In response to a report commissioned by the city of Beverly Hills, Metro officials on Tuesday said they stand by seismic and tunneling safety reports that Metro released in October as part of its planning of the Westside Subway Extension project.
Metro’s response to the report by the environmental consulting firm Exponent was sent today to Beverly Hills officials and is posted below; here is a link to a pdf version for download. The Exponent report was commissioned by the city of Beverly Hills, which is objecting to a potential subway route under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus.
In its response, Metro stands by studies released last fall that concluded that: 1) building a subway station under Santa Monica Boulevard in the Century City area was impractical and unsafe due to the presence of active earthquake fault zones in that area; 2) it would be safe to build a station under the intersection of Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars to serve Century City; 3) that it was safe to route the subway tunnel under parts of the Beverly Hills High School campus to reach a station at Constellation/Avenue of the Stars, and 4) that it would not hinder future development on the campus.
Excerpt from the executive summary of Metro’s response:
Metro disagrees with Exponent’s opinions and finds serious flaws in the conclusions drawn from its investigative approach. In a number of cases, Exponent does not acknowledge or is unaware of information and analyses that Metro conducted. Moreover, Exponent’s opinions frequently reflect a lack of familiarity with and expertise in underground construction and fault investigation, and are unsupported by facts.
The city of Beverly Hills also commissioned a second report by the firm Shannon and Wilson. That report — which is currently being reviewed by Metro — determined that tunneling under the high school is not likely to impact campus facilities and that risks that go along with tunneling can be mitigated with a properly designed project. The report also recommended more studies to determine the location of active faults in the Century City area.
Metro staff have recommended locating the Century City station at Constellation/Avenue of the Stars and a tunnel alignment under the school campus as part of the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report. The ultimate decision on the matter belongs to the 13-member Metro Board of Directors, who are scheduled to vote on the FEIS/R at their April 26 meeting at Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Below is Metro’s response to the Exponent report:
After the jump is Metro CEO Art Leahy’s cover letter that was sent with the report today to Beverly Hills officials.