West­side rail line faces more de­lays

Los Angeles Times - - Obituaries - sam.allen@latimes.com

board. “It’s frus­trat­ing, to say the least.”

With the short­ened route, it’s likely that rid­er­ship on the Expo Line will fall be­low ex­pec­ta­tions when it opens next year.

Scott Malsin, a City Coun­cil mem­ber in Cul­ver City who also sits on the Con­struc­tion Author­ity board, said rid­er­ship is likely to in­crease the far­ther west the rail line goes. The line is ex­pected to reach its Cul­ver City ter­mi­nus some­time in 2012, once an el­e­vated sta­tion is com­pleted there.

“My hope is that if any­thing, the op­er­at­ing dates will come sooner,” Malsin said.

The Con­struc­tion Author­ity, which is build­ing the line for the Metropoli­tan Trans­porta­tion Author­ity, has dealt with a se­ries of prob­lems, in­clud­ing the re­lo­ca­tion of the line’s main­te­nance fa­cil­ity, unan­tic­i­pated ven­ti­la­tion is­sues with the be­low-grade por­tion of the line at Figueroa Street and the need for safety im­prove­ments where the Expo Line ties into the Blue Line. Those prob­lems have all been re­solved, ac­cord­ing to Richard Thorpe, the Con­struc­tion Author­ity’s chief ex­ec­u­tive.

The Con­struc­tion Author­ity also strug­gled to gain safety ap­proval for the part of the line that crosses Far­m­dale Av­enue, ad­ja­cent to Dorsey High School. It was re­quired to re­vise its plans and add a grade-level sta­tion at that in­ter­sec­tion. The Cal­i­for­nia Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion granted con­struc­tion ap­proval in July of this year.

Thorpe said it will take 18 more months to com­plete the Far­m­dale sta­tion, which is be­tween the Cren­shaw and La Cienega stops.

The de­lays at Far­m­dale have cre­ated an­other quandary: whether Metro should run trains through the sta­tion there while con­struc­tion is un­der­way. Of­fi­cials say they want the line to run as far west as pos­si­ble.

The Pub­lic Util­i­ties Com­mis­sion has granted Metro per­mis­sion to op­er­ate at Far­m­dale on a “stop and pro­ceed ba­sis,” Thorpe said. Trains would stop at the sta­tion, but no rid­ers would be al­lowed to exit or board the train. Con­struc­tion work­ers would briefly clear the site, and safety crews would check for pedes­tri­ans.

“It’s not ideal from ei­ther per­spec­tive,” Thorpe said. “It would make it dif­fi­cult [for train op­er­a­tors] to know how long it would take to get through the in­ter­sec­tion, and there are in­ef­fi­cien­cies in con­struc­tion as well.”

The al­ter­na­tive would be to halt ser­vice at the Cren­shaw sta­tion un­til work at Far­m­dale is com­plete.

“We want to make sure the line goes as far west as pos­si­ble, but we need to do things right,” Thorpe said.

The sec­ond phase of the project, which has an es­ti­mated cost of $1.5 bil­lion, will take the line from Cul­ver City to Santa Mon­ica. Ma­jor con­struc­tion will be­gin in about a year and half, Thorpe said, and it’s sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2015.

Mean­while, there is some push for in­de­pen­dent over­sight of the re­main­ing con­struc­tion.

Los An­ge­les County Su­per­vi­sor Mark Ri­d­leyThomas, who is also on the Con­struc­tion Author­ity’s board, pro­posed ear­lier this month that po­si­tions be cre­ated for an in­de­pen­dent in­spec­tor gen­eral and an ethics of­fi­cer.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.