Update: On October 28, 2010, the Metro Board of Directors voted to select "Alignment Two" of the five routes studied over the past year-and-a-half in a draft environmental study of the Westside Subway Extension. The Board also voted to launch a final environmental study and preliminary engineering study of the project which will take place over the next year.
Work is proceeding on the long-envisioned subway to the Westside which has been discussed in Los Angeles for the better part of the last half-century. When built, the subway will provide a high-capacity, high-speed, dependable alternative for those traveling to LA’s “second downtown.” The area includes key job destinations such as Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood including the UCLA campus. Over 300,000 people travel into the Westside every day for work from areas throughout the County.
In fall 2007, Metro began an Alternatives Analysis (AA) study to look at whether a transit improvement was needed on the Westside, and to evaluate a variety of options to improve mobility in the area. In January 2009, this extensive effort moved to the next phase when the Metro Board of Directors approved the AA Study and authorized staff to proceed with the next required step, preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIS/EIR) for the Westside Subway Extension.
Westside Subway Extension Study Area
What’s Being Studied?
The passage of Measure R, and the adopted Long Range Transportation Plan, commit to a subway extension along Wilshire to the Westwood area. Nevertheless, the Study is evaluating the entire alignment to Santa Monica both with and without a West Hollywood component.
We have identified two alternatives that could be built and operated with the adopted funding plans and three alternatives that go beyond the adopted funding plans. The alternatives being analyzed in the Draft EIS/EIR are:
Alternatives that could be built & operated within adopted funding plans:
- Alternative 1: Westwood/UCLA Extension – Extension of the Metro Purple Line from Wilshire/Western to Westwood/UCLA.
- Alternative 2: Westwood/VA Hospital Extension – Extension of the Metro Purple Line from Wilshire/Western to the VA Hospital campus.
Alternatives beyond what could be built & operated within adopted funding plans:
- Alternative 3: Santa Monica Extension – Extension of the Metro Purple Line from Wilshire/Western into Santa Monica with an end station at Wilshire/4th.
- Alternative 4: Westwood/VA Hospital Extension plus West Hollywood Extension - Extension of the Metro Purple Line from Wilshire/Western to the Westwood/VA Hospital campus; and a connecting extension from the Metro Red Line Hollywood/Highland station with potential stations in or near West Hollywood rejoining the Wilshire alignment near Wilshire/La Cienega.
- Alternative 5: Santa Monica Extension plus West Hollywood Extension - Extension of the Metro Purple Line from Wilshire/Western into Santa Monica with an end station at Wilshire/4th; and a connecting extension from the Metro Red Line Hollywood/Highland station with potential stations in or near West Hollywood rejoining the Wilshire alignment near Wilshire/La Cienega.
As required, the Draft EIS/EIR is also evaluating a No-Build Alternative and a Transportation Systems Management (TSM) Alternative. The “No Build” Alternative includes all existing highway and transit services, along with the planned highway and transit projects for which funding has been identified through 2035. The TSM Alternative includes the No-Build Alternative and improves bus service and street operations in the Westside Subway Extension study area.
Draft EIS/EIR Purpose
The purpose of the Draft EIS/EIR is to study the potential effects of the Westside Subway Extension during construction and once it is operating. It also evaluates measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate any adverse impacts. As a part of this effort, Metro will refine the project alternatives, define initial Wilshire Bl segment(s) as well as future segment(s), specify station details, examine the cost effectiveness of various segments, and evaluate the funding and timing for the project.
At the conclusion of the Draft EIS/EIR, the Metro Board will be asked to adopt a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) defining the project that will move forward into the Final EIS/EIR process. The adopted LPA will identify the project for which Metro will seek federal matching funds.
Developing the Draft EIS/EIR
In April 2009, Metro initiated the Draft EIS/EIR process with six Scoping meetings where the alternatives were presented to the public. Metro invited comments on these alternatives and the issues to be studied. Over three hundred comments were received by the conclusion of the Scoping period. These comments are incorporated into a Scoping Report and have been used to guide the preparation of the Draft EIS/EIR technical analysis.
Metro continues to hold regular meetings throughout the study area to provide updates on the analysis and an overview of key issues. At each stage, five meetings are typically held to provide the same information to interested stakeholders. Each set of meetings provides an update on the progress of the study and has also focused on a specific aspect of subway planning. The specific topics covered at each of the meetings include:
- August 2009: Overview of how a subway would be built, including potential construction impacts.
- October/November 2009: Information on station locations, including entrances and other aspects of station planning.
- April 2010: Preliminary ridership information on the five alternatives under review.
- June 2010: More detailed performance information on the five alternatives under review. These are the last set of general update meetings anticipated prior to the release of the Draft EIS/EIR.
Metro is continuing to further refine and evaluate the performance of the alternatives. There is still more than one possible site for the stations at Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega, Century City, Westwood/UCLA, and Westwood/VA Hospital. For these locations, Metro is proceeding with additional engineering and environmental analysis to select the best station location. We are also continuing to refine the alignments between the stations. In addition, detailed planning of all the stations is underway to identify locations for station entrances and other details. Many of the details related to construction, such as where construction staging will occur and where tunneling machines will be lowered into the ground and earth removed, are also under consideration. This work will continue in even greater detail during the Final EIS/EIR.
Metro anticipates that the Draft EIS/EIR will be released for public review in summer 2010. There will be a 45-day period for public review and comment. Metro will schedule public hearings during this time to present the results of the environmental analysis and take comment verbally. There will be many other ways available to comment during that period. Metro staff will then develop their recommendations.
In the fall, we anticipate presenting the staff recommendations to the Metro Board of Directors for consideration. The Metro Board will be asked to adopt the LPA, authorize preparation of the Final EIS/EIR, including and authorize staff to seek FTA approval to enter Preliminary Engineering (PE). Approximately one year would be needed to complete the Final EIS/EIR and PE.
Provide comments about the Study in a number of ways:
Provide verbal comments or submit written comments at public update meetings.
Mail comments to:
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90012
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