Beverly Hills Versus the Subway 

Thursday, Jul 21 2011

Our cover story by Patrick Range McDonald on a move to reroute the planned Westside subway through Beverly Hills ("Beverly Hills vs. the Subway," July 14) dominated the discussion among readers this week. Remarkably in this era of online anonymous rants, many commenters signed their full names. Thank you for that.

McDonald reported that Century City developer JMB, which has strong connections to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other elected officials, is pushing hard to move a subway stop from Santa Monica Boulevard a short distance south to Constellation Boulevard in Century City — where JMB plans a 37-story office tower.

The hitch is that the new route would mean tunneling under Beverly Hills High School property, which the school district and Beverly Hills City Council members find unacceptable.

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Reader Tim O'Connell writes: "The station at Santa Monica Boulevard makes darn little sense. Everything to the north is golf course. The Constellation location has office buildings on three sides and the Westfield shopping mall a block away, surely not too far for people to walk with their Louis Vuitton bags carrying their Tiffany sparkles. It is also across the street from the Century Plaza Hotel, which would make it easier for the maids and bellboys to get to work without having to (shudder) drive through Beverly Hills."

Ken Goldman writes: "In these days of minute-to-minute journalism, it is refreshing to read a well-researched and thorough article. It seems obvious that this whole affair is not about having people walk one block from Santa Monica Boulevard to Constellation (people in NYC, SF, D.C., London and every other major city would laugh at the thought of all this holler over people actually having to walk ONE BLOCK). As the author points out, it's all about the Century City developers spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to entice Metro to spend $60 million more to divert the subway to their doorstep to increase their property values."

CarltonGlub writes: "God forbid you should mention the fault line under Santa Monica Boulevard that a station would be sitting on top of. Or that a supermajority of 68% of L.A. County voters backed Measure R and all the projects that it is legally obligated to fund. [Measure R is the voter-approved sales tax for mass transit.] Or God forbid you should find someone other than noted antirail fanatics Wendel Cox and Tom Rubin to interview. Or talk to any disinterested transit advocates who overwhelmingly support Constellation, because it makes no sense to put a $100 million station next to a golf course.

"It's sad to see the L.A. Weekly carrying Beverly Hills' water, instead of fighting for the workers and students who ride transit throughout Wilshire every day to the tune of 80,000 boardings."

Rick Abrams writes: "Voters do not understand that subways are not about improving transportation. Subways are justification for real estate speculators to build more mega-skyscrapers like JMB's new tower. Each of the subway stops from Vermont to the Veterans Administration will have a one-quarter-mile radius of new high-rise projects. Thus, each stop is a hub for billions of construction dollars.

"Beverly Hills is far smarter than L.A. Bev Hills looks out for its citizens. The subway will not stop at Doheny. Why? The reason strikes me as obvious. Bev Hills does [not] want to destroy all homes on Oakhurst, Palm, etc. Thus, there will be no land available for a one-quarter-mile radius of high-rises. Thus, no real estate speculator will make billions of dollars."

Benjamin Phelps writes: "Ah, another Patrick Range McDonald anti-transit article. That L.A. Weekly could even publish an article that accepts without question the narrative that Beverly Hills is a victim of anything kind of makes me wonder if they've lost a little touch with the city they're supposedly covering."

John Mirisch writes: "The Beverly Hills community will rightly do whatever we can to protect one of our most prized assets: our only high school. You can shout 'NIMBY' all you want (despite the fact that Beverly Hills will have two stations within our borders, not exactly the definition of NIMBY), but this is a community which values public education and we will do whatever we can to allow our school district to achieve their mission of academic excellence for the current and future generations.

"With his extensive research, Patrick Range McDonald has done the entire region a service by shedding light on the entire process."

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