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EASTSIDE : MTA Clears Way for Subway Extension

July 03, 1994|MARY ANNE PEREZ

Plans for the Metro Red Line's Eastside extension have passed a major hurdle with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's recent approval of the project's final environmental impact report.

The subway line will extend 6.8 miles from Union Station to Atlantic Boulevard at a cost of $979.6 million, displacing 200 households and more than 50 businesses. Appraisals and negotiations for the buyouts are not expected to begin until 1996.

The first segment, expected to begin construction by late 1996 or early 1997 and be completed by 2002, will include stations at Little Tokyo, 1st Street and Boyle Avenue, Cesar E. Chavez Avenue and Soto Street and 1st and Lorena streets.

Members of a Review Advisory Committee, made up of 27 residents, business owners and others, met monthly to work out community concerns, such as station construction and the disruption from construction and noise. Recommendations included building the stations at street level instead of elevating them and placing entrances and exits off busy streets to minimize the effects on commercial corridors and residents, said Project Director Diego Cardoso.

Construction crews try to do their tunneling with as little disruption to the community as possible, Cardoso said. "We don't want to take, for example, a market or something that is essential. We have identified properties that are vacant or run down."

Another recommendation is to replace demolished housing within one-quarter of a mile of the new stations. "For example, at Brooklyn and Soto, properties that we use (to make way for construction) might not be needed once construction is done, so maybe we will build affordable housing. But we have to work with the community on those issues," Cardoso said.

More than half of the project's funding will come from the federal Department of Transportation and an additional 13% from the state. The rest will be paid through Proposition A and C sales tax dollars.

The final report's completion fulfills state and federal environmental requirements for the Red Line's Eastside extension, said MTA Chairman and Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre.

Funding for the second segment, which would include stations on Whittier Boulevard at Rowan Avenue, Arizona Avenue and Atlantic Boulevard, has not been secured, Cardoso said. But officials hope to have funds rounded up by the time the first segment is completed in 2002, he said.

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