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Get Ready, Westside! Train from Culver City to Santa Monica Approved

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The recommended route | Enlarge image here

The second phase of a project to bring light rail from downtown to Santa Monica cleared a huge hurdle today when its construction authority board approved a final environmental impact document and chose a route. Preliminary engineering can now begin followed by design and construction, which will could commence later this year.

Split in two phases. the Expo Line is already under construction between downtown and Culver City with a partial opening expected this summer.

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"We are real happy," Darrell Clark said with a big laugh. Clark, who co-chairs Friends4Expo, has spent 20 years volunteering in support of the project. "This is the most important decision after the 2005 decision to do light rail in the first half," he said.

The chosen route (see the above map) will leave Culver City via a right-of-way that will connect with Colorado Boulevard in Santa Monica, rolling to 4th Street. An opposition group said the route was dangerous and would clog Westside traffic. "The report calls for all train crossings through our community to go at street level (at-grade), blocking traffic as often as every 2 ½ minutes, 22 hours a day at Overland, Westwood, Military and Sepulveda!" exclaimed Neighbors for Smart Rail, which will likely file a lawsuit challenging the project. Supporters said the claims were erroneous.

Two decisions still remain for the authority board at future meetings. Members will have to decide whether or not to put a parking lot at the Westwood Station and if the crossing at Sepulveda Boulevard should be at street level or elevated, the latter which would cost $17 million.

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