Los Angeles's Subway To The Sea In Its Final Planning Miles


Los Angeles Marathon Route Map Via LA Marathon

Today's LA Marathon followed a "Stadium to the Sea" route that has been in effect since 2009. The route was designed to showcase the City's landmarks from the East to the West. While looking at the map, it struck me, that this also looked similar to the route for the "subway to the sea" project, as the marathon closely followed proposed subway lines for the Westside Subway Extension Project. The project weaves through Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood and is one of Metro's priorities to provide a "high-capacity, high-speed, dependable alternative for those traveling and commuting between these areas and downtown. In October 2010, Metro's Board of Directors authorized staff to begin the final phase of the planning process for the Subway -- the Final EIS/R and Preliminary Engineering.


Los Angeles Subway Alternative Map via Metro

Residents who were not among the 26,000 people who ran today's marathon in the rain, will get a chance to learn more about the proposed Wilshire Boulevard subway extension at the second round of community meetings for this last planning phase of the project. There is one tomorrow evening at LACMA's West Building from 6-8 p.m. Monday night at the LACMA West Building (the landmark May Company store), 5905 Wilshire Blvd. The second meeting will be 6-8 p.m on Wednesday, March 23 at Westwood's United Methodist Church, 10497 Wilshire Blvd. The final meeting will be Tuesday, March 29th from 6-8 p.m at the Roxbury Park auditorium, 471 S. Roxbury Dr., Beverly Hills.

At these meetings, Metro will provide feedback from the January community meetings, updates on the geotechnical investigations, Station Area Advisory Groups, project cost estimates and the contentious Century City station.

The subway route ran into some resistance in Beverly Hills, where some residents are wary of the disturbance due to construction and noise from subway trains if the line is built below homes near the Beverly Hills High School and if the Century City station is located at Constellation Blvd and Avenue of the Stars. Train advocates say the concerns are overstated, and the location of the station in Century City would train would better serve office buildings and apartments there. Homeowners in Hancock Park and Westwood have also voiced some opposition.

Mayor Villaraigosa has pushed hard for this section of the subway, making it the heart of the MTA's 30/10 initiative Long Range Plan, and pushing to put it on a 10-year fast track for construction. The project is scheduled to receive partial funding from Measure R, approved by voters in November 2008. These local funds will be used to seek federal matching funds. The $4.2 billion project is scheduled to be completed in 2022, instead of 2036. if the federal government lends Metro money to expedite construction. Completion of the Final EIS/EIR and Preliminary Engineering will make the project eligible to compete for these funds.

Angelenos who oppose public transit along Wilshire Boulevard seem to disregard the benefits the project will bring to the city. Traffic and congestion have gotten much worse, at least according to many of the commuters I have spoken to. The importance of moving forward with Metro's Westside subway extension, bus rapid transit and other Metro surface transportation and rail improvements can't be underscored. Even if
the romantic vision of stepping out of a subway train next to the Pacific Ocean does not materialize, it would still be great to have a faster way of getting across town. Both for the people who work and live in Los Angeles, and even those who visitors who come for events, like running in the Los Angeles Marathon.

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