Updated 5:40 pm: Metro is preparing to release its final station placement recommendations for the Purple Line extension to Westwood; as part of that process, scientists and geologists presented recent findings to the Metro Board of Directors Planning Committee today. "Nationally and internationally-recognized seismologists, geologists and engineers recommended Wednesday that a subway station in Century City should be built under the intersection of Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars to avoid two earthquake faults in the area," according to a Metro press release. That route would necessitate a tunnel under Beverly Hills High School, which many 90210 city and school officials are dead-set against. In the scientific findings, Metro says that subway construction won't endanger students, disrupt learning, or prevent the school's expansion plans.
While ridership seemed to be the main reason for Metro's earlier preference to place the station at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Blvd., as opposed to a station at Santa Monica Blvd. and a golf course, now it seems the scientists have provided an even more significant rationale.
"No evidence of faulting was found on the proposed Constellation Boulevard Station site. Based on the results of these fault investigations, there is clear evidence that the proposed station locations on Santa Monica Boulevard (both east and west) would be in active fault zones, and are not viable options for station locations," according to the scientists' report (people who compiled the information include Dr. James Dolan of USC and Dr. Lucy Jones of the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Institute of Technology). "The proposed station on Constellation Boulevard would not be within an active fault zone."
Strands of the active Santa Monica fault are under SMB and Avenue of the Stars, while a station at SMB and Century Park East "is located within the West Beverly Hills Lineament fault zone, an extension of the Newport-Inglewood Fault that triggered the 1933 Long Beach earthquake."
Should the station be placed at Constellation and Ave of the Stars, the subway tunnels--55 to 70 feet below ground--are expected to pass under the Beverly Hills Unified School District administration building, Building B, the tennis courts, and the lacrosse fields. "Only one abandoned oil well was mapped to lie within the tunnel alignment -- and is beneath a parking garage in Century City," reads the release. It's unclear how this will affect construction.
In its press release, Metro stresses that Constellation isn't yet their final recommendation (but it certainly seems this is leading up to it). Conclusive station recommendations (as part of the final environmental impact report) will come in the winter (this is indeed drawn out but the transit agency has to have its Ts crossed and Is dotted in case BHUSD sues, which is likely). The Metro Board will then choose whether or not to certify the FEIR in early 2012.
Update: Lisa Korbatov, president of BHUSD, released the following statement through the school's publicist: "With its seismic data presentation, Metro has opened a veritable Pandora's Box that potentially impacts many dozens of existing buildings and future projects in the region, including Beverly Hills High School, future station locations for the Westside Subway Extension as well as currently entitled development projects. It is unfathomable that Metro has had this important seismic data available for such a long time without providing it to the BHUSD or other interested parties in the purported earthquake zone.
"Much of the data presented today has been available for almost a year. The fact that Metro held it for so long poses many questions that Metro cannot answer. If the fault is so dangerous, the information should have been more forthcoming. We urge Metro to fully disclose all of the data as soon as possible. Our independent experts will immediately begin evaluating the findings and will weigh in as this process moves forward."
· Westside Subway Extension [Metro]
· Subway Archives [Curbed LA]