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Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2

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In the spring of 2010, Metro began preparing the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR) for the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 Project. This study evaluates the two build alternatives, State Route 60 Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Washington Bl LRT, along with the required No Build and Transportation System Management (TSM) alternatives.

The goal of the proposed study is to improve mobility in the corridor by connecting to communities farther east of Los Angeles. Communities in the project area include Commerce, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pico Rivera, Rosemead, Santa Fe Springs, South El Monte, Whittier and the unincorporated portions of Los Angeles County.


What is Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2?

The Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 is a transit study looking to connect with and extend the recently opened Gold Line Eastside Extension light rail line, which runs between Union Station in downtown Los Angeles and Pomona, and Atlantic Boulevards in East Los Angeles, to communities farther east. The project’s goals include improving mobility in the study area and planning for future growth in a sustainable manner. The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is leading this study effort in conjunction with the Federal Transit Administration.

What is LRT?

Light Rail Transit (LRT) is electric-powered trains that are designed to be integrated into the communities they serve. They generally are the size of articulated buses and up to three cars in length. They function best as a local service with frequent station stops, approximately one mile apart. LRT is not the same as Metrolink or Amtrak trains, which are larger and faster diesel powered trains designed for longer distanced commuting trips.

What is an environmental study?

Federal and state laws require an evaluation of project impacts and identification of mitigation measures. To be eligible to receive both federal and state funds, projects need to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Therefore, the Eastside Transit Corridor Phase 2 project will complete both a Draft Environmental Impact Statement and an Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR). The public is encouraged to participate in the environmental process and will be notified of public meetings.

When will the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) document be available?

The Eastside Phase 2 Draft EIS/EIR document is anticipated to be released for public review in early 2014.

Where will funding for the project come from?

Currently, the majority of the Eastside Phase 2 project funding will come from Measure R, the half cent sales tax passed by Los Angeles County voters in November 2008. However, for either LRT alternative, Measure R funds are not sufficient; therefore, Metro is also seeking other funding sources, such as federal, state, and local dollars, to fully construct the project.

Why is this study being conducted now when the majority of Measure R funding will not be available until 2028?

For most Metro rail projects in operation, it took over a decade to complete the project development process.  By environmentally clearing the project now, Metro will be in a position to take advantage of any funding, federal or otherwise, that might be made available.  For example, Metro is aggressively seeking to leverage Measure R funds with the America Fast Forward Initiative. This initiative would accelerate funding for 12 transit projects identified in Measure R, including this project. Rather than building these projects over the course of 30 years, America Fast Forward proposes to build these projects within a decade.

What alignments are under consideration?

At the beginning of the Alternatives Analysis (AA), 47 build alternatives were identified and screened using federally approved evaluation criteria.  In 2009, the Metro Board approved the Alternatives Analysis Study (AA) and the Addendum to the AA, authorizing two light rail alternatives to move forward into the environmental phase, including SR-60 LRT and Washington Bl LRT, in addition to the No Build and Transportation Systems Management Alternatives. These alternatives were selected for further study in the Draft EIS/EIR phase based on technical analysis and public input. 

When will the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) be selected?

Throughout the course of the environmental study, alternatives have been studied and refined to minimize impacts and maximize their potential benefits.  Metro staff will review public comments and the technical evaluation to recommend a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) to the Metro Board in spring 2014. 

What do you consider when selecting the Locally Preferred Alternative?

Not one single criterion is used to select an LPA, but a combination of things. Items such as cost and ridership are important, but so is community acceptance of the project, the ability of the project to support local land use objectives and stimulate economic development, and its impact on the environment.

Who will select the LPA?

Metro staff will carefully review the potential impacts and benefits of each alternative, as well as the cost, funding and public input, to make a recommendation to the Metro Board after the Draft EIS/EIR has been circulated for public comment. At that time, the Metro Board may choose to select the LPA, modify the LPA, reject the LPA, direct staff to conduct further studies, or take other actions.

Can Metro build both alternatives?

No, Measure R has earmarked $1.27 billion to the Eastside Phase 2 project.  Current project estimates to construct the SR 60 LRT is $1.51 billion (in 2008 dollars) and Washington Bl LRT is $1.65 billion, which is not enough for either alternative. Metro will continue to pursue additional funding as the project advances. However, the two alignments being studied are not designed in such a way that would allow them to be built or operated together. In order to construct both alternatives, Metro’s Board would have to authorize additional planning, design, environmental analysis, and funding.

Why can’t we have a project that goes along SR-60 and also connects with cities like Pico Rivera and Whittier?

During the Alternatives Analysis (AA) phase of the study, Metro examined 47 alternatives, which included two alternatives that would connect northern cities with southeast cities within the study area. However, these two alternatives had slower travel times, lower ridership, and were not as cost-effective compared to the other alternatives that performed better. Therefore, those two alternatives were dropped from further consideration.

Where will the stations be located?

Proposed station locations for both SR-60 and Washington Bl alternatives have been identified, including:

SR – 60 LRT

  • Garfield Av/Via Campo
  • SR 60/The Shops at Montebello
  • SR 60/Santa Anita Av
  • SR 60/Peck Rd

Washington Bl LRT

  • Garfield Av/Via Campo
  • Garfield Av/Whittier Bl
  • Washington Bl/Greenwood Av
  • Washington Bl/Rosemead Bl
  • Washington Bl/Norwalk Av
  • Washington Bl/Lambert Rd


Through the environmental phase of the project, station planning will intensify and station area refinements will occur, if needed, based on city and community input as well as engineering and environmental considerations. 

What factors determine whether a rail project is built at street level or elevated?

Metro considers a wide variety of inputs to determine how a rail project is configured. These include, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Available right of way
  • Land use impacts
  • Environmental impacts
  • Traffic impacts
  • Cost
  • Travel time
  • Ridership
  • Safety
  • Community and city input

What are the noise and vibration impacts of LRT?

The size and speed of the trains is designed with community integration in mind, including the use of special features like vibration dampening fasteners to secure the rail tracks, which helps minimize noise and vibration around communities.

How will pedestrian safety be addressed?

All light rail transit in Los Angeles County is designed to meet federal and state safety standards. These include stringent seismic codes, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards, pedestrian design guidelines, parking codes and a host of other safety considerations. Station area platforms will be well lit and have security cameras installed as well as Metro security personnel assigned to ride the system and patrol the station areas for additional safety. All parking and related station area amenities will also be well signed and lit for easy access. In general, LRT is used throughout the world and has proven to be a safe and reliable form of transportation for millions of riders and hundreds of communities.

Will the project require property acquisitions?

Yes, some property will be necessary to build the Eastside Phase 2 project. All necessary property will be identified in the Draft EIS/EIR to be publicly circulated in early 2014.  When purchasing property, Metro will follow federal and state guidelines established to protect property owners and allow a fair and equitable process for everyone.

When will this project be constructed?

In short, the project will be constructed when the project studies and engineering are completed and the funding is available. Current Metro funding scenarios show that the majority of local Measure R money could be available starting in 2028. Metro is also exploring the potential of accelerating the project implementation schedule.

Is community support needed for project approval?

Metro’s goal is always to balance the needs of the region with the needs of the local jurisdictions and communities. This can sometimes be challenging, but through careful planning and meaningful public participation, in most cases community support can be achieved. Complete consensus is always difficult to achieve on any project, therefore, the project team is always working toward consensus by engaging the community in meaningful conversation and incorporating public input to the extent possible.

How do my comments get incorporated into the study?

All comments received throughout the study are documented and presented to Metro staff and technical consultants for consideration. In addition, public comments received during the formal scoping period are presented in the appendix of the Draft EIS/EIR document. Comments received during the public review of the Draft EIS/EIR are responded to in the Final EIS/EIR. 

How can I stay involved throughout the entire process?

The easiest way to stay involved in the study process is to become part of the project database. If you have signed-in at a previous Eastside Phase 2 meeting, then you are automatically included, however, if you would like to be added, then you can simply call the project helpline at 213.922.3012. Over the course of the study, meeting notifications and other project materials will be mailed to the project database to keep interested persons informed of the study developments. In addition, you can also access project information via the web at metro.net/eastsidephase2 or become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/metroeastsidehphase2.

From the remaining two build alternatives, which is the most feasible?

There were originally 47 alternatives that were identified at the beginning of the Alternatives Analysis Study and eventually narrowed down to two LRT alternatives. Each of the proposed alternatives was screened across federally approved criteria to determine its feasibility. Therefore, each of the remaining LRT alternatives is considered by Metro to be feasible. In the environmental phase, evaluation of impacts will be done to further consider the viability of each alternative, taking into consideration the cost, environmental impacts, and community input.

 

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The SR-60 and Washington Bl proposed alternatives use the same light rail technology (LRT) as the Gold Line Eastside Extension Phase 1, allowing a seamless extension to cities east of the existing Pomona and Atlantic terminus. The following is a detailed description of the two alternatives under consideration:

SR-60 LRT

This proposed alignment generally follows the southern edge of the SR-60 Freeway within the freeway right-of-way, on an elevated track crossing over freeway ramps, and terminates at Peck Rd in the City of South El Monte. The proposed station locations include:

  • Garfield Avenue Station
  • The Shops at Montebello
  • Santa Anita Avenue Station
  • Peck Road Station

Washington Bl LRT

This proposed alignment follows the SR-60 Freeway to Garfield Av, and then travels south to Washington Bl. From there, the alignment continues east and terminates at Lambert Rd in the City of Whittier. This alternative includes both at-grade and elevated sections of track. The proposed station locations include:

  • Garfield Avenue Station
  • Whittier Boulevard Station
  • Greenwood Avenue Station
  • Rosemead Boulevard Station
  • Norwalk Avenue Station
  • Lambert Road Station


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