Send a big ironic thank you note to the Cheviot Hills homeowners who have been unrelenting in their efforts to stymie the Expo Line light rail extension to Santa Monica. After losing twice, the lawsuit brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail will now be heard by the California Supreme Court, Streetsblog reports. The court today granted petition for the case and will hear NFSR's argument that Metro screwed up the environmental impact report by calculating traffic impacts based on future projections instead of present conditions (Metro probably gave the train's potential traffic impacts even higher scrutiny by measuring them against traffic 20 years from now when there will likely be more people in LA, but whatever). In their argument, NFSR reference other cases in which future conditions were not allowed to be used in an EIR. "Faced with conflicting opinions, it's natural for the Supreme Court to want to have the final say in this case and establish case law for similar legal conflicts in the future," Streetsblog posits.
NFSR wants the Expo Line put underground instead of at street-level in their neighborhood because of traffic and accident concerns, while Metro claims there is not enough money for that. Construction is already underway on the 6.6-mile extension, with major work starting on bridges. Lucky for the hundreds of construction workers, the high court did not demand a work stoppage. It's not clear when the case will be heard, but if NFSR wins, it could mean a new EIR process and the train could be delayed for years. Meanwhile, the state agency overseeing train operations agreed to again review two crossings on the extension in response to a request from NFSR.
· Breaking News: Supremes Will Hear Case in Neighbors for Smart Rail v Expo Construction Authority [Streetsblog]
· Expo Line Phase II Archives [Curbed LA]