Last week, the Century City Chamber of Commerce along with a couple of homeowner groups and L.A. City Councilman Paul Koretz held a press conference making their case for a Westside Subway stop at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Avenue. The week previously, the CCoC launched a website, responding to a website launched by consultants for the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce which promoted a subway stop at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Avenue. Today, a rebuttal to the press CCoC/Koretz press conference was published in the Huffington Post.
And Streetsblog didn't cover any of it. Yet, I would bet that most Streetsblog readers know all about these events. The events got a lot of press coverage in part because the news loves a Westside v Westside debate (even if most Westsiders and Beverly Hills residents would tell you that the 90210 is NOT part of the Westside) and in part because each side in this debate has some very good public relations specialists framing and pushing their message. There's a reason we haven't heard anyone from BHUSD raise the specter of a terrorist detonating a bomb in the subway the moment it passes under Beverly Hills High School anymore.
The reality of the debate over where the Westside Subway should stop in Century City is this: there is so much information that we don't know about which stop is best that all of this posturing is just that: posturing.
We don't have firm ridership numbers for each station. We know that if the bus routing for the area isn't changed, the Santa Monica Station will have better ridership. We also know that there's more development existing and planned near the Constellation Avenue Station.
We don't know how close the two routes would take the Subway to a series of seismic faults in the area. Metro is studying that as we speak.
We don't have firm costs for the subway. We know that Metro has said the Santa Monica Station could cost $60 million less than the Constellation Avenue one, but we don't have firm numbers for what each station will cost.
We do have two teams of well-funded teams pushing agendas which don't have a lot to do with which subway route and station makes the most sense. We also have two sides that are going to cry foul if the Final Environmental Impact Report doesn't go their way.
I haven't been shy about sharing my feelings on the subject, but we're at the point where each side is just finding more creative and high tech ways to keep their message in the news. So, until Metro releases its Environmental studies which answer these questions, Streetsblog is going dark on the "Constellation v Santa Monica Blvd." debate. When it is released, we'll give a sober review of the stats, talk to people on both sides of the debate and try to cover it the debate going forward as responsibly and equally as possible. I'm told the Final EIR won't be released until sometime this fall.