Case Studies & Examples / Transit

“How Legal Challenges Are Affecting Work On 4 LA Rail Lines”

Monday, June 4, 2012, by Neal Broverman

“We all want more transit lines in LA, right? Well, not all of us. There are now at least four legal attempts to stop, stymie, or redo subway and light rail projects in LA. While the Gold Line extension into the San Gabriel Valley is currently court challenge-free, it endured at least half a dozen lawsuits (by the same property owner) before they were all settled. The latest legal news comes in regard to the Expo Line, which is now open to La Cienega, opening to Culver City this summer, and under construction to Santa Monica. A group of homeowners in Cheviot Hills sued to put the light rail underground (which would be cost-prohibitive)–they lost their initial caselost their appeal, and are now attempting to have the state supreme court hear their argument that Metro violated the California Environmental Quality Act by mucking up their environmental studies….

Metro tells us “the pendency of a CEQA lawsuit does not prevent the MTA from moving forward with a project.” Which makes sense, since Metro officials today are celebrating the start of preliminary work on the Crenshaw Line, a light rail connecting the Green Line to the Expo Line, with a potential future connection to LAX. Activist Damien Goodmon’s group, the Crenshaw Subway Coalition, sued the project and the Federal Transit Administration, for approving the project, because they want the entire eight and a half mile line put above- or underground….

Now, of course there is Beverly Hills’s war over the Purple Line extension to Westwood. The school district sued the project last week because Metro intends to tunnel underneath their high school in order to reach a station at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars in Century City. BHUSD believes it’s unsafe to tunnel underneath the school and wants to reroute the train to a stop on Santa Monica Boulevard. The city of Beverly Hills also sued–for the same reason, but also for alleged violations of CEQA related to construction near the La Cienega station….

Finally, there’s the Regional Connector project, a two-mile underground line in DTLA that will link the Gold, Blue, and Expo Lines together to allow transfer-less trips around the county.”

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