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'Subway to the Sea' meeting yields no decisions; Plan sparks YouTube feud

May 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Beverly Hills school officials want to put the brakes on the "Subway to the Sea" project due to safety concerns.

The Beverly Hills Parent Teacher Association posted a YouTube video outlining their concerns about the Metropolitan Transportation Authority project.

The concern surrounds plans to run the subway underneath Beverly Hills High School. The school is built on an oil field and the PTA is concerned that digging those subway tunnels could ignite a methane-gas explosion.

On the other hand, the MTA says their project is perfectly safe, and no such explosion will occur. The first phase of the $5.6 billion project was approved by the MTA's Board of Directors in April.

The extension of the Purple Line subway would run from Koreatown to Westwood. The nearly nine-mile extension of the subway from Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue would include seven new subway stops, mostly along Wilshire Boulevard.

The PTA isn't the only group posting their views on YouTube. A group called LAontheMove posted a video, which pokes fun at Beverly Hills residents and says they do not want outsiders in their neighborhood and want to keep themselves isolated.

The MTA held a special meeting at 1 p.m. on Thursday to hear both sides' concerns. While the meeting produced no decisions, it did see many residents and city officials voicing their thoughts on the project.

Some feel there are other safer ways to reach Constellation Boulevard that don't involve building underneath the high school. But others feel there is just too much contradictory information to know what the best plan really is.

"The original route on Santa Monica Boulevard would be a whole lot safer, we just don't want tunneling under our high school where there are children sitting in a classroom," said Jennifer Torrell-Schwartz, co-president of the Beverly Hills PTA.

If the MTA moves to go ahead with the subway under the high school, the opponents already know their next move.

"If we can't get a fair hearing on the science we're gonna have to take this to the courts and hopefully get a fair hearing before a judge," said Beverly Hills school board president Brian Goldberg.

The MTA will continue more of the hearings next week.

Metro hopes to break ground on the extension by the fall of 2013. Once the extension is complete, riders would be able to travel from downtown to Westwood in 25 minutes, according to Metro officials, who predict an average 49,300 weekday boardings.

Although it has been dubbed "Subway to the Sea," the route does not actually go all the way to the coast.


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