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Subway to the Sea Meeting Dispatch: Drama, Progress

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Curbed stopped by Saturday's Beverly Hills community meeting on the proposed subway to the sea. This raucous update was part of a fourth and final set of meetings (there's another tonight at LACMA and Wednesday in Westwood) before the Westside Extension Study team makes their suggestion to Metro this Fall on what to build. As previously reported, it looks like they definitely want a subway progressing straight down Wilshire, and possibly including a "Pink Line" spur through WeHo. Previously, support for the subway was almost unanimous but that was before "transit activist" Damien Goodmon had his say.

During the public comment section of the meeting, Goodmon--who is waging a legal battle with Metro over the state of rail crossings on the under-construction Expo Line in South LA--railed against Metro for proposing a subway for Wilshire, while South LA and East LA are getting light-rail (actually, the under-construction Gold Line extension into East LA is 1/3 underground). Goodmon loudly said he would fight the subway and called it "DOA." This prompted another speaker to accuse Goodmon of being hypocritical since he claims to love rail but is threatening to kill every new line in the city; Goodmon stood up to defend himself, although only one person is aloud to speak at once. A screaming match ensued and someone yelled for security. Luckily, Jody Litvak, Metro's capable master of ceremonies, kept the peace.

Litvak told the group that the billions needed for the subway could partially come from Measure R, the half-cent transit tax that if put on the ballot and passed by two-thirds of voters could probably get the subway at least to Westwood. Construction could start by 2013 if all goes as planned (Litvak said that before then, Wilshire Boulevard would most likely get bus-only lanes). A representative of assemblyman Mike Feuer, the local politician who pushed for Measure R, said the tax should be on the ballot: Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated he would sign the legislation needed to get it on the ballot. There were a few people who indicated they wouldn't vote for the measure, including someone named Jim Walsh who screamed at the top of his lungs for two minutes straight about how the subway would "be a train from hell." But the detractors were definitely outnumbered by the supporters.
· Think Pink, Says Metro [Curbed LA]
· Beverly Hills Getting Two Stops on "Subway to the Sea" [Curbed LA]