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!

Agenda (#14) (PDF); Final Decision; CPUC video; CPUC press release; LAist; Curbed LA; The Source; LA Times; Streetsblog LA

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

 The 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.

5.3.8. Conclusion

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.

LA Times; Curbed LA stories

6/12/10 — It's time to approve the Farmdale crossing and complete this very important transit line! The added station 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 alternative. (Joint 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 after.

    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 pedestrian-friendly.

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.

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

Commission Decision

No later than July 1, 2011

All Expo CPUC documents are available at http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/proceedings/A0612005.htm .

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