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Fight Continues Over 5th & Flower Station for Regional Connector

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 08, 2010, at 11:30AM
Regional Connector Update Metro

This station at 5th and Flower was dropped from the Regional Connector in October, but Financial District stakeholders want to see it added back in for study.

The Metro Board of Directors may have formally removed a 5th and Flower station from the proposed Regional Connector just over a month ago, but that hasn't stopped a group of Financial District stakeholders from pushing the station's continued study.

The project approved by the transit agency's board in late October would create an entirely underground link between the Blue Line's current terminus at 7th and Metro and the Gold Line's tracks at 1st and Alameda, adding stations at 2nd/Hope and 2nd/Broadway and replacing the existing Little Tokyo / Arts District Gold Line station with one that is underground.

It would not, however, add a station at 5th and Flower, a station site that had been included throughout the project planning process. It was only with the release of the staff recommendations for the board that the station was removed. Rising costs were cited as the culprit, with the station's roughly $180 million price tag the easiest way to trim the budget.

At the October meeting, the board voted to continue study of the station only if the private sector contributed the $2 million needed to complete the environmental process.

On Monday morning, property owners, elected officials and Metro staff sat down in a meeting organized by the Central City Association.

Those representing the Financial District made the case that the removal leaves too few stations in the region's densest employment hub, and that the neighborhood was being treated unfairly by being asked to pay for the station study when Metro did not make the same demand of other neighborhoods.

"I don't think they were satisfied," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, a supporter of the station who participated in Monday's meeting. "I think they will contemplate further action."

That could potentially end in a lawsuit against the transit agency. "I think that's probably accurate," said Perry when asked whether legal action was being considered.

For now, though, the focus is on more political solutions. Phil Recht, chair of the Central City Association, will be speaking at Metro's Thursday board meeting, and supporters have been petitioning the Mayor's office to get his support for the study.

That support is considered critical. The Mayor's appointees on the Metro board all abstained in the October vote, which failed 4-3-3.


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