Expo Line News - Key Station Parking and Elevation Issues Affecting Rancho Park's Westwood and Sepelveda Stations To Be Made on Friday, March 18

Big decisions affecting Rancho Park, Cheviot Hills and the entire Westside are slated for Friday, March 18. They involve the Expo Line, and its two Rancho Park stations. Up for consideration is whether to use city funds to elevate the Sepulveda Blvd station and whether a park or parking lot will be built at the Westwood Blvd. station.


The double header begins in the morning when the LA City Council will take up a motion brought by Councilmembers Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl to use monies ($5 million) from the West LA Traffic Improvement Mitigation Plan (TIMP)  to fund grade separation at Sepulveda Blvd.


The following details and explanations come from Sarah Hays at Light Rail for Cheviot


  "Both the options for an at-grade crossing and for a bridge at Sepulveda were cleared in the FEIR, with the cost difference given as $13 million at the time.  Because of the need to acquire private property for the at-grade option, the difference in cost has now been reduced to $5 million, and Koretz and Rosendahl feel that this would be a good use of traffic mitigation funds.  Sepulveda is a designated alternate route for the 405 Freeway;  though the Department of Transportation has accepted that the at-grade option would function in normal traffic conditions, it has expressed concerns about the not-so-abnormal conditions when the 405 is blocked.


In the afternoon the Expo Board will meet and vote on the following:

-  a vote to ratify the design-build contract with Skanska - Rados for Phase II of the Expo Line.  

-  a vote on the options to Grade Separate Sepulveda Blvd or not as described above 
-  a vote on the options to have a Parking Lot or No Parking at the Westwood Station "

Again, more on this from Sarah Hays, whose Light Rail for Cheviot supports the no parking option at Westwood  but has not taken a position on funding the elevation at Sepulveda.
"Councilmembers Koretz and Rosendahl will probably not be allowed to vote at the Board meeting since they are alternates but not Board members.  We have been told that some of the Phase I Board Members are viewing particularly the grade separation issue as one of unequal treatment for Phase II, and are leaning towards not supporting it.  We may hear this argument often as Phase II progresses.  We feel strongly that each phase should be treated equally, but that each station and street crossing has different attributes that may lead to slightly different layouts.  In the case of Sepulveda, an argument could be made that its status as a freeway alternate increases the desirability of grade separation.  And this $5 million for grade separation comes from outside the project.  (and is significantly less than the $18 million that was spent to add the station at Farmdale Avenue)"
Here are details on the meeting and emails to write to key decision makers.

Council Meeting at Los Angeles City Hall, meeting starts at 10am, Friday, March 18.  Funding grade separation is Item#33 out of 40 items on the agenda, but there is no way to tell  when it may come up.  Parking can be arranged through either CD5 or CD11 at City Hall.
Expo Board Meeting starts at 2:30pm, Friday March 18, Board of Supervisors' Hearing Room 381B, Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W Temple St, Downtown LA

Over at CityWatch, Ken Alpern makes the case that using city funds to elevate the line at Sepulveda provides a way to control the scope of the Casden development at that location. (Are we really getting a Target?) Also, be sure to check out this Expo-related storyby our own Enhager.

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