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Update: Metro Rebuffs Beverly Hills Report on Controversial Westside Subway Route

Update: Metro Rebuffs Beverly Hills Report on Controversial Westside Subway Route

Update, 12 noon: Beverly Hills Unified School District responds to Metro, after the break.

Update, 12:55 p.m.: Metro responds to L.A. Weekly, after the break.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority unsurprisingly gave the thumbs down to a report commissioned by the city of Beverly Hills, which found it would be unsafe to construct a subway tunnel underneath the campus of the Beverly Hills High School.

Metro sent its response to Beverly Hills Mayor William Brien yesterday, stating the report does not "alter" its own findings that tunneling underneath the campus would be safe.

For the uninitiated, Metro proposes building a Westside subway station in Century City at Constellation Boulevard. That route, however, would mean that the agency needs to tunnel underneath the Beverly Hills High School campus.

Beverly Hills officials are furious because it could jeopardize mulit-million-dollar plans to renovate the high school, which was built in 1927.

A huge controversy has ensued, with a major legal battle expected. L.A. Weekly examined the brouhaha in the July, 2011, cover story "Beverly Hills Versus the Westside Subway."

Joining the fray is a group called "We Do Our Part L.A." According to its webs site, the founding "partners" include Los Angeles and Orange County Building Trades Council, Teamsters Joint Council 42, and SEIU 1877 -- as well as the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, JMB Realty, and various unnamed "businesses."

"Despite all the benefits of extending L.A.'s subway," a statement reads on the We Do Our Park L.A. web site, "some are spending a lot of money to oppose this opportunity. Their opposition tactics are designed to deprive all Angelenos of the promise of a green, efficient form of public transportation in and out of West LA and all of the residual opportunities that would flow from the subway extension."

That's a veiled knock on Beverly Hills.

We Do Our Part L.A. partner JMB Realty, which has plans to construct a skyscraper at Constellation Boulevard in Century City, is seen as a major force behind the controversial route.

On April 26, Metro board members will consider the final route of the Westside subway. So far, they have shown no indication of not supporting a station at Constellation Boulevard.

Update, April 12: Beverly Hills Unified School District attorney Kevin Brogan responds to Metro's rebuff of Beverly Hills report:

"It is unfortunate that Metro is unwilling to even consider any information that is contrary to the data and findings developed by its hired consultants at Parsons Brinckeroff. The fact that Parsons Brinckerhoff was given the task of reviewing an independent report that severely criticized its own work is troubling and calls into question their objectivity."

An interesting point. Should Metro have hired another consultant to look into Beverly Hills' findings rather than use the same consultant that came up with the initial, disputed study?

Metro did not respond to an L.A. Weekly inquiry seeking comment on Brogan's statement.

Update, April 12, 12:55 p.m.: Metro responds to L.A. Weekly with this statement sent from spokesman Dave Sotero:

"Our consultant's professional work has been challenged by another consultant hired by the City of Beverly Hills. Our consultant should have the opportunity to defend its work and provide a thorough response.

"Metro also has an independent Tunnel Advisory Panel that is separate from Parsons Brinckerhoff. This independent panel has advised Metro on all of our tunneling projects for the last 15 years. They also reviewed the two technical reports Metro released last October, the report by Exponent and the Parsons Brinckerhoff evaluation of the Exponent report.

"We stand by the technical quality of our work and the Parsons Brinckerhoff report released this week that specifically responds to every concern expressed in the Exponent report. Our consultant reconfirms its conclusion that Santa Monica Boulevard is an unacceptable location for the Century City subway station."

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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