We’ve posted three pieces so far in our Subway Facts & History series providing information about topics generating discussion on the Westside Subway Extension. The project is nearing completion of its final environmental document, which should be released sometime this fall.
Part 1 of the series looked at what can be built above subway tunnels, Part 2 discussed building subways in earthquake areas and Part 3 provided some background on trying to determine the station location in Century City.
A reader named Carol Spencer has asked two good questions that we wanted to share with our audience. Below are her questions and the answers from Metro planners.
QUESTION: Does Metro offer a document or means/method/way that offers recourse to the property owner who signed and settled the property acquisition for a Metro tunnel before construction begins beneath their property in the event that vibration and/or sound and/or settlement or other problems arise once the subway is operating? There are hundreds of homes in the Westwood area as well as residential and High School property in Beverly Hills that might be affected per my question above. What is our future recourse? I have heard that we must SUE Metro – there should be a means other than legal action – after all Metro warns their might be future subsidence, vibration etc. Is it included in the contract the property owner signs? Please publish this information.
ANSWER: Wherever Metro tunnels pass under private property, Metro must purchase a sub-surface easement from the property owner. The value of the easement is determined through an appraisal and negotiation process. More information is discussed in the project’s Property Acquisition Fact Sheet.
Metro will always work to ensure that our projects are built and operate in the safest manner possible for all those who live and work nearby as well as for our passengers. The ongoing environmental review process requires us to identify potential negative impacts, including the risk of subsidence, noise and vibration from the project during construction as well as when the trains are operating. The process further requires us to implement feasible mitigation measures to avoid or substantially reduce any significant environmental impacts that are identified. Similar issues were also raised during the construction of the tunnel of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension project. These issues were successfully addressed. The tunnel portion of the project was excavated and completed with no measurable surface subsidence. Additionally, we have not received complaints about noise or vibration during operations from anyone living above any of our tunnels.