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Presented by the Citizens’ Campaign to Fix the Expo Rail Line

July 2009

Expo Line Phase 1 Quick Facts

• 8.6 mile light rail line from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City
• 225-ton train traveling up to 35 & 55 mph
• Trains will cross intersections 24-30 times per hour during rush hour
– 240 trains (or more) per day
• 45 street-level crossings (26 new & 19 existing crossings)
– Nearly 90% of street-level crossings have no gates (40 of 45 crossings)
– No crossing gates east of Arlington (including Western, Normandie and
Vermont), nor at Crenshaw
• At 5 intersections nearly 1000 train horns will be heard per day
– In residential areas and next to schools
• Train will operate between 4 am to 2 am
• 100-year infrastructure project
What is a Grade Separation? 3

Expo Line is mostly at-grade

At-grade/Street-level: At-grade grade separated
(Green Line on I-105 freeway):

Above grade/elevated/overpass:
Below grade/trench/subway/undercrossing:
Expo Line Phase 1 Route 4

• At-grade down Flower Street and down Exposition from Trousdale to Farmdale, & Hauser
• Underground at Figueroa/Exposition (Expo Park/USC) and extends 1000 feet west
• Elevated at
– La Brea (50 ft from residential properties)
– La Cienega (extends over 1000 ft over Jefferson/National into Culver City)
– Washington/National to Venice/Robertson (no residential properties impacted)
• At-grade grade separated from Jefferson/National to Washington/National

MTA’s Map:
overpass & Trousdale
Station (Expo Park)
were recently added
South LA Grade Separation 5

Project Description

• The South LA Grade Separation Project would fund the addition of grade separations at
the currently proposed street-level crossings in South LA from the trench by USC (at
Figueroa) to the La Brea overpass (just west of Dorsey HS)
– Extend the trench by USC (at Figueroa) through South LA in either a trench and/or cut-and-cover
– With cost-efficient open-air stations at Crenshaw, Western and Expo Park-Menlo (combined
Vermont and Trousdale station)
• Estimated additional construction cost: $400 million
– Extrapolated from Expo Construction Authority’s own costs for the trench by USC and public
statements by Expo Authority Project Executive
USC Extended Trench Pictures 6

• Renderings of the proposed extended trench option by USC
USC Extended Trench Pictures 7

• Short wall for the trench would

aesthetically blend in with the
community and would be lined with as
much landscaping as possible
– Wire-mesh fencing is an option
Trench (a.k.a. Open Cut) 8

Alameda Corridor Trench

in Compton

• Trench would be covered at

intersections to allow cars
and pedestrians to cross
– Provides an opportunity
for true “pedestrian
• Cut-and-cover tunnel is
a covered trench
Open-Air Stations 9

Pasadena Gold Line

• Shallow open-air stations: one level Memorial Park Station:
below the surface (~20 feet deep)
• Much cheaper than deep 2-level
covered stations (~60 feet deep) like
those on the MTA Red Line/Subway to
the Sea & Eastside Light Rail Extension

(DC Metro Grosvenor Station)
Light Rail Open-Air Stations 10

Dallas LRT - Mockingbird Station:

(Denver LRT - Colorado Station)
Potential Funding Sources 11

• Local: Measure R (just passed in November ‘08)

– 1/2-cent county sales tax increase for MTA (collection began in July 2009)
– $40 billion over the next 30 years
– $14 billion must be spent on rail expansion (or busways)
• $240 million expected in the first fiscal year
– Los Angeles City will receive a local return of ~$50 million annually
• State: Proposition 1B & 1C (passed in November ‘06)
– Prop 1B: $19 billion transportation bond ($4-6 billion for rail)
• MTA has successfully obtained $218 million of this bond for the Expo Line for everything except
additional grade separations in South LA
– Prop 1C: $850 million for infrastructure improvements near urban infill development
• Federal: Economic Stimulus (America Reinvestment and Recovery Act)
– Public transit funds can only be spent on capital transit projects - can’t be used for
operational purposes (bus or rail service)
– Direct grant to MTA (5307 and 5340 Funds)
– $1.5 billion national discretionary fund
• A competitive grant program for new projects
• Federal: Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2009
– 6 year ~$500 billion plan for federal spending on transportation projects, which is
being crafted now (Sen. Barbara Boxer is one of the lead authors of the bill)
– Mayor wants Subway to the Sea included (Robbing Peter to pay Paul)
Federal Stimulus Criteria 12

Expo South LA Grade Separation Project Meets the Criteria:

1. Complies with the National Environmental Policy Act

– Federal Government issued a Record of Decision for Expo in ‘06
2. Creates Jobs to stimulate an area in economic need
– Good paying construction and design jobs in South LA
3. “Shovel Ready”/Economic Shot in the Arm
– Now: Design/Construction can begin at the east end of the
Grade Separation Project around USC
• Expo EIR clears the USC/Exposition Park Extended Trench, which
extends the Figueroa trench to Watt Way (2 blocks east of Vermont)
– 60 days: Addendum/Environmental Assessment can be obtained to
extend the “USC/Exposition Park Extended Undercrossing” 800 feet to
– 90 - 120 days: Environmental approval can be obtained at the west end
of the Grade Separation Project around Dorsey HS
• To date, MTA has applied for federal stimulus funds for Expo from
the wrong program (New Starts) and the request was to backfill
the existing Expo project budget NOT for resources for additional
grade separations in South LA
– Backfilling is likely unallowable - the intent of the act is to create new jobs
South LA Grade Separation 13

Project Benefits
• A Safer Expo Line
• A Faster Expo Line
• A Cleaner & Greener Expo Line
• A More Economically Beneficial Expo Line in the Short-Term
• A More Economically Beneficial Expo Line in the Long-Term
• An Equitable Expo Line
A Safer Expo Line

• The South LA Grade Separation Project creates a much safer Expo Line by eliminating all street-level
crossings between USC and Dorsey High School, including the major intersections of Vermont, Western,
Crenshaw and Normandie (which don’t even have crossing gates)
– But even at the handful of crossings where there are gates (like Arlington), gates are not an
adequate substitution for grade separation: “If gates were the definitive solution to crossing
protection there would never be instances where drivers crash through them on their way to an
accident.” (CPUC Judge)
• David Solow, Metrolink Executive Director: “Every grade crossing is an accident waiting to happen”
• MTA’s Blue Line is the deadliest light rail line in America at over 841 accidents & 94 deaths
• Even MTA’s Gold Line is far from what sane people consider “safe”:

Gold Line accident: car ran through gates & Gold Line accident with Ford F-150
train caught on fire (train was going 15 mph) (train was traveling 15-20 mph & derailed)
A Safer Expo Line: 15

Protecting the Children

South LA Schools Within 1/3rd Mile of Expo between Vermont & La Brea:

• The South LA Grade Separation

Project eliminates dozens of Expo
Line crossings within short walking
distance (1/3rd of a mile) of over a
dozen elementary and secondary
schools and even more parks, where
thousands of children cross daily. (Exposition sidewalks - Foshay afterschool)

A Safer Expo Line: 16

Protecting the Children

• 14 year old Lavert Baker, Jr. KILLED in a Blue Line accident with a train that was
carrying his closest sister (Jan 2007)
• 20 year old Maxmiliana Gomez KILLED in a Blue Line accident (Apr 2007)
• 17 year old Maria KILLED, along with her 25 year old brother Cesar in a Blue Line
accident that left their 7 year old cousin Anthony in critical condition (Aug 2006)
• 16 year old Angela Barahona KILLED in a Blue Line accident (Nov 2002)
• 17 year old Sara Rodriguez, 19 year old Jesus Davila & 22 year old Sergio Davila
KILLED, along their 26 year old brother Luis in a Blue Line accident (Nov 1999)
• 13 year old Gilberto Reynaga KILLED in a Blue Line accident (Jul 1999)
• 2 year old toddler KILLED, along with his 18 year old mother in a Blue Line accident
(Nov 1993)
• 21 year old Vina Kim KILLED in a Blue Line accident (Sep 1992)
• 4 year old Willie Torres KILLED, along with his his 26 year old mother (Oct 1990)
• 19 year old youngster put in critical condition in Blue Line accident (Apr 2008)
• 21 year old Elani Tofi injured in Blue Line accident (Nov 2002)
• 13 year old Alejandro Hernandez lost his toes in a Blue Line accident (Aug 1990)
A Faster Expo Line: Up to 35% 17

• The South LA Grade Separation Project would create a much faster Expo Line
– In the trench/tunnel the Expo Line speed limit would be unlimited, allowing
the train to operate with a max speed of 64 mph, like the MTA’s Green Line
• Current Expo Line speed limit is 35 mph (where the train must travel with the traffic signal)
and 55 mph in the few portions with gates (most of the Expo is 35 mph)
– Combining the Trousdale and Vermont Station for the “Expo Park Station” would
speed up travel times by reducing the number of stations
• Placing the station at Menlo allows the station to serve both Vermont and Exposition Park

Current Speeds:

Speeds With
Grade Separation
A Faster Expo Line is 18

A Greener & Cleaner Expo Line

• A faster Expo Line will convince far more people to get out of their
cars to take transit making the Expo Line a true green project
– The current Expo Line design is not much faster than a bus
• When in “street-running” operation, train has a 35 mph speed limit & must stop at red lights
– With grade separations the Expo Line becomes competitive with the car &
worth the investment, because the train would be able to travel up to 64 mph and not
limited by traffic lights
• The South LA Grade Separation
Project makes branch lines off
of Expo to places like UCLA, LAX
and Venice Beach more feasible
– Branch lines = more riders
– More riders = less cars

With future modifications to

Flower St, Expo can operate
2 to 3 branch lines:
A Greener Expo Line: 19

Less Congestion & Better Air

Traffic at street-level crossing: Train trench crossing:

• The South LA Grade Separation Project reduces traffic congestion/idling

engines from street-level crossings (both gated & ungated) and street closures
– Gated crossings = crossing gates down up to 40% during rush hour (25 mins per hr)
– Ungated crossings = altered traffic cycle with less time for vehicles and/or pedestrians
– Streets that have been closed would be reopened: Wisconsin, Catalina, Budlong, La
Salle, Harvard, Hobart, 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave
• Also allows neighbors to walk the area again instead of needing to drive to cross the street
A More Economically Beneficial 20

Expo Line: Short-Term

• The South LA Grade Separation Project will immediately
create more jobs in South LA, providing for our economy a
needed shot in the arm
• Constructing grade separations is more labor intensive than
constructing tracks at-grade
– With a directive to expedite construction to maximize the 2 year
window where federal stimulus dollars are available, the Expo Line
would need a much larger construction work force
– An opportunity to add minority and at-risk construction
workers and contractors to the project

I-10 freeway collapse

from ‘94 Northridge Earthquake
(Repaired in 84 days)
A More Economically Beneficial 21

Expo Line: Long-Term

• The South LA Grade Separation Project drastically reduces the TRUE COST of
the Expo Line project, which is NOT the construction cost, but the long-
term/100 year “life cycle cost” borne by the economy/tax payers
• Long-term cost of street-level crossings that will be reduced or eliminated with
the South LA Grade Separation Project:
– Human life and limb cost (What is the cost of a human life?)
– Emergency services costs (overall delays and in response to train accidents)
– Healthcare cost, both from accidents and from pollution from at-grade crossings and
street closures (idling cars, asthma, etc.)
– Traffic congestion cost (more fuel; lost time = lost economic productivity)
– Highway storage capacity cost (to create the lanes for the backed-up traffic)
– Property damage cost from accidents and to properties on Exposition Blvd (i.e. Gold
Line lawsuits)
– Litigation cost from accidents
– Insurance liability costs
– Crossing gate and surface tracks maintenance cost
– Operational cost (more riders + lower maintenance cost = lower operational cost)
A More Economically Beneficial 22

Expo Line: Long-Term

• An opportunity to
create more and better
economic development
around the stations
without harming the
– More riders = more
– More pedestrian
• No adjacent street
closures restricting
pedestrian access
• Potential for wider
• Potential for more
green space (Boston Red Line Harvard Square
Subway station portal)
An Equitable Expo Line

• South LA Grade Separation Project would

address the Expo Line Phase 1
environmental injustice issue, where the
adverse impacts in the majority-minority
and/or poor residential communities are
appreciably greater than the one majority
Caucasian upper-middle class community
An Equitable Expo Line: 24

Defining Environmental Justice

• Title VI of 1964 Civil Rights Act: “no person in the United States shall, on
the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in,
be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any
program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”
• Executive Order 12898 (signed by Clinton in ‘94): “each Federal agency
shall make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and
addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human
health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on
minority populations and low-income populations in the United States”
• Federal Transit Administration (“FTA”) defines an adverse impact:
– Adverse effects in transportation: air pollution, noise, vibration, property taking,
effects associated with construction such as street closures and loss of business,
loss of community cohesion, and dangers to pedestrians
– Disproportionately high adverse effects are those effects that are:
(1) Predominantly borne by a minority or low-income population or
(2) Effects that will be suffered by the minority or low-income population and is
appreciably more severe or greater in magnitude than the adverse effect that
will be suffered by the non-minority or non-low-income population
An Equitable Expo Line?: 25

Census Tract Racial Breakdown

• Brown = Majority Hispanic census tracts

• Grey = Majority/plurality black census tracts
• Pink = Majority/plurality white census tracts
– USC is technically poor (students) thus it is technically an environmental justice census tract
– Culver City census tract has become increasingly more Caucasian and affluent
(Information from US Census Bureau - 2000 census)
Disproportionately High 26

Adverse Effects - Expo Phase 1

“Effects that will be suffered by the minority or low-income population and is appreciably more severe or greater
in magnitude than the adverse effect that will be suffered by the non-minority or non-low income population”
DAY FOR THE NEXT 100 YEARS ROBERTSON Vermont to Clyde (1 block east of La Cienega)
Children Forced to Walk Across Expo Line Tracks Thousands
0 (1,400 at Foshay alone)
on their Way to School
Elementary & Secondary Schools within 1/3rd of 12
0 (Serving over 11,500 students)
a mile of an Expo Line street-level crossing
Motorists Forced to Drive Across Expo Tracks 0 Hundreds of Thousands
Streets with NO Crossing Gates 0 8
(Exactly like the most accident-prone section of (All streets grade (Vermont, Western, Normandie, Crenshaw,
MTA’s Blue Line) separated) Gramercy Place, Denker, Halldale & Raymond)
0 5
Streets with Crossing Gates that will be Down (Arlington, 7th Ave, 11th Ave/Degnan,
40% of the Time During Rush Hour (All streets grade
separated) Buckingham & Hauser)
Streets Permanently Closed - Worsening Traffic
0 (Wisconsin, Catalina, Budlong, La Salle,
Congestion & Slicing the Community in Half Harvard, Hobart, 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
Train Horns Blown in the Middle of Residential
0 (960 each at 5 intersections: Arlington, 7th
Areas & Next to Schools from 4 am to 2 am Ave, 11th Ave/Degnan, Buckingham & Hauser)
Homes NOT Protected by Sound Walls 0 Hundreds
Total Construction Cost For 1 mile: For 4.5 miles:
From MTA’s May ‘08 FTA Quarterly Briefing Book $185 million $140 million
Amount Spent Per Mile $185 million per mile $31 million per mile
How to Build the South LA 27

Grade Separation Project

• Construction would continue in the sections not part of the Grade Separation Project
(AQUA) while a Supplemental EIR is obtained for grade separations the sections not
currently approved for additional grade separation (RED)
– Design/Construction could begin immediately where environmental approval has already been
obtained - around USC (YELLOW)
• An addendum (60 days) is needed to extend the trench to Vermont (PURPLE)

Environmental work is complete around Dorsey - could begin in 90 days (GREEN)

Expo’s design-build contract allows Expo to perform any additional required utility relocation
during environmental review (RED) reducing overall construction time

Expo Line Would Open in 2010

• The South LA Grade Separation Project would allow the Expo Line to open from
Downtown to Vermont, while work is completed between Vermont and Farmdale
– Project currently is 44-weeks behind schedule (NOT including the changes at Farmdale)
– Directing the focus of the current construction crew to the Downtown-USC segment would
possibly allow the project to open to Vermont (Menlo) by 2010 if desired
– Would avoid any further delay that could be caused by the current legal battle with the
community and the LAUSD
• The real deadline is 2015 - when Phase 2 is planned to open in Santa Monica

1. Bureaucratic Arrogance and Indifference from MTA and Expo Authority

– None of the Expo Authority project managers live in South L.A. so they
won’t be around to be held accountable for the calamities from building the
Expo Line at-grade in South L.A.
• They don’t attend our churches so they won’t be at the funerals of those killed
• They don’t shop at our shopping markets so won’t have to see those maimed in
the checkout lines
– Staff and politicians say it’s “too late”
• “It’s too late” and “We don’t have the money” has been the MTA company line
for over 5 years as they’ve been adding money to the project!
• It is quite a statement to ignore the voices of residents for 20 years, and the
warnings of international rail safety experts in the name of it being “too late”
• The only thing it is “too late” to do is save the lives of the over 94 people that
have been killed, hundreds more maimed and thousands more injured in Blue
Line accidents
2. Political Timidity
– “It’s good enough for South LA”: Elected officials refuse to use their political
capital and coordinate to deliver for South LA, in the manner Culver City
politicians delivered for their city
Overcoming the Challenges: 30

A Call to Action
“Join in remaking this nation…block by
block” - President Obama
• Letter-Writing Campaign to Mayor
Villaraigosa and Governor
– Mayor controls the MTA Board
– Mayor wants a $6 billion Subway to
the Sea, but he can’t support a few
hundred million being added to the
Expo Line in South LA to make it
– Governor will have a pivotal role in
the distribution of stimulus funds and
state transportation funds
• Lobby local, state and federal leaders
for our fair share
• Spread the Word!

(August ‘08 march on the Expo Line)