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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.

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
Abso***lutely.

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