Hope, and a Dose of Fear, Surround L.A. Transit Expansion

The opening of L.A.'s newest rail line on Saturday, nearly two years behind schedule and almost $300 million over budget, brought hope, and a dash of fear, for the city's residents, reports Ari Bloomekatz.
April 30, 2012, 9am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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For those underrepresented Angelenos without the means to own and maintain an automobile, or who simply wish to avoid the congestion that is arguably the city's biggest flaw, the recent opening of the Expo light rail line means an easier commute to work or school and improved access to cultural and entertainment opportunities.

Reporting on the enthusiasm surrounding Saturday's opening festivities, Bloomekatz noted that, "While there was plenty of celebration Saturday, one group staged a rally during the opening over what it sees as a threat to affordable housing. Some activists worry that low-income residents will be pushed out by new mixed-use developments along the route that could drive up rents."

"We're raising awareness around affordable housings as it relates to transit issues," said Tafari Bayne of TRUST South LA. "We saw a pattern at previous train stations across the country about rent around newly built light-rail stations."

Excitement seemed to rule the day however. Even for those such as LeRoy Downs, who will not see their commutes substantially cut by the train, other advantages of decreased automobile dependency were cause for delight.

"It takes him [Downs] about an hour to drive to work now, and even though it may take just as long on the train and subsequent shuttles that include transfers, 'at least that's my time of peace,' he said.

"If it all works smooth," Downs said, "the car's going to be sitting."

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Published on Sunday, April 29, 2012 in Los Angeles Times
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