MTA Expo Line Looking North On Flower St At 23rd St. Source: Metro Library Archive/Flickr.

After listening to four hours of public comments, in addition to reading through 9,000 written comments, the Exposition Construction Authority voted 7-to-0 to approve a route for Expo Line Phase 2 and 6 to 0 (with one abstention) for its accompanying environmental impact report, according to reports on LAStreetsblog, the LA Times, and the @expolightrail Twitter feed.

The route approved for Phase 2 would traverse the Exposition Right Of Way through West Los Angeles and go through the median of Colorado Boulevard in Santa Monica.

In support of groups like Neighbors for Smart Rail, Councilmember Paul Koretz (CD-5, which includes Westwood, Rancho Park, and Cheviot Hills) shared their concerns about the omission of grade separation at Overland, Westwood, and Sepulveda. Koretz asserted that the additional grade separation costs [were] not clearly studied in FEIR, according to a tweet from @expolightrail. @expolightrail also tweeted that Koretz said “Expo should fund these separations, not the City or a private developers.”

@lastreetsblog’s Damien Newton tweeted shortly thereafter: “Koretz finishes a laundry list of requests to loud applause. #ExpoBoard

It’s worth pointing out that Koretz is an alternate member of the Exposition Construction Authority. He was reportedly under the impression that he would get to vote (and in that case, he would have voted against certifying the EIR)… but then Councilmember Bernard Parks changed his mind and voted after all. Sorry about that, PK1.

Neighbors for Smart Rail members assert that the line should be built underground between Overland and Sepulveda because of safety, noise, traffic and crime considerations. Their oft cited mantra: “Build it, but build it right (!)”

Westside-based Expo Line supporters, such as Light Rail for Cheviot and Friends 4 Expo, contend that the construction of the the underground tunnel requested by Neighbors for Smart Rail is cost-prohibitive, would jeopardize the viability of the project, and perhaps unnecessary.

“We support consistent application of Metro’s Grade Crossing Policy. The Final EIR’s extensive documentation found no significant traffic, safety, or noise impacts at its street crossings,” states the Friends 4 Expo website. “It follows the safety standard of quad and pedestrian gates that have given the Pasadena Gold Line an excellent safety record, and gates are only down half the time that typical traffic signals are red.”