Two alternative Westside subway routes which include the Wishire Corridor running through Santa Monica, were discussed at a Metro-sponsored community meeting.
These two routes, which will be reviewed by the Metro Board of Directors this fall, were selected from 17 alternative routes through three rounds of community meetings. Those alternatives were evaluated based upon mobility improvement, cost effectiveness, project feasibility, environmental considerations, public acceptance, and other factors.
Metro’s Jody Litvak explained to the gathered crowd at the Santa Monica Main Library on Wednesday, September 3, that construction could begin in three years if the Metro Board chooses one of the remaining alternatives and if the needed funding becomes available. The big “ifs” are whether the voters approve the one-half cent sales tax increase for mass transit this November (Measure R), and if the other sources for additional funding can be found.
Metro projects that if the tax were approved, up to $40 billion would be made available for transportation projects for Los Angeles County over the next 30 years, and a portion of those funds could be allocated toward the “Metro Westside Subway Extension.”
Alternative 1 is the “best” Wilshire Boulevard route, and Alternative 11 includes the Wilshire Alternative but combines it with a West Hollywood subway route. Stations for both alternatives that would be in Santa Monica are proposed for Wilshire Boulevard and 26th Street, Wilshire Boulevard and 16th Street, and Wilshire Boulevard and 4th Street.
The cost estimates in 2008 dollars are: for the Wilshire Alternative, $6.1 billon ($475 million per mile); and for the Combined Alternative, $9 billion ($510 million per mile).
Almost all of those who gave public input at the meeting expressed support for the Combined Alternative 11. Dana Gabbard, Executive Secretary for the Southern California Transit Advocates, pointed out that “10 years ago, people laughed at us when we said we’re going to build a subway under Wilshire someday.” He then reminded all the mass transit activists in the room that now “we’ve got to fight with some of the biggest cities in the country to get a piece of the [federal] transit pie” to fund the subway.
Valley resident Rodger Christianson emphasized that if “this project is done right, it will do what no freeway has ever done.”
If the Metro Board approves one of the alternatives, it will then go through an extensive environmental review, which will include details of station locations, alignments between stations, project impacts and mitigation measures, project cost and phasing, cost effectiveness and project elements, and the preparation of a federal funding application.
Additional information can be found at metro.net/westside, on Facebook at “Metro Westside Extension,” or by calling the project information line at 213.922.6934.