Metro Introduces Purple Line Extension Section 2 Tunneling Machines: Harriet and Ruth

Metro unveiled its latest Tunnel Boring Machine names and artwork today. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.
Metro unveiled its latest Tunnel Boring Machine names and artwork today. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

This morning, Metro celebrated the unveiling and naming of new tunnel boring machines for section two of the Westside Purple Line Extension.

Metro already has a few TBMs carving Purple Line subway tunnels. Just last week Metro announced that one of two Purple Line section one tunnelers broke through to Western Avenue.

Today’s ceremony was held at Metro’s construction staging yard on the eastern edge of Century City, a stone’s throw from Beverly Hills High School. The proximity to the school is a reminder of the numerous lawsuits, campaigns, and protests that Beverly Hills Unified School District has waged against the subway. While the legal battles have so far been decided in Metro’s favor, they did result in wasted time and money for the city and school district.

Metro CEO Phil Washington speaking at this morning's celebration
Metro CEO Phil Washington speaking at this morning’s celebration

None of that controversy was in evidence at this morning’s celebration, where the focus was to “accentuate the positive” – the name of a song performed there by Beverly Hills singer Oya Thomas. Metro boardmember Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker hosted the ceremony, touting the many benefits of the project, including improving quality of life, travel times, and air quality – and providing “thousands of good-paying jobs.”

Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch touted his city's walkability
Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch touted his city’s walkability

Beverly Hills Mayor John Mirisch welcomed the Purple Line to help visitors explore Beverly Hills and help residents go other places. Mirisch touted work that his city is doing to make first/last mile connections: walkability, bikeability, and plans for complete streets and autonomous shuttles. Century City BID liaison Susan Bursk touted Century City walkability, and praised the subway’s arrival as coming full circle on subway transit connectivity planned decades ago.

Metro CEO Phil Washington acknowledged project partners federally and locally. He stated that he anticipates the Purple Line Extension section 3 federal full funding grant agreement to be signed “this summer.” That FFGA has been delayed for more than a year; it was already overdue last February, when it was expected “any day now.”

The stars of today’s ceremony were the youth who won contests to name and decorate the TBMs.

Ruby Santamaria (right) named Metro Purple Line section 2 TBMs Ruth and Harriet
Ruby Santamaria (right) named Metro Purple Line section 2 TBMs Ruth and Harriet

Culver City sixth-grader Ruby Santamaria named the TBMs Harriet and Ruth. Harriet is for Harriet Tubman, conductor of the underground railroad. This is the second Metro TBM named Harriet; the first dug tunnels at the northern end of the soon-to-open Crenshaw/LAX light rail line. Ruth is for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who Santamaria acknowledged as having “paved the way for women everywhere.”

PurpleLineHansSmallwoodart
Hans Smallwood’s drawing will adorn the Purple Line section 2 tunneling machines

The TBMs will be decorated with the artwork by Beverly Hills third-grader Hans Smallwood.

Soon, the two TBMs will begin tunneling eastward from Century City. They will pass under Beverly Hills High School and then continue, mostly below Wilshire Boulevard, to La Cienega Boulevard.

Westside Purple Line sections - map via Metro
Westside Purple Line sections – map via Metro

The nine-mile Metro Purple Line Westside extension is being built in three phases, each about three miles long. The project will extend the existing Purple Line subway from Koreatown all the way to Westwood. Section one is under construction, half-built, and expected to open in 2023. As mentioned by Phil Washington, section three is in pre-construction, awaiting final federal approvals.

Today’s tunnel machines will dig section two of the project. The 2.6-miles long Westside Purple Line Extension section two is anticipated to open in 2025. It will include two new stations.

wilshirereevesstation2019rendering
Rendering of future Wilshire/Rodeo Purple Line station – via Metro

The Wilshire/Rodeo station will be located two blocks east of Beverly Hills famous shopping street – at the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Reeves Drive.

Rendering of future Century City/Constellation Purple Line station - via Metro
Rendering of future Century City/Constellation Purple Line station – via Metro

The Century City/Constellation station will be located at the northeast corner of Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.

 

  • Vooch

    1) why are there no buildings above these stations ?

    Normally one would want a 30 story office building above a metro station, thats quite a lot of ridership.

    2) The width of those streets are a killer for walkability.

    (infamous) video about walkability in LaJolla

  • 1976boy

    The sites are available for development, that usually comes later. Hollywood/Vine staton was topped by the W hotel after a number of years, and there are proposals for other structures on top of other stations as well.

  • Joe Linton

    What 1976boy said – and that grey building in the second image would be a new building at the site.

  • Matt

    Looks like Beverly Hills will get a Rodeo Station entrance north of Wilshire too, which they will help pay for.

  • com63

    Why does it take 7 years to complete 2.5 miles of subway and 2 stations? That seems like a really long time.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Preliminary Federal Ruling Sides With Beverly Hills Against Metro Subway

|
Last week, United States District Judge George Wu issued a ruling [PDF] in Beverly Hills’ legal battles against Metro’s plans to tunnel the Purple Line subway beneath Beverly Hills High School. The Beverly Hills Courier portrayed the ruling as a victory for Beverly Hills in that Judge Wu chided subway proponents for “not properly considering the environmental effects […]
Dignitaries at this morning's Westside Purple Line Extension section 2 groundbreaking. Photos by Joe Linton/Streetsblog L.A.

Leaders Break Ground on Metro Purple Line Subway to Century City

|
This morning, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Inglewood Mayor James Butts, Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse and other L.A. leaders celebrated the official groundbreaking for section two of the Westside Metro Purple Line subway extension. The $2.53 billion 2.6-mile heavy rail subway extension will include stops at Beverly Hills Rodeo Drive […]