Leimert Park Celebrates Plans for Rail Stop

Funds for a rail stop were approved this week by Metro's board and the Los Angeles City Council

A decision this week to spend $120 million on a light-rail stop southwest of downtown Los Angeles -- a route that will take passengers along a corridor that parallels the 10 Freeway -- brought residents to a celebration Friday morning in Leimert Park.

Metro's board of directors approved $80 million for the station one day after the Los Angeles City Council agreed Wednesday to provide $40 million. The city's share will come from funds provided by Measure R, approved by voters in the November 2008 election.

The Crenshaw Subway Coalition has tried for the past five years to collect signatures and rally support for a Leimert Park (map) stop along the 8.5-mile Crenshaw Boulevard-to-Los Angeles International Airport rail line, scheduled for completion in 2018.

"When we all get to heaven, we're going to shout that we had a stop at Leimert Park village," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. "We did it together."

The Crenshaw Line will connect the Expo Line in South LA to the Green Line near LAX. The Crenshaw/LAX Corridor Project was originally approved with six stations and did not include a stop, forcing residents to board at the Martin Luther King and Slauson Avenue stations. 

A stop was considered an optional station as the project began, but the fate of a station in Leimert Park remained uncertain until this week's approval of the funds. The MTA Board amended its 2014 fiscal year budget Thursday to include its portion of the project funds.

The section through Leimert Park will be an underground light rail line, according to the motion approved Thursday.

One key piece of the project is not covered by the funds approved this week -- an 11-block segment along which the train would run at street level through nearby Park Mesa Heights. Metro officials said running a train through a tunnel at the location -- a move supported by the Crenshaw Subway Coalition -- would cost more than $200 million. 

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