Wednesday, December 1 - 7, 2004

Santa Monica Still On Track For Light Rail
By Hannah Heineman - Mirror staff writer

Santa Monica is still on track for a light rail system that will connect it to downtown Los Angeles...but it may be a while before it gets here.

A presentation given to City Council members by Rick Thorpe, Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (MTA) Chief Management Officer on November 22 focused on the “first phase of the project,” the Mid-City Exposition Light Rail Transit Project, which will run from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.

Of its 9.6 miles of light rail, 6.6 miles will be built on abandoned rights of way. It will have 11stations, three of which will include park and ride lots.

MTA expects the $444.5 million project to be completed in 2010 and estimates that by 2020, 45,000 ruders will use it every day.

Thorpe told the Mirror Monday, that the second phase of the project will connect Culver City to Santa Monica. Still in the planning stages, no start date has been set and its station sites have not been identified.

In an interview with the Mirror, Steve Brye. MTA’s Project Manager for the first phase’s preliminary engineering stated, said “Planning for Phase two will begin after the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for phase one is okayed by MTA’s Board early next year.

Brye also said that alternative Phase II routes include “going down Venice and Sepulveda Boulevards or the MTA alignment along Exposition Boulevard.”

A Notice to Proceed was issued for Phase I on January 2003 and the preliminary engineering drawings to support its Final Environmental Impact Statement were completed in March, 2004. In May, the MTA Board approved the funding for the Phase I. Preliminary Engineering Part II.

It will include noise and vibration studies, urban design elements and landscaping concepts, as well as the refinement of “Vision Concepts” for the line’s stations, such as linkages and Public Art.

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