Westside subway EIS/EIR goes with 7 new stations

Metro's final environmental report for the nine-mile Purple Line extension out beyond Westwood was published on Monday and recommends that the controversial Century City station be at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars. That's the site closer to Beverly Hills High School that is strongly opposed by some in Beverly Hills.

The other new stations would be located along Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles at La Brea and Fairfax, at La Cienega and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, at the corner of Wilshire and Westwood (the city's busiest traffic intersection most years) and on the federal government's West Los Angeles VA hospital campus west of the 405 freeway. The subway currently ends at Western Avenue in Koreatown.

An analysis at ZevWeb:

The siting of the Century City station has been controversial. Because the route to get to the proposed Constellation station would pass under the Beverly Hills High School campus, some city officials have raised safety concerns about tunneling in the area and urged that the Century City station be built instead under Santa Monica Boulevard.

But last year, a panel of high-profile scientific experts convened by Metro said that active earthquake faults make the Santa Monica Boulevard location too dangerous for a subway station. These experts, including Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey and Caltech, found instead that a station could be safely built at the Constellation site, which has no evidence of active faults. In addition, they said that tunneling under the high school property could be accomplished safely with state-of-the-art equipment and techniques even through earthquake zones and ground with large concentrations of methane gas.

Beverly Hills hired experts of its own to review Metro’s scientific conclusions. Those experts argue that more research is needed, particularly around the Constellation site and on the high school campus. (The city’s website has links to those reports, as well as other information on Beverly Hills’ position on the subway.) In addition, the Beverly Hills school board recently commissioned widespread trenching studies on the high school campus to determine whether seismic hazards are present; a report on that is expected soon.

Metro officials say the final environmental documents released today make it clear that it will be safe to build a subway station at Constellation, but said they will be studying the Beverly Hills reports carefully.

The current calendar calls for completion to La Cienega Boulevard by 2020, to Century City by 2026 and to the VA hospital by 2036. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pushing for the entire route to be built by 2022 using an accelerated financing arrangement. If built, riders could travel by subway from Pershing Square to the Westwood/UCLA station in 25 minutes, the Metro release says. It projects more than 78,000 daily trips on the new line.

Metro's The Source
Curbed LA

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