Paramount officials get report on proposed rail line

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By Arnold Adler

Contributing Writer

PARAMOUNT — City officials here have announced support for plans for a 19-mile light rail commuter train from Southeast Los Angeles County to Union Station in Los Angeles, but oppose using the 22-acre drive-in movie/swap meet site at Rosecrans Avenue and Paramount Boulevard as a maintenance yard for the line.

An alternate maintenance site proposed is the former 21-acre Somerset Park in neighboring Bellflower now leased to Hollywood Sports Park, a private operation.

Bellflower Assistant City Manager/Public Works Director Len Gorecki said his city has not yet discussed the issue and is waiting for a decision on the two sites by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is heading the light rail project.

The Paramount City Council supports alternative 1, the longest route of four options proposed by the MTA, City Clerk Heide Luce said.

The city informed the MTA of their choice after taking action Sept. on the light rail project known as the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor route.

The MTA board, which during the past summer conducted public hearings on the environmental impact of the plan, expects the public comment period to end this month with a summary of responses going to the board in October or November and a decision on the route in December, an MTA spokesperson said.

That would be followed by a detailed environmental report on the selected route, the spokesperson said.

Completion of the project is projected for 2028.

The four project alternatives are:

• Alternative 1 is from Pioneer Boulevard and South Street in Artesia to Los Angeles Union Station, (19.3 miles and 11 stops). Estimated cost is $9.3 billion if the Paramount maintenance site is used; $9.1 billion if the Bellflower site is used. The route would affect 238 properties with 60 sites taken for the project, according to the MTA’s website.

• Alternative 2 would go from the Pioneer-South Street station Pioneer to an MTA transit center at Seventh and Flower streets in downtown Los Angeles (19.3 miles and 12 stops). Estimated cost is $9.5 billon using the Paramount maintenance site, $9.3 billion with the Bellflower site. There would be 235 properties affected and 60 taken, according to the MTA website.

• Alternative 3 would go from the Pioneer-South Station to Slauson Avenue Line in Huntington Park where the line would link with the MTA A Line (formerly the Blue Line), a distance of 14.8 miles with nine stops. The estimated cost would be $5.1 billion with the Paramount maintenance site and $4.9 billion with the Bellflower maintenance site. There would be 191 affected properties and 34 sites taken.

• Alternative 4 would go from the Pioneer-South station to the Glenn Anderson (105) Freeway where it would link with the MTA C Line (formerly the Green Line), a distance of 6.6 miles with four stops. The estimated cost would be $2.6 billion with the Paramount maintenance site, and $2.3 billion with the Bellflower maintenance site.

The MTA staff has reported a preference for Alternative 3.

The Paramount maintenance site would require a new track onto the property, officials said.

Each alternative includes aerial track and ground level sections.

City officials have been compiling information for a technical response to the environmental documents for the upcoming light rail project, Community Development Director John Carver told the City Council.

In July, two agencies – the Federal Transit Administration and the MTA — issued the initial environmental impact report for the project.

Within Paramount, one station is planned as an aerial platform at the northwest corner of Paramount Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue, and a second station is planned as a transfer station to the C Line in the center of the 105 Freeway (with most station parking and other amenities within the city of South Gate.

“In an era in which freeways and other larger roadways are no longer feasible, light rail is a substantial public works project that can fulfill a transportation need for a growing population facing greater vehicle commuting delays,” Carver said in his report.

He noted that residents of Paramount and neighboring cities have been paying for transit projects in other areas of the county and the West Santa Ana Branch project finally provides an immediate local return on this taxation.

Carver said the project is complex and will be disruptive to some property owners, residents and business owners with issues of noise, vibration, aesthetics, and safety amongst many others to be considered.

“As there is no doubt that the project will proceed given the voter-mandate and established [MTA] planning, it is important for [the MTA] to understand the real concerns of the Paramount community and provide the best project possible,” Carver concluded.

Funding for the project comes from a half-cent sales tax charge taxable purchase in Los Angeles County through voter-approved Measure M.

Affected communities include Artesia, Cerritos, Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, South Gate, Bell, Cudahy, Huntington Park, unincorporated Florence/Firestone and Vernon.

Project director is Meghna Kahanna, with offices in Los Angeles.

For more information visit www.WSAB@Metro.net or call (213) 922-6262.

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