The Metropolitan Transportation Authority released a report Wednesday on the Westside Subway Extension’s seismic and safety issues that favors a Constellation Boulevard location for the Century City stop.
Metro states that scientists have recommended the Constellation Boulevard route in order to avoid two earthquake faults in the area. The experts, who include seismologists, geologists and engineers, said that tunneling can be done safely under . Fieldwork and research also failed to detect any active or inactive oil wells on the high school campus that would be in the path of potential subway tunnels. However, no decision about the final placement of the subway route has been made.
The Westside Subway Extension would travel through Beverly Hills to proposed stops at Wilshire/La Cienega and Wilshire/Rodeo, then onward to one of two proposed stops in Century City: Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, which would , or one at Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, the location that scientists are advising Metro not to use due to the presence of the Santa Monica Fault.
Mayor Barry Brucker and Vice Mayor William Brien proposed a third option—for Metro to build a Century City stop at Santa Monica Boulevard and Century Park East—with the added incentive that Beverly Hills could be the location for two to get commuters to and from the station. Experts hired by Metro, however, have reported that the Century Park East site is within the West Beverly Hills Lineament fault zone, an extension of the Newport-Inglewood Fault.
In an email released by Metro, experts reportedly told the Metro Board of Directors Planning Committee that tunneling under BHHS as part of the Constellation Boulevard route “would not compromise the structural integrity of existing structures, interfere with future building plans or create perceptible noise or vibrations on school grounds.”
To read the report in its entirety, click here.
“Metro’s seismic findings are, of course, a disappointment to me, the City Council and the entire community,” Brucker said in a statement.
The city has hired two engineering firms, Exponent Inc. and Shannon & Wilson, to conduct separate, independent analyses of Metro’s seismic findings.
“The independent analysis by our consultants is an important step toward determining the appropriate response for Beverly Hills as we move forward,” Brucker said. “The citizens of Beverly Hills deserve a fair and impartial independent analysis.”
The council has formally requested a 90-day delay between when the final Environmental Impact Statement/Report is released and when Metro meets to consider the tunnel route between Beverly Hills and Century City.
“We need at least 90 days to properly evaluate the scientific and seismic data before any final decision is made,” Brucker said.
The seismic and safety reports released Wednesday will be used by Metro staff to develop a recommendation on the Westside Subway Extension’s EIS/EIR, which is scheduled to be released this winter. The final decision on the subway’s route is made by the Metro Board of Directors and expected in early 2012.
Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education President Lisa Korbatov released a statement in response to Metro’s report.
“Metro has opened a veritable Pandora’s box that potentially impacts many dozens of existing buildings and future projects in the region, including Beverly Hills High School, future station locations for the Westside Subway Extension as well as currently entitled development projects,” she wrote. “Our independent experts will immediately begin evaluating the findings and will weigh in as this process moves forward.”
Should the Constellation Boulevard route receive approval, two tunnels would be built 55-70 feet below the BHHS campus. The tunnels would pass under the and then go beneath the high school’s tennis courts, the southern wing of Building B and the lacrosse fields.