Westside Subway Extension to study third option for Century City station

As many of you know, the location of the eventual Century City station is one of the key remaining questions for the Westside Subway Extension. When the Metro Board adopted a route last fall – the “Locally Preferred Alternative” — they authorized Metro staff to continue studying two options.

One would place that station at Santa Monica and Avenue of the Stars. The other would be Constellation and Avenue of the Stars.

Now Metro staff are looking at a third option: a station location farther east on Santa Monica Boulevard that would potentially place the station entrance at the intersection with Century Park East.

Some quick background: Many in the city of Beverly Hills, especially the Beverly Hills Unified School District, to date have only supported the Santa Monica Boulevard/Avenue of the Stars option. Tunnels to reach this location would travel under Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards.

The Constellation Station option has been a part of planning for the Westside Subway Extension since 2007 and arose from public comments asking Metro to look at placing the station more in the heart of Century City, closer to the many buildings and jobs at that destination. The tunnels to reach this station would need to go under residential streets and under Beverly Hills High School property – which many residents and the School District say they oppose. (With either option, tunnels would still travel below many Westwood area homes in neighborhoods between the Century City and Westwood/UCLA stations).

The problem is that the Santa Monica/Avenue of the Stars station, according to Metro staff, may be directly above the Santa Monica Fault. If that is determined to be the case, it would create special significant seismic risks and challenges for subway engineers and builders.

The Santa Monica Fault is believed to travel under the Los Angeles Country Club golf course, reaching Santa Monica Boulevard somewhere between Avenue of the Stars and Century Park East. It then continues traveling west under Santa Monica Boulevard for a distance.  According to Westside Subway Extension Project Director David Mieger, this new third option may allow for a Santa Monica Boulevard station location that is outside of the fault zone.  “We want to ensure that we have fully evaluated all viable options,” he said.

As a part of the ongoing final environmental review, Metro is doing significant work in the area from Beverly Hills to Westwood to better understand the Santa Monica Fault, soil conditions, and how those factors relate to the station and tunnel locations.  All of this information will be compiled for the Final EIS/EIR for the subway which should be released in the summer. The Metro Board of Directors will subsequently make the final decisions on the location of the Century City station and other aspects of the project.

20 replies

  1. The new eastern option on Santa Monica at Century Park East would be terrible for transit riders. It would be a long walk to any destination in Century City, and a bad place to stop the buses on Santa Monica for a transfer location.

    Either of the existing options would be better, but the Constellation location is clearly much better based on the current concentration of jobs and destinations in Century City. Even if the whole Country Club were re-developed and tall officer towers (something I doubt is wanted by Beverly Hills), a station farther south would be better for the majority of people using the trains.

    Isn’t that what matters?

  2. The 3rd option at Santa Monica/Century Park East is a real terrible location. It’s about the worst place you’d want a Century City subway station. It’s far away from both Fox Studios and the mall.

    This is a real test of resolve for Metro. Backing down from the irrational crazy people in Beverly Hills about tunneling under school will set back transit planning in LA for generations. These people will not stop at just this station. Look at what happened to the Wilshire BRT? Metro didn’t fight hard enough to keep the Condo Canyon portion and now it doesn’t have a leg to stand on to argue why it needs the Brentwood section. You give an inch, these NIMBYs will take a foot and still fight you for the next yard.

  3. The Century City stop needs to be placed in the most central location in order to serve the highest number of riders. We all complain about traffic, cut through traffic and the impacts that they have on our quality of life. Yet, when there is a clear option of creating a public transit option to address these problems, there appear to be political considerations that take us OFF TRACK. It seems counterproductive to spend money evaluating an option that will not be as effective a transit option as it could be if located on Constellation Blvd. (and remember, the traffic impacts of building a station on Santa Monica Blvd., whether at Century Park East or at Avenue of the Stars, will be a real challenge and test of wills for the years that the open to street station construction will take). One has to hope that the BH folks concerned about safety will listen to facts, observe other locations where the subway runs and do their due diligence rather than run to hire attorneys to battle with METRO and slow down the momentum for the subway. BH will have two subway stations and will have much benefit on their streets from this project. We in LA need a station IN Century City. A station on Century Park East does not reach into the dense center of that employment hub and the generator of so many commuter trips that clog our streets (in BH, too!).

  4. We need to go to the next Beverly Hills meeting to find for reasonableness. This is getting ridiculous. Let’s show Beverly Hills that they need to end this crap and Los Angeles is united at a station in the CENTER OF THE CENTER (Constellation)!

  5. It is unfortunate that a few people in Beverly Hills are in an irrational “we cannot back down” position on the subway. It simply makes no sense. I certainly hope the subway goes directly under my house as it loops into Westwood. Of course I have been to all the MTA meetings for the last three years and I know I am not going to feel it while it is being tunneled nor operated. Please show me a newpaper article about “Mrs. Smith” and her tea cup that rattles while the subway was being dug and is operated daily under her house. None exist because there are zero complaints. Here is the great fear of the Beverly Hills High School which is a bomb going off in the tunnel under the school. This will only hurt passengers and MTA employees, the high school teachers and kids will be totally unaware if that was to happen, God forbid. The slant drilling that goes on in Beverly Hills for oil is hundreds of feet below the subway tunnel. It is hard to imagine a subway station at a better location then Constellation and Avenue of the Stars in Century City and since that requires the subway to go under Beverly Hills High School so what. Subways go under schools all over the world without any problem. I served on the Board of AYSO in Beverly Hills for a decade or more. There are a lot of good people in Beverly Hills where there is rational thinking and these people need to get up to speed on the issues with the MTA and bring reasonableness back to the discussion in one of my favorite towns, Beverly Hills!

  6. Alright, I’m convinced. I’ll attend the next meeting where the Century City station will be discussed so my voice can be heard. Even if its all the way across town. Even if I have to leave work early to do it. Its unconscionable that a decision as important as the location of a subway station is being made over fear and hyperbole rather than facts.

    There’s one chance to get this right. Lets not let Beverly Hills screw it up for the other 3 million of us here.

  7. Obviously the only solution is to run the Wilshire line on a elevated track, preferably of Chicago Loop or Bronx IRT El vintage, through Beverly Hills from La Cienega to just west of the high school. At that point the train can resume its underground route to Constellation Blvd in Century City and on to Westwood, the VA and Santa Monica. Looking forward to that outreach meeting in BH.

  8. It is my understanding that the subway already tunnels under the high school at Vermont. No problem. Constellation is the only reasonable choice for a station.
    BH doesn’t have any concern about a station at Rodeo Dr. Good for business.
    Allowing shoppers to get off in the middle of Century City? Not good for BH business.

  9. both the second and third options are terrible options. constellation is the only option that makes real sense. i realize you are exploring these things in an effort to gather facts that shut BH up, but lets be real. BH can take a long walk off a short pier. a group of people does not get to determine how our subway system is laid out. build it right and take a stand as the authority that you are. dont listen to this garbage from a bunch of whiny folks.

  10. Yeah the constellation station really is the best spot, hands down. These anti-subway folks need to understand that deep-bore tunneling eliminates the chance of it being felt above ground and is much different and safer than older subways. LA is on the brink of perhaps the most important rapid transit development in its history so lets have this station correctly placed!!

  11. This new alignment consideration between Avenue of the Stars and Century Park East offers wonderful advantages for both Century City and Beverly Hills.
    1. Excellent staging area for station construction
    2. Area for an affordable Park n Ride (so Westside residents can utilize the subway…increased ridership)
    3. 1 block from Century City Mall and Century Plaza, CAA, AIG etc.
    4. 1 block from Twin Towers and office building towers near SM Blvd.
    5. can service the workers at Hilton
    6. Saves Metro over 60 Million thus allowing for more funding to extend the subway to the VA Hospital for our Vets.
    This is a win win for all concerned.

  12. As open-minded as I strive to be, I’ve no patience for irrational, chest-thumping opposition that doesn’t have a slice of merit to it. That’s what I see with Beverly Hills. I’m glad that Metro is doing its due diligence, but if the Constellation station is the safest and most cost-effective, then we must go with that.

    This is a time where science has to win the day, not childish politics.

  13. Equip yourselves with the facts and spread the word. Subways tunnel under schools, even elementary schools, where the smallest, most tunnel-vulnerable of our precious little ones get educated. New York city has dozens of public and private K-12 schools that are immediately adjacent to subway tunnels running under street right-of-ways. More to the point, some tunnels pass directly beneath some of these institutions. Public School 173/Harbor Heights Middle School lies directly above the A line. Public School 256/Benjamin Banneker sits atop the G line. Immaculate Heart of Mary school is on top of the F/G line. Lastly, the massive public housing/Public School 46 joint campus on Frederick Douglas lies directly above the C line and has its own station!

    This newest Century City station alternative serves only a political interest and is not in the interest of county-wide transit needs. It’s hard not to feel the people of Beverly Hills are once again holding the subway hostage, twenty years after the first time. It’s bizarre to me how they’re fighting good planning based on false risks, yet for decades they’ve let oil drilling and pumping on their high school campus pose measurable risk to the children they claim to be considering.

  14. I’m probably way off base, and far too late, to say this — but I’ve never liked the plan for the subway to detour from Wilshire Blvd., and travel underneath Westwood homes between Century City and Westwood/UCLA.

    I’ve wanted the subway to stay along Wilshire Blvd. And I’ve imagined a connector between the Wilshire/Beverly station and an Expo Line Phase II station at Pico & Sepulveda, via Santa Monica Blvd., Avenue of the Stars, and Pico Blvd.

  15. I’d support a Century East station with a little Century City shuttle that ferries people from there to all the major work centers, like the Dash downtown, only for a much smaller area.