CPUC Decision on Farmdale
7/29/10 — The
California Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved
the settlement agreement for an at-grade crossing with station at
Farmdale Avenue by Dorsey High School!
6/23/10 — The
CPUC ALJ's Proposed
Decision on the Farmdale crossing was released today
— in time for a
late-July CPUC decision — that endorses the Expo-LAUSD settlement. Here are
some key paragraphs:
4. Need for a Hearing
No party has identified a disputed issue of material fact relating to
the settlement agreement so no evidentiary hearings are necessary. Thus,
we find that the record on this consolidated proceeding can be closed and
the matter determined at this time.
5.3.4. The Opinions of the General Public, and Specifically
Those who may be Affected by an At-Grade Crossing
public’s views about the proposed settlement agreement and station were
addressed at the June 1, 2010, Public Participation Hearing. More than
half of the approximately 85 commenters opposed the Farmdale crossing
being constructed at-grade. Many of the opposing commenters supported
complete vehicular and pedestrian grade separation. That alternative,
however, has not been presented by Expo and, the Commission declined to
find such options practicable in D.09-02-031. Expo also contends that as a
result of its outreach into the community, the nearby public is satisfied
with the revised proposal for the Farmdale crossing. The Commission has
received 18 written comments from the public on the proposed settlement.
One comment opposed the proposal and the other 17 supported it.
On balance, the Farmdale crossing station proposal substantially
diminishes the safety issues created by a pedestrian at-grade crossing,
without adding new safety and aesthetic issues. The station also adds to
the neighborhood convenience by providing walkable access to the Expo line
for residents and students and retains the vehicular crossing. We,
therefore, conclude that the Farmdale station alternative is superior to
the pedestrian overcrossing, vehicular crossing closed option.
6/12/10 — It's time to approve the
crossing and complete this very important transit line! The
will also benefit students and community, like Dorsey students
taking college classes at Santa Monica College or Trade Tech.
This crossing will be very safe:
- Safer even than either the original grade-crossing proposal
or a pedestrian bridge’s policing problems :
These safety enhancements provided for in the Joint Settlement
Agreement transform the at-grade crossing proposal into a superior
solution both as compared to previous at-grade plans and as compared to
the pedestrian overcrossing option. The safety and policing problems
associated with a pedestrian overcrossing are not presented by the
at-grade alternative, and the addition of Stop and Proceed procedures,
station platforms accessible by convenient ramps, operating restrictions,
and other safety enhancements described above all combine to make the
at-grade solution proposed by the Joint Settlement Agreement the superior
Settlement Agreement, page 10)
The pedestrian gates would be open
over 80% of the time — all but an average of
about 40 seconds every 5 minutes. Trains at this afternoon
off-peak time would operate 10 minutes apart in each direction.
If they happened to pass consecutively (80-second worst case)
that would leave over 8 minutes of crossing time before and
Most of the students crossing Exposition at Farmdale go on
to cross the signalized intersection with Jefferson Boulevard
one short block north. Despite contentions about foolhardy
youth, there is no evidence that students do not safely cross
this busy four-lane boulevard.
Students visibly know how to wait for a green light (upper)
— standing on the curb, not in the
street, without even any crossing gates —
and then how to safely walk across in the crosswalk (lower;
click for larger photos).
- Safer even than Pasadena, where students have safely crossed the Gold
Line at Glenarm daily for nearly 7 years; there have been zero
accidental fatalities (two suicides) on the Pasadena Gold Line.
- And safer than Santa Monica, where trains will cross signalized but
ungated intersections at 30 mph — including
one block north of Santa Monica High School — vs. Farmdale's gated intersection at 15
mph after the station stop. The city asked for at-grade as more
12/30/09 — A proposed Expo Authority settlement with LAUSD for a new station
with at-grade crossing at Farmdale Avenue by Dorsey High School was
described in a December
18, 2009 Ex Parte Notice (6.6 MB PDF):
Beginning at approximately 11:00 a.m. on December 15, 2009, Mr. Richard
Thorpe, Chief Executive Officer of Expo Authority, met with Commissioner
Timothy Alan Simon in Commissioner Simon’s office at the Commission’s
headquarters at 505 Van Ness Avenue, in San Francisco. [...]
Mr. Thorpe explained that Expo Authority and the Los Angeles Unified
School District (“LAUSD”) have reached an agreement in principle on a
solution for the Farmdale crossing that would be based on the option of
an at-grade crossing with a station at Farmdale Avenue. In answer to Commissioner
Simon’s question, Mr. Thorpe confirmed that the agreement included a commitment
that all trains operating in either direction at all hours of system operation
would come to a complete stop at the station platforms before entering
the Farmdale intersection. He explained that all crossing gates will be
in the down position when the train arrives at the crossing and will not
go up until the crossing is clear. Mr. Thorpe also noted that the agreement
between Expo Authority and LAUSD provides for Expo Authority to purchase
a motel property at the northeast corner of the intersection and to improve
and convey that property to LAUSD for use as a parking lot for school
employees. Mr. Thorpe provided a set of 17 views of the proposed Farmdale
crossing from various perspectives, which illustrated the planned safety
features of the crossing, locations of the station platforms, and alterations
to the adjacent high school and motel properties. A set of these 17 views
is attached to this notice.
In addition to Mr. Thorpe’s statements, Mr. Mattes explained the anticipated
sequence of events related to assessment of environmental aspects of the
crossing proposal and the planned submission of the proposed crossing
solution in the form of a proposed settlement for Commission approval.
A station next to Dorsey will provide a convenient connection for its
students, including a number who attend classes at Trade Tech College
(a Los Angeles Community College).
The station stairs and wheelchair lift instead of a ramp was deliberate,
because LAUSD wanted the platforms as close as possible to the intersection
so the trains would be slower while crossing.
Replacement of the Expo Inn motel with a parking lot for the school
may be to replace parking spaces on the Dorsey campus that would be displaced
by the eastbound station platform.
The 12/21/09 Scoping
Ruling gave this upcoming schedule:
Parties to continue settlement discussions and, if successful,
to submit motion to approve an agreement.
Continuing through April 30, 2010
Submission of updated Proponent’s Environmental Documents to Commission’s
CEQA team, and evaluation by the team.
As soon as prepared.
IF NO SETTLEMENT MOTION FILED:
Prehearing Conference Commission’s Los Angeles Office
May 3, 2010, at 10:00 a.m.
Junipero Serra State Office Building
320 West 4th Street, Suite 500
Los Angeles, CA 90013
No later than July 1, 2011
All Expo CPUC documents are available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/proceedings/A0612005.htm