The Crenshaw light rail line stepped a bit closer to reality with last night's release of a final environmental impact report. No big surprises inside--though there's this glimpse of a very high bridge over the 405--but it's good news for those hoping to see this thing open by 2016 or '17. There's no final word on a station in the heart of Leimert Park Village--neighborhood activists want a Leimert stop and others are pushing for the undergrounding of the light rail in Park Mesa Heights, as the Crenshaw Line moves north to meet with the Expo Line. The Metro board recently nixed the PMH subway because of financial constraints, but agreed to a subway station in the Village if the $131 million to build it can be found in the current $1.715 billion budget, i.e. if a contractor can construct the line with a station (or at least an underground box to add a stop later) for that amount. If that can't happen, Metro "recommends that a street level station be built at 48th Street, two blocks south of Vernon, and that non-Metro funding be found to build it." The decision will likely be made in final engineering next year. The Metro board will vote to certify Crenshaw's FEIR at its September 22 board meeting and Metro representative Jose Ubaldo tells us that the "award of a major [design/build] contract is scheduled for 4th qtr. 2012. This could be a groundbreaking or major milestone event."
Here're more details on the line as described in the FEIR, via Metrocenter at the Crenshaw Line Transit Coalition discussion board:
The southern terminus of the alignment would begin at the existing Metro Green Line Aviation Station which is in an aerial configuration, and transition northerly to a below-grade trench configuration, south of 111th Street, as it passes adjacent to the LAX south runways. The baseline configuration of the project near LAX Runway 25L and 25R ends is a cut-and-cover trench that is covered with a reinforced concrete roof. This is based on comments received from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) on the DEIS/DEIR. There is also an interim option for a depressed partially-covered trench. After clearing the south runways north of 104th Street, the alignment would transition to an aerial configuration across Century Boulevard. At Century Boulevard, the LRT alignment would be located on a new bridge constructed west of, and adjacent to, the existing railroad bridge. The alignment would transition to an at-grade configuration north of the Wally Park structure and operate at-grade across Arbor Vitae Street and would transition to an aerial structure across Manchester Avenue. The alignment would transition back to grade level for at-grade crossings at Isis and Hindry Avenues. The LRT alignment would transition to an aerial configuration across La Cienega Boulevard and the I-405 and would return to grade before Oak Street.
The alignment would continue at grade to the east with at-grade crossings at Oak Street, Cedar Street, Ivy Street, and Eucalyptus Avenue. The alignment would descend to a below-grade trench configuration under La Brea Avenue with an open cut station to the east of La Brea Avenue. The alignment would transition back to grade east of La Brea Avenue until Victoria Avenue. At-grade crossings would occur at Centinela Avenue, West Boulevard and Brynhurst Avenue and an at-grade station would be located to the west of West Boulevard.
West of Victoria Avenue, the alignment would transition to a below-grade tunnel and continue along the Harbor Subdivision until Crenshaw Boulevard where it would continue north under Crenshaw Boulevard until north of 59th Place where it would transition to grade level in through a portal in the middle of the Crenshaw Boulevard median. The alignment is required to be below grade under this segment of Crenshaw Boulevard because the street right-of-way width is 100 feet, which would be insufficient to accommodate an at-grade LRT without reducing roadway lane capacity.
The alignment would travel at grade in a new median of Crenshaw Boulevard south of 59th Street to 48th Street. The frontage roads along Crenshaw Boulevard would be eliminated where the alignment is operating at grade. There would be an at-grade station in the median of Crenshaw Boulevard, south of Slauson Avenue. The alignment would transition to a below-grade configuration north of 48th Street through a portal in the median of Crenshaw Boulevard. The alignment would be below grade for the remainder of the alignment either to the terminus associated with an MOS at King or at Exposition Boulevard (the terminus for the LPA), with the incorporation of Design Option 6. The below-grade alignment could be built as either a bored or cut and cover tunnel. The choice of tunneling methodology will be based on an analysis of the length and depth of the tunnel section. Below-grade stations would be located in the median of Crenshaw Boulevard at King and Exposition Boulevards with portal entrances on properties adjacent to Crenshaw Boulevard.
MOS-Century would follow the same alignment described above, but beginning at the Crenshaw/Exposition Station with the incorporation of Design Option 6 and terminating at the Century Station.