuits due to loss of life and limb, the cost of traffic gate and signal maintenance, the loss of ridership due to slow trains speeds because of auto traffic congestion, reduced emergency service access, and spillover congestion on the rest of the roadway system;

Whereas, a below grade Expo Line on Exposition Blvd through the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council and other South LA communities eliminates these and other adverse environmental impacts;

Whereas, a below grade Expo Line on Exposition Blvd through the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council area produces a higher return on the large taxpayer investment through increased ridership, reduced travel times, reduced annual operating cost, and increased capacity for spurs that can serve several parts of our region;

Whereas, the political leadership of South Los Angeles has the capacity, standing and has significant influence (federal, state and local) on the relevant committees, boards, and commissions to represent and meet the needs of the community;

Be it resolved, that the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council opposes the currently proposed design of the light rail Expo Line;

Be it resolved, that the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council supports the community’s efforts to grade separate all currently proposed at-grade crossings on the Expo Line;

Be it resolved, that the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council demands that the political leadership of South Los Angeles fulfill the needs of its citizens for a safe and efficient grade separated Expo Line that maintains community cohesion;

Be it further resolved; that the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council supports beginning to build the Expo Line below grade from the Figueroa trench through South Los Angeles as far as the existing budget will allow, while simultaneously supporting increased investment through annual government budgets and new resources like State Proposition 1B and State Proposition 1C to complete phase 1 to Culver City.

Popularity: 1% [?]

The LAUSD Parent Collaborative sent their letter in opposition to the primarily at-grade alignment of the Expo Line to the CPUC in November of 2006.

Continue reading for the full text of the letter:

Mr. Varoujan Jinbachian
California Public Utilities Commission
Rail Crossing Engineering Section
320 West 4th Street, Suite 500
Los Angeles, California 90013

Dear Mr. Jinbachian:

This letter will have reference to the proposed light rail project poised to be located within fifty to seventy feet of a number of schools in the LAUSD.

As you are aware, Dorsey High School is located within fifty feet of the light rail project. Foshay Learning Center is located sixty feet from the proposed project. Theodore T. Alexander Jr. Science Center is within fifty feet of the project. Adams Middle School is within sixty feet of the project, and Central LA Area Middle school #4 is within seventy feet of the project. Furthermore, a number of other schools are less than 100 feet from the proposed project.

Safety is of paramount importance to the parents of students attending schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Noise pollution is a serious concern for parents of students, particularly when many of our students are special education children who cannot afford to be disturbed by such a tremendously loud distraction. It is difficult, at best, for these children to learn under the best of circumstances. It would be nearly impossible for them to learn under the proposed circumstances. The noise created by the light rail is beyond the levels established by the American National Standards Institute for safety and an optimal learning environment. The vibration created by the light rail will also be significant and distracting to the students in the aforementioned schools.

One of the most frightening aspects of this project is there is the possibility of train derailments, and our children could be seriously injured or even killed by such a situation or when walking across the street at one of the multitude of rail crossings along the proposed project line. It is for these reasons the Parent Collaborative has agreed unanimously to write to you with our concerns and wholehearted opposition to this project in its current form.

Sincerely,
Jeanette Hopp, Secretary
Parent Collaborative

The letter can be downloaded in pdf format by clicking here.

Popularity: 1% [?]

Next Meeting: Mon Jan 11

Join us at our first community update and organizing meeting in the new decade as we discuss the on-going Farmdale controversy and Crenshaw subway effort.

Campaign for Stimulus & Measure R Funds to Grade Separate the South LA Portion of Expo

MTA now has more resources that by law has to be spent on rapid transit expansion. Now is our time to request these resources go toward FIXING EXPO!

Responding to MTA Spin & Deception

A comprehensive response to the spin, red herrings, and half-truths delivered by MTA/Expo, complete with agency memos, testimony, studies, pictures, videos and all.

Separate & Unequal: Expo Phase 1

Compare the design of the Expo Line Phase 1 west of La Cienega to that in majority-minority South LA and it’s clear that Expo Phase 1 is textbook environmental racism.

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