Chapter transportation advocate honored by Move LA

Monday, June 4, 2012
Southern Sierran staff and contributors

Move LA honors Sierra Club activist and former Angeles Chapter Chair Darrell Clarke as a Great Transit Champion for his dogged advocacy of public transportation in Southern California.

The transportation coalition lauded Clarke for stepping up and advocating for the Exposition Line at a time when transit’s future looked especially bleak.

Darrell's work dates back to 1989 when Southern Pacific Railroad offered to sell a right-of-way to the L.A. County Transportation Commission (now L.A. Metro). Clarke had read about a neighborhood meeting in Rancho Park/Cheviot Hills where residents had blasted county transportation commission Chair Neil Peterson and the whole idea of light rail, and that’s when he formed Friends 4 Expo.

"I didn't expect it to become a life's work," Clarke said in a recent interview. “I guess when you believe in something that much and you see an opportunity you just keep working for it. I certainly remember, it was 2000 or 2001 and the news was bad. But you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move on.”

Clarkel says he believes Friends 4 Expo inspired others, including Bart Reed, who started the Transit Coalition, Ken Alpern, who started Friends of the Green Line, and Denny Zane who started Move LA.

Joel Epstein interviewed Darrell Clarke on LA Metro’s “The Source” blog last month, chronicling his 22 years of advocacy. Check out the interview to learn more about Clarke and his successful legacy of activism.

(Photo by Virginia Clarke, courtesy of "The Source" blog)

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