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Metro Breaks Ground for Westside Subway Extension [Video]

Utility crews start digging to relocate telecommunication lines at Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, the location of the first new station.

Groundwork preparations began Tuesday for the first of seven new subway stops that will connect downtown Los Angeles to the Westside via an extension of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Purple Line subway.

Dubbed the Westside Subway Extension, the Purple Line is being expanded from its current endpoint of Wilshire Boulevard/Western Avenue to a station at the Veterans Medical Center in West L.A. The line will travel mostly along Wilshire Boulevard through Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood with a completion date scheduled for 2036.

Utility crews started digging into asphalt to relocate telecommunication lines at Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, where the first new stop is located. Construction on the station itself is slated to start in 2014.   

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa applauded the 9.4-mile transit project at a press conference marking the project's groundbreaking, calling it one of Measure R's most iconic. Approved by voters in 2008, the measure increases the county sales tax by a half percent through 2038. It has raised $6.3 billion for the Purple Line extension.

"Once completed, transit riders will zip through Westwood and downtown [L.A.] in 25 minutes on one of the region's densest and most congested corridors," Villaraigosa said.

Metro's Expo Line was also funded by Measure R and will bring trains from Culver City to Santa Monica.

Metro representatives said no additional parking will be built to accommodate Westsiders who wish to take the Purple Line at these new stations, but the agency would work with surrounding businesses to provide parking.

"Believe me, parking operators are really good at finding revenue," Metro spokeswoman Jody Litvak said.

In attendance at the press conference was Beverly Hills Mayor William Brien. He said the subway is important for "not just traffic congestion, not just the jobs it will create, not just the jobs that will be created to maintain this system when it's done, but for our teachers and for our service workers who need an affordable way to move across the city in a timely fashion."

The city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District are each in litigation with Metro over the placement of the subway in Beverly Hills. Both are fighting to prevent Metro from tunneling under the city's public high school. 

The first in three phases of Purple Line construction will lay a 3.9-mile route to the Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard stations running under Wilshire Boulevard. It should be completed by 2023, according to Metro. 

Construction on the second phase is scheduled to begin in 2019 and will bring a subway station to Wilshire Boulevard at Rodeo Drive by 2026. The third phase is set to begin in 2025 and will see stations built at UCLA in Westwood and the Veterans Administration campus in West L.A.

Metro is exploring other means to fund the entire project in one phase by 2023. One such alternative was Measure J, which would would have extended Measure R's half-cent sales tax increase to 2069. The measure required a two-thirds vote to pass, but fell just 6 points shy of that. 

"Very few states, very few cities require a threshold of that magnitude, but I'll tell you that… we're working on plan B," Villaraigosa said. "Today marks a key step toward building the… 21st-century transportation system that Angelenos want and deserve."

George Vreeland Hill November 14, 2012 at 03:37 AM
Great news. However, Metro's plans will have to change after they lose in court. So far, they have not done well against the will of the people of Beverly Hills.
Barry Brucker November 14, 2012 at 10:35 PM
The recent E-Blast by Courier Publisher Clif Smith trashing Mayor Willie Brien's attendance and speech at the Westside Subway ground breaking ceremony was his typical gutterball & tabloid journalism as usual. What was most disturbing was that other BH Council Candidates, willing to sell their souls & pledging absolute submission to Clif for his endorsement, joined in to question the Mayor and our community's support of mass transit. Here is the reality. The City Council remains unanimously opposed to the tunneling route under the high school. BH overwhelmingly supported measure R and continues to be in favor of mass transit. Even with the toxic diatribes by Clif Smith and some elected officials against the Chamber of Commerce and other vocal mass transit supporters this community supported (57% in favor) the passage of Measure J. Mayor Brien spoke about how the Westside subway will be good for business and allow our teachers, first responders and employees to come to work. Is it a crime to share a podium with other elected officials including LA Mayor Villaraigosa, LA Council Members and County Officials who share the same passion for mass transit like our own citizens. Our route preferences may differ with Metro but our commitment to mass transit and curbing gridlock is shared by all. Look in the mirror citizens...Is the toxicity and threats espoused by Clif Smith something we are proud of? Do you want Clif Smith as our 6th council member?
J_Fitzpatrick November 15, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Mr. Brucker --- maybe, just maybe, it wasn't that those city council candidates were "pledging absolute submission" to the Courier. Maybe they were just disgusted that their Mayor was up on stage schmoozing with the very people that are trying to force a tunnel under BHHS. It was a braindead move of the Mayor to make that appearance. What on earth was he thinking?
cutop November 15, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Mirisch's Courier editorial painted the Measure J vote in Beverly Hills to be a referendum on Metro's plans to dig under BHHS. The Courier continuously makes the claim that Mirisch represents the people while the so-called "council majority" only represents the city staff. Well, given that the majority of Beverly Hills voters were in favor of Measure J, shouldn't Mirisch - by his own referendum logic and commitment to represent the will of the people - now support tunneling under BHHS? If not, then either Mirisch's editorial was a lie or he isn't truly representing the people of Beverly Hills. Meanwhile, Clif Smith is a joke. He's pretty much the worst thing in Beverly Hills, except that he isn't IN Beverly Hills. He waxes on about us from 20 miles away in San Marino. The best thing we can do is to stop reading his paper and stop visiting his website. He can only lie about his circulation and pageviews for just so long before the the advertisers get wise.
John Mirisch November 15, 2012 at 07:34 AM
For almost two years, both Barry Brucker and his Council colleague, Dr. Brien, have tried to pussyfoot around the issue of Metro and have worked tirelessly through a variety of delay tactics to stop the City from effectively countering Metro's assault on our schools. It all seems pretty clear now. It may not be a “crime” for our mayor to run off to a self-congratulatory Metro publicity stunt, but it is singularly inappropriate, especially considering our ongoing lawsuit against Metro, not to mention the stinging rebuke the residents of BH delivered to Metro over Measure J -- a drop of 18% from Measure R, the highest in the County, despite being outspent by over 100 to 1. By the way, that's a rebuke of Metro, not of mass transit. It seems Brucker has forgotten the lack of respect with which our schools and City have been treated by Metro, including former chair Villaraigosa. It seems he doesn’t care. Brucker attempts to stifle any criticism by describing it as "toxic". Yet it is not the Courier's reporting which is something to be ashamed of, but our Council's unwillingness to stand up for our schools. It’s OK, Barry: your loyalty is with your Establishment cronies rather than the schoolchildren and residents of our City. We get it. I just wish that you and the mayor would have had the courage of your convictions and been open and honest about your pro-Metro positions earlier on instead of putting us through all your political game-playing for the past two years.
cutop November 15, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Mr. Mirisch, I don't know where yours nor Mr. Brucker's loyalties lie. I do know that on this issue, you stand with the minority of Beverly Hills (some 42.5%). I think it shows desperation that you are attempting to twist these numbers into a "stinging rebuke" when the majority of Beverly Hills voted in favor of Measure J. Assuming you are correct and the vote was a referendum on Metro's digging under the high school, then please recognize that the majority of Beverly Hills is in favor of this route. This is by your own logic minus the fallacy that Measure R and Measure J are directly comparable. If you truly do stand with the residents of the city, then please recognize that the majority of the residents voted in favor of Measure J.
John Mirisch November 15, 2012 at 06:51 PM
The headline of my Courier editorial was "Rejecting Measure J, Metro's Multi-Generational Tax." It wasn't: "Rejecting Measure J, Metro's plan to tunnel under the HS." In fact, Neither my Huffpost, LABJ nor Courier editorials "painted the Measure J vote in BH to be a referendum on Metro's plans to dig under BHHS". It was about so much more: about good government, about transparency, about civil rights and social justice, and, finally, about government agencies which don't listen to the communities they are supposed to serve. OK, maybe we can't expect someone who doesn't have the backbone to stand up for his/her views with his/her real name to actually read the written word as written, but the results of Measure J in BH speak for themselves. Despite being outspent by a margin of over 100 to 1, Measure J failed in BH to get the necessary percentage of votes to pass and was well below the county average. The drop in BH support from Measure R to Measure J was a county high 18% -- no other city with over 1000 total votes even came close. In my book, that's a stinging rebuke of Metro -- though not of mass transit. Anyone who tries to spin the Measure J results as an endorsement of Metro first needs to do some explaining about the role of money in political campaigns, level playing fields and why they evidently feel that unfettered special interest spending and Citizens United is a good or equitable thing.
Bledsoe November 15, 2012 at 07:57 PM
The courts will decide the tunnel/high school issue. Mayor Brien's appearance at the groundbreaking can only be construed as nothing more than a city official supporting a region wide public improvement. Of course, if you don't want any subway stops in Beverly Hills, then we are talking about something else: the end of a wonderful city as we know it. Ghost towns arose in the west when the rail road bypassed them. We need the two subway stops. So the political posturing might indicate that this is the real goal of certain Councilmembers and the Courier. The publisher of the Courier is a very scary guy. He has effectively suppressed any public opposition with threats of negative articles on businesses that have tried to reason with him and attacks on citizen's. He has tried to keep candidates from taking ads in the Weekly with threats of non-support. Councilmember Bosse had to resort to an IE that funded ads for her in the Weekly so she could be "clean". Clif Smith, or the Tiny Terror as he is known around town, [yes, that was personal, but Clif would want to know what people are saying] prints a biased and unhealthy tabloid that is not serving the citzens and reputation of Beverly Hills well.
cutop November 15, 2012 at 09:04 PM
No, Mr. Mirisch, your headline was "Beverly Hills Rejects Metro". And in your editorial you wrote, "...our opposition to Measure J... had everything to do with sending a message to Metro, an organization which has consistently and arrogantly refused to take the concerns of our school board and City seriously..." I don't know why you are running away from you own words. The fact, however, that you are trying to twist that the majority of Beverly Hills voted for Measure J as a rejection of Metro is preposterous. Voting for something means that you endorse it. Voting against something is a rejection. The majority of Beverly Hills endorsed Measure J. That is a fact. You are the one who wrote that opposing Measure J was Beverly Hills' way of rejecting Metro. I quoted it in the paragraph above. By your logic then, supporting Measure J was Beverly Hills' way of endorsing Metro. It has to go both way. Sorry. The fact that you are conflating what Metro spent campaigning Measure J to the entire Los Angeles region with what we spent here in Beverly Hill is a dubious comparison. Shall we also factor in the millions our city and school board have wasted on lawyers, PR firms, and lobbyists? And now the fact that you are turning an otherwise civil conversation nasty with personal attacks, smacks of desperation on your part. It sure is easy to use your real name when you're in Clif Smith's pocket.
tgfahn November 16, 2012 at 04:18 AM
The Beverly Hills Courier is not the only newspaper covering this issue. LA Weekly also published a story about Mayor Brien's participation. http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/11/westside_subway_antonio_villaraigosa_william_brien_groundbreaking.php
cutop November 16, 2012 at 08:34 PM
A blogger covered it in an editorial hit piece pushed through by your PR firm. Stop the presses! That changes everything. Here's the issue. There's journalism and then there's editorial; and never the twain shall meet. The article in the LA Weekly is a blogger's editorial. It's not journalism. The entirety of the Beverly Hills Courier is narrative-driven editorials. It's not real journalism. Not in the least. It is shameful how far the Courier has fallen since 2004, when Clif Smith bought it and named himself Editor in Chief. Thank goodness for Patch and the Beverly Hills Weekly for making it clear what is news and what is opinion.
tgfahn November 16, 2012 at 09:13 PM
cutop: We had nothing to do with the LA Weekly piece. Please stop spreading lies. Thank you.
cutop November 16, 2012 at 09:41 PM
"Please stop spreading lies," says the PR shill. lol
Robbiec December 04, 2012 at 06:36 AM
How do I message you? I want to know what source you're using that shows Mr. Mirisch is siding with about 42% of residents.
cutop December 04, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Here you go: http://thesource.metro.net/2012/11/08/measure-j-results-by-map-and-by-spreadsheet/

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