clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Audiophiles Freaked Downtown Subway Will Ruin Disney Hall

New, 104 comments

Monocle drop! The Regional Connector subway line could interfere with the high-brow entertainment up above at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, it turns out: "Experts who know the hall's acoustics are worried that the listening experience in the main auditorium could suffer when subway trains begin running 125 feet below the parking garage in 2020," according to the LA Times (the Hall is noted for its excellent acoustics). No less than building architect Frank Fucking Gehry says "It would be a disaster for Disney Hall." Metro's 2011 environmental impact report on the Regional Connector, which will in part run under Second Street from Hope to Central Avenue, "predicted there would be no audible impact on Disney Hall" and "calls for common noise abatement features that reduce vibrations from passing trains." Their stated goal is to have absolutely no impact on the music. (Part of the issue is that trains need to be quiet enough to not interfere with recording, in addition to performances.) But Metro conducted an experiment in late April in Disney's below-ground Thayer Hall, playing both a piano piece and a simulation of a passing train; the train noises were audible and now everyone's really freaked out.

But Metro says that test was just "aimed at establishing the threshold at which subway noise ceases to be a problem." They had to deal with similar issues in building the Red Line through Hollywood, since the area is thick with recording studios (and Red Line cars are heavier than the Regional Connector's will be). Soundproofing aside, they could also set a 15 mph speed limit on the train in that area, but they don't think they'll have to do that.

Metro head Art Leahy promises "We are not about to do anything which in any fashion, however slightly, impairs or damages ? Disney Hall or any other feature in that area." County Supe (and "classical music buff") Zev Yaroslavsky adds thats "Obviously Metro will not build a line that is going to compromise Disney Hall."
· L.A. Philharmonic concerned about potential subway noise [LAT]
· Regional Connector Archives [Curbed LA]