Photo removed at photographer's request.
A group of Westside homeowners calling themselves Neighbors for Smart Rail aren't giving up on their dream of stopping the Expo Line to Santa Monica. The group initially sued the Expo Construction Authority last year, saying the train would impede traffic, reduce air quality, and threaten their children (homeowners had front yard signs that read "Kids and Trains Don't Mix," though many have recently been removed). In their suit, the homeowners argued that the traffic figures in Expo's environmental impact report are flawed, but a judge said the EIR was fine and the suit was tossed in February. The group moved to appeal, but Expo began work on Phase II (from Culver City to Santa Monica) with a formal groundbreaking earlier this month. As we speak, buildings are being demolished so the train can make its way to the beach, but in a press release obtained by Streetsblog, NFSR writes that the appeal is still on and they're in it to win it.
We'll let NFSR describe what they believe is wrong with the train line's EIR:
The consequence of not studying the additional traffic congestion caused by the trains also has serious implications for emergency responders and air quality. Expo also failed to study impacts to present-day air quality of additional greenhouse gases resulting from their Project. Moreover, Expo failed CEQA by "deferring" mitigation for impacts such as excessive noise, parking intrusion, cut-through traffic and security until some later time and by neglecting to detail what the mitigation might be, whether it would be effective, or whether it was even possible.According to Streetsblog, it could be Spring before any firm resolution is reached on this latest round of the lawsuit.
Whereas NFSR used to say they wanted the Expo Line underground through the Westside (it runs at-grade or elevated through Exposition Park, South LA, and Culver City), now they're mostly saying they don't want it at all: "We should not be spending over a billion and a half tax dollars on a poorly studied, poorly planned, and highly impacting project," NFSR president Terri Tippit writes in the release.
NFSR also seem perturbed that Metro is going ahead and starting construction: "During the pendency of the Appeal, Expo performs work on the train project at its own risk. If, as hoped and expected, NFSR is successful Expo would be required to undo any work that had already been performed." They don't provide any evidence to backup that claim.
Lastly, a judge ruled that NFSR must pay for Expo's legal fees related to the initial case, but they're appealing that decision too, according to posters on the Transit Coalition forum.
· NFSR Appeal [Google Docs]
· Back to Court for Expo II [Streetsblog]
· Expo Line Archives [Curbed LA]