Residents, Business Leaders Turn Out to Support Constellation Subway Station

Councilman Paul Koretz, backed by about 60 people, says at a news conference Thursday that the Century City stop should be in the center of the community rather than at Santa Monica Boulevard.

Flanked by a crowd of supporters, including area homeowners and business leaders, Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz said at a news conference Thursday that he wanted the Century City stop for the Westside Subway Extension to be located in the heart of the area. 

"I stand with them in the strongest possible terms," Koretz said of workers and residents who want the station to be built at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, where the news conference was being held, rather than several blocks to the north at Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.

He addressed a crowd of approximately 60 people, most of whom had gathered to support the controversial location for the stop.

Residents in neighboring Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District have been actively protesting the proposed Constellation station because it would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

BHUSD Superintendent Richard Douglas said at the news conference that financial figures released by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is building the subway, support moving the station to the Santa Monica Boulevard site, including a $60 million lower price tag and 5 percent higher expected ridership. In addition, he expressed concern that building improvements at the high school would be negatively impacted by the tunneling under the campus.

"That is the only space we have," he said of the school, adding that the MTA does have other options for the subway's route.

However, Susan Bursk, president and CEO of the Century City Chamber of Commerce, said that the numbers Douglas was citing were from an older draft Environmental Impact Report and that the MTA is updating them.

"I don't think the numbers are accurate," she said. "Metro is still analyzing it. I'd like to wait and see what they come up with."

Bursk showed the results of a radius map study done by Gibson Transportation Consulting on behalf of the chamber, which showed a station on Constellation would probably serve more people.

Stephen E. Breuer, president of the Century City Homeowners Alliance, said that the station placement seemed obvious to him.

"Just take a look around you," he said, pointing to the huge office buildings surrounding the intersection. "We have four corners of incredible density."

Misael Martinez, who works in the Century Park building on the southeast corner of Constellation and Avenue of the Stars, came to the news conference with colleagues to show his support for the station location. 

"It's a lot of traffic to come into work," he said. "It's better to take the Metro."

Jan Reichmann, president of the Comstock Hills Homeowners Association north of Santa Monica Boulevard, said that she also thought the ridership would be better with a stop in the heart of Century City.

"Those who want it on Santa Monica don't care about the impact on us," she said, citing the five years that local homeowners were affected by the widening and reconstruction of Santa Monica Boulevard. "We're not whining. We're not threatening lawsuits."

She added that even with the proposed Constellation stop, there will still be tunneling under homes in her neighborhood.

During the question period after the remarks at the conference, an unnamed man in the crowd said that lawyers should not be blamed, since many of them work in Century City and would like an easy route to the courts downtown.

David Murphy spoke up from the crowd as a resident of Beverly Hills supporting the Constellation station.

"Obviously, we need to be sure the school is taken care of," he said. But he asserted that commuters would be better served by the Constellation station.

Josh Marks June 14, 2011 at 08:55 PM
Let's get real here people. This isn't about the "children" of Beverly Hills High School. It never has been. It is about black gold. Yep. All that oil underneath BHHS. Don't you know Beverly Hills gets a cut of that oil as a revenue stream for the school? So cynical. We must not let them win! We want the Constellation Station in the heart of Century City!
Minoter June 14, 2011 at 11:18 PM
One theory being tossed around is that BH really wants the subway station as close to its western border as possible because it would be great for business development. They don't want to lose the shoppers and other commuters who would oterhwise be getting off in the heart of Century City at Constellation.
John Mirisch June 15, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Now does that make any sense at all? It's OK to tunnel under schools with real, live kids, but not OK to tunnel beneath a cemetery? Where is the logic behind that? What is the reasoning behind that? That we respect the dead more than the living? Laws are supposed to reflect the values of a community and laws can be changed. The argument has been made that "all over the world" there are tunnels under schools. There certainly are instances throughout the world of tunnels under cemeteries and there aren't any instances in California of tunneling under schools for a subway. And if the fault line along Santa Monica is so dangerous, then why was the Westfield 45 story tower approved on SM? Why is a 40 story building being proposed directly contiguous to Beverly Hills High School? Presumably a subway portal on SM would be located on the south side of the street, i.e. next to existing buildings and the mall -- and not on the north side of the street. I understand residents' aversion to having to deal with construction impacts, but we in BH are going to have to live with this at two separate points along Wilshire. It's all about supporting the long-term regional needs. SM, for all the reasons previously discussed, makes the most sense, but if for political reasons Constellation is so important, Metro should "dig deeper" as Koretz suggested and tunnel around the high school to CC. A station between Constellation and SM with 2 portals would at least be a better solution.
John Mirisch June 15, 2011 at 08:57 PM
I think we would like the subway station closer to our western border for all the reasons people like having subways close by: access. It would mean our school kids from the eastern part of town could use the Metro to go to school. There are larger developments which have been approved at the old Robinsons-May site and the Hilton, which would also benefit from the subway. However, don't expect to see Century City-style development in BH anytime soon. We've managed to resist it -- with a few unfortunate lapses -- and last year reaffirmed our General Plan which limits commercial buildings to 3 stories, 45 feet. Aside from reducing self-generated traffic impacts, we think it makes for a more liveable Community. What a pity that Century City has been the very model of development run amok, the impacts be damned. That western part of town, however, is not our major shopping district (which will be served by the Rodeo station, as well as a station at La Cienega), and I think we'd all be fine with a stop on Santa Monica by Avenue of the Stars, which of course was Metro's focus for the better part of a decade, is closer on foot and also easier and quicker for us to reach with the arterial Santa Monica Blvd. bus service.
George Clint June 20, 2011 at 05:24 AM
I have a better idea. Instead of everyone fighting each other on where to have the station, how about all of us uniting and putting all of our collective energy together to fight this Villaraigosa driven boondoggle. We will end up going way over budget with numerous problems and corruption not to mention the real elephant in the room: the line's supposed safety during an earthquake...you know, the one we're way overdue for. And you know and I know once this thing is built, homeowners will be complaining about noise and vibration no matter what promises are made and trust me when this much money is involved, many false promises will be made.


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