Beverly Hills's requested meeting with Metro officials over their plans to tunnel underneath Bev Hills High School--in order to construct a centrally-located Century City station on the Purple Line extension--took place yesterday. It initially appeared to be a dry affair, with attorneys and engineers discussing soil samples and science class stuff--but there was some major takeaway, according to coverage from the Beverly Hills Patch. Firstly, BH officials, who oppose the tunnel underneath the school and want a station on Santa Monica Blvd., argue that Metro's science is flawed. Metro wants a station at Constellation Ave. and says a stop on SMB doesn't only not make sense from a ridership standpoint (it would be across from a golf course), but that it also sits on an active earthquake fault. BH's team, including engineer Timothy Buresh, says SMB has no active faults and argued that the ridership would indeed be better on the boulevard (salty County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Zev Yaroslavsky took Buresh to task, asking the engineer why he was ok with the California high-speed rail project going under schools, but not LA's Purple Line). Beverly Hills is trying to make the point that if Metro's team is wrong about SMB, then they're wrong to imply that tunneling under BHHS is safe. BH says they have three other routes picked out for a Century City station that wouldn't require tunneling under the school, though what they are isn't clear (and the city assuming the role of transit planner seems pretty bizarre).
County Supervisor Michael Antonovich represents the suburban and rural northern portions of LA County. He is also a Metro board member and longtime critic of the Purple Line extension. This is what he had to say yesterday: "The mayor and his friends are trying to jam through an alignment that does not meet the needs of the community," he told City News Service. "We have alternative alignments that are being presented today that need to be considered."
While most other people on the board are supportive of moving fast on the subway and not acquiescing to BH's every demand, Antonovich will assume the role of Metro board chair on July 1--that's the board's most powerful role, and one held now by Mayor Villaraigosa.
The mayor didn't respond to Antonovich's statements. To avoid obstruction on Antonovich's part, we would have to guess Metro will approve the entire route of the subway extension to Westwood--including the Constellation stop--at their board meeting on May 24,
one week and one day about one month before Antonovich takes over. Yesterday's hearing ran so long, that public comment on it will have to wait until next week's board meeting.
As far as Beverly Hills suing, it's mostly a foregone conclusion. They threatened to do so if any route for the subway goes under the school. Since the subway to La Cienega was certified at the last board meeting, the lawsuits over Century City will hopefully not hold up early construction, which is supposed to start next year.
· Experts Emphasize Flaws in Metro's Findings [BH Patch]
· 90210's Way or the Highway Archives [Curbed LA]