Metro Rail is the rapid transit rail system of Los Angeles County. It consists of five separate lines and has a daily weekday ridership of approximately 350,000. It is owned and operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).
Metro has been expanding since its inception in 1990. One of the proposed subway lines, Westside Subway Extension, extends the current Purple Line along Wilshire Boulevard from Wilshire and Western to Westwood.
Beverly Hills and Century City are two destinations of the new subway line. The proposed line also tunnels directly under Beverly Hills High School, located on Moreno Drive in Beverly Hills.
After four years in the planning Metro is now at war with the City of Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD), and city residents who contend that drilling under the high school will create a host of safety risks as well as tampering with the city’s emergency preparedness center. The top of the tunnels will run 55-70 feet below ground.
Both BHUSD and the City of Beverly Hills have hired independent companies to conduct seismological studies which build a strong case against Metro’s study which contends that building a subway line under the high school is safer than the initial route to a Century City stop passing below Santa Monica Boulevard, where an active fault zone lies.
Originally two stations were planned for Century City along Santa Monica Boulevard but Metro’s analysis revealed that the proposed locations would lie on two active faults, the Santa Monica Fault Zone and the Newport/Inglewood Fault Zone.
Metro decided that alternatively tunneling under Beverly Hills High School would present no danger and a station could be created at the intersection of Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars in Century City.
The Beverly Hills Courier reported today, April 18, 2012,
“The Metropolitan Transit Authority Planning and Programming Committee voted 3-1-1 to recommend the Metro Board approve the staff recommended Westside Subway Extension alignment complete with a terminus station at Wilshire/La Cienega and a tunnel underneath Beverly Hills High School. The Metro Board is scheduled to vote on the final Environmental Impact Report at its April 26 meeting at 9 a.m. in the Metro Board room at 1 Gateway Plaza in downtown Los Angeles. Although public testimony will be taken at that time, all written public comment is due to Metro by April 23”.
On Friday, March 30, 2012, The Beverly Hills Courier published the following statement, “Beverly Hills will be bisected by a deep canyon for five to seven years, many of the most popular venues will be blocked, buildings eliminated, and heavy construction will fill our streets and central neighborhoods”.
Beverly Hills is ready to fight.
In early April 2012, the Beverly Hills City Council voted to hire a lawyer in preparation to file a lawsuit to challenge the subway route under the high school.
On Tuesday, April 17, 2012, the Beverly Hills Unified School District sent an email with a link to an electronic petition in support of “No Subway Under BHHS” to all families associated with the school district. The hope is to obtain 1000 signatures by the end of the week. At the time of this publishing that goal has been met.
City residents are placing “No Subway Under BHHS” lawn signs in front of their homes and wearing buttons saying “Our Legacy, No Tunneling Under BHHS, Our Disaster Center”.
Residents and parents are furious asserting such reasons as political corruption, serious health hazards to the children, prohibits modernization of the high school, disrupts education, creates a prime terrorist target, the fear of earthquake during construction, increases the potential for criminal activity, to list a few.
Related Links and Sources:
Beverly Hills fights subway tunnel under BHHS – Los Angeles Family Issues
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