This week several online news sources have reported that the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) has filed a “Writ of Mandate” petition in Los Angeles Superior Court that seeks to require Metro to release documents on the Westside Subway Extension Project, as well as station location alternatives in the Century City area.
The reason for the petition, according to the news release from BHUSD, is that Metro is not responding fast enough to the school district’s written requests for information.
Metro reports that it has received numerous requests on an ongoing basis from BHUSD during the development of the Final Environmental Impact Study/Report [FEIS/FEIR] for the subway that is now underway. The agency provided all publicly available documents and will continue to fulfill BHUSD’s requests as additional documents are finalized and released to the public.
Essentially, the BHUSD wants documents that are still being developed. The premature release of documents still being developed jeopardizes the rigorous review process Metro must follow to satisfy state and federal environmental procedures.
Following review and approval by the Federal Transit Administration, Metro will release all final, public documents to everyone at the same time as it has done over the course of the last three and a half years of the project’s environmental review.
Over those three and a half years, Metro has conducted an unrelentingly transparent process to provide as much information and opportunities for input as often as possible to the public. This includes 65 public meetings hosted by Metro, live web-casts of some of those meetings, and opportunities to follow the development of the subway online, via Facebook and Twitter. All of the documents developed over this period, including fact sheets, presentations, staff reports and the Draft EIS/EIR, along with its volumes of supporting documentation, are readily available for review on the project’s web site.
Metro is now working diligently to complete the Final EIS/EIR which is slated for release this fall. When done, the entire, 1,000-plus page environmental document will be made available to the public for a minimum-required 30-day review period. During this time, the public can review all document details and provide input before the Metro Board considers the Final EIS/EIR later this fall.
Because of these actions and timelines, Metro does not feel the school district’s petition is justified or necessary.