A non-profit organization filed a lawsuit last week against Los Angeles over the city’s plan to build more than 6,000 apartments, condos and tall building offices by 2035.
The development would stretch a half mile along five Metro Expo stops, from the Culver City to the Expo/Bundy stations.
The group, Fix the City, said in the lawsuit that the city of Los Angeles has “willfully ignored its own mandatory policies.” The existing public infrastructure – from roads to the public safety – cannot handle the additional population, the group claims in the lawsuit.
Even if new tenants use public transportation, the infrastructure still cannot accommodate the number of people who would occupy 6,000 units, said James O’Sullivan, a member of Fix the City.
“The city promised it wouldn’t increase density unless there was enough infrastructure available,” O’Sullivan said. He added that the lawsuit “will make the city obey its own rules.”
Rob Wilcox, a spokesman for City Attorney Mike Feuer, declined to comment, saying that they have yet to review the lawsuit.
Many in who live or work near USC said that distance from the Expo line is a major factor when it comes to deciding where to live.
Kyle Apuna, who works in the CoreYoga Coffee shop at the USC Village, said he takes the Expo line every day.
“Proximity to Metro is something I look for when choosing housing and something I look for my work,” Apuna said. “I do really consider how long it takes to get from my house to the station and from the station to my work.”
Fix the City argues in the lawsuit that the proposed housing plan will not fix the city’s affordable housing problem. “The housing that was approved is only geared towards people who can afford very expensive rent,” O’Sullivan said.
“If they made the commitment to repair the infrastructure, then they can build the housing,” he said. “The commitment must have the money behind it to upgrade all of the infrastructures to support all of those people.”
According to the Los Angeles City General Plan Framework Final Environmental Impact Report, the city has said it would provide adequate infrastructure and services when it increases the density of the community. That doesn’t always reflect the reality of the situation.
According to TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based transportation research group, 57% of major roads are in poor condition in LA. Drivers annually spend an additional $1,000 in increased vehicle operating cost.
“Los Angeles has the third highest share of roads in poor condition as any city in the nation,” said Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, the associate director of research and communications for TRIP. “The city needs to fix those bad roads first.”
But it may be impossible for the city to meet the requirement, according to one USC expert.
“We can’t solve the congestion problem by building more houses, and the city may never have enough infrastructures for the capacity,” said Genevieve Giuliano, a USC professor and the director of Metrans Transportation Center.