Los Angeles Business Journal

Subway’s Tunnel Vision

OP-ED: Transportation officials have been planning since the 1960s for a station at Constellation Boulevard. By SUSAN BURSK Monday, August 1, 2011

A lot has been written by opponents of a proposed subway station at Constellation Boulevard. The subway stop in the Century City area is an important issue for the business community as well as all Angelenos, and warrants reporting that is based on accurate data as opposed to hearsay and innuendo.

In fact, the proposal to build the station at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars has been under consideration since the 1960s. This is not a “bait and switch,” which it has wrongfully been referred to by many. Beginning in the 1960s, the Southern California Rapid Transit District planned the future of L.A.’s subway system and many routes were discussed. The Jan. 1, 1968, minutes of a special board meeting of that district state the following from Frank Lombardi, executive officer of the Planning Department of the city of Los Angeles:

“On the Wilshire Corridor, specifically, this committee has recommended to the council, which they are now considering, that the alignment is satisfactory as far as it goes, but we think it should go beyond. We feel that the Wilshire Corridor Line should be extended west under Wilshire with stops at Robertson Boulevard, Beverly Drive, and then under Constellation Avenue in Century City, with a stop at Century City, and a return to Wilshire Boulevard. ...We feel the extension of that Wilshire Corridor to serve these areas is imperative.”

Further, in the transit district’s final report in May 1968, it said this about “Wilshire Corridor – Route Description”:

“Entering Young Street at about Lasky Drive the line proceeds westerly in subway to Moreno Drive where it enters and proceeds under the property of the Beverly Hills High School to a position in Constellation Avenue at Century Park East. The alignment follows Constellation Avenue to the westerly limit of Century City at Century Park West.”

Also in 1968, two line-drawing civil maps show the alignment under Beverly Hills High school en route to Century City at Constellation. Official documentation is available for all of these points.

There has been discussion back and forth as to the best alignment for the Westside subway for decades, whether it be Santa Monica Boulevard or Constellation. Traffic has choked our highways and streets to a point that the time has finally come to move forward with these plans (that have been on the books for more than 40 years), and the realization that funding could finally be attained from local Measure R and federal New Starts funds. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (which took over the SCRTD) can finally move forward with making this vision a reality. Metro is doing extensive testing and geological field work on Santa Monica and Constellation to determine the safest route, as well as looking at both locations to ascertain which site would attract the greatest ridership.

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