Metro's Board of Directors has convened today to make several key decisions. The big one for UCLA commuters is a vote on the Westside Subway Extension alignment. Will the train go to only UCLA? Will it go past the 405 freeway to the VA? Or Santa Monica?
And, furthermore, what will be the alignment between Beverly Hills and Century City? I have listened to over 30 minutes of testimony from Beverly Hills residents citing the safety and health of Beverly Hills High School students as one of many reasons that the subway should not tunnel underneath the school.
10:05AM A union representative defers a preferencce on the alignment of the subway to the Board.
Also at 10:05AM - The Bus Riders Union has begun its turn sending people up to the podium. They are advocating for bus-only lanes.
10:08AM - Bus Riders Union is presenting postcards from people advocating for the No-Build option on the basis of the limited reductions in the traffic conferred by the subway.
10:09AM - Jeff Jacobberger represents his homeowners association. Voices support for subway station at Constellation.
10:11AM - Comstock Hills resident Carol Spencer expresses concern regarding the construction of the Century City station along the Santa Monica Boulevard fault. She voices support for a Constellation station.
10:19AM - Huffington Post blogger Joel Epstein testifies. He wants the subway to go to the VA and Constellation.
10:20AM - BRU is back up. Member calls bus only lanes "practical solution". "Subways will be flooded." Points to a venus effect. I must confess, her comment doesn't entirely make sense.
10:24AM - Hilary Norton of FAST (a non-profit UCLA Transportation has partnered with) urges Board to build the subway.
10:24AM - Marlene Grossman speaks for MoveLA, articulates support for Draft EIR, calls it a "responsible and thoughtful document".
10:25AM - Diane Forte urges approval of DEIR based on ridership, GHG reduction, and congestion reduction.
BTW Darrell Clarke is the lead-in for John Walsh. JOHN WALSH, gadfly (Sirinya's opinion).
10:28 AM John Walsh starts yelling from his seat before he makes it to the podium. After some nonsense (but a funny line about how John Walsh and Beverly Hills is on the same page), Walsh is told he is out of order. "Everbody's out of order. The subway is out of order!" Walsh retorts. Board Chairman threatens to place places Walsh on the 60-day restricted list.
10:35AM - Someone from Westwood Homeowners Association is speaking. She wants the no-build option. Says that subway will simply take ridership away from buses.
10:39AM - Kymberleigh Richards rebuts comments from BH homeowners.
10:41AM - UCLA students about to speak!
10:42AM - Kedar Iyer '13, president of Bruins for Transit, says that subway would expand accessibility for low-income students, enhance competitiveness and desirability of UCLA students as interns and part-time employees by employers outside of Westwood (particularly downtown-based), who see lengthy commute times as a deterrance.
10:56AM - I swear, I'm still listening.
11:27AM - I stepped away to eat. Per LA Streetsblog, Metro Board of Directors voted affirmatively to support Metro staff recommendation for the Locally Preferred Alternative (option 2 to extend the Westside Subway Extension to the VA). Phew. Subway lives another day.
Andddd I'm out.