Calling it a "Berlin Wall," Compton Councilman Maxcy Filer said the city should fight construction of a six-foot iron picket fence along the tracks that next year will begin carrying light rail passenger trains between Long Beach and downtown Los Angeles.
"It will divide east and west Compton," Filer said at Tuesday's council meeting. "As best I know, it's only going to (be built) in Compton and Watts because, for some reason, they think we are going to walk on the tracks when the trains are coming. We've never done that and I don't know why we would start doing it now."
Construction of the fence, which will eventually run the length of the tracks through Compton and Watts, is due to start Monday on the stretch between Greenleaf and Alondra boulevards in Compton.
Fencing is necessary to protect pedestrians from the high-speed, quiet, passenger cars, said Erica Goebel, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission. Goebel said that the cars will run at speeds of up to 55 m.p.h. and that they are not like the slow, "lumbering" freight trains that have run along the tracks for years and whose noise warns of their approach.
The stretch of the light rail line that runs through the heart of Compton and Watts is bounded by residential areas, Goebel said. A section of the line also runs through a residential area of Long Beach but there is already a chain-link fence there, she said.
The issue was turned over to the city administrative staff for investigation, with Filer saying that he wants the city "to do whatever needs to be done" to stop the fence.