June 18, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

War between FTA , Metro and City of Beverly Hills

The battle between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Metro and both the City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) over the Purple Line Extension station at Constellation Boulevard in Century City continues to drag on.

The City of Beverly Hills and BHUSD began its legal proceedings following the FTA’s final environmental impact report in 2012 naming the intersection at Constellation Blvd. and Avenue of the Stars as the choice of the new Century City subway station. Prior to this, the FTA had intended to place the Century City station at Santa Monica Boulevard.

However, following further studies, the FTA stated the Santa Monica Boulevard Station – just one block from the Constellation station – runs along an earthquake fault line and therefore could not be used. The Constellation station will require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School.

On Feb 1 this year, California Federal Judge George H. Wu issued a 216 page tentative ruling, in which he said, “The court believes that the FTA acted in an arbitrary and capricious manner,” when it didn’t respond to the Beverly Hills School District’s concerns about the risk of possible explosions by tunneling through the methane-rich ground under the school.

Wu had other concerns regarding incomplete seismic issues and that the FTA failed to produce supplemental draft and supplemental final environmental impact statements, but sided with the FTA regarding issues surrounding air quality, noise effects and ridership studies, stating, “In short, the court concludes that the FTA engaged in informed decision-making with respect to the assessment of alternatives relating to the approach to Constellation Station.”

Following the ruling, Metro Spokesperson Dave Sotero issued a statement that read, “After a thorough review, Metro concludes that Judge Wu’s tentative rulings uphold the approved plans to build the Century City subway station at Constellation and to tunnel safely beneath Beverly Hills High School. Some of the [judge’s] findings are procedural, requiring the FTA to perform additional environmental analysis and provide a further opportunity for public comment. The majority of extensive environmental work was deemed sound. If the ruling holds, Metro will support FTA in meeting these additional procedural requirements.”

An additional hearing was supposed to be held on May 16, however, Philip E. Karmel, one of the attorney’s representing the City of Beverly Hills told Century City News the hearing has been postponed to June 1.

In the meantime, last week, Metro contractors moved ahead with field work in Century City as part of its planning for Phase 3 of the extension line (The Century City station is part of Phase 2).

Work took place in and around Century City and including closing the southbound curb lane on Century Park West between Santa Monica and Constellation blvds. The work included drilling of soil borings, groundwater monitoring, well installation, and testing and monitoring to gather further information about the geological conditions in the area.

The Metro Purple Line Subway Extension, once complete, will extend westwards for approximately nine miles from Wilshire/Western all the way to Westwood, with seven stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega, Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City, Westwood/UCLA, and the Westwood/VA Hospital.

The project has been divided into three phases. Phase 1 to Wilshire/Rodeo is expected to be completed by 2023, Phase 2 (to Century City) by 2026 and Phase 3 to Westwood is slated to open in 2035.

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