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Them Fightin' Words: Expo Bike Path Tug of War Rolls On

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Like almost everything involving the Expo Line light-rail, constructing the adjacent bike path for Phase II from Culver City to Santa Monica is proving far from seamless. Streetsblog reports on the latest, which follows Cheviot Hills homeowners suing over the bike path this fall because it was originally granted a clearance from conducting an environmental impact report—it was believed by Caltrans and LADOT, the groups working on the bike path, that it wouldn’t cause negative environmental effects. At news of the lawsuit, Streetsblog says Caltrans pulled the EIR exception and LADOT went to work on securing necessary environmental documentation so the bike path can more forward. The latest issue comes in regard to a newsletter from the Cheviot Hills Homeowners Association that claims funding for the bike path was pulled once the EIR exception was. Not so, says an LADOT bike representative.

“In the end, the [bike path] lawsuit was settled,” wrote Colleen Mason Heller, CHHA Light Rail Chair, in the newsletter. “Due to the defendants’ inability to produce any documentation supporting their claims of no environmental impacts, the [exception] was rescinded and the $2.5 million in federal funds to build the bike path was suspended.”

LADOT’s Senior Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery responded to the newsletter, telling Streetsblog, “It should be affirmed that no funding has been lost. Although, due to a lawsuit brought by Cheviot Hills attorney Zachary Samuels, the Categorical Exemption issued for the entire Expo Bike Path alignment, not specifically for Cheviot Hills, was withdrawn by Caltrans (the issuing agency), and thus the City is moving forward with additional environmental documentation as required for all federally funded projects. The bicycle path project continues to be viable and the City is still working with the Expo Authority to make the project a reality for Los Angeles.”

· Cheviot Hills Homeowners Preemptively Declare Victory [Streetsblog]
· Expo Line Wishlist for 2011 [Curbed LA]