It’s full steam ahead for the Los Angeles Metro’s Westside subway extension. Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board approved a plan for the subway to go under Beverly Hills High.
The board is moving forward despite ardent and vocal opposition on behalf of Beverly Hills residents. Detractors say that tunneling under the school would limit development opportunities on the property and it could put students in danger, especially given the risk of earthquakes. However, several seismologists dismissed this claim and assure that the presence of the $5.6-billion project will do no harm.
This plan will allow for nine additional miles of rail to run from the station currently at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to the VA hospital near UCLA. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is touting the extension as a means to “fundamentally reshape the way we get around the region.” Surely, the presence of a subway line would do a great deal to reduce the crushing amounts of traffic on the Westside.
So what gives, Beverly Hills? If the plan is safe and could make life on the Westside easier, why oppose it? What’s next for opponents of the plan? Can and will they take legal action against it? How would the presence of a subway extension on the Westside affect you?
Brian David Goldberg, Ph.D, Board President, Beverly Hills School District
Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor representing the Third District; Member of the MTA Board