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Metro Staff Report Says Subway Under BHHS Is Still the Best Way to Go

Despite arguments from experts hired by Beverly Hills city and school officials, a report released by the MTA for an upcoming meeting on Thursday sticks with a proposal to tunnel under Beverly Hills High.

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.

What's your reaction to Metro's latest recommendations? Tell us in the comments section below.

John Mirisch May 25, 2012 at 01:41 AM
Cutop, not sure if you're just attempting to AJitate a bit, but if you mean to malign the German people and language by associating it only with the horrors of the 30’s, may I remind you that German is also the beautiful, poetic and literary language of Heine, Goethe, Schiller, Torberg, Roth, Zweig and, yes, Franz Kafka -- very appropriate in the context of any discussion of Metro -- not to mention Guildo Horn and Hermes Phettberg. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s law (and I remind you, I wasn’t the one to bring Nazis into the discussion), I have been very open that my preferred analogical adjective of choice for this entire rigged process is “Soviet-style,” not Nazi. Now that you mention it, though, the electoral process in Zimbabwe also inexorably comes to mind.
John Mirisch May 25, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Joel, thank you for having the decency to use your own name. Respect. But there’s a slight difference between the “follow the money” parallels you’re trying to draw between Metro, Century City developers and BH. BH has no moneyed interest in any of this. Yes, we’re spending money, but there is no pot at the end of the rainbow for us. We’re doing so simply to protect the integrity of our only High School and in opposition to a completely rigged, Soviet-style process. You yourself have seen just what influence a well-heeled developer wields, and I’m not referring to the Constellation station. I’m talking about the Fairfax station, which under cover of darkness suddenly became the “Orange Grove” station because it benefits a developer, rather than the actual riders. Add to that the refusal to do appropriate ridership studies because Metro didn’t want to tunnel under a cemetery, the resulting “UCLA/Westwood” station which is the better part of a mile from the UCLA campus, two stations which are closer to the VA than to UCLA and a station on the leafy VA grounds rather than, say, Wilshire and Barrington, and you have just a few symptoms of a flawed process. Considering the lack of institutional controls or checks and balances on the massive Metro bureaucracy, we in LA County are neither getting the value for our taxpayer dollars nor the kind of mass transit system we deserve.
LAofAnaheim May 25, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Proof that We Do Our Part LA is funded by J&B? There is ample proof that CenturyCitySubway.org is funded solely by BHUSD. Oh, and if you work in Century City, what intersection has 4 corners of activity? Constellation or SM blvd?
cutop May 25, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Mr Mirisch, I am grateful for all of the time you have to attempt to impress us with a list of German people you read about in your Bulldog days. Perhaps I am AGitating you because I have revealed some inconsistencies in your anti-subway argument. Keep building scarecrows and boogie men, and avoid the points I've made... Points about the subway and the motivations of the Southwest Homeowners and the Courier's self-appointed publisher. Please move along. This fight is a losing battle and a waste of our city's money. It is safe to dig a tunnel under BHHS. It is safe. If it is safe to dig a three story parking garage under the school, it is safe to dig a subway tunnel. I know you are politically invested in this fight deeply, but it's up to you to stop it. Please. A lawsuit... Beyond being a huge waste of our tax dollars, will further harm our city's image.
John Mirisch May 25, 2012 at 08:31 AM
Uh, like maybe their website, Neel? http://wedoourpartla.com/?q=partners And if you work in the Miracle Mile, what intersection has 4 corners of activity? Fairfax or Orange Grove? And if you work west of the 405, which area has more activity, the VA or Barrington and Wilshire?

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