Lead Story West Edition

Metro helps four businesses impacted by construction projects

LOS ANGELES — The owners of four Crenshaw-area businesses being impacted by construction of a rail line were given reimbursement checks April 6 by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

The businesses are the first to receive funding through Metro’s Business Interruption Fund, which has up to $10 million a year that can be distributed to business owners to ensure their companies survive heavy construction that might be keeping customers away.

“It is essential that business owners don’t bear the burden of the construction process alone,” said county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Metro Board of Directors. “Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and so we must do what we can to ensure that they continue to thrive.”

Checks totaling $66,310 were delivered to the owners of Lili Wigs, 1st Choice Driving & Traffic School, Design Studio 27 and Parisian Wigs Inc.

Metro is simultaneously conducting three big digs: along the Purple Line extension on the Miracle Mile section of Wilshire, on the crosstown light rail connector in the downtown and Little Tokyo areas, and along Crenshaw Boulevard near Baldwin Hills and at Leimert Park.

The simultaneous excavations are unprecedented by a public transit agency, Metro officials said.

The Business Interruption Fund is an unprecedented program for public construction projects in the United States and represents another way Metro is helping small businesses during major construction, a Metro spokesperson said.

Metro director Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker said businesses applying for funds must “carefully document their losses and viability.”

“Metro wants to ensure that these merchants — who weave together the fabric of our communities — will survive so that when the new Metro rail projects open, they will be able to enjoy the economic benefits that projects of this magnitude will bring to the Los Angeles region,” she said.

Construction on the Crenshaw Rail Line expanded into Inglewood April 6.

Contractors will be driving piles near La Brea and Florence avenues near downtown Inglewood. The piles will support a bridge for trains over the intersection. That work will take two weeks.

Barricades also went up near LAX, on Aviation Boulevard between Arbor Vitae Street south past Century Boulevard to 104th Street.

Construction of a bridge foundation there will reduce traffic on Aviation Boulevard to one lane in each direction, and last for a year.

This weekend, 104th Street will be closed to all traffic at Aviation Boulevard for several days as an excavation is dug and a temporary deck is installed.

Those projects are building foundations for bridges, which will carry passenger trains from the LAX area to the Mid City district, through Leimert Park, the Crenshaw district and Inglewood. A subway is also being dug under Crenshaw Boulevard near Leimert Park.