Metro responds to third report by Beverly Hills on Westside Subway Extension seismic and tunneling issues
by Steve Hymon from The Source
Metro officials and consultants issued a response Tuesday to a study commissioned by the Beverly Hills Unified School District, with Metro again standing by its conclusion that there is no place safe to build a subway tunnel and station for the Westside Subway Extension along Santa Monica Boulevard in the Century City area due to the presence of active earthquake faults.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District commissioned Leighton Consultants, Inc., to perform seismic research on the campus of Beverly Hills High School. Metro has also previously responded to two studies commissioned by the city of Beverly Hills, with the agency re-affirming its previous findings that tunneling under Santa Monica Boulevard should be avoided.
Leighton dug trenches on the campus property and performed other tests. Metro combined the Leighton data with data that the agency collected across the Century Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood areas and concluded that the data supports the agency’s original conclusion that two active faults — the Santa Monica Fault and the West Beverly Hills Lineament — converge under Santa Monica Boulevard.
Metro also disagrees with Leighton’s statement that the West Beverly Hills Lineament is not present under the school campus, saying that Leighton did not collect enough data to support that conclusion.
Metro staff have proposed tunneling under part of the campus to reach a subway station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars in Century City — a location south of active faulting along Santa Monica Boulevard and also closer to more jobs in the area.
Beverly Hills officials oppose tunneling under the high school property, saying it could threaten student safety and that the tunnels — which will be 50 feet or more below ground — would hinder future underground development of the campus. Metro stands by its position that tunneling can be done safely and that the subway tunnels or subway operations will not interfere with school activities or development on the campus.
The Metro Board of Directors in April voted to certify the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the subway project and approved the alignment and station locations for the project’s first phase between Western Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard. The FEIS/R includes the studies on tunneling and seismic safety. The Board, however, delayed voting on a final alignment for the subway’s second phase to Century City and third phase to Westwood in order to accommodate a request by Beverly Hills for a hearing on the subway under the state Public Utilities Code. The informational hearing is Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles and the Board of Directors is not expected to take any action.
On a related topic, Metro disputes a story in the Beverly Hills Courier published Friday that alleged that JMB Realty will be paid $38.7 million for easements for the subway near properties it owns along Constellation Boulevard in Century City. Acquisition of property for construction, easement rights and payments have to be negotiated by Metro.