The Exposition Transit Authority in recent weeks completed the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for phase two of the Expo Line project, which will extend phase one of the above-ground, light-rail transit system from Culver City to Santa Monica. Phase one of the project stretches from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City and is already under construction. The public is asked to give feedback on the phase two DEIR at three public hearings on February 18, 23 and 25, at Santa Monica High School, Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, and Webster Middle School, respectively.
Four alternatives are being considered in the DEIR. All alternatives would begin at the terminus of expo phase one in Culver City and would stretch to downtown Santa Monica near the intersection of 4th Street and Colorado Avenue. Depending upon the alternative, the alignments between these two points would vary. Alternative one would utilize approximately five miles of the existing Exposition right of way from the phase one terminus until reaching the intersection with Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica. From that point, the alignment would follow Olympic Boulevard to the proposed terminus station. Alternative two would also utilize the existing Exposition right of way from the phase one terminus until reaching the intersection with Olympic Boulevard in Santa Monica. From that point, the alignment would continue within the Exposition right of way to west of 19th Street, then enter onto Colorado Avenue east of 17th Street and follow the center of Colorado Avenue to the proposed terminus. Alternative three would divert from the Exposition right of way at the phase one terminus and follow Venice and Sepulveda Boulevards, and then continue westward along Olympic Boulevard. Alternative four would divert from the Exposition right of way at the phase one terminus and follow Venice and Sepulveda Boulevards, and then continue westward along Colorado Avenue.
The length of phase two is between 6.9 and 7.8 miles and will contain seven to eight new stations. The projected cost is $1.3 to $2 billion.
In the project scoping meetings, held in early 2007, 1,800 pieces of public comment were logged by the Exposition Construction Authority. Public concerns included the mitigation of noise and vibration caused by the line, as well as the protection of several Coral Trees along a stretch of the existing Olympic Boulevard median. Removal of parking along Sepulveda and the taking of the right-of-way along Sepulveda were also amongst the public’s concerns, in addition to concerns about noise and air quality impacts near Overland School.
The public comment period for the phase two DEIR ends on March 13. A preferred alternative will subsequently be selected by the Exposition Construction Authority board and construction is expected to begin in 2010. Service is slated to begin in early 2015.
Those who want to give comments but cannot attend one of the three public meetings in February may get more information about the project and comment on line at buildexpo.org. All February meetings run from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.