Angeleno Homeowners Fight Bicycle Path

     LOS ANGELES (CN) - Homeowners asked a federal judge to block a $2.5 million bike path from Los Angeles to Santa Monica, claiming - in this traffic-choked city - that the bikeway will violate federal environmental laws.
     Attorney S. Zachary Samuels sued on behalf of himself and 12 neighbors who oppose the 3.85-mile bike path. The project would run along the exposition right-of-way owned by the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) from Robertson Boulevard and Venice Boulevard to Santa Monica.
     Samuels filed a similar complaint against the project in the same court two years ago, but that case wrapped up under a joint stipulation for dismissal after just a few months.
     In his new complaint he sued the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the State of California Department of Transportation, the City of Los Angeles and its Metropolitan Transit Authority.
     He claims that the Federal Highway Administration granted a categorical exclusion (CE) for the project under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - a decision that brought federal funding.
     "Although the bikeway is eligible to receive a CE, it can only do so if certain environmental considerations and site conditions have been ruled out or eliminated," the complaint states. "Plaintiffs allege that the bikeway as planned has, in fact, several adverse and potentially adverse impacts that must be studied before any environmental clearance and certification can lawfully be made."
     The homeowners say the bike path would run behind their properties and "through what is now green space which serves as a buffer between the I-10 freeway and the plaintiff's homes and other homes."
     The bike path should have been studied as part of the Expo Phase Two light rail project, the complaint states. It claims that possible traffic congestion and other environmental impacts were disregarded when the project received funding.
     "The CE fails to provide a consistent, complete and proper description of the environmental setting. The CE lacks meaningful analysis of significant impacts and proper mitigation for traffic, privacy, safety and security, fire and life safety, hazardous materials, construction impacts and others," the complaint states.
     Samuels seeks an injunction against the project.