The Beverly Hills Unified School District on Wednesday issued a news release headlined “Beverly Hills Unified School District demands Metro come clean with facts on Westside Subway Extension.”
In particular, the School District alleges that Metro subway planners decided last week to drop a potential station at Santa Monica Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars in Century City from consideration for the project. Another subway station location under study in Century City — at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation — would mean tunneling under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus. The District has fought that possibility, alleging it’s unsafe and would interfere with future plans to expand the high school.
The District also alleges that Metro is withholding data from them.
In response, Metro would like to make two points:
•No decisions about station locations in Century City or anywhere else on the line have been made since the Metro Board of Directors approved the project’s draft environmental study last October. That report asked for more study of station locations in Century City, Westwood and at the VA Hospital. Metro planners are hoping to release the project’s final environmental study this fall, which will include recommendations for station locations. The Metro Board of Directors will have the final say on those station locations.
As Metro stated last winter at public meetings, in public documents on the project website and here on The Source, the agency is now studying a slightly different location for a station on Santa Monica Boulevard — it’s about 900 feet to the east, closer to Century Park East and may move the station further from the Santa Monica Fault. It might also make it possible to take advantage of construction staging sites in Beverly Hills that were suggested by community representatives. Principal among these is the former railroad right-of-way between Little Santa Monica and Big Santa Monica in Beverly Hills. The Beverly Hills Planning Commission has considered but not yet acted on a development proposal that also requested to rezone this property from Transportation to Commercial.
•A Superior Court judge last week ruled that Metro did not violate the California Public Records Act, as alleged by the Beverly Hills Unified School District. The District had filed a petition asking the court to force Metro to release documents and alleging that the agency was withholding information being gathered as part of the ongoing environmental analysis. Here’s the court ruling and here’s our post about it.
Much of the information the District was seeking involved geotechnical studies of seismic issues in the area — in particular, Metro is studying the precise location of earthquake faults to determine where it’s safest to tunnel and build stations. Metro is hoping to release the geotechnical studies prior to the final environment report. But the geotechnical studies must first be completed and the information and data collected completely analyzed.