TRANSIT TALK-Last month, the Subway Toward the Sea came a bit closer to becoming a reality.
The cause for celebration arrived in the form of an appeals court ruling upholding the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Purple Line Extension.
If you haven't heard, the biggest news in LA isn't that Lamar Odom and Khloe Kardashian are not getting a divorce. It's that LA Metro is extending the Wilshire subway from its current end point at Wilshire and Western in Koreatown to Westwood or maybe even the Brentwood Veterans Administration, just west of the 405. That's not Santa Monica and the sea, but it's closer than a subway has ever been to the Pacific Ocean.
While some time ago Metro made the wise choice to proceed with construction (even with the meritless litigation pending,) last month's ruling is still a shot in the arm to the project and another nail in the coffin of the NIMBY lawsuits brought by opponents of the best tunneling route to Century City and beyond.
For some unfathomable reason, Beverly Hills residents have allowed the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) to trample over their rights by misusing school construction funds to enrich the lawyers and PR flacks opposing Metro.
It's a sure thing that the hired guns are the only beneficiaries of the litigation.
Beverly Hills had challenged the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in state court but a panel for the Court of Appeals ruled that "substantial evidence" supports Metro's decision to route the subway under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus to reach the best location for a Century City station in the center of the center. As Metro and others have argued for some time, that location is at Constellation Blvd and Avenue of the Stars.
I guess time flies when you are up against Beverly Hills. It has been five years since I wrote the following:
“In carrying out tunneling and construction, caution must be paramount whether it is under Beverly Hills or any other part of the County.
The time has come though to stop studying and to start building the Wilshire Subway to west of the 405. To the handful of homeowners who oppose the best route through Century City, it is time to say, ‘Thank you for sharing your concerns. We have taken them into account and we look forward to welcoming you aboard at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars soon. Please watch the closing doors.’”
Five years later, what do I have to say about the court's decision? Amen!
Yours in transit …
(Joel Epstein is a senior advisor to companies, law firms, foundations and public initiatives on communications strategy, corporate social responsibility (CSR), recruiting and outreach. He is a contributor to CityWatch and can be contacted at [email protected].) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.
Vol 13 Issue 90
Pub: Nov 6, 2015