Subway poll results

We’ve run two polls on the Westside Subway Extension so far and here are the results as of about noon on Monday:

I’m pleased with the number of votes, which I think reflects the great interest the public has in this project. As they should for something that is going to likely cost in the neighborhood of $4 billion!

In our most recent poll, on the Century City station, there were several votes for “other.” Among the more interesting ones listed were sites beneath the Century City mall and at Century Park West and Olympic Boulevard, beneath a public parking garage. There were also — not surprisingly — some differences of opinion expressed in the comments.

Of course, this is an anonymous and unscientific poll — interesting, I think, but not conclusive. The polls are no substitute for the formal process the public has to comment and help shape the environmental studies that dictate how the subway project will eventually get built. I wrote about that in a recent post — which you’ll find after the jump.

If you would like more background on the issues in the above polls, here’s a post about the Crenshaw station issue and here’s a post about the station location issue in Century City.

We’ll try to have our new poll posted Tuesday morning. This is from an earlier post:

A couple of readers have emailed and asked what exactly is the purpose of our polls–are they being used to determine the location of subway stations?

The answer is NO, NO and NO.

We recently installed software that allows us to conduct polls on The Source. I like the polls because they’re interactive and they offer a good opportunity to discuss issues facing Metro while giving both us and our readers a chance to get a rough (and anonymous) gauge of people’s opinions on important issues.

But there is a whole other process that determines what-gets-built-where.

To explain briefly, each Metro project has to be vetted as part of a thorough environmental review process under state and/or federal law. In those studies, different options are vetted and analyzed for each project — and that’s precisely what’s happening with the subway project as part of its draft environmental impact study/report that is currently being assembled. While working on that study, Metro has held numerous public meetings to explain what is being studied and people can ask questions, criticize, offer ideas, etc. That’s one way they can influence the process and, in fact, have influenced the process.

Here’s a recent story on LAist about ways that the public has helped shape the ongoing environmental study. The public can also follow ongoing issues with the subway on the Westside Subway Extension’s Facebook page and its Twitter feed.

When the draft environmental impact study/report for the subway is released — that’s scheduled for later this summer — the public will have time to submit their comments on the report and agree with or dispute any findings. Metro staff will then review those comments and issue recommendations as to what they think should get built and where. Of course, even then, there will still be final environmental evaluation and engineering working through many more of the complex detail of this project. That’s another way to influence the process.

Ultimately, it’s up to the 13-member Metro Board of Directors to decide what gets built and where. Meetings of the Board and its committees are open to the public and the public can testify about issues before the Board. Members of the public are also free to contact Board members before they vote on a project. That’s a third way to influence the process.

Again, our polls ARE NOT part of the process. They’re basically an open discussion taking place on the sidelines. I think it’s appropriate because when taxpayers are about to build a $4-billion project, it’s probably best to have more discussion rather than less.