Metro responds to report commissioned by Beverly Hills on seismic and tunneling safety issues

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:

Metro Response to Hazard Assessment Study by Exponent

After the jump is Metro CEO Art Leahy’s cover letter that was sent with the report today to Beverly Hills officials.

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Expo Line countdown widgets now available

The Expo Line home page on metro.net has received a makeover and now includes these nifty widgets below. Go to the web tools part of the page to get the code for a variety of different widgets for your own website.


ExpressLanes signs keep going up

Motorists and bus riders on the 110 freeway will continue to see signs (literally) of progress on the ExpressLanes project, which opens this fall.

The project is converting the carpool lanes between Adams Boulevard in downtown L.A. and the Artesia Transit Center into HOT lanes. Carpoolers will still travel in the lanes for free and single motorists will be able to use them (space permitting) in exchange for a toll.

To learn more, visit the project’s home page. We also posted a series of five videos earlier this year that helps explain HOT lanes and the idea behind congestion pricing tolls.

Here are the links to the videos:

ExpressLanes: It’s about time

ExpressLanes: how it works

ExpressLanes: explaining congestion pricing

ExpressLanes: rules of the road and enforcement

ExpressLanes: carpool loyalty program

 

Transportation headlines, Tuesday, April 10

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

Van Nuys Rapidway project re-branded (Daily News)

The Metro project that sought to put a transit project on Van Nuys Boulevard has expanded its boundaries so that Sepulveda Boulevard will also be considered. The new name of the project is the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor — and a set of three public meetings begin Thursday. Many community members had wanted Sepulveda to be in the picture because another Metro project seeks to build a transit project over the Sepulveda Pass between the Westside and the Valley.

Expo Line bike crossing safety at Rodeo (LADOT Bike Blog)

At the junction of Exposition Boulevard, Rodeo Road and the Expo Line tracks, the roadway crosses the tracks at a severe angle. The blog gives some pointers to cyclists about crossing the tracks on this part of the Expo Line, which is in the street-running segment — meaning there are no crossing gates and trains and vehicles will be obeying traffic signals. (Photo by LADOT Bike Blog).

Are the exurbs history? (D.C. Streetsblog)

Recent Census data seems to show that growth in the most distant of suburbs has stalled over the past four years. Where is the growth going instead? Hard to say, says this analysis — although some core urban areas seem to be growing while their ‘burbs are shrinking.

 

Bus detours in downtown L.A. this afternoon

Due to a planned rally at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles beginning at 4 p.m. for Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen killed in February, there are a number of Metro bus detours in place.

Please click here for more information. Service advisories can also be found on the metro.net homepage and by following Metro Alerts on Twitter, as well as Metro’s regular Twitter feed.

The best way around downtown L.A. is to use the Red and Purple line subway.