Westside Subway Extension poll: Where to put the Century City station?

This is the second in a series of posts asking readers for their opinions on how best to build the Westside Subway Extension.

This slide from a recent subway public presentation shows the three subway tunnel alignments -- the lines in black -- being considered for the Century City area. The alignment shown by the blue line has several issues, as the slide explains.

Last week, we asked if readers thought a station should be built at Wilshire & Crenshaw, with the tally indicating that 60% of readers thought the station should not be built.

This week’s poll moves west to Century City, where Metro staff are studying two station locations as part of the draft environmental impact study/report that is currently underway: either Santa Monica Boulevard & Avenue of the Stars or Constellation Avenue & Avenue of the Stars. Here’s a Google satellite map showing the area.

I also included the “other” option on the poll for those who believe both alternatives are misguided — this, after all, is just a poll to gauge public opinion and I want all opinions heard. That said, it is extremely unlikely at this stage of the subway planning process that Metro will begin looking at other potential locations.

Here is some basic background on the issue:

*The Santa Monica Blvd. station is on the northern edge of Century City, whereas the Constellation station is two-tenths of a mile closer to the center of Century City and also closer to Fox studios, a major employer.

*Ridership numbers comparing the two stations have not yet been released by subway planners at Metro. But they have shared some information with me about jobs in proximity to the two locations: in the year 2035, there are just under 15,000 jobs predicted to be within one-quarter mile of the Santa Monica Blvd. station location versus just over 25,000 jobs within one-quarter mile of the Constellation location.

*Transit studies over the years have consistently shown that the distance from a station to work is more critical than the distance between home and a station. In other words, it seems people are more willing to travel farther from home to reach transit than they are to get from transit to their workplace.

*Public comments submitted to Metro thus far indicate more support for the Constellation station.

*A station at Santa Monica Boulevard would have to be built along an existing earthquake fault. That could be tricky. Although the existing subway crosses faults, Metro has not built a subway tunnel or station that runs parallel to one.

*To reach the Santa Monica Blvd. station, the subway would deviate from Wilshire and run under Santa Monica Blvd. To reach the Constellation station, the train would have to swing farther south a little sooner, under a residential neighborhood in Beverly Hills. Either four or 23 residences would be tunneled under depending on the alignment, according to Metro’s preliminary estimates.

*Metro officials say the existing subway goes under both residential and commercial properties and they do not receive complaints about noise or vibrations. Nonetheless, the prospect of tunneling under homes has proven controversial in that part of Beverly Hills.

*The subway would also have to tunnel under homes north of Santa Monica Blvd. enroute to Westwood. Three alignments are being studied and all would go under some residences. The one that follows the straightest path to Westwood would go under 56 to 69 residences, according to Metro’s preliminary estimates.

*Here’s a power point presentation by Metro’s subway planning team on tunneling and here’s a recent post on The Source that looks at issues in the Century City area.