Metro Approves Subway Under Beverly Hills High
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors voted 7-2 today to approve a route for the Purple Line that requires a tunnel beneath Beverly Hills High School, putting an end for now, to what has been a contentious dispute between the city of Beverly Hills and Metro, CBS News reports.
Beverly Hills officials had been opposed to this route, citing safety concerns with tunneling under its campus, which contains active oil wells and pockets of methane gas.
In separate conversations with Neon Tommy, Beverly Hills School Board President Brian Goldberg and Vice Mayor John Mirisch relayed feelings of betrayal by Metro, who they allege switched their planned Century City station from Santa Monica Boulevard to Constellation Boulevard, the latter of which can only be reached by tunneling under the high school, only after receiving the support of Beverly Hills voters. Also, as Beverly Hills has only one high school and no real available land on which to expand, the city officials worry that tunneling under the school will severly restrict opportunities to expand campus facilities by moving parking underground.
Metro empatically disagreed with Beverly Hills' findings and decided to proceed with the Constellation station. According to Metro's blog:
"Metro staff, experts and consultants strongly disagree, saying: there are lower gas levels under the school than in other parts of Los Angeles, including downtown L.A., where there are existing subway tunnels; that ridership would be higher at the Constellation station than a station along Santa Monica Boulevard, and; that noise and vibrations under the school would be within legal limits, have no adverse impacts and that the tunnels, which would be at least 50 feet under the school, would still allow for a three- to four-story underground garage or other structure."
Goldberg and Mirisch have expressed a willingness to sue Metro if the agency went ahead with the route under Beverly Hills High School. Aside from this brief detour into Century City, the extension will run entirely along Wilshire Boulevard from its current terminus at Western Avenue to the Veterans Administration adjacent to Interstate 405, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Per Metro, construction is expected to begin next year.
Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.