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METRO TO HOLD MEETINGS ON WEST SANTA ANA BRANCH TRANSIT PROJECT, THE 20-MILE LIGHT RAIL FROM ARTESIA TO DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES

By Brian Hews

Los Angeles County Metro, along with the Eco-Rapid Transit Joint Powers Authority (ERT), will be holding four public scoping meetings beginning March 12 related to the ongoing development of a major 20-mile light rail transit system that would connect southeast LA County to downtown Los Angeles.

The West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor (WSAB) will serve the cities Artesia, Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, South Gate, Cudahy, Bell, Huntington Park, and Vernon; the unincorporated community of Florence-Graham, along with Los Angeles, Little Tokyo and the Arts District. Of these cities, nine will be directly served by stations.

The meetings will be in downtown Los Angeles on March 12, the city of Artesia-March 13, Bell-March 17, and Downey-March 19.

The project’s name originates from a portion of the proposed route south of the Metro Green Line on the I-105 that followed an old streetcar alignment known as the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor.

The purpose of the scoping meetings is to receive input on the proposed alternatives, which is an important step in the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR).

The potential light rail line would be built in two phases with the first phase running from Pioneer and 187th in Artesia to a new Green Line station that would be east of the 710 freeway. The second phase would continue north to Union Station.

 

The WASB project running from Artesia to Downtown Los Angeles. The rail included a stop in Cerritos but the City opted out. Click on image to view map.

 

Northern alignment options to be discussed at the meetings. Click on image to view map.

 

 

ERT and its staff, led by Executive Director Michael Kodama, are working directly with the fourteen cities and communities along the WSAB Corridor using Metro’s Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan (TOD) as a template.

“Based on the feedback received through the public scoping period last year, and ongoing analysis, Metro is exploring potential changes, which impact routes to Downtown Los Angeles. For cities and residents here in the Gateway Cities, this is very important as these changes can impact the ability to be connected to destinations in Downtown Los Angeles and even beyond. Metro needs to hear from us and I am glad they are coming back out to work with our communities. It is an important time for residents to participate in the planning process for our line and our future.”

According to the Center for Transit Oriented Development, TOD’s are a type of community development that includes a mixture of housing, office, retail and/or other commercial development and amenities integrated into a walkable neighborhood and located within a half-mile of quality public transportation.

The TOD provides a land-use and economic development plan for the entire WSAB Corridor s that is based on a “shared vision.”

Using the shared vision concept, Metro, with the assistance of the ERT, will support individual community planning efforts and provide resources for TOD implementation.

And out of TOD implementation, “transit oriented communities” (TOC) will be born.

In October 2015, Metro launched the TOC Demonstration Program, which showcased the comprehensive approach to facilitating development around rail stations.

TOC’s represent an approach to development that focuses on compact, walkable and bikeable places in a community context, integrated with transit.

The development of TOC requires coordination with local, state and federal programs, combined with private sector investment in communities, what is termed “P3,” Private-Public Partnerships.

P3 is a collaboration between public agencies and private companies to deliver development, in this case, along the WASB Corridor.

It is a collaboration that brings private-sector expertise, ingenuity, and effort to building and managing the projects.

Each party shares its key skills and takes on the risks it is best able to manage, which leads to cost savings and faster completion times.

The skills and assets of each sector are shared, as are risks and potential rewards.

More important, P3 creates additional funding opportunities, adding new sources of private debt and equity that can be structured to be more flexible.

What P3’s do not do is privatize public resources; the public retains ownership and oversight of all investments.

No jobs will be lost in the public sectors, any Metro P3 project must meet state and county workforce standards, and be governed by labor agreements.

Furthermore, projects and performance agreements are designed to maximize public benefit, public services are not minimized in favor of private sector profits.

Finally, P3’s do not exclude small and local contractors. P3s can and do include SBE and DBE requirements.

Each of these policies and programs is closely integrated with other policy and planning efforts.

This would include Metro’s long range transportation planning for the County of Los Angeles. The policies and programs set the foundation to leverage creative partnerships in support of building TOCs.

The Joint Development Program makes Metro-owned properties at or near Metro’s bus and rail stations available for development occurring through competitive bids.

The TOD Grant Program provides funding to cities seeking to adopt land use plans that remove barriers to TOD. The grant also funds the environmental processes required to adopt the plans.

The Toolkit for Transit Supportive Planning provides cities with the best practices and policies for sustainable and transit-supportive land uses.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn is an enthusiastic supporter of the project telling HMG-CN, “Building a Metro rail line from Artesia to Downtown Los Angeles is not only important to my constituents who will have a new transportation option besides the freeway, it is also a vital piece of the goal of connecting the greater Los Angeles County region by a transit system worthy of the 21st century.”

The scoping meetings will take place at the following locations:

Downtown Los Angeles – Monday, March 12 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, 815 E. 1st St. Los Angeles, CA 90012.

Artesia –  Tuesday, March 13 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Albert O. Little Community Center, 18750 Clarkdale Ave. Artesia, CA 90701. A live webcast will be available at 6:30 p.m. at www.tinyurl.com/MetroWSAB

Bell – Saturday, March 17 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Bell Community Center, 6250 Pine Ave. Bell, CA 90201.

Downey – Monday, March 19 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Barbara J. Riley Community & Senior Center, 7810 Quill Dr. Downey, CA 90242.

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Watched it from my home computer, the reception was good, just disappointed it only lasted for about 25 minutes and it did not video record the comments-questions-answers at the meeting. Know the meeting was about the train transportation from Cerritos to Los Angeles, but would like to learn more about the connections they have from downtown Los Angeles to West Los Angeles, to Santa Monica, to LAX and the San Fernando Valley. Feel not that many people from Cerritos will be traveling to downtown Los Angeles, but I think if it was opened up to the westside of LA would… Read more »

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2 Special Cerritos Meetings

Fine Arts and Historical Commission to discuss proposed artwork
The Fine Arts and Historical Commission will discuss the proposed First Responders Artwork on Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The public is encouraged to attend and provide input. Comments can also be submitted by sending an e-mail to [email protected].

Special meeting of the Property Preservation Commission
The Property Preservation Commission will discuss the City’s pine tree reforestation plan at a special meeting on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers.