The West Hollywood City Council approved an agreement on Monday to spend approximately $64,000 on transit consulting services to analyze the information in Metro’s draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), released Sept. 3, for the long-anticipated Westside Subway Extension.
The consultant, Sam Schwartz Engineering, will examine the draft EIR — which offers five route options — and present the city’s concerns to the Metro Board.
The five subway routes include a nine-mile extension to Westwood, a 12-mile route to Santa Monica, and a 16-mile option that includes access points to Santa Monica and West Hollywood. The estimated costs of the alternatives range from $4.2 billion to $9 billion. A no-build option was also considered.
The Metro Board is set to choose a final subway route, called the “Locally Preferred Alternative” (LPA), on Oct. 28.
West Hollywood officials are worried that the two alternatives being seriously considered by the Metro Board members do not include a subway that would go through their community. The two routes involve extending the Purple Line to either Westwood/UCLA or the Veterans Administration Hospital.
While the EIR might be “technically accurate,” there could be some broader issues not taken into consideration, said Lisa Marie Belsanti, a senior management analyst with the City of West Hollywood.
“There are a number of concerns we want to make sure are weighed in by the Metro Board,” Belsanti said.
The consultant will also advocate the selection of the Santa Monica/West Hollywood alignment as the LPA, according to a city staff report.
Metro officials said they are aware of the city council’s decision to investigate further, said Jody Litvak, a community relations manager with Metro.
“We are cooperating fully with their consultant to make sure they understand everything,” Litvak said.
Litvak added that the Metro Board has to be realistic in what subway route it chooses, since the subway needs matching federal dollars to help make the $4.2 billion project at reality.
Measure R — a countywide half-cent sales tax passed in part to pay for the “Subway to the Sea” — would restrict funding to the area along the Wilshire corridor, Litvak said.
As part of Measure R’s expenditure plan, only the Westwood/UCLA route and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital routes would fit the funding requirements, Litvak said.
“We have to consider everything, including fiscal constraints,” she said. “(Metro officials) don’t want to ask for federal funds if they don’t have the local funds to match.”
Metro’s long-term transportation plan is more in line with the UCLA and Veteran’s hospital routes, according to a West Hollywood staff report.
“We don’t want to see our money going from the Westside to the Gold Line,” Belsanti said.
Specifically, Sam Schwartz Engineering will review the draft report and note any critical assumptions and methodologies that may “skew” the information in favor of not considering the West Hollywood route, including additional ways for funding.
“We want to make sure all the calculations were accurate and verify it was really evaluated properly,” Belsanti said.
Metro’s draft EIR for the subway extension examined the impacts, preliminary engineering and construction timelines for the project.
Next year, a final environmental impact report will be completed for the route that is selected by Metro.
The release of the subway’s draft environmental impact report began a 45-day public comment period, which includes a series of public hearings to analyze the five route alternatives. The next meeting is on Monday, Sept. 27 at 6 p.m., in the Roxbury Auditorium, at 471 South Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills. The final meeting will be held in the Santa Monica Library on Wednesday, Sept. 29. Public comments can be submitted to Metro through Oct. 18.
For more information on the Westside Subway Extension, visit: www.metro.net/projects/westside.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.