Number 2
February 16, 2001 (updated 4/7/01)

FORWARD this newsletter to your friends, relatives and co-workers!!

WHO WE ARE:  We are an all-volunteer group of citizens who want to extend rapid transit to the Westside along the Exposition right-of-way.

    Phone:      (310) 393-9025

OUR NEXT MEETING: Focus on strategy:  How We Can Win
When:    Tuesday, March 6, 7:30 p.m.
Where:   Hamilton High School, 2955 So. Robertson Blvd., just north of the 10 freeway. Please come!

We need to show the MTA Board members the strong popular support for a light rail line from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica.  We are also planning an event to increase public awareness.

1. Write a letter to the MTA Board expressing support for the Expo light rail  (send us a copy, please.)   A sample letter is included below.

2. Get your company, neighborhood organization, school, church, temple or mosque to write a letter of support. (Please send us a copy). 

3. Invite us to make a presentation on Expo light rail to your group.


The MTA's  EIR/EIS Report (Environmental Impact  Report/Envir. Impact Statement) will be released to the public very soon.  The report will present recommendations on both the Wilshire corridor and the Exposition corridor.

There will then be a 45-day PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD.  We are waiting eagerly to see what the report recommends for the Expo corridor.

The MTA Board is scheduled to consider the Expo project on APRIL 26th June 28th. Board meetings begin at 9:30 a.m. PLEASE MARK THIS DATE ON YOUR CALENDARS!


Community Advisory Committee of the Crenshaw CRA
Santa Monica Community College, President Piedad Robertson
L.A. Trade Tech, President Daniel Castro
Culver City Chamber of Commerce.  
Westside Village Civic Association
Exposition Park Stakeholders
Culver City Rotary Club


Project Area Committee of the Hoover CRA
North Area Neighborhood Development Council (of the 8th Empowerment Congress)
Cherrywood Block Club
Hoover Jefferson Neighborhood Stakeholders
Tract 7260 Association
South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
L.A. Association of Black Journalists
Tom Henry, Transp. Deputy to City Councilman Joel Wachs


                                                -----------, 2001

Dear -----------

Please support construction of a light rail line on the Exposition right-of-way.

As you are well aware, traffic in Los Angeles, especially on the 10 freeway, is becoming increasingly congested.  We can ease this problem by building a light rail line from downtown to Santa Monica on land that is already owned by the MTA.

This project would provide enormous benefits to our [employees / faculty, students and staff / congregation/ members].  By connecting communities along the Exposition corridor to the rest of the Los Angeles region's emerging rail network, this light rail line would [ease our parking and traffic problems/enable us to hire employees from all over the city/allow many more students and faculty members easy access to our campus/increase significantly our members' work, shopping, and cultural opportunities].

With local population expected to increase by the size of two Chicago's in the next 20 years, we need light rail to attract people to public transit -- a goal which bus ways cannot accomplish.   

Popular and proven in an increasing number of American cities, light rail is less polluting than buses and carries more passengers while operating at lower costs.  An Exposition rail line would connect Angelinos of all ethnicities and classes, and open educational, recreational and job opportunities especially to youth, the poor, and the elderly who depend on mass transit.  

The time to act is now. We heartily endorse this project, and urge you to do all within your power to make a light rail line on Exposition a reality.


Please use your own words wherever possible (choosing from the words in brackets if, however, you copy our phrasing).

      Yvonne Brathwaite-Burke, Chair
            MTA Board
            One Gateway Plaza
            Los Angeles, CA 90012-2952

The Exposition Blvd. right of way was used by the "Red Cars" to carry passengers from USC all the way to Santa Monica until the early 1950s.  It was used as a freight line until the early 1980's.  The MTA bought the right of way in 1990 to preserve it for future transit use. 

        *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *   


The Exposition right-of-way is owned by the MTA.  It goes from downtown Los Angeles past USC and Exposition Park, Crenshaw, Baldwin Hills, Culver City, all the way to Santa Monica.

By developing rapid transit along this corridor, residents west of downtown L.A. will be connected to the network of light rail and subway lines, which are:

1. IN OPERATION (Long Beach, Norwalk-Torrance, Mid-Wilshire, Hollywood, Universal Studios, North Hollywood),

2. UNDER CONSTRUCTION (Pasadena, opening in 2003),


In February the MTA will release a report (EIS/EIR report) on three possible projects on the Westside (Wilshire and Exposition corridors).  There will then be a 45-day public comment period.

The three projects are:

1. A dedicated BUSWAY down the center of Wilshire Blvd. (this would remove a lane of traffic in each direction.).

2. A dedicated BUSWAY along the Exposition Blvd. right of way from downtown to Santa Monica   

3. A LIGHT RAIL LINE along the Exposition Blvd. right of way from downtown to Santa Monica   

The Expo route currently being studied leaves the Exposition right-of-way at Venice, proceeding west to Sepulveda Blvd., then turning north on Sepulveda, and rejoining the Exposition right-of-way just south of Pico Blvd.

In April, the MTA Board will decide which project(s) to advance to the next stage.  There are $500 million in federal and state funds earmarked for improved mass transit which could be used for one or more of these projects.  

Without widespread popular support it is unlikely that the MTA Board will vote to proceed with light rail on Exposition.  That is why we formed Friends 4 Expo to make sure that all the communities along the corridor know what a wonderful opportunity they have to join an expanding network of high quality transit.

Just a year ago the people on the Eastside won approval of a light rail line from downtown L.A. through their area.  Virtually every elected official, city, county and state, came and spoke in support of LIGHT RAIL for East L.A.  Without that show of support the MTA Board would have voted for a busway.

We can do likewise.  We need to show our elected officials that there is wide popular support for LIGHT RAIL ON EXPOSITION BLVD!

Over the last several months, we have met with the following elected officials &/or staff:

Tony Fitzgerald & Aaron Gross, office of L.A.City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter
Mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa
Laurie Newman, office of state Senator Sheila Kuehl
Victoria Minetta & Chris Bing, office of L.A. City Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski  
State Senator Kevin Murray & staff
David Roberts, office of L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas
Ron Mayberry, office of L.A. City Councilman Nate Holden
Tony Watson, office of L.A. City Councilwoman Rita Walters
Mayoral candidate Steve Soboroff

We will continue to meet with our elected officials and encourage them to support this issue when it comes before the MTA Board.


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