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Aspects of the Crenshaw rail line still hanging in the balance


The Crenshaw Subway Coalition is gearing up for a possible showdown over additional funding for the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, including a Leimert Park Village Station, but may have to await a May 23 decision by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board on just how bruising–or necessary–a showdown will be.

Damien Goodmon, Coalition chair and executive director, says the issue most likely depends on the staff recommendation on May 10. “If the staff recommends that there is no money, the Metro [Transportation Authority] would have to add money to the project.” The meeting of the MTA board would be on May 23.

“We know what will happen if we don’t have a large turnout on the 23rd,” said Goodmon. “We need to get people out to express their opinion. The board has the money. It has $10.2 billion to spend throughout the county except in South Los Angeles.”

The coalition is seeking the complete undergrounding of Crenshaw Boulevard portion of the line, as well as the addition of a Leimert Park Village Station.

Part of the argument for the Leimert Station, which would service the cultural hub of the African American community, is that such stations have been provided with no fuss for Chinatown, Little Tokyo, Culver City and Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights.

“Two years ago, despite overwhelming support for a station from a broad coalition of business owners, neighborhood groups, the church community and residents, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board voted to build one only if it could fit within the existing $1.7-billion budget allocated for the project, leaving the station’s future in question,” Second district Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas in a statement.

“That decision was widely criticized by many, including every elected official representing the Crenshaw community–city council members and members of the state Legislature and of the U.S. Congress–who all joined in an unprecedented show of unity to call for the stop in Leimert Park Village. It also deeply disappointed hundreds of residents who packed the Metro Board hearing room and thousands who petitioned the board, calling for a stop in what is the heart of the African American community and, increasingly, an important resident and business center for Latinos.”

The stated objectives of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition is to ensure that the Crenshaw line will be built in the manner requested by the community, built by the people of community and done so on principles of local economic empowerment.

The 8.5-mile light rail line will link the Crenshaw District, Inglewood, Westchester, the Los Angeles International Airport, El Segundo and Redondo Beach. As presently designed, it would go undergrand from Exposition Boulevard to 48th Street, at grade from 48th to 59th Street, and underground from 60th Street, where it veers unto the existing  Harbor Subdivision tracks.

The Coalition will meet tonight in the Christ Temple Church at 3125W. 54th St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.