Metro staff are standing by their recomendation for a Westside Subway station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars after geologists hired by Beverly Hills officials said other alternatives would be safer.
In a report released Tuesday, the staff for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority affirmed the agency's position that it would be safe to tunnel under Beverly Hills High School to reach that intersection. Consultants for Beverly Hills contend that there are no active faults under Beverly Hills High or Santa Monica Boulevard.
Their assessment is at odds with testimony presented last week by geologists hired by the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District.
"Metro staff have considered the views presented by Beverly Hills along with the reports and conclusions of their own consultants and experts," a blog post from Metro reads.
"We looked at the material from last Thursday's public hearing and all additional reports that came out of the city of Beverly Hills and the school district, in conjunction with our own data and we think that our recommendations are solid," said Dave Sotero, Metro spokesman.
Earlier Tuesday, a lawyer representing BHUSD on the subway-stop placement, and that it set up a meeting of geologists to discuss seismic activity in the area. School board President Brian Goldberg said he hoped the Metro Board of Directors may reach a different conclusion than Metro staff.
"I'm not surprised that the Metro staff and their consultants continue to ignore the science and data that BHUSD has provided," Goldberg said. "I'm optimistic that the full board of the MTA directors will give our science fair consideration in making their determination, hopefully, at the very least, going out to do more seismic studies at Constellation and Santa Monica Boulevard."
Goldberg said he hopes the board will order more seismic studies and allow the California Geological Survey to oversee the process.
"The best option would be for Metro to take we presented, which would be a win-win for everyone," Goldberg said. "That would be the best outcome. But the least that I hope the MTA Board of Directors does is get this thing right, and take the few extra months that this would take and avoid years of litigation, time and money."
The Metro board of directors is scheduled to meet Thursday at 9 a.m. at its downtown Los Angeles headquarters at 1 Gateway Plaza. The public comment period that started at last week's hearing is set to continue on at the Thursday meeting. The board is also scheduled to consider other Westside Subway Extension stops west of La Cienega Boulevard to Beverly Hills, Westwood and the Veterans Administration, according to the Metro blog post.
Here are the findings the Metro staff prepared for the board:
Proposed Decision and Findings
Based on the professional opinions of MTA’s internationally recognized experts in the field of seismology, geology and tunnel construction, staff recommends that the Board adopt the following findings and render its decision to locate the Century City Station at Constellation Boulevard/Avenue of the Stars:
1. Tunneling can be safely carried out beneath the Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) campus;
2. Tunneling would not prevent future development of the BHHS campus;
3. Tunneling would not impact the use of the BHHS campus as an emergency evacuation center;
4. Vibration and noise levels are within the FTA requirements and tunnel operation is not anticipated to have adverse impacts. The tunnel construction may cause some low levels of noise and vibration for a day or two;
5. Tunneling can be constructed and operated safely in gassy ground;
6. Oil wells do not pose an unmitigable risk to tunneling. Should they be encountered, procedures will be in place for their safe removal and reabandonment;
7. In Century City, Constellation Boulevard is a viable option for a station location, but Santa Monica Boulevard is not due to unacceptable seismic risk;
8. Tunneling through fault zones can be done safely;
9. MTA’s approach to risk management is correct;
10. Further site investigations will be conducted and measures will be implemented to reduce risks to levels that are as low as reasonably practicable;
11. MTA and its engineering consultants have expertise designing and building tunnels and subway stations in Los Angeles; and
12. The Constellation Station will attract more riders than the station locations along Santa Monica Boulevard.
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