Metro responded today to a recent Beverly Hills-sponsored report that cast doubt on Metro's geologic data, which found that tunneling under Beverly Hills High School would be safe. Back story: Metro is studying a central Century City station for the Purple Line/Westside subway extension that would require digging under BHHS. Beverly Hills, and particularly its school district, is adamant against that route (they think it's dangerous and will preclude expansion of the school). Metro's geologic study, released in October, said the alternative, a stop on Santa Monica Blvd., is not realistic because an active earthquake fault runs under the street. So BH sponsored their own geologic study and released findings last week. It says that Metro's findings were flawed and that tunneling to Constellation and Avenue of the Stars is dangerous too. In a letter to Beverly Hills mayor Barry Brucker, released on The Source, Metro CEO Art Leahy says he will forward the BH report to his geologic team, which he reminds everyone is a group comprised of former and current USC and Caltech professors, as well as Dr. Lucy Jones of the US Geological Survey.
Leahy gently questions the point in the BH report--conducted by consultancy Exponent--that references the danger of tunneling in a methane area. "It should be noted that the subway has operated for nearly 20 years in a methane gas area in downtown Los Angeles without incident," Leahy writes. "Congress lifted a federal funding ban on subway tunneling in the Westside in 2007 following a report from an independent task force finding that advances in subway tunneling in the past two decades has made tunneling safe in areas of methane and other gases."
Metro is complying with requests for information from Beverly Hills, Leahy writes, mentioning that the agency itself is waiting on word from the city's school district, which is also doing their own study: "We have also asked to visit the trenches on the Beverly Hills High School campus while they are open and are awaiting their approval."
Finally, Leahy writes that he looks forward to working with Beverly Hills and the school district when the subway's final environmental impact report is released (soon, hopefully). "I can assure you that MTA will not select an unsafe alternative for the subway." We can't tell if that's reassurance for Beverly Hills or friendly intimidation.
· Metro comments on Beverly Hills' report on tunneling safety for Westside Subway Extension [The Source]
· Westside Subway Extension Archives [Curbed LA]
· 90210's Way or the Highway Archives [Curbed LA]