Court Denies Neighbors' Motion to Halt Expo Construction

Decision in Expo's favor keeps efforts to build a modern transit system connecting downtown Los Angeles to the Westside on track.

Work to extend the Expo Light Rail into Santa Monica from its current terminus in Culver City can proceed as planned, the California Supreme Court has ruled.

The state high court denied a motion late Wednesday brought by a local neighborhood group to temporarily block construction of the 6.6-mile stretch of light rail. The motion was filed as part of Neighbors for Smart Rail's lawsuit against the Expo Authority, which the group accuses of not properly studying the train's impact on traffic or emergency response times.

The court did not issue a written opinion explaining the reason for denying the request, which had also been denied at the superior and appeals court levels.

Expo Board Chairman and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky applauded the ruling Thursday in a statement, saying it keeps the county's "efforts to build a modern transit system on-track" and preserves thousands of jobs.

Neighbors for Smart Rail believes if construction wraps up before the court rules, and the final decision is in the group's favor, the damage will be irreversible. Attempts to immediately reach the group—which is comprised of Westwood and Cheviot Hills residents—were unsuccessful.

Expo lawyers argued the anticipated opening date of 2016 would give the court enough time to rule on the neighborhood group's legal complaint before any trains start running.

"We appreciate that the California Supreme Court is allowing construction of Expo Phase 2 to continue," Expo Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe. “We’re continuing to make significant progress in extending light rail from Culver City to Santa Monica and look forward to bringing congestion relief to the Westside.”

Construction to build bridges for the $1.5 billion project is underway along the corridor between Culver City and Santa Monica. Stations will be built near Westwood and Pico Boulevards, Sepulveda Boulevard and Pico, Bundy Drive and Olympic Boulevard, Olympic and 26th Street, Colorado Avenue and 17th Street and Colorado and Fourth Street.

Once completed, it will take riders from downtown Los Angeles to just a few blocks near Santa Monica Beach.

— City News Service contributed to this report.

Anna Corral November 15, 2012 at 10:08 PM
I am a Santa Monica resident who is in full support of this ruling! This ruling is smart because we no longer can be in denial of change, and growth here in our city. Our city is a consciences city that understands an environmentally friendly approach for its growth and development to attach to the diverse background that makes up Santa Monica residence. It is vital that we not see growth, progression, and change as a negative but embrace it realistically. I love personally how my neighborhood will have mass transit means, as well as promotes healthy alternative lifestyle living productions in such things as walking, and cycling! I understand concern for safety measures and these things can be asked for such accordingly. But truth be told, I am all for our airport gaining a little more growth in small airline companies such as "Jet Blue, and Southwest as well as our mass transit that has been a thought only mode since 1952! Sincerly, Anna Corral, Residential Parent & Spiritual Consultant/Adviser.
W Smith November 15, 2012 at 11:18 PM
"Once completed, it will take riders from downtown Los Angeles to just a few blocks near Santa Monica Beach." Gee, just like 50 years ago. What is old is new again!
Judith November 15, 2012 at 11:43 PM
It is easy for Santa Monica residents to applaud this decision since the line runs through industrial areas of that city. I'd like to see how supportive they would be if the line ran along, say, Chelsea, in the neighborhoods north of Montana. What we had over 50 years ago were lines running down Venice Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd - oh and San Vicente from Brentwood to Santa Monica. How about digging up those coral trees for that route of the future?
Ken Ruben November 16, 2012 at 03:17 AM
Culver City residents like me ALSO support the decision. You are right about the lines you mention that did run 50 years ago, and we who support rail have been disappointed that the lines were discontinued. At least some of the former lines (i.e. EXPO) are returning for the public's use and hooray for that!!
Homer November 16, 2012 at 04:26 PM
If you don't like it, go back to Russia.
Carl Lamb November 16, 2012 at 06:04 PM
If the crossings were below grade rather than at grade through the Westside I would completely support the EXPO plan. However, I think that the traffic and safety impact of at grade crossings next to schools and homes is too big.
Shawn Landres November 16, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I support the plan but would like to find a list of where the Expo line will cross at grade and above grade (bridges). I can't find it on metro.net - is it available somewhere else?
Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 01:25 AM
I've been looking for that, too, Shawn. Interesting how hard it is to find. I even went driving along the route to try to figure out where they were building bridges and where it would be crossing at grade. In SM it appears to be going to cross at grade only at Stewart and Exposition Blvd. I may be wrong even about that since I'm going from drawings that are impossible to understand and nonexistent explanations, plus observation of what's there now. Mind you, these drawings are those given out by the City at meetings where the public is supposed to give "input" to design, when the design contract was already entered into, so what the company is doing is known already by them and the City. However, short of doing a freedom-of-information request and arguing interminably with lying, cheating City officials, there is just no way for citizens to figure it out. That is why it is even more wrong than it usually is to attack people personally who are not gung-ho for the vague plan. If the City had nothing to hide, why would they be hiding it so? And then when people finally have had it and sue, people call them NIMBYs and tell them to go back to Russia. So wrong. This is why our governments all run roughshod over all our rights. Anyone who speaks up is called names by gullible, apathetic and uninformed other people, until it's too late. And if there are people who want Southwest and Jet Blue to fly to SM, heaven is all that can help us and them.
Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 01:41 AM
It is true, Judith, some SM residents are hypocritical in attacking others where Expo goes right through residential neighborhoods and crosses at grade 26 times an hour whereas SM has lines only on the "industrial" side of town. However, poorer and minority residents live int hat area. The City just calls it industrial to try to hide the environmental injustice of SM always putting burdens of infrastructure changes in minority and poor neighborhoods. The 10 Freeway would have served many more people if it had gone through white neighborhoods as originally planned, to the Venice Boardwalk, but instead it broke up the only possible power base for blacks and browns by going through exactly the same neighborhood Expo decimates again. Expo would be within a mile of most homes and businesses in SM if it went down SM Blvd. Instead, it is two miles from the rich white neighborhood and within blocks of the largest population of minorities. The difference between Westwood and SM is not that Expo does not go through residential neighborhoods here. That common belief comes from City propaganda. The difference is that in SM these residential neighborhoods are of the weak and unrepresented. No member of the City Council has EVER been from this neighborhood. So the loud and the rich are 100% in favor of this in SM, but the people in neighborhoods it actually goes through and makes even worse are all on Smart Rail's side. We wish you the best and lament the lack of a stay.
Dan Charney December 23, 2012 at 02:08 AM
"don't it always seem to go you don't know what you've got till it's gone they paved paradise-put up a parking lot..la la la la...." Joni Mitchell- a long time ago and here we are- this city will not stop until they are yanked out by the short and curlies
Shawn Landres December 23, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Found the list at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Expo_Phase_2_(Los_Angeles_Metro) .
Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 08:20 AM
That's the plan, Stan (Dan).
Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 08:34 AM
When you step back from it and just calmly think through what they are doing--as I try to do at least once a week, just to stay sane--it is so insane, but the amazing thing about it is how they act like it is preordained somewhere, so no matter how stupid the plan is, it has to be done that way, and now. The Subway to the Sea will be a great thing, so why not just do that? Why put stations on claypit/landfill land while carrying out yet another attack on the minority/poor of SM, and at the same time tie up traffic and cut off neighborhoods in WLA? I took Expo downtown from Culver City and could not believe it when we stopped at a red light! Then I saw Kevin McKeown in a video about the plan through SM, and he actually said, "We think it will work." They THINK it will work? Like there hasn't been a subway system for over 100 years in London, so they could get some EXPERTS to tell them what WILL work, rather than doing what they THINK will??? And you should just read one of their EIRs. They count on no one doing that, since they are so long and complicated. But truthfully, they are ridiculous. The law requires one thing--evaluate what is proposed against existing conditions--that is not at all ambiguous. Instead, they estimate what the situation will be in 30 years. What??? How could anyone--as the City, then the superior court, then the court of appeal all did--buy that? They have a love affair with what they want, and ignore the law and facts.
Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 08:37 AM
So I read the list, Shawn. Thanks for the link. It appears there will be four on-grade crossings in SM. What a grand idea, just as it is in WLA. I guess we'll have to intervene in your case, huh? Ugh, don't need another one.
Brenda Barnes December 23, 2012 at 08:38 AM
I see why I couldn't find it--I was relying on Expo's papers and the Cities'. That's where the facts are hidden.
Dan Charney December 23, 2012 at 11:03 PM
Well, hop on the bus Gus ( wait- they've cut many routes now ) Jump on the train Jane ( wait- it's packed now ) We need a new plan STAN ( City Council ) Just get ourselves FREE ( of this CC )
Brenda Barnes December 27, 2012 at 09:44 AM


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