The East Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce wants more time to study the environmental impact report of a proposed light rail line from East Los Angeles to Whittier, its adviser said at the first of the four community meetings held Thursday, July 21 on the 1,012-page report. .
Three more meetings are scheduled on the report, which was released June 30, on the nine-mile line that will run underground from the Pomona Freeway station and Atlantic Boulevard to Commerce, then above ground on Washington Boulevard via Montebello, Pico Rivera and Santa Fe Springs, ending at PIH Health.
The deadline for comments is August 29. Only fifteen people were present.
“Sixty days is too short,” said East Los Angeles businessman Eddie Torres, who added in an interview that he represents the chamber.
“We have residents trying to figure this out,” Torres said, referring to the report. “Cities have city councils and city managers to do that.”
Torres criticized the report for not considering the impact of the loss of parking or businesses that will be affected by construction.
Dolores Roybal, deputy chief executive, said the 60-day comment period was actually generous.
“Normally we give 30 days, then in the past we gradually increased to 45 days,” Roybal said.
Roybal said Metro decided to give the extra days in advance, in part because it was summer.
The report analyzes four alternatives:
- Don’t build anything;
- Build a road from East Los Angeles to the Citadel of Commerce;
- Build a route from East LA to Greenwood Avenue in Montebello; roBuild a route from East LA PIH Health and Lambert Road to Whittier.
The EIR found two large and unavoidable impacts, Jaime Guzman, senior project manager for AECOM who along with CDM Smith prepared the report, said during the meeting at Kaiser Permanente Medical Offices, describing the report.
One is an important historic Pacific Metals Company building in Commerce, which would have to be demolished if the maintenance building is built in Commerce.
A second could be that drilling a tunnel under Atlantic Boulevard will make it difficult to find paleontological resources, Guzman said.
The environmentally superior alternative was the line from East Los Angeles to Greenwood with an equipment and supply facility located in Montebello, not Commerce.
Guzman also pointed to other impacts, such as the need to rebuild bridges over the Rio Hondo and San Gabriel rivers that would require mitigation measures to ensure water quality.
Additionally, there are potential traffic impacts on Washington Boulevard, but a traffic management plan will ensure access throughout construction, Guzman said.
Noise is another concern, especially for homes, hospitals and parks, but again this can be minimized, he said.
Several speakers also criticized the light rail project.
Denise Hagopian, owner of Washington Boulevard and Fourth Street, expressed concern about the potential negative effect on business.
“Our businesses will be shut down, property values will be degraded and pollution levels will increase,” Hagopian said.
East Los Angeles resident Mike Martinez predicted that no one will use the light rail.
City council members of towns where the line will pass predicted that it will bring economic opportunities to their communities.
Three other meetings remain to be held. However, Metro added an in-person segment from 6-8 p.m. on August 11 at the Pico Rivera City Council Chambers, 6615 Passons Blvd. to the already scheduled virtual meeting.
- July 30: 10 a.m. to noon at Applied Technology Center High School, 1200 W. Mines Ave., Montebello; and
- August 17: 6-8 p.m. at the Whittier Community Center, 7630 Washington Ave., Whittier.
- And a virtual meeting will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on August 11. The link is tinyurl.com/3k8pms7f, the call-in number: is 213-.338.-8477 and the meeting ID: is 814 9183 9547. The Spanish language call-in number is 646- 749-3122. The Spanish access code is 610 706 301.