Foes of a proposed Westside Subway extension route that would tunnel under Beverly Hills High School are calling on Metro this week to show them the data that proves it should head that way instead of along Santa Monica Boulevard, as had been originally intended.
Those foes comprise the leadership of the Beverly Hills Unified School District, which notes that the transportation agency is blaming the possible move on a “Santa Monica fault zone” that would be bad for a more northerly route.
But so far, Metro is mum when it comes to showing the seismic data. School board prez Lisa Korbatov says in a statement this week:
This is another example of Metro's bait-and-switch tactics as it attempts to steamroll anyone who opposes its profligate plan to spend taxpayer dollars to benefit a handful of politically-connected developers. Metro's own data showed a station at Santa Monica and Avenue of the Stars would benefit more people for less money, but it didn't comport with the plans of private developers. So now Metro claims vague safety issues related to a fault and, voila, a superior station that had been planned for years and supported by the people of Beverly Hills disappears without so much as a public hearing.
As the Weekly's Patrick Range McDonald reported in a July 14 cover story, the more southerly route would provide a stop right near a Century City skyscraper planned by a developer with ties to L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who happens to have more political influence over the Metro board than any other single person.
Such a route would take the subway to the foot of a 37-story “Century City Center” skyscraper expected to be built by JMB, a City Hall-connected developer that has showered Villaraigosa with campaign funds.
The original stop at Santa Monica Boulevard would have seen more ridership, according to Metro's own data. So if this is really about seismic data, the B.H. school district says, prove it.
Metro says on its website that the southerly route under Beverly Hills High School “will increase safety by locating the station farther away from the Santa Monica Fault zone.”
So far, the school district alleges, Metro is using data to justify a southerly bend in the line while at the same time saying the seismic figures aren't conclusive enough to release to the public.
The irony is that Metro steadfastly refuses to release any of the seismic data it used to kill the station, saying it's incomplete or inconclusive. Yet the studies were apparently complete and conclusive enough for Metro to decide to eliminate the Santa Monica/Avenue of the Stars location. If Metro has nothing to hide, it should immediately make public the research and reports it used to exclude this station from consideration … Metro must stop operating in the shadows …
The final decision on where the subway will stop will be up to the Metro board, where Villaraigosa holds much sway.