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Weighing in On Stations: Reports from Subway Extension Meeting

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Tuesday night saw the second meeting of five that Metro is conducting this week and next on the subway extension down Wilshire. The agency is preparing the environmental impact report for the new Purple Line leg (they say they're about halfway done), and these meetings serve to educate the public on where the new subway stations will be. Held at LACMA, Tuesday's meeting only covered three possible stations: at Fairax, La Brea, and Crenshaw. The Fairfax station will either be spanning (underneath) Fairfax or just west of Fairfax, while the La Brea station could be anywhere but the northeast corner of the street (Metro is talking with the developer of the Gateway project about a potential subway stop attached to that mixed-use structure). Both stations are happening, but Crenshaw is still only "optional" at this point. And according to the packed house at last night's meeting (at least 150 people there), there are many strong opinions about that station.

After Metro presented their updates on the EIR, and gave a timeline to the project (expect the subway to run to Fairfax in 8-10 years should everything go as planned), attendees were directed to three tables, one each for Crenshaw, La Brea, and Fairfax, where people could voice their concerns or support to a Metro representative. The Crenshaw table was, unsurprisingly, the most packed.

Many people at the table were Hancock Park and Windsor Square residents (50+ crowd) and many seemed passionately opposed to the Crenshaw stop. The biggest concern was parking; the worry that commuters would park on their streets and walk to the subway. Others thought a stop there was unnecessary because the Crenshaw/Wilshire area is primarily residential, with a few office buildings thrown in.

"I don't think it'll do any good, it's a residential area," Joann Clark, a resident of HP for 60 years and a board member of the HP Historical Society, said. "There's no restaurants and stores. It's a dead-end street. To waste money on a Crenshaw station [Metro estimates it would cost $200 million for the stop] doesn't make sense." Clark added, "We also don't want them parking on residential streets." She also aired concerns about people getting off the subway drunk and being boisterous.

But not all were against a stop.

"I think it's really important for all the neighborhoods to be linked together," Windsor Square resident Mary Pickhardt said. "There's such a great distance between Western and La Brea; there'll be such a big donut hole in the line. We don't want to be a city that isolates neighborhoods."

Pickhardt said LA should learn from Washington, DC which didn't place a stop in Georgetown when they built their subway, and now the neighborhood is clamoring for it and suffering in property values compared to other areas connected to the Metro, according to Pickhardt.

Pickhardt also lamented the meeting's sea of grey: "We need more young people at these things. If you have everyone who is forced to get into their car to Santa Monica everyday, this conversation would be over."

Metro will decide on the line's stops this summer.

· After the Screams: Metro Approves Long Range Plan [Curbed LA]
· La Brea Gateway Project Brings on the Lawsuits [Curbed LA]
· Westside Subway Extension [Metro]