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 board delayed action on the next two segments so it can further consider objections to a planned tunnel under Beverly Hills High School. The board recommended changing a Century City station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, citing earthquake risks and rider data, but the change would mean the subway would travel under a portion of Beverly Hills High School. The school district argues the subway would interfere with a planned campus renovation.
"We have an active oil well that we are shutting down in 2016, we have utility lines, we have sewer lines, we have abandoned oil shafts underneath the high school, and none of that's been really vetted and studied," said Brian Goldberg of the Beverly Hills Unified School District.
But engineers hired by the MTA say they will stake their reputations that the school will be safe.
"I do it all the time, and I'll do it right now," said tunnel expert Harvey Parker. "The tunnel will be safe, and Beverly Hills does not need to worry."
Following an hours long meeting Thursday, the City of Beverly Hills was able to delay the action on the section that would go under the high school.
"We need to move forward," said MTA board member and county supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "I understand the concerns that Beverly Hills has raised, but it's not based on science and it's not based on facts, it's based on emotion."
The board voted to move ahead with the first phase, which will mean three new stations along Wilshire Boulevard. The MTA will then hold a hearing to listen to the concerns of Beverly Hills within the next 30 days.
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.
City News Service contributed to this report.