A few morsels about those future subway stations…

We posted earlier today about the upcoming public meetings on potential locations for subway stations on the Westside Extension. I had the chance to sit in on a meeting of Metro staffers last week and here are a few interesting morsels about the stations:

* Stops are being studied along the Wilshire Boulevard corridor at Crenshaw, La Brea, Fairfax, La Cienega and Beverly. The line would then veer south to Century City and then head back north to stop in Westwood and then at the VA Hospital. It has not been decided yet if Crenshaw will have a station (see below).

* Metro planners are also looking at potential stops on Wilshire at Bundy, 26th, 16th & 4th — if the line is one day extended to the sea. The agency is also looking at potential stops at Hollywood and Highland, Santa Monica Boulevard at La Brea, Fairfax & San Vicente and near the Beverly Center if a subway is built through West Hollywood to meet Wilshire line. Both of these options are beyond what current funding allows to be built, but they’re being studied now in case the funding materializes.

* In most cases, Metro staff has looked at a broad range of places where the stations could be put and narrowed the list down to the most practical alternatives. The point of the meetings is to give the public a chance to weigh in on those alternatives and better understand some of the issues involved with each. For example, in Westwood two locations have emerged as likely candidates for a station — either under the intersection of Wilshire and Westwood or on Wilshire under the UCLA parking lot between Gayley and Veteran. At Fairfax, Metro is looking at a location west of Fairfax because of more favorable soil conditions.

* Speaking of the Fairfax station — and I find this quite fascinating — staffers are also starting to think about how to deal with recovering an expected load of paleontological materials from the area, which is right down the street from the La Brea Tar Pits.

* One big consideration for station locations is being able to secure a place for construction equipment. Stations are built by digging a big hole in the ground and then covering that hole up – so there’s a need for a construction staging area. Station construction could take about five years at each location. Another factor is the location and availability of properties that Metro may have to lease to accommodate subway construction.

* However, the agency is also trying to make sure it builds the stations in the right place since they’re going to presumably be there for many years. The critical requirement is to put the stations in places people want to go.

* The only two stations where Metro owns property along the Wilshire route is at Wilshire and Crenshaw and Wilshire and La Brea. But it hasn’t been determined yet if Crenshaw will have a station — it’s in a low-density area and there has been debate in the community about whether it’s a good place for a subway stop. Crenshaw is also a half-mile west of the present stop at Wilshire and Western, raising the question whether there should be two stations in such close proximity. On the other hand, it’s two miles between Western and La Brea — a long way between stations.

* The public will also be asked to consider where the best places are to put entrances to the stations and some strategies that Metro may use to accommodate future entrances — i.e. building walls that could later be removed and connected to stairwells. There are also private property owners who want to be close to a subway stop or entrance.

One last note: if you are on Facebook, you can friend Metro Westside Subway Extension to follow news about the project and other transit news.