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Protests Continue Against Proposed Metro Development

About 200 protesters associated with the Bus Riders Union, Union de Vecinos, East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) and other groups, staged a protest last week at Olvera Street in downtown Los Angeles to call for Metro to increase bus line services in working class communities, the defeat of Measure J on the November ballot, and to call for Metro to halt a proposed development in Boyle Heights.

Lea esta nota EN ESPAÑOL: Protestan Contra Metro [1]

For one group, the protest was a follow-up to the “Take Back Boyle Heights” town hall meeting put on late last month by the East Los Angeles Community Corporation, ELACC, which has undertaken a campaign to influence developments in the low-income and working class community.

Throughout the march, proposed Metro developments along the Eastside Gold Line came under fire by protesters who said they want a greater say in those developments. Speakers for the groups said too many small businesses and residents were displaced by the Gold Line transportation project, and decried the fact that many of the plots of land where those businesses and homes once stood are still vacant.


Protesters marched from Olvera Street to Metro Headquarters and then to the Metro Gold Line Station at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights. EGP Photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo

One Metro-owned plot in Boyle Heights has in particular drawn the attention of residents and activists, who say they are against using the Soto Street and Cesar Chavez location for a mixed-use development that could feature a CVS Pharmacy.

We want a grocery store, not another drug store, said protesters, who also called on Metro to restore affordable housing lost during the building of the Gold Line Extension.

Responding to those complaints, Metro told EGP that 1,222 affordable housing units are either planned, being built or have been completed in transit oriented developments.

In addition, 52 affordable units lost during construction of the Eastside Gold Line Extension will be replaced at a transit-oriented development at First and Lorena streets that will break ground next year, according to Metro’s blog, “The Source.”

ELACC is pushing for Metro to establish a resident advisory committee made up of low-income and transit dependent stakeholders.

Protesters also said that low-income residents have been harmed by cuts of some Metro bus lines, and called for increasing the number of buses servicing those communities. Calling it “irresponsible,” protesters also called for the defeat of Measure J — a Metro-backed November ballot proposal to extend the County’s Measure R half-cent sales tax to pay for transportation projects.