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Westside rail line's latest problem: Crossing called hazard for students. Is the cost worth the added safety?

June 8, 2010 |  8:48 am

A safety issue

The Expo Line -- L.A.'s first rail line into the Westside -- is already facing cost overruns and delays.

But now there is another controversy that could add up to $100 million to the price tag of the downtown-to-Culver City line.

The latest battle line in the effort to build the Expo Line has been drawn at Farmdale Avenue and Exposition Boulevard — a small intersection about 20 yards from Susan Miller Dorsey High School in Central Los Angeles.

If state regulators sign off on a grade crossing and station there, it will clear the way for completion of the line.  But the plan to lay track at street level near Dorsey has run into intense opposition from neighborhood associations, students, teachers, Dorsey alumni and community activists who have fought for almost four years to change the project's design.

TalkBackLAUnless the rails are elevated or put below ground like other sections of the project, they say the line will create an unacceptable risk for pedestrians and motorists, especially when students head to class in the morning and leave campus in the afternoon.

The school has about 1,600 pupils. The estimated cost to put the line underground at Farmdale would be at least $100 million, and an elevated section would cost at least $30 million. The amount does not include $1 million for every month of delay completing the project.

Read Times transportation writer Dan Weikel's full story here. He breaks down the situation in the video above. What do you think should be done with the Expo Line? Are more safety features worth the price tag? Share your thoughts below.

Photo: Dorsey High School students cross Exposition Boulevard at Farmdale Avenue. The intersection is the only one of the Expo light-rail line’s 38 grade crossings that still needs state approval. Safety has become an issue for students, parents, alumni and community activists. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times