Group Decries Metro's Crenshaw Boulevard Project

A community activist group said it plans on attending a meeting Thursday to urge transportation officials to make a section of a new train line in a business district in South Los Angeles a subway as opposed to an above-ground train over safety concerns.

The Crenshaw Subway Coalition plans to speak about the Crenshaw/LAX project at a meeting of the Metro Board of Directors, said Damien Goodmon, the coalition's executive director.

Goodmon said that accidental deaths increase in above-ground metro lines, especially near schools.

"We have to think about the safety of children, there are schools in the area, and a lot of foot traffic," he said. 

Goodmon said that the Coalition is pushing to have an 11-block portion of the Metro line run underground.

Crews are boring underground and building rails above the streets along an eight-mile stretch of businesses on Crenshaw Boulevard for the new $1.2 billion train line, said Jose Ubaldo, a Metro spokesman.

Some members of the African-American business community in South Los Angeles that the line will run through say their businesses are being disrupted and construction is blocking pedestrian traffic, said Goodmon.

Metro officials said they are trying to help. Officials have paid $2.5 million to 129 businesses affected by the construction through the Business Interruption Fund since May 2014, Ubaldo said. 

David Williams, the owner of Daddy Dave's with Big Momma Cooking, said he's gotten $5,000 from Metro since 2015, not enough for his $30,000 a year business, he said. He is the sole employee and friends and family volunteer to help.

He said he still qualifies for more BIF money and is applying for more funds, but that the process is difficult.

"Every time you thought the ball was rolling, they called you about wanting more and more paperwork. It seems like they're starting all over again," Williams said.

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