Los Angeles Parks Alliance Files Lawsuit Over Dodger Stadium Gondola Project

Originally published by DodgerBlue.com

The Los Angeles Parks Alliance (LAPA) filed a lawsuit under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to halt the Dodger Stadium gondola project.

The lawsuit is asking the court to throw out Los Angeles Aerial Rapid Transit’s (LA ART) final environmental impact report (FEIR), which LAPA referred to as “fatally flawed.”

LAPA claims that the gondola project would significantly impact the land and airspace of Los Angeles State Historic Park, destroy more than 250 trees and displace wildlife.

“LA METRO’s decision to certify this deeply flawed EIR has left us with no other choice than to plead our case to the court,” said Jon Christensen, an adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, and a founding member of L.A. Parks Alliance.

“The board’s action ignores 20 years of community advocacy that went into building a park in a neighborhood in dire need of green space and recreational opportunities and essentially gifts the public’s land and air rights to a billionaire for an illegal commercial exploitation.”

LAPA is concerned about former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt’s potential plans to develop the current Dodger Stadium parking lots, which could include the addition of a retail and entertainment complex similar to that of L.A. Live.

LAPA argued that the environmental impact report does not take into consideration the impact of such a project, wiping out the claimed benefit of reduced traffic and greenhouse gases.

“This project clearly violates CEQA, but more importantly is being forced on a neighborhood that has had to endure more than its share of projects that don’t benefit the community,” said John Given, legal counsel to LAPA.

“I believe the court will recognize what our elected representatives on METRO’s Board have not, and correct this egregious abuse of discretion.”

LAPA also stated that the aesthetic impact of the gondola does not meet industry standards. The gondola would bring a 100-foot tall station to the western entrance of Dodger Stadium, with five-ton gondola cars running 26 feet over fans’ heads every 23 seconds.

“I don’t think LA METRO officials understand just how invasive this project is,” said Kathleen Johnson, executive director of Los Angeles River State Park Partners.

“It will become an eyesore, shirking and degrading of the park’s entire western third, destroying a vital urban green space that provides respite in an already overburdened neighborhood.”

How would the Dodger Stadium gondola system work?

The system, which would take an estimated five minutes of travel, was designed to provide the first permanent public transit link to Dodger Stadium.

As proposed, the gondola lift would be able to move more than 5,000 passengers per hour, per direction and could help with the traffic both around Dodger Stadium and downtown Los Angeles.

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