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Another Packed House at Metro Westside Transit Meeting

10:57 AM PST on February 1, 2008

I have no idea how that one seat remained empty...
More than 100 people packed into the Los Angeles County Museum to hear a presentation on next steps for the Westside Transit Corridor Study a.k.a. The Subway to the Sea. While enthusiasm for the project remains high, Metro isn't yet ready to determine what route to move forward with or where in the world they're going to get the funding to build anything. While Metro can discuss alternatives, it won't be until April until routing studies are done and questions can be answered on ridership, cost, savings, etc...
The meeting began with a presentation by Metro staff on the 17 alternatives still being considered for project alignment and type. Most of the alternatives being considered are some sort of transit, (BRT, Subway, Light Rail and Monorail/Mag Lev are all still being considered) and whether the alignment should run down Santa Monica Boulevard or Wilshire Boulevard (or both!). Not surprisingly, since the meeting was being held on Wilshire, most of the audience favored a Wilshire alignment.
Project Manager David Mieger seemed almost apologetic that this study needed to be so large. He explained that to seek state and federal dollars, all modes must be considered, "You can't just go to Sacramento and say 'we want a subway." Despite that, he often referred to the project as the "Subway to the Sea" and opined about the shortcomings of some alignments.
Back in the fall, comments were overwhelmingly supportive of the traditional "Subway to the Sea" alignment and mode (having a subway go down Wilshire to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica). 159 of 208 comments supported either a Wilshire Alignment or a Wilshire/Santa Monica alignment and 262 comments supported a subway with only 8 opposing.
And the time to comment didn't end in the fall. Almost 3 dozen people submitted comment cards and topics ranged from possible new alignments, to the effects of global warming on the subway system (will the tunnels flood?).
And if you missed your chance to testify last night, don't worry. There's still plenty of chances to comment before Metro chooses it's preferred plan for the project.

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