Last week, Metro held the meeting requested by Beverly Hills officials to discuss the proposed route of the Purple Line extension, which will likely require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School to enable a Constellation Avenue station in the central area of Century City. Beverly Hills officials, mostly adamant against tunneling under the school, had their paid scientific experts speak to Metro's board--they basically said that their requested station at Santa Monica Boulevard is still feasible, since they believe there aren't active quake faults there as Metro claims. BH also proposed its own three route options--yes, at this point, after most of the line has already been approved--that wouldn't require a tunnel under BHHS, but that would route under possible construction sites and require tight turns for trains. At their board meeting on Thursday, Metro's board will be asked to certify the next phases of the Purple Line extension (they already certified a subway from Western to La Cienega at their last board meeting), and according to The Source, the Westside Subway Extension staff is recommending sticking with the Constellation plan.
Subway staff reiterate in a letter that their plan for Constellation is safe and sensible. They break it down in 12 points:
"1. Tunneling can be safely carried out beneath the Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) campus; 2. Tunneling would not prevent future development of the BHHS campus; 3. Tunneling would not impact the use of the BHHS campus as an emergency evacuation center; 4. Vibration and noise levels are within the FTA requirements and tunnel operation is not anticipated to have adverse impacts. The tunnel construction may cause some low levels of noise and vibration for a day or two; 5. Tunneling can be constructed and operated safely in gassy ground; 6. Oil wells do not pose an unmitigable risk to tunneling. Should they be encountered, procedures will be in place for their safe removal and reabandonment; 7. In Century City, Constellation Boulevard is a viable option for a station location, but Santa Monica Boulevard is not due to unacceptable seismic risk; 8. Tunneling through fault zones can be done safely; 9. MTA's approach to risk management is correct; 10. Further site investigations will be conducted and measures will be implemented to reduce risks to levels that are as low as reasonably practicable; 11. MTA and its engineering consultants have expertise designing and building tunnels and subway stations in Los Angeles; 12. The Constellation Station will attract more riders than the station locations along Santa Monica Boulevard."
The entire subway project, from Western Avenue to the VA Hospital in Westwood (phase two includes the Beverly Drive and Century City stations, phase three is Westwood/Wilshire and the VA), will likely be greenlit by the board on Thursday. It's a positive step that will allow Metro to prepare final engineering and prep for the probably-guaranteed lawsuits from Beverly Hills that are soon to come. And don't be surprised if Beverly Hills sues over the entire project, not just Phase II--they've already insinuated they hate the La Cienega station.
· Metro releases its proposed decision and findings on the Constellation station for Westside Subway Extension [The Source]
· 90210's Way or the Highway Archives [Curbed LA]