Here in Rancho Park and Cheviot Hills, we are hearing quite a bit of spin about the proposed bike path to run along Phase 2 of the Expo Line light rail route, which travels through the Westside, from from Culver City to Santa Monica.
At issue is an assertion in the Cheviot Hills Homeowners' Association's Winter newsletter (not online yet) that federal funding has been suspended for this project due to a lawsuit filed by Neighbors for Smart Rail. Here is NFSR's explanation of how the project lost federal funding:
"Following settlement of a lawsuit filed by a group of Cheviot Hills homeowners, Caltrans, acting for the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), has rescinded the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Categorical Exclusion (CE) for the Exposition Phase 2 bike path. As a result of the rescission, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has suspended over $2, 500,000 in federal funding for the project."
An email sent today from Karen Leonard and Sarah Hays, co-chairs of Light Rail for Cheviot complains that this information is incorrent and is being used to misinform residents about the bike path.
"People in the concerned communities along Phase 2 of the Expo Line deserve better information, especially when being asked for money," they write.
So have the brakes been put on the bike path?
Not so says the LADOT. Here is what they told Damien Netwton over at Streetsblog LA:
"It should be affirmed that no funding has been lost. Although, due to a lawsuit brought by Cheviot Hills attorney Zachary Samuels, the Categorical Exemption issued for the entire Expo Bike Path alignment, not specifically for Cheviot Hills, was withdrawn by Caltrans (the issuing agency), and thus the City is moving forward with additional environmental documentation as required for all federally funded projects. The bicycle path project continues to be viable and the City is still working with the Expo Authority to make the project a reality for Los Angeles."
Curbed LA has a post about it too.
Whatever the ultimate result, expect an uphill climb and some more twists and turns on this one.