After losing numerous battles in their war to stop the Expo Line light rail to Santa Monica (or as they say on their lawn signs, "Build It Right or Don't Build It at All!"), the homeowners group known as Neighbors for Smart Rail has found a new tactic. They've gotten the California Public Utilities Commission--which oversees train operations in the state--to again review the street crossings for the 6.6-mile, under-construction extension. The route includes 16 at-grade crossings and 11 grade-separated crossings. The CPUC already approved the crossings in November, but then NFSR made a stink that Metro didn't study the impacts of an elevated crossing over the 405 and construction of a Palms Park pedestrian bridge in its environmental impact report on the project. "The review will consist of a thorough review of the environmental documents and a hearing," Streetsblog reports. The pre-hearing conference won't take place until October 5.
"There are no impacts to construction at this point," Expo spokeswoman Gabriela Collins tells us. The authority is currently removing underground utilities and doing bridge work. "However, a prolonged rehearing could result in significant and costly delays to the project."
Meanwhile, NFSR wants the California supreme court to hear their losing case against Expo (this is a separate complaint from the CPUC issue), which they think will exacerbate traffic and cause accidents. The court will likely decide next month whether or not to take the case.
· Public Utilities Commission Taking Second Look at Expo Phase II Crossings [Streetsblog]