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Beverly Hills Offers Metro Alternative Routes to Constellation Boulevard

The three proposed options would reach Constellation Boulevard in Century City without tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

At  with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, the city of Beverly Hills presented three options for reaching a subway station on Constellation Boulevard in Century City that do not require tunneling under .

Robert McMurry from Gilchrist & Rutter, who was commissioned by Beverly Hills, explained the alternative routes for the Century City portion of the Westside Subway Extension. The project is an expansion of the Purple Line to Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration Medical Center.

Many Beverly Hills civic leaders and residents support the subway but are , while others in Century City and Los Angeles have  of Metro's planned route, which calls for a subway going under the school.

For all the newly proposed alignment options, the Constellation Boulevard station would have to move farther west: 

Option 1

  • This alignment bends southwest to avoid the 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard site. The advantages are that it passes below the least amount of structures, would go beneath relatively shallow depths of identified foundations and/or parking levels, and does not interfere with planned construction at the 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard site. The disadvantages include relatively tight curves below these structures (there is an increased risk of large/unacceptable ground settlement in tight-radius curves) and the unknown foundation elements at one building it would go under.

Option 2

  • This alignment bends southwest with a relatively shallow curve compared to Option 1. The advantages are that it passes below most structures on a straight tunnel alignment with less risk (versus a tightly curved tunnel alignment) of excessive ground loss and settlement, goes beneath structures with relatively shallow depths of identified foundations and/or parking levels, and could accommodate a portion of the Constellation station (either crossover or station proper) in the vacant lot planned for construction staging of the project. The disadvantages include that it passes below the 10000 Santa Monica Boulevard site, the unknown foundation elements at one building it would go under, it's the farthest western relocation of Constellation station, and there are possible limitations to future development of the vacant corner lot at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.

Option 3

  • This alignment bends southwest with a curve relatively similar to Option 1. The advantage is that it provides the farthest east relocation of the Constellation station. The disadvantages include that it passes below the 1000 Santa Monica Boulevard site, underlies the most structures, curves beneath the most structures, and the unknown foundation elements at three buildings it would go under.

To see images of the three alternative routes, click through the gallery to the right. 

Do you think any of these three options would work? Tell us in the comments section below. 

Brian David Goldberg, PhD May 19, 2012 at 02:12 AM
These are great alternatives that the School District can support. Contrary to statements from MTA no discussions regarding alternatives have ever been proposed to the Board of Education. I am hopeful that MTA will seriously consider these alternatives
Simon May 19, 2012 at 05:50 PM
So, now Beverly Hills is a transit planner? Wow, this level of hubris knows no bounds. Maybe you should take over the 405 carpool project, too.
Barry Brucker May 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
The three alternatives proposed by the City's atty at the Metro hearing on Thursday articulates alternative alignments that are worthy of serious consideration. These alternatives would result in shorter track distance/cost/time and would avoid an exhaustive challenge to the Westside Subway project that ALL are supportive of. By avoiding BHHS we free up costly construction mitigation measures and restrictions for future development at the school site. Everyone should set aside their ego's and unproductive rhetoric and look at win/win options and respectful dialogue so we as a region can enjoy mass transit and BHHS will be able to efficiently build in the future.
John Mirisch May 20, 2012 at 07:25 PM
Actually, Simon, Community Development and Planning is part of Municipal Government. And it is clearly better for decisions to be made at the levels of government closest to the people than to have them imposed by politicized Über-agencies. The true hubris comes from a government agency, so drunk with its own power, that it thinks it can pull a bait-and-switch on a local community without any resistance or repercussions. These tactics have been a real eye-opener to many who support mass transit, but who now will be a little bit cautious about getting suckered into supporting a Forever Tax extension of Measure R. While the 405 carpool project doesn't go through Beverly Hills, quite frankly it wouldn't surprise me if some of our residents and planners had better ideas about mass transit and the implementation threof than the "experts" who are forced to guess what direction the wind is blowing from their political masters and their special interest patrons.
Photo Larry May 21, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Allow MTA board members to read this article and then vote if they wish to implement one of these three options to compromise with Beverly Hills critics.
Joe L May 21, 2012 at 04:51 PM
Looks like the City of Beverly Hills is finally getting serious about solutions. Would've been nice if, instead of focusing on legal threats, the city had made these proposals during the five years of alternatives analysis and environmental study. Having said that, I wonder if any of these proposals is technically feasible. Will be interesting to hear back from Metro's engineers.
Simon May 21, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Oh, John, give it a rest. Every big city has a transit agency--and they aren't all evil as you like to depict them. "Drunk with power"?--let's dial the rhetoric down a bit. Have you learned nothing from that ridiculous PTA video?
Ari May 22, 2012 at 12:27 AM
Option 1 poses the least invasive solution to the real estate and seems to have the least amount of hazard from an above ground pedestrian standpoint.
John Mirisch May 22, 2012 at 02:48 AM
No, of course, not all transit agencies are evil, or even corrupt, inefficient or poorly run. But we're not talking about all transit agencies, are we? Here you are accusing me of hyperbole after you accuse BH of "hubris" for trying to find a solution which would actually respect the principles of local control. Yet how should one describe an agency which has a history of bad planning, ignoring civil rights, overspending, and politicized decision-making which lacks both consistency and foresight? Add to that now: blowing off an entire community, engaging in bait-and-switch tactics, revisionist history and physically silencing elected representatives. This has nothing to do with the PTA video nor the opposing doomsday scenarios Metro is conjuring up to try to rule out a SM Blvd station. But your "heckuva job, Brownie" boosterism for all things Metro while snidely dissing constructive efforts on the part of BH to find compromise solutions does nothing to enhance Metro's credibility.
JT May 22, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Simon - Without the suggestions of corruption and evil-doing, it would be difficult to whip up support from the less informed. Although I'm not sure that MTA has evaluated every possible alternative, I have to think that many alternatives have been evaluated, and possibily those which have now been suggested. After hearing the conclusions of the Shannon and Wilson study, indicating that the tunnels could be constructed safely along the MTA alignment, I thought things would be OK. But it seems not. At this point I can't help but wonder if a return to studying more science, studying further alternatives, etc, is simply a delay tactic, to mire MTA so thoroughly that they are forced to change to what BH wants. Is it true that "those who have the gold make the rules", or at least they try?
Jake May 23, 2012 at 01:11 AM
As an Angeleno, I find it interesting that Beverly Hills Vice Mayor John Mirisch has the time to respond in-depth to every single little article posted about a school that's technically part of another government, the BHUSD. It's somewhat laughable that he would compare the small city of Beverly Hills' transit planning agency to LA Metro, when by its nature BH Planning exists only to serve BH.
John Mirisch May 23, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Interestingly, enough, the Shannon/Wilson study suggested that Metro hadn't done their homework. Guess you missed that part of it or the Council session where S/W discussed their findings. And, clearly, the -- now disputed -- contention about the earthquake faults and that Santa Monica Blvd. should be an Alquist-Priolo zone is at odds with LA City's recent entitlement of a 39 story skyscraper right in the supposed "death zone." Something's obviously not right scientifically. You can't have it both ways. And until and unless it's all cleared up it makes no sense to move forward with plans for a multi-billion dollar taxpayer-funded public works project. What's more, we understand that you evidently feel mismanagement, poor planning and politicized decisions are simply impossible in a massive government agency. We get that despite the facts on the table, you deny that any Metro bait-and-switch towards BH ever happened or that Metro's decision-making is motivated by anything other than transit-oriented motives, pure as the driven snow. We understand that you feel development in the LA-area only has ever been enacted by the most expert of civic planners, world-renowned for their forward thinking. And, of course, anyone who doesn't agree with your Winston Smith-inspired views, no matter how much homework they've done, is simply "less informed." We get it, JT. And we've heard you say loud and clear: "Heckuva job, Brownie - whoops, Metro."
JT May 23, 2012 at 06:27 PM
John: Not quite: What S&W essentially said was that 1) additional fault study should be done to better demonstrate the lack of faults at Constellation; 2) all the rest of the hazards perceived by BH/BHHS and the Exponent study can be mitigated through current design and construction practices. But perhaps these conclusions do not fit well with certain agendas, and so some folks revert back to silly "doom and gloom", and "evil agency" mantras. Before too much stock is put in what Exponent said, take a look at their background - essentially no experience in underground engineering and construction, and very limited experience in fault investigations. In comparison, S&W have lots of underground experience. It is curious that BH/BHHS would hire a firm with very limited experience to weigh in on these issues, and then ignore or downplay guidance from more experienced folks. As far as faulting is concerned, BH now has consultants with pretty good qualifications, and who have a different interpretation than Metro's consultants. Eventually, this will get resolved and although long overdue, the debate should not be used to obscure a basic point: near the two faults in question, there is a relatively high hazard for ground deformation (ground rupture/folding). Although a fault surface rupture is unlikely in our lifetime, why work so hard to put the subway station in close proximity to this hazard?
John Mirisch May 25, 2012 at 01:51 AM
JT, you may have missed the follow-up to the S/W report which took place at the Council meeting. They called into question Metro's conclusions and gave Metro an "I" for incomplete -- and that's just not good enough for a multi-billion dollar public works project. It's all well and good for you to dismiss process issues as "cliches" or "mantras," and while I understand that for some, process doesn't matter, just results, that doesn't jibe with my view of local democracy, nor do governmental agencies which perpetrate bait-and-switches on entire Communities. Metro simply has a history of bad decision-making, which isn't surprising considering its governance structure or lack of serious checks-and-balances. Of course, your comments also leave the $64,000 question unanswered: if, as you question rhetorically, it doesn't make sense to put a subway station in close proximity to a presumed hazard, how does it make any sense to "work so hard to put 40-story skyscrapers in close proximity to this hazard"?
westwoodwolf May 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The aternatives the Beverly Hills proposed have two things in common: They all gladly offer other peoples property to be submitted to the same consequences they want to avoid. And they all involve extremely tight subway turns. Those tight turns not only slow down the trains but they will be a permanent maintenance headache for MTA. I know the Munich, Germany, subawy system. There it was completely unavoidable in one location to have one such a tight turn. The tracks of the turn have to be constantly greased to minimize wear and tear. But in spite of the constant rail greasing, the tracks still have to be constantly replaced. A real maintenance nightmare! In Century City that is completely unnecessary!
Thomas Iodine June 07, 2012 at 10:36 AM
Well said.
George Vreeland Hill June 07, 2012 at 10:47 AM
I like these options. They make sense and would benefit Metro. Personally, I like option 2, but I am not in a position to make such decisions. Metro needs to seriously look this over. This offers hope. As I have said all along, I trust our leaders and the City of Beverly Hills.
Thomas Iodine June 07, 2012 at 10:47 AM
When you put "all" in all caps, did you do that to be funny? Many people--who don't live in Beverly Hills--frankly resent Beverly Hills residents for frivolously challenging the Westside Subway Extension. It's not hard to understand why, either. Beverly Hills blocked the Beverly Hills freeway in 1975, and to this day commuters pay the price in stress, gas and wear and tear as they sit in traffic along Wilshire, Santa Monica and Olympic Boulevards. Now BH is getting desperate because they're losing their battle against affordable transit, and they know it. BH is infamous for NIMBY behaviour. No use pretending BH gives a damn about anyone but themselves.
Thomas Iodine June 07, 2012 at 11:15 AM
By 1975, Beverly Hills had completely blocked the construction of what would have been called the Beverly Hills Freeway--an extension of CA 2 from the 101 at Vermont Ave that would have cut across BH/WeHo and intersected at the 405 near Wilshire Blvd. So when you hear about Beverly Hills trying to block the Westside Subway Extension, don't believe their platitudes about "safety" and "careful consideration." BH is simply self-absorbed NIMBY to the extreme, and they don't give a shit about the rest of the city. The BH Freeway would have alleviated traffic on the 10, 101, and 405 freeways, as well as Sepulveda, Fairfax, Wilshire, Melrose, Olympic and Santa Monica Blvd, just to name a few. They killed the BH Freeway and now we're paying for it every single day. I don't want this to happen again.
westwoodwolf June 07, 2012 at 06:55 PM
I was at the Beverly Hills special MTA hearing. I clearly understood what the purpose of the additional options volunteeered by Beverly Hills were: DELAYINC TACTICS! There is no justifiable reason for them. They unnecessarily add more study time. They complicate the most efficient subway route with unnecessary tight, technically problematic, track turns. And last, not least, they would create the same problems Beverly Hills Highscool claims for their property under other peoples property!

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