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Metro Officials Support Constellation Stop for Century City

The Beverly Hills community has adamantly opposed a station at Constellation Boulevard because it would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials backed the Constellation Boulevard station for the Century City stop of the  during a press conference Monday.

The Westside Subway Extension would expand the Purple Line subway from downtown Los Angeles to Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. 

Scientists hired by Metro had  its planning committee in October 2011 to select the station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars over an alternative stop at Santa Monica Boulevard and Century Park East.

Citing earthquake risks and ridership data, Metro's decision routes the subway under . That alignment is opposed by the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which argues that subway tunneling would interfere with planned at the high school.

BHUSD contends Metro's seismic studies on the three Century City station options and that the decision was made in the interest of politics—not safety.

"Metro's continued reliance on flawed studies and information to justify a more expensive station that benefits politically-connected developers at the expense of everyone else, including future generations of public schoolchildren, is unacceptable and will not go unchallenged," BHUSD attorney Kevin Brogan said in a statement. "If Metro were really interested in safety and in 'getting it right,' it would have waited a few weeks for the results of conducted by experts retained by the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which have already identified substantial flaws in Metro's analysis."

Metro favored the Constellation Boulevard option because about 8,600 potential riders work within a quarter mile of the stop, said David Mieger, Metro's head of planning and development.

Susan Bursk, president and CEO of the Century City Chamber of Commerce, said the chamber is pleased that Metro chose Constellation Boulevard as "the best location because it has the most ridership."

"I do hope the concerns and issues that have been asked by those that don't think that's the best place for the stop will be addressed, and that the city can kind of move forward," Bursk said. "I don't know if you've been driving on the freeways, but it's not been fun. Anything we can do to take more cars off the streets and relieve congestion, it's a benefit for the whole."

Though dubbed the "Subway to the Sea," the subway line doesn't actually reach the ocean, though Metro officials say it will fulfill a demand Angelenos have had for decades.

"This is a project that Los Angeles has been talking about for at least half a century," Metro Community Relations Manager Jody Litvak said. "It is delivering to the voters on the promises made as a part of Measure R."

In 2008, voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase under Measure R to fund $40 billion in county transportation projects.

The 8.9-mile extension of the Purple Line, which currently ends at Wishire and Western boulevards, would include seven more stops. Metro says the line would serve about 49,000 riders weekly and that a trip from downtown L.A. to Westwood would take about 25 minutes. 

If approved, Metro plans to break ground on the initial phase of the Westside Subway Extension in fall 2013. The current plan is to construct and open the extension in three phases: to La Cienega by 2022, to Century City by 2026 and to the Veterans Administration Medical Center by 2036. However, if a that would greatly increase the project's funding is passed, the whole extension could open by 2022.

The final Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) on the project will be reviewed by Metro's board April 26. Until then, there's a 30-day public comment period on the documents. Beverly Hills' public meeting with Metro concerning the subway will be held from 5-7:30 p.m. March 29 at .

To read Metro's EIS/EIR on the project, which was released Monday evening, click here.

Public comments on the final EIS/EIR will be accepted through April 23. Comments may be submitted via email to westsideextension@metro.net. The public can also comment on Metro's website by clicking "contact us."

This report was compiled with information from City News Service.

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Donna Flade March 20, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Was so hoping for civility in this matter...now I hope BH has nothing to do with this whole subway project!
Barry Brucker March 20, 2012 at 06:20 PM
It is quite disturbing that Metro's Final EIR fails to address the findings and scientific concerns of detailed seismic analysis conducted by Exponent Engineering, the geo-tech experts retained by the City of Beverly Hills. The City delivered to Metro (in February) formal concerns about the limited fault line analysis at the Constellation Station site & called for conclusive "trenching" studies to determine whether fault lines are active or even exist on Santa Monica Blvd. (near Century Park East). Metro's silence, by not addressing these concerns and our expert's findings in their final EIR, is deafening. Barry Brucker, Mayor
Used to be a fan March 21, 2012 at 05:30 AM
Mayor Brucker, Your 'catching bees with honey' approach was the only thing that was "deafening". Your lack of leadership on this issue was astonishing.
Andrea Fine March 21, 2012 at 06:17 PM
To: Used to be a fan Come on Russ, have the courage to identify yourself. Only cowards use alias names.
Jacob Goldberg March 22, 2012 at 04:36 AM
It's amazing that a bunch of supposedly educated, rational individuals can still create hysterics over a SUBWAY that runs beneath a school, or any property - you would think our residents could actually gain some knowledge about subway tunnels and seismic faults before crying to sue and impede a valuable transportation project that I think we can all agree is far overdue. It's time to let science, not emotions, guide decisions about vital infrastructure for our city and entire region.
Joel C March 26, 2012 at 04:06 PM
This is just pandering to unfounded fears. Subways are one of the safest places to be during an earthquake: they are very flexible and they can't fall (like a building can). Once built they do not settle (like roadways sometimes do) - in fact they strengthen the ground around them. And, this subway in particular will be buried very deep, under tons of earth, completely isolating it from the surface. History shows, a subway poses NO threat to people at the surface. There are subways under San Francisco (earthquakes), Washington DC (politicial/military center) and NYC (financial center), and scores of other major cities throughout the world. None of these subways have ever posed a threat to people at the surface.

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