The above slide is from a presentation given by exerts to the Metro Board Planning Committee on Wednesday. Click above for a larger image.
On Oct. 21 and 28, the Beverly Hills Courier published six news and analysis articles about the two reports Metro released last month on seismic and tunneling issues affecting the Westside Subway Extension project in the Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood areas (Oct. 21 edition and Oct. 28 edition; both are pdf files and an email address is required to open).
The Courier articles included significant errors, misleading statements and omissions.
In addition, Beverly Hills Unified School District President Lisa Korbatov earlier this week posted online a letter to community members that contained incorrect information, as well as untruthful allegations about Metro.
In order to correct the record for residents and policymakers alike, here are responses from Metro about information in the reports:
COURIER: The Courier wrote that “The major fallacy of the Report is its conclusion that a subway station on Santa Monica Blvd would be “unsafe” but a station barely 150 feet away would be “safe.”
Metro’s response: The Constellation station site is more than 1,100 feet from the proposed Santa Monica Boulevard station. No evidence of fault rupture was found at or close to the Constellation site.
The purpose of the study was to locate areas of potential ground surface rupture and deformation, which is usually limited to the area immediately near active fault zones.
Earthquakes on the Santa Monica or Newport Inglewood fault zones could result in ground rupture — called “fault displacements” — at ground level or just below. Subway stations are two-story structures up to 1,000 feet in length and designing such a station to withstand ground ruptures without significant damage and loss of life is both impractical and without precedent.
The level of damage could require a complete rebuilding of the station and nearby tunnels — which could take several years. No subway stations in North America have been designed to tolerate active fault zones and their associated potential ground displacements.
This differs from ground shaking that occurs over a wide area during an earthquake. The subway stations and tunnels will be designed to withstand shaking, and there are special construction techniques available to reinforce the tunnels in the short distances where they must cross active fault zones.
COURIER: The Courier wrote that the new report may doom new construction along Santa Monica Boulevard and that the report calls into question any construction between Beverly Hills and the ocean, as well as high-rise development along Santa Monica Boulevard.
Metro’s response: The report provides technical data on the location and nature of the fault zones in the study area only and does not comment on the results of the findings – other than with respect to Metro’s subway project.
Based on the new information, the State of California will determine if the area qualifies as an Alquist-Priolo zone that would require local building departments to limit some types of development.
It is important to stress that both reports were prepared for purposes of planning the Westside Subway Extension and will be used in the preparation of the final environmental impact document for the project. All government agencies and private property owners can access and review the content with appropriate professional staff and/or consultants and decide if the information is needed for their own purposes.
Neither Metro or the Courier is in a position to advise other agencies or property owners on how to apply the information in these reports.