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Century City Subway Website Is Off Track

The new Beverly Hills-based site on the subway is misleading.

A social media website was by the Beverly Hills Board of Education to air its views on the proposed Century City Subway Station location thereby spending a portion of $500,000 pledged to fight Metro through lobbying and attorney fees.

At the same time the Beverly Hills Board of Education is reported to be considering cutting funding to the district’s adult and alternative education department to bridge a potential shortfall in the 2011-2012 budget and auditing the school lunch program to cut costs in that area.  Would the money spent on lobbying be better spent on educating students?

A highly misleading name—www.centurycitysubway.org—was chosen for the website that will tend to confuse the reader and lead them to believe it might come from an official Metro source. The site contains unauthorized, slanted viewpoints!

Currently the website states that it will educate people who live and work in Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood about the best site for the Century City Subway Station. However the facts presented are preliminary in nature and seen through the eyes of the BHUSD. 

As a resident of Westwood, I have a totally different set of facts to work with.

The BHUSD website states that a station on Santa Monica Boulevard will have the highest ridership.  However the facts do not back this up.

The Century City Subway Station located at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars will be at the center, the hub of Century City leading riders directly to Century City office buildings, hotels, shopping, and restaurants.  There are 40,000 daily workers who will be served by the Constellation Station.  In addition there are 2,200 residential units south of Constellation who would be able to use this subway station location rather than get into their cars.

Santa Monica Blvd. is bordered by the Los Angeles Country Club golf course offering zero riders.  This is considered very bad design when ridership is a factor.

The BHUSD website states that both Constellation Blvd and Ave of the Stars are dead end streets.  However they must not be aware of the plan of Century City. 

Both Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Blvd, the hub of Century City, were designed for easy access to surrounding through transit roadways and parkways such as Santa Monica Blvd, Olympic Blvd and Pico Blvd, the same roads that are frequently complained about as bringing too much traffic through Beverly Hills. 

The BHUSD website states that it will be $60 million less to build a subway station on Santa Monica Blvd than Constellation Blvd.  However, this was a preliminary estimate based on “conceptual engineering." The Final EIS/EIR is refining cost numbers based upon additional analysis and engineering to achieve a more accurate preliminary cost estimate.

The Santa Monica Blvd. subway station did not have the added costs of safely building the subway station on top of, parallel to the Santa Monica Earthquake fault line or the Beverly Hills Lineament considered by many authorities to be another earthquake fault lying under Moreno Drive and Santa Monica Blvd.

There is also a 20-foot wide drainage ditch located between the LACC golf course and the former Robinsons May parking structure creating costly problems for the newly added Eastern Santa Monica Blvd subway station location.

The BHUSD website states they will prove three criteria—cost, ridership and travel time that will make a subway station on Santa Monica Blvd. make the most sense.  However, using the same preliminary information I have offered you another view of the facts thereby proving that the subway station that will  serve the riders best will be the Constellation Station in Century City.  After all does it make sense to walk an additional 10 minutes to save a few seconds travel time?

And as Metro’s Jody Litvak commented:

“Whatever your views on the subway, or the location of the Century City Station, I invite you to participate so that your views become a part of the Metro planning process. Please go to our website for public material, information on scheduled meetings, or go to "Contact Us" to send us your thoughts or add yourself to our data base so you can be notified directly about developments. You can also join our Facebook page for information about subway related developments and to share your thoughts with us and others who are following the Westside Subway Extension.”

Carol Spencer is recording secretary of the Westwood Community Council and vice president and traffic committee chair, Comstock Hills Homeowners Association.

Follow Westwood-Century City Patch on Facebook and Twitter.

Brian David Goldberg, PhD April 01, 2011 at 06:09 PM
Stories like this prompted the BHUSD to launch wwws.centurycitysubway.org Vigorous debate is productive, but that debate needs to be based on the actual facts rather than fear, spin and misinformation. Every fact on our website is supported by the EIR, which is put together by the MTA itself. And many of those facts flatly contradict the unsubstantiated statements in this story. For example. The ridership analysis contained in the EIS/EIR indicates that the Santa Monica station would have approximately 5% higher daily ridership than Constellation. (See Pages 20, 22 and 23 in the Smart Growth Evaluation Report. The additional cost of locating a station at Constellation is clearly noted in the EIR: “Because it increases the length of the alignment … a station at Constellation would increase the overall capital cost by $60.4 million.” While the geographic center of Century City is at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars, the jobs and population center clearly is -- and will continue to be -- along Santa Monica Boulevard. (See Page 11 in the Smart Growth Evaluation Report: The amount of commercial space within a half-mile of a Santa Monica Station is 1.2 million more square feet than within a half-mile of Constellation. This is a significant public policy decision that should be based on facts so we end up with a station that is cost-effective and used by the most number of riders. Based on the facts, we believe that station is along Santa Monica.
Dotson April 01, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Isn't it a fact that the final EIR won't be released until the end of summer/fall? Why all this effort on a website when all the facts aren't in yet?
Chris Loos April 01, 2011 at 10:41 PM
"Vigorous debate is productive, but that debate needs to be based on the actual facts rather than fear, spin and misinformation. " You're complaining about spin, yet you hired an expensive PR company to refute the conclusions that people at the MTA with transportation planning degrees came up with. Do you think we're stupid?
Carol Spencer April 01, 2011 at 10:55 PM
Dr. Goldberg, The BHUSD website launched as a social media to offer their view point. I offered my view point. Have you followed the links on the BHUSD website and found error- bad link messages? I have. Is their computer not working or what? Please note: The cost of the subway figures only allows for a small additional tunnel distance not the added costs of building an extra wide tunnel to allow for added tracks etc when earthquake problems occur. Metro must also structure the portals in such a way as to protect riders walking to/from the subway in case of an earthquake if they can. This cost may add millions of additional dollars. I stated that, the Draft EIS/EIR showed a preliminary estimate based on “conceptual engineering." The Final EIS/EIR is now refining cost numbers based upon additional analysis and engineering to achieve a more accurate preliminary cost estimate. The Final EIS/EIR will be out this summer or early fall. That figure will be closer to the actual build cost. RE: Riders, I cannot see how a population center with zero people on one side can ever offer the most riders. Many figures per info on your website are merely projections - who is to say projections done several years ago are accurate? Remember, when subways are built, buses are rerouted to service the subway. And currently many bus lines are being eliminated as the subways take over. There are many factors to consider not just those of BHUSD and yourself.
John Mirisch April 02, 2011 at 05:50 AM
Spencer is suggesting that the URL www.centurycitysubway.org is misleading. Since the subject of the site is the CC station, the URL is clearly not misleading. Spencer's "arguments" are also flawed and contradictory. Information from the website is based on Metro's own information. She uses the information when convenient and ignores it when it doesn't suit her preconceived notions. And then she faults the site for using "preliminary" cost estimates that come from Metro itself. It is entirely credible that ridership would be higher along the SM alignment. According to Metro's projections, one of the stations with the highest ridership would be the VA - with no density, few high rises, and none of the attributes of Century City. For Spencer to simply "claim" that ridership would be higher at Constellation without any supporting facts other than her hunch opens her to the same criticisms she attempts to slap the BHUSD website with. For years Metro only looked at the SM alignment because it makes the most sense. Only when rich and connected CC developers wanted to save trip counts in order to further densify, did the Constellation alignment gain serious support. We've seen how it works for years and nothing has changed. If Ms. Spencer is really so concerned with some -- not all -- riders having to walk an extra block, my advice to her would be to refocus her efforts on the Westwood station, which is almost a mile away from UCLA and does not serve the area well.
Carol Spencer April 02, 2011 at 05:57 AM
My dear Mr. Mirsch You have your views, I have accurate facts. Thank you for reading my rebuttal. We are each entitled to have differing opinions. Let us wait for Metro to complete the Final EIS/EIR. That certainly makes the most sense.
Joel Epstein April 02, 2011 at 06:16 AM
Thanks for penning this thoughtful piece setting the record straight on the efforts of a handful of Beverly Hills residents to mislead the public about the best location for the Century City station. Constellation Blvd remains the ideal location for the station in that it will serve the greatest number of riders. Thank you too for calling the centurycitysubway.org website what it is - a slickly written pile of lies crafted by a crisis communications firm happy to have the work in a still dodgy economy. What a shame that the Beverly Hills school board insists that it has the authority to waste the district's scarce education resources on the website and lobbying effort to fight the Century City station location that will serve the greatest number of Metro commuters. As many of us have observed for some time, the School Board is doing an unforgivable disservice to the students of Beverly Hills and to the people of LA. I look forward to riding the Wilshire Purple Line Subway to Constellation Blvd and points further west as soon as possible.

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