Thursday, April 14, 2011

Metro Green Line Meeting: 4/14/2011

Some Notes from the 4/14/2011 Green Line Extension (GLE) Meeting
William Green Elementary School, Lawndale, CA

There were four types of commenters:
1. Anti GLE in any way
2. Anti GLE in Lawndale
3. Anti GLE on Right of Way (ROW), pro GLE on Inglewood or Hawthorne (most on Hawthorne)
4. Pro GLE in current configuration

The first couple of speakers fell into camps 2 and 1 and got a lot of support from the crowd. Someone from a transportation organization (not the BRU or the Transit Coalition) got up and spoke and was booed resoundingly. Another guy who was 22 was in the #4 camp, and said some poorly worded (and offensive) things and was booed and heckled. Things calmed down somewhat after that but most of the people still were in camps 2 and 3.

People were really concerned about safety.
Some were concerned about other effects (traffic, noise).
A couple mentioned 'inevitable' cost and schedule overruns.

The people in the pro camp talked about how much it would save their personal commutes, thinking about the future (especially the younger commenters), and getting off oil.

A really interesting facet that I was surprised at was how many 'Lawndaliens' felt like this was being rammed down their throats by Redondo Beach. They were very sensitive to perceived benefits going to Redondo (via tax revenue at the South Bay Galleria) and Lawndale bearing the brunt of ill effects because of the route choice.

It also seemed like there is a lot of willful ignorance - not believing anything in Metro's presentations, dubious of studies, etc. A suggestion I wrote on a card was to present a little more data but I'm doubtful it would have swayed many of the people there - especially not at the meeting itself.

Also there were many Lawndale City Council members in attendance but none spoke and it seemed like there was someone taking notes and people's names - maybe a reporter for the Daily Breeze?

My two cents:
Lawndale city leaders could have done themselves a HUGE service but interfacing with both their community and Metro long before the meeting tonight. If the community had been more organized they could have helped influence Metro's analysis of the Hawthorne ROW. For example - if Lawndale were to put a special redevelopment district along Hawthorne BLVD to get more transit oriented development, in areas that they would like stations, and shared that information with Metro before Metro did its ridership analysis, that would have positively affected the Hawthorne corridor ROW analysis. Metro could have also done a better job of engaging the different cities - but I'm late to the process so I'm not sure of the entire history.

Another option would be for Hawthorne and Lawndale to pursue a light rail/streetcar up and down the Hawthorne ROW, independent of Metro, but involve Metro for synergistic effects. Lawndale could also look into pursuing more funding (either grants from State/Fed govt or passing a bond measure) to help Metro choose the Hawthorne route - say a public/private partnership to develop a station and TOD with the developer getting tax breaks, building a station that Metro wouldn't have to, and Lawndale getting some new development to increase the tax base. It seems like they're in reaction mode instead of being proactive.

Metro Link

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