A decision by the Metro board on whether to underground a portion of the Crenshaw light-rail in Park Mesa Heights and add a station in the heart of historic Leimert Park Village was kicked to May 26, according to an alert from Damien Goodmon's FixExpo blog. Three board members will be MIA at today's board meeting, hence the postponement. The Measure R Delivery Committee supported the changes, which would add $219 million to the project's budget, in a recent 2-1 vote and pushed a decision to the transit agency's board--groundbreaking is supposed to start this year or next. The Los Angeles Times published an editorial today that advocated against the changes, saying undergrounding the line is unnecessary in Park Mesa Heights; they argue that Metro already operates above-ground trains with good safety records (e.g. the Gold Line) and businesses will benefit, not suffer from a light-rail. The editorial board says a station in Martin Luther King Blvd. and one a half-mile south at Vernon (closer to the center of the village) should be pared down to one central stop. The Times is also concerned that adding the expenses to the Crenshaw Line could take money away from other Measure R projects (transit advocates also hope the line will be eventually extended to the Wilshire subway and further north through West Hollywood or Hollywood via San Vicente or La Brea--Metro has already conducted a study on this). The Crenshaw subway proponents are hoping to use this extra month to lobby the boardmembers, according to Goodmon's e-mail.
· FixExpo [Official Site]
· Public Transit: Keep Project on Track [LA Times]