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Cerritos Council Spending City Funds to Stop Light Rail From Artesia to Downtown L.A.

July 1, 2023

The City Council invited Metro to speak about the progress of the light rail line, afterwards the Whittier Mayor pro tem and President of Cerritos College ask for the Council’s approval, Council arrogantly voted to “receive and fie,” and will keep the lawsuit going.

By Brian Hews

At the June 22, 2023 meeting, the Cerritos City Council pretended that they were interested in a presentation by Metro related to the light rail that will run from Artesia to Downtown L.A., but everyone in the room knew how the majority of Mayor Barrows, Mayor pro tem Naresh Solanki and Chuong Vo would eventually vote.

The reason they feigned interest is that Cerritos is spending tens of thousands of dollars suing Metro to stop the construction of the light rail due to conflicting designs of one Cerritos rail station at 183rd and Gridley.

A study done by Metro estimated its preferred above-ground option would cost a minimum of $246 million, while the Cerritos underground option came in at a minimum of $398 million, or $152 million in additional taxpayer dollars.

That study also estimated maximum costs at $687 million for above-ground and $1.1 billion for the underground option, a difference of $413 million dollars…. just for one Cerritos station.

The lawsuit accused Metro’s Board of malfeasance, “Cerritos believes Metro’s Board instructed its staff to determine whether Cerritos’ proposed underground alternative was ‘feasible.’ Metro sought no input from Cerritos, allowing a consultant hired by Metro to conclude the underground alternative was too costly and ‘infeasible.’”

Despite the lawsuit, Mayor Bruce Barrows agendized the Metro presentation and introduced the presenters, without mentioning that the city is embroiled in a frivolous lawsuit with Metro.

Sharon Gugan, Deputy CEO, L.A. Metro, started off the presentation by saying,  “This is a really critical project for Metro and the communities, and we’re nearing the end of our environmental study, and we wanted to give you an update.”

The next speaker was Ms. Kahn who gave an overview of the presentation, including what everyone was interested in, except for the Council, the rail crossing intersections in Cerritos.

The train only traverses that city at the northwest end of Cerritos for a total of 1.4 miles from Cerritos Self Storage to 183rd and Gridley.

The first three crossings do not affect any homes nor traffic at the intersections: one is inside the Extra Space Storage facility; another is at Artesia and Dumont and the last is at Studebaker approximately 600 feet south of Artesia near Business Circle.

The next crossing is the area where Cerritos has caused problems, at 183rd and Gridley; interesting to note that the border between Cerritos and Artesia runs down the middle of Gridley, yet Cerritos wants to dictate the design of the entire crossing.

Metro presented a station/crossing that would be elevated on columns with a 650-foot transition from the ground to elevation north of Gridley; an elevated portion spanning 1,200 feet above the intersection; and a 1,000-foot transition back to the ground south of Gridley.

Metro agreed to place higher-than-normal soundwalls along the transition route north of Gridley; 37 feet on the residential side starting near Rosewood Park with 29-foot walls on the opposite side.


ARTIST’S DEPICTION of the at grade light rail north of Gridley and 183rd. Soundwalls are a massive 37 feet tall on one side and 29 feet tall on the other.


Elevated Portion

The 1,200-foot-long elevated column portion will be approximately 30 feet tall to the rails with 10-12 foot soundwalls on each side; the clearance under the crossing will be 16-18 feet tall.


ARTIST’S DEPICTION of the elevated column above Gridley and 183rd. It will be approximately 30 feet tall to the rails with 10-12 foot soundwalls on each side; the clearance under the crossing will be 16-18 feet tall.


Because of grade differences, the transition from the elevated portion to the ground south of Gridley is 1,000 feet; no sound walls were evident in the presentation south of Gridley.

After the presentation, several people spoke, including Whittier Mayor pro tem Fernando Dutra, who is also a director on the Metro Board.

“Cerritos is the only city along the line that is not signed a letter of support for the rail line addressed to the Department of Transportation we ask that Cerritos signs it within a few weeks,” stated Dutra.

Resident Al Barlevy stated all of Cerritos can benefit economically and asked for the Council’s support.

Cerritos College President Jose Fierro outlined the benefits of the light rail and said that access to the school is important as Metro provides a free GoPass to students. Fierro stated that due to Metro’s offering, over 1,000 students at Cerritos College asked for the pass.

Norma Williamson stated she looked forward to riding the train to Chinatown with her fellow Cerritos residents and asked Cerritos to join the other nine cities that approved the light rail.

At the end of the pretend discussion by Council, City Attorney Bill Irkhe indicated that the Council should make a motion to approve or deny; Councilmember Chuong Vo very quickly and arrogantly motioned for a “receive and file” which is an in-your-face motion akin to throwing the presentation and every related document in the trash and ending all discussion of providing a letter of support from the city.

Mayor pro tem Solanki seconded the motion.

The Council voted 3-2 to receive and file, with Councilmembers Johnson and Yokoyama voting no.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, a staunch advocate of the light rail line, told LCCN, “This rail project offers us the opportunity to finally deliver high-quality transit to some of our most transit-dependent and traffic-choked communities. They deserve this project, and I am doing everything I can – in partnership with leaders across the region – to make the light rail a reality. The communities all along the project corridor, from Huntington Park to Artesia, have been paying in to our local transportation sales taxes – both Measure R and then Measure M – for decades, and they deserve to finally see this project get built. I am committed to getting it done.”