The Beverly Hills community impacted by future Purple Line subway construction, including a station at La Cienega and Wilshire boulevards, is being asked how it would like the work completed.
During the last month, the Cordoba Corporation, a consultant hired by the city of Beverly Hills, has been gathering information from the residents, workers and property owners in regards to construction timelines, once major work begins in 2017.
“What about the people who have to sleep here?” asked Catherine Higley, vice president of transportation for Cordoba. “What about the people who have to work here? The city council is going to want to hear from [residents on] how the community feels about these different options.”
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has its own recommendations for the construction timeline, but must negotiate directly with city staff and the city council. The alternative options Cordoba provided to residents at recent meetings, including one at the La Cienega Community Center last Thursday, were not fully vetted by Metro.
“It’s something we’re willing to look into,” said Kasey Shuda, Metro manager of construction relations for the Purple Line. “We never said we’d be able to do that, [Beverly Hills was] just, I think, trying to paint a picture [for community members].”
Officials presented multiple options for the work that lies ahead along Wilshire Boulevard between La Cienega and San Vicente boulevards. Work will include two types of pile driving and decking work, which requires the removal of the road above the subway tunnel.
Metro, for example, recommends full weekend closures for the decking work (15 weekends). Beverly Hills provided three possible alternatives, which could last between 66 weekends or five full weeks. Each alternative changes the timing of the work. Some require around-the-clock work and others end construction for the evening.
The early pile driving work will take longer, but Wilshire Boulevard will maintain two open lanes of traffic in each direction. Options range from 12 months to 36 months, five or seven days and ending each day between 4 p.m. and midnight.
Essentially, the longer options would have fewer noise impacts, officials said, but the shorter options would end the work sooner.
“We have been looking at a series of work option scenarios,” Higley said. “It’s trade-offs and I don’t think anyone can contend there won’t be impacts.”
On Thursday, residents, building managers and business owners primarily voiced their approval for the shorter options.
John Antignas, who manages the Landmark Center near the intersection of San Vicente and Wilshire boulevards, said his 13 tenants would benefit the most by having the work completed quickly.
“Based on the impact of the property and my tenants, the shortest option is the best way to go,” he said.
Antignas said he wished city and Metro staff would emphasize progress made in soundproofing construction.
“There was not much discussion of all the progress in sound abatement that was developed since [the] Western [Station construction],” he said. “It infuriates me. I’ve gone and listened and seen the walls they set up, and it is a big difference.”
Antignas said it would be hard for his business tenants to survive multiple years of major construction closures.
“They are going to lose new business, and they are going to have people migrate from other locations for that service who may never return,” he added.
Higley said that in a meeting earlier in the month, a much larger group of residents tended to approve of the Metro recommendations. On Thursday, Hamilton Avenue resident Cheryl Feldman said she wasn’t willing to sacrifice as much as others in the room.
“I was the lone wolf who went with business-hour noise,” she said afterwards. “I don’t want to be up all night. I understand it’s progress, but I also want my peace.”
Cordoba will present its findings to the Beverly Hills City Council on April 7. Higley said the council will likely vote on instructions for staff later in the month in order to lock in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the 2017 work.
The presentation is uploaded to the city’s website at www.beverlyhill.org and questions can be directed to Aaron Ledet at (310)285-2463, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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