Thu, Aug

Warsaw --My Next Stop on the Wilshire Subway Extension

TRANSIT LA - If it’s Friday it must be… Warsaw.  And contrary to the opinion of one of my most faithful readers I am not traveling to the land of some of my ancestors to draw a connection to the misguided thinking of a handful of Beverly Hills opponents of a Century City subway station at Constellation Blvd and Avenue of the Stars.


Still, in getting ready for my trip I can’t keep from thinking about the damage the No on Constellation Club and others like them are doing to greater LA’s economy as well as to the environment and the public’s health in holding up the trains.

Call me single minded or Gollum from The Lord of the Rings in pursuit of his precious if you must but I have nothing to be ashamed of in writing tirelessly in support of a station where it will serve the most riders and prove a far better infrastructure investment than another lane on our already gargantuan freeways.

True, I can live without the comparison to the ugly Tolkien character but if that’s the name the petty Beverly Hillbillies who can’t give up on a misguided battle against the best route for the underground train need to refer to me by, so be it. As we said as kids, “Sticks and stones will break my bones …”

Besides, perhaps a 24/7 focus by lots more Angelenos on the subway to the Westside and other critical pieces of LA Metro’s expansion plans is what we need to make America Fast Forward a reality. Isn’t it time the obstructionists standing in the way of Constellation, the Expo Line and other long-needed Metro projects realized they are just pimples on the ass of someone as ugly as Gollum?

My hoped-for subway construction and more will happen in LA eventually.  But if we want the projects to benefit us all before the economy, air, and public take another hit, the time to build is now.

Starved as I am for adequate mass transit in LA, by lunch time on Friday in Warsaw I expect I will have already ridden nearly as many miles on the city’s trams, buses and subway as LA had when the
Pacific Electric Railway was the world’s largest interurban electric railway.

True, I exaggerate, but no more so than the No on Constellation Club and others who would have us believe that Metro’s expansion means the end of a smog- and traffic-free LA and Beverly Hills as quaint as they were in the 30s.

Though I knew the answer, with all the talk in Beverly Hills lately of litigation to stop the train to Constellation,  I recently asked Alan Lewis, a friend and experienced litigator, what he thought of my chances of bringing a private attorney general lawsuit that would help out Metro.  

Specifically, I wanted to know whether I had legal standing to sue the No on Constellation Club and other adversaries of public transit where it belongs for holding up the train, hurting LA’s economic recovery, fouling our air and damaging the public’s health.  Of course not, came the reply.

Still, one can always hope.

(Joel Epstein, an editor at The Urban Times, is a Los Angeles resident, Metro rider, a strategic communications consultant focused on transportation and other critical urban issues and a contributor to CityWatch.  He can be reached at JoelEpstein.com)

Vol 9 Issue 65
Pub: Aug 16, 2011