Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials backed the Constellation Avenue station for the Century City stop of the Westside Subway Extension project during a press conference held Monday.
Scientists hired by Metro previously in October 2011. The Westside Subway Extension would expand the Purple Line subway from downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration Medical Center.
Metro released its final report and recommendations on the project Monday. Citing earthquake risks and ridership data, Metro officials supported the station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars over an alternative stop at Santa Monica Boulevard and Century Park East. The decision would result in the subway traveling under Beverly Hills High School, , which argues that subway tunneling would interfere with major renovations that are planned for the high school.
BHUSD contends Metro's seismic studies on the three Century City station options are flawed and that the decision was made in the interest of politics—not safety.
"Metro's continued reliance on flawed studies and information to justify a more expensive station that benefits politically-connected developers at the expense of everyone else, including future generations of public schoolchildren, is unacceptable and will not go unchallenged," BHUSD attorney Kevin Brogan said in a statement. "If Metro were really interested in safety and in 'getting it right' it would have waited a few weeks for the results of detailed seismic studies conducted by experts retained by the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which have already identified substantial flaws in Metro's analysis."
Metro favored the Constellation Avenue option because about 8,600 potential riders work within a quarter mile of the stop, said David Mieger, Metro's head of planning and development. The Century City Chamber of Commerce has advocated for the Constellation Avenue stop.
"Obviously we're pleased that they believe that's the best location because it has the most ridership," said Susan Bursk, president and CEO of the Century City Chamber of Commerce. Bursk said she had not yet read the entire final report from Metro.
"I do hope the concerns and issues that have been asked by those that don't think that's the best place for the stop will be addressed, and that the city can kind of move forward," Bursk said. "I don't know if you've been driving on the freeways, but it's not been fun. Anything we can do to take more cars off the streets and relieve congestion, it's a benefit for the whole."
Though dubbed the "Subway to the Sea," the subway line doesn't actually reach the ocean, though Metro officials say it will fulfill a demand Angelenos have wanted for decades.
"This is a project that Los Angeles has been talking about for at least half a century," Metro Community Relations Manager Jody Litvak said. "It is delivering to the voters on the promises made as a part of Measure R."
In 2008, voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase under Measure R to fund $40 billion in county transportation projects.
The 8.9-mile extension of the Purple Line, which currently ends at Wishire and Western boulevards, would include seven more stops. Metro says the line would serve about 49,000 riders weekly and that a trip from downtown to Westwood would take about 25 minutes.
If approved, Metro plans to break ground on the initial phase of the Westside Subway Extension in fall 2013. The current plan is to construct and open the extension in three phases: to La Cienega by 2022, to Century City by 2026 and to the Veterans Administration Medical Center by 2036. However, if a is passed, the whole extension could open by 2022.
The final EIR/EIS report on the project will be reviewed by Metro's board April 26. Until then, there's a 30-day public comment period on the documents. A Westwood public meeting with Metro concerning the subway will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. March 28 at .
Public comments on the Final EIS/EIR will be accepted through April 23. Click here to view the complete EIS/EIR. They can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also comment on metro.net/westside by clicking 'contact us.'
They can also be mailed to:
David Mieger, Project Director
One Gateway Plaza, 99-22-5
Los Angeles, CA 90012
This report was compiled with information from City News Service.