The Metropolitan Transportation Authority held a community update meeting Wednesday at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, outlining the planned steps for completion of the Westside Subway Extension (WSE). More than 100 people were in attendance.
The WSE is a 9-mile expansion of the Purple Line subway—which starts in downtown Los Angeles—from its current endpoint at Wilshire Boulevard/Western Avenue to a station at the Veterans Medical Center in West L.A. The line will include seven new subway stops, traveling mostly along Wilshire Boulevard through Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood. The new stations will be at:
- Wilshire/La Brea
- Wilshire/La Cienega
- Constellation/Avenue of the Stars
- Westwood/VA Hospital
Under current funding streams, the extension is estimated to cost $6.3 billion and will be constructed in three phases:
- Phase One—Completion of 3.9 miles of the extension, construction of Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega stations. Operable by 2023.
- Phase Two—Completion of 2.6 miles, construction of Wilshire/Rodeo and Constellation/Avenue of the Stars stations. Operable by 2026.
- Phase Three—Completion of 2.9 miles, construction of Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital stations. Operable by 2035.
Metro is hoping that under alternate funding scenarios, such as voter approval of Measure J, the project can be built in one phase at a reduced cost and open as early as 2023.
Measure J is the November ballot initiative seeking a 30-year extension of the half-cent Measure R sales tax. Measure R was approved by voters in 2008 to fund the construction and operation of a specified list of Metro projects, including the WSE. The sales tax increase is already set to last until 2039, raising a projected $40 billion in that time period. Approval of Measure J would extend the tax until 2069.
"The ability for this project to move forward really happened four years ago when Measure R passed," Metro spokeswoman Jody Litvak said during the meeting.
Patch asked WSE Project Director David Mieger what Metro's plans are for parking along the route.
"Normally we do parking in the outer areas of the county—park-and-ride—for people who live in the suburban areas and want to come into the urban core," Mieger said. "The Westside along Wilshire Boulevard has many more people coming into work everyday than those going out. What we normally try and do is put the park-and-ride lots where people are coming from. Then the urban areas where people are going into work, we don't need as much parking."
Mieger said that Metro will attempt to use existing parking around Wilshire Boulevard to accommodate the needs of subway riders. For example, a parking arrangement may be reached with the Petersen Automotive Museum to rent some of its parking.
Mieger added that those riding their bicycles to subway stations will be accommodated.
"We're going to have bike parking at every station," he said. "The one at UCLA—we're thinking of something even bigger, like a shared-bike facility."
Beverly Hills Mayor William Brien attended the meeting to learn about Metro's plans for the various station sites, particularly those in Beverly Hills.
"These are the things that we have to start looking at, planning and making sure the city can work with Metro to mitigate the impacts that station construction is going to have," Brien told Patch.
Regarding Metro's push for Measure J to get approved, Brien said that he is in the process of studying the proposed legislation.
"Anything we do that will facilitate mass transit is something that has to be given full review," he said.