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BH Files Separate Westside Subway Lawsuit

The city of Beverly Hills has filed a CEQA challenge against Metro separately from its school district.

The city of Beverly Hills filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, , asking a judge to set aside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's . 

The lawsuit says the project's Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (Final EIS/EIR) violates the California Environmental Quality Act, a statute that requires state and local agencies to identify significant environmental impacts potentially caused by their actions, and how they plan to avoid or mitigate those impacts. 

The Final EIS/EIR calls for tunneling under to reach a subway station on Constellation Boulevard in Century City, which  due to safety concerns.

Beverly Hills' lawsuit argues that Metro should not be allowed to move forward with the extension, :

The certification of the Final EIS/EIR must be set aside due to Metro's failure to comply with certain requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act ("CEQA")... a result of decisions that are not supported by substantial evidence, but that are the result of insufficient, incorrect and conflicting information and a rush to judgment that risks ... the health, safety and welfare of Petitioner's residents.

The city's lawsuit deals with the potential impacts the subway could have within Beverly Hills' municipal boundaries, while BHUSD's lawsuit pertains to the school district's property.

The controversial Westside Subway Extension is a $5.6 billion expansion of the Purple Line to Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

At a public hearing requested by the city of Beverly Hills, attorneys hired by the city presented the Metro Board of Directors with  for reaching a station on Constellation Boulevard that did not require tunneling under BHHS. 

To read Beverly Hills' CEQA challenge against Metro, see the PDF file attached to this article. 

Do you support the lawsuit filed by the city of Beverly Hills? Tell us in the comments below.

JT June 05, 2012 at 02:35 PM
Joe: Although expensive and disruptive, the trenching that has been done by BHHS is not (in my opinion) "extensive", and does not completely prove the lack of active faulting across the entire BHHS campus area. Additional subsurface work will be needed, and unfortunately it will be difficult due to all the existing structures. I picture this location (near where two faults intersect) as being more structurally complex, and thus more difficult to evaluate for fault rupture, as compared to many sites that are located along a generally straight fault trace, away from such intersections. There may be one or more primary fault traces, but I won't be surprised that it is eventually shown that the area is underlain by several small-displacement faults, some of which may not meet the "active" criterion. If so, this presents a tricky problem when it comes to recommending building set-back zones for the BHHS campus. In the end, this could require a major change in where new buildings are located. The bottom line for me is that BHHS should save $ to pay for the geologic/engineering studies needed to support the campus upgrade. And when BHHS studies result in a map showing active faults that extend under neighboring properties, be prepared to be sued.
Joe Parker June 06, 2012 at 03:21 AM
JT, I read your two articles, and I still think Brian is correct when he calls it a tunneling accident. This would not have happened if the tunnel had not happened, correct? In the first article, it says: "There doesn't appear to be much information available to the public yet" and the other article says "the collapse of the archive is not the result of a typical tunnel risk." Typical or not typical, you cannot deny that there are risks to tunneling and the risks are amplified when going under school buildings and through unmapped oil fields where methane gas deposits likely exist. What is distressing to me is that Metro has not done any risk assessments before determining that going under the high school and the Constellation station would be the chosen route. Please explain what makes this okay and why the school district and the City of Beverly Hills should not object?
Joe Parker June 06, 2012 at 03:39 AM
JT: "extensive" might be the wrong word, although I'd like to know if another school district has ever done this much seismic work on a school. BHUSD trenched 90% of the width of the school property covering all the supposed active faults that Metro's consultants had said existed. This sounds fairly extensive to me. Better than using the word "exhaustive", which Dr. Dolan used a number of times when describing his seismic work, yet he never even trenched. And please explain how the school district can save money by forsaking the geological/engineering studies to support the campus upgrade when they cannot do the upgrade without these studies.
JT June 14, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Centurycity and Joe: It seems pretty clear to me that Brian is saying that tunneling under the school is too risky because a failure happended elsewhere in world. My point is that if you look at the specifics, it appears that the failure Brian points to does not apply to what Metro proposes. So this this is a weak argument. And as far as risks go, tunnel construction (under the school or elsewhere) has been evaluated by Metro and Shannon & Wilson (consultant for BH). Both entities say that tunneling can be done safely, as long as appropriate design and construction techniques are used. So, it seems the only ones saying construction can't be done safely are folks that are not experts in the field, and Exponent consultants (who actually are not experts in the field either). If risks can be properly managed, why should anyone object to where ever the tunnels go? Isn't it better to focus efforts (and $) on making sure that appropriate methods are in fact used, and that the tunnels are sufficiently deep so as to not adversely affect structures along the way, or future (resonable) BHHS development plans?
JT June 14, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Joe: A similar problem exists at the campus of San Bernardino Valley College, which is crossed by the San Jacinto fault. Yes, hard to believe a school would be built over an active fault, but it was, and so was a portion of the 10/215 interchange, which was fortified to avoid collapse in the event of a future fault rupture. Seems like about 10 yrs ago, lots of trenches were excavated within the campus to establish the location of the faults. As I recall hearing, one fault trace crossed right under one of the buildings (I think an admin building). And I think that building was eventually demolished and rebuilt elsewhere. So, yes, this type of thing has happened elsewhere. Perhaps if someone wanted to build a tunnel nearby, the school would have saved some $ on fault investigation costs. (sorry couldn't resist...)

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