Last week, battle lines were drawn between the City of Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Unified School District and Metro over the location and routing of the Westside Subway. While Metro held a series of public meetings to show the results of their environmental studies, the last of the three hearings turned into a sort of rally against the project in Beverly Hills. For those scoring at home, Streetsblog has the highlights from last week.
A Tale of Two Studies:
In short hand, journalists often refer to opposition “from Beverly Hills” when discussing opponents of the current proposed route for the Westside Subway. In truth, there are two government bodies, Beverly Hills Unified School District and the City of Beverly Hills (City Council, Mayor and staff,) that are waging separate campaigns against the tunneling project. There does appear to be some coordination between the two, but they are also acting independently.
The Beverly Hills Unified School District paid for their own “deep bore” study of faults underneath the Beverly Hills High School. The conclusions of that study will be unveiled in the next two weeks.
The City of Beverly Hills paid for a pair of reports analyzing the Geological studie by Metro that states that a station at Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City is unsafe and one at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Avenue is not. The second route requires tunneling under a portion of the Beverly Hills High School Campus. One report is by Exponen, the other is by Shannon and Wilson. Metro has copies of both reports and is “working on a response.”
The first report, by Shannon and Wilson, questions Metro’s methodology, but basically says that tunneling under the high school shouldn’t be a problem. This report was not released with a lot of fanfare:
Tunneling Beneath Beverly Hills High School – The proposed tunnel crown is approximately 50 to 70 feet below the existing ground surface along the BHHS campus. The tunnel is therefore not likely to directly impact the campus facilities (as we understand their current use). The proposed BHHS underground parking garage could be constructed above the tunnel to a maximum depth of about 30 to 50 feet below grade, leaving at least 20 feet of undisturbed soil above the tunnels. Risks associated with ground loss during construction, vibrations during construction and operation, and hazards from methane and other gasses should be mitigated by the design and plans and specifications for the project.
The Beverly Hills Courier announced the results of Exponent’s review in its understated style, blaring “Complete Exponent Review of MTA Study – Independent Experts Rip MTA as “Simplistic, Inadequate, Failed.” The Exponent Study, available here, goes through Metro’s reports and repeatedly asks further questions and calls for longer and greater study of the risks involved tunneling under a high school or anywhere near fault lines. Here’s a quick sample of the report: Read more…