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Fact Sheet #3 - August 2010 - Performance of Alternatives


Metro is evaluating the environmental impacts and mobility benefits of five alternatives for the Westside Subway Extension in the Draft EIS/EIR.  The five alternatives were identified through the Alternatives Analysis (AA) Study conducted in 2007-08.  They have been further developed through extensive analysis and public input during the Draft EIS/EIR that has been underway since early 2009.

Two of the alternatives, an extension of the Metro Purple Line to either Westwood/UCLA or Westwood/VA, are projected to have sufficient funding for construction and operations from anticipated local and federal funding sources and are included in the adopted Long Range Transportation Plan for Los Angeles County.  In the Fall of 2010, the Metro Board of Directors will be asked to select one of the alternatives as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) to proceed into the Final EIS/EIR and Preliminary Engineering phase. We will also seek federal matching funds for construction, as well as input from the prior (AA) study conducted in 2007-08. The five alternatives are the following:

Alternatives Within Measure R/LRTP Funding

Alternatives Beyond Measure R/LRTP Funding

Decisions that need to be made to select the LPA

The analysis presented in the Draft EIS/EIR includes an objective environmental analysis of all of the project alternatives and options for stations and alignments. Metro staff will review this analysis and public input received during the Draft EIS/EIR public comment period to reach a staff recommendation on the LPA which will be presented to the Metro Board of Directors in Fall 2010. The key decisions that need to be considered are:

  • How far west should the subway extend within projected funding? Westwood/UCLA or Westwood/VA? [Alt. 1 or Alt. 2]
  • Should a connection to a West Hollywood subway be built into the design for the Wilshire alignment?
  • Which alignment between Beverly Hills and Century City should be included?
  • Which alignment between Century City and Westwood should be included?
  • Station locations

In developing recommendations on these and other key questions, staff will consider effects on ridership, travel time, train operations, environmental impacts, cost, public input and constructability.

How do the alternatives compare?

Metro is seeking federal “New Starts” matching funds to help build the subway.  Therefore, the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) criteria are being used to evaluate the alternatives. One key factor that the FTA considers is whether Metro can reasonably anticipate sufficient funding for the project.  Another important factor is how the alternatives perform. The FTA’s performance evaluation considers cost, ridership and the amount of travel time savings that transit riders will experience under each alternative, also called “transit user benefits.” When combined in a federally-prescribed formula, these measures yield a cost effectiveness value, which is the cost per hour of transit user benefit. Other factors included in the federal evaluation are land use and economic development opportunities, environmental issues, equity and public acceptance.

The performance of the alternatives, utilizing FTA criteria, is summarized in the bar charts below.

Alternatives 1 and 2 can be built with the currently anticipated funding over the next 30 years.  Alternatives 3, 4 or 5 would require additional funding sources.

Projects must be at or below the FTA cost-effectiveness target of $31 to be competitive for federal “New Starts” funds. Alternative 2 just about meets this target and should be able to do so with further work during the Final EIS/EIR and engineering phases. Alternative 1 is close and might be able to meet the FTA target if costs could be sufficiently reduced or ridership and transit user benefits sufficiently improved. Alternative 3 is also close to the cost-effectiveness target; however sufficient funds are not available to construct the project. It would be more challenging for Alternatives 4 and 5 to reach the FTA’s cost-effectiveness criteria for heavy rail. Alternatives 3, 4 or 5 could not compete for federal “New Starts” funds unless new local funding is identified and dedicated to the project.

Issues to be addressed in the EIS/EIR

Both construction and operational impacts and benefits will be assessed in the Draft EIS/EIR. Potential mitigation measures will also be discussed. The commitment to specific mitigation measures will happen in the Final EIS/EIR based on the more detailed assessment of the LPA that will take place during preparation of the Final EIS/EIR. The major issues being assessed in the EIS/EIR include:

  • Transportation
    • Traffic
    • Transit
    • Parking
  • Socioeconomics
    • Environmental Justice
    • Economic/Fiscal Impacts
    • Communities/Neighborhoods
  • Land Use
  • Geotechnical
    • Seismic
    • Soils/Gassy ground
    • Hazardous Materials
  • Air Quality/Greenhouse Gases
  • Noise & Vibration
  • Safety and Security
  • Historic Resources
  • Archeology/Paleontology

How to Stay Involved and Give Input

Metro invites you to stay involved throughout the study. You can find information as the work progresses, leave comments, and let us know how to contact you so we can keep you informed of upcoming meetings and other milestones. Simply visit Contact Us .