Metro hosted an open house for the Purple Line subway extension last Thursday night at Beverly Hills's Temple Emanuel, and it seems to have been a bit of a shitshow, according to reports from the Beverly Patch and a video of the proceedings. The event follows the recent release of the final environmental report for the extension, in which Metro proposed a central Century City station at Constellation, which requires tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. Metro cites both seismic issues--a Santa Monica Blvd. stop, which would not require tunneling under BHHS, would sit on a fault line--and ridership numbers that show thousands more people would use a Constellation stop. School officials and many residents are not happy with Constellation, though the reason why has been something of a moving target. Most recently, officials say that Beverly Hills-commissioned studies have found "safety concerns related to the proposed Constellation location," according to CenturyCitySubway.org, a website run by BHUSD's PR firm.
Patch reports that things began to go awry on Thursday after BH councilmember Lili Bosse arranged a question and answer session with Metro officials (the meeting didn't officially have a public comment period) and Bosse grilled Metro as to why the Constellation station didn't have a park and ride lot (the SMB station could, but one would assume that more people would actually be exiting the station in Century City for work, sans cars, than entering it to visit Downtown or other points on the rail network).
When subway project manager Dave Mieger said a tram could pick people up around Century City and drop them off at the subway, Bosse said the tram should take people from an SMB station and bring them around Century City: "That seems like a perfect solution! Get those trams, stick to your promise! Take them from the promised route and get them to where they belong. Not underneath our high school!"
Though Metro says they never promised the station would be at SMB, the crowd cheered. Metro Deputy Executive Officer Lynda Bybee then took the mic and tried to control the crowd, buts some replied with, "We are home! You're not at home! We're home!" and "We're here for answers! We're not here to look at your diagrams!" After some back and forth with Bosse, Bybee seemed to end the dialogue, which was growing increasingly heated, by handing the microphone over to LA Sheriff's deputies.
Meanwhile, BHUSD board member and staunch anti-tunnel advocate Lisa Korbatov told supporters to go outside, where apparently more arguing took place, this time between Constellation supporters and SMB supporters. Korbatov told the Patch, "Losing isn't an option when it comes to kids." Anti-tunnel people also stood outside the synagogue with signs, some reading, "Schools and Subways Don't Mix" (tell New Yorkers that, BTW).
Meanwhile, Metro's Jody Litvak says the full board will decide whether to certify the final environmental report at an upcoming board meeting.
· City Officials, Residents Rally to Fight Metro's Plan to Tunnel Under BHHS [Patch]
· Purple Line Extension Archives [Curbed LA]