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Final Word Coming on Crenshaw Line Undergrounding?

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This is one of those board meetings that Metro bigwigs probably bring a lot of Tums to. The Source reminds readers that the transit agency's board is scheduled tomorrow to discuss two elements of the Crenshaw Line, a new light-rail train that will get people closer to LAX than the Green Line does--it'll still be a mile away, but a people mover may make up the difference--and that's supposed to break ground this year or next. The South LA community has rallied for Metro to include a subway station in the heart of historic Leimert Park Village and many are calling for an at-grade section of the line in Park Mesa Heights to be undergrounded. If we're betting bloggers, we'd say a compromise is reached for the station (possibly by moving the bus-friendly Martin Luther King Blvd. station closer to Vernon Ave., at the center of the Village) but that Metro likely won't build the line as a subway in Park Mesa Heights.

Our inclination comes not just from a hunch that Metro doesn't want to set a precedent (neighborhood groups all prefer a more expensive subway to a cheaper at-grade train, and saying yes in this case might embolden others who want an underground train), but also that Metro CEO Art Leahy wrote a letter to subway-advocate and county supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas that spelled out Metro's rationale for wanting the train to run at-grade. Obviously, we could be wrong, and as the LA Weekly pointed out, South LA is united in wanting both a Village stop and a Park Mesa Heights subway (the paper also says Metro has the $400 million to pay for the requested additions).

The Metro board will discuss other issues too, including the Wilshire bus-only lanes. Metro staff is recommending a 7.7 mile stretch from near Downtown to Brentwood, with omissions in Beverly Hills and Westwood's Condo Canyon. Approval is likely.

The agency is also considering lowering the price of a day pass from $6 to $5 and making weekly and monthly passes "rolling," so that they're usable for any seven-day or 30-day period rather than being locked into specific calendar dates.

Metro will also debate a motion pushed by the mayor that would look into adding high-occupancy toll lanes (i.e. charging single-occupied cars $$ to drive in carpool lanes) on part of the 405 just north of the Orange Curtain. Leimert Park Village image by waltarrrrr via Flickr
· A Look Ahead at Thursday's Meeting [The Source]