Metro Sets the Record Straight on Westside Subway, Alternate Station Site

Last week, Metro announced on The Source that planners for the Westside Subway Extension were evaluating an alternative location for the Century City station along Santa Monica Boulevard as part of the project’s final environmental review process.

Just to be clear, there are still only two options under study for the Century City station.  But this new location is an alternate site for the Santa Monica Boulevard Station option that shifts the station approximately 900 feet to the east in efforts to evaluate whether the new location would avoid the Santa Monica fault line.

News of the so-called “Century Park East” station alternative was reported on several online media sources, including, among others, L.A. StreetsBlog and Curbed L.A.

Metro, however, felt compelled to respond to the February 18 Beverly Hills Courier front page story in particular, which it contends contains several factual errors about the alternate station location and the overall process required for evaluating and making decisions about the subway itself.  Read the article yourself here.

Regardless of your views on where the Century City station should or should not be located, Metro wanted to clarify with facts some of the statements made in this story.  So, for the record, here’s Metro’s response:

  • The location announced last week as being along Santa Monica Boulevard with a portal likely at Century Park East is an alternative to the location already being studied along Santa Monica Boulevard with a portal at Avenue of the Stars.  Metro staff must and will continue to study both alternatives for the Santa Monica station location in Century City along with continuing to study the Constellation station location option.
  • If the initial location along Santa Monica Boulevard cannot or should not be built due to the location of the Santa Monica Fault, this alternative location may allow for a Century City station on Santa Monica Boulevard that is outside of the fault zone.
  • An analysis of all options for subway station locations and all other aspects of the subway is required both by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
  • No new decisions about the subway have been made since the Metro Board’s last meeting on October 2010. When the subway is again considered by the Board, they will be asked to make the decisions about the project, including the location of the Century City station.
  • The project team has been contacted and had conversations with many people about the Century City station location. This includes officials, residents, and others both inside and outside of Beverly Hills.  These conversations are both consistent with the process and similar to the conversations planning staff has on an ongoing basis with interested parties near other stations and along the entire alignment for the Westside Subway Extension.
  • Despite whatever City of Los Angeles files may indicate, rail planning in Los Angeles County is the purview of Metro.  Had the Courier reviewed Metro files about the current subway analysis, it would have found several pertinent documents including the Early Scoping Report from the Alternatives Analysis Study (AA), which documents the input received during the October/November 2007 early scoping period. This report indicated public requests to evaluate a station more in the heart of Century City.  The Alternatives Analysis study itself and the staff report to the Metro Board in January 2009 indicate that continued study of a Santa Monica and Constellation Boulevard location is warranted for the Century City Station.  Material that followed from the Draft EIS/EIR as early as April 2009 also showed both station locations for the Century City station.  All of this material and more is readily accessible on the project web site.
  • Much of the discussion about the location of the Century City station has caused some to question statements made about the Santa Monica Fault, what was known about it at different stages of subway planning, and what this could mean for other development projects planned in the area.  When the Alternatives Analysis for the Westside Subway Extension began in 2007, the best information available about the Santa Monica Fault in the vicinity of Century City came from a 2005 study using a method known as “surface topography” which gathers information based on visual examination. More detailed tests conducted during 2009 and 2010 have provided more information about the fault.  More information on this is available in the project’s Frequently Asked Questions document.  See question #13.

2 replies

  1. The Courier piece just has holes in it everywhere:

    “Their proposal to MTA also included demolition of the La Cienega tennis complex, construction (by MTA) of underground parking on the site for a “park and ride” center, and full reconstruction and restoration of the surface and the tennis complex.”

    The La Cienega tennis courts are near La Cienega Station, so then read further for this gem:

    “The new alignment provides a staging area for Metro to build the station, a Park n Ride lot for Westside commuters and increased ridership from Hilton employees and employees at the future 9900 building.”

    First of all, a change in the alignment at Century City does not affect La Cienega Station; two separate issues.

    Second, the very same Beverly Hills mavens who decry serving both existing and future buildings in Century City don’t seem to mind touting a location that would serve a future building inside their own city limits.

    It’s very self-serving, and the inaccurate statements are telling.

    The whole text reads like a campaign puff piece for the faction that’s trying to win the local election.

    Must be nice to be wealthy enough to make up your own facts, or in the words of Karl Rove, not to be bound by the “reality-based world.”