Los Angeles Westside Subway Extension Phase 2

Part two of three on the Los Angeles Westside Subway Extension

Beverly Hills is a city known for its wealth and celebrities, but is also a city with a very dense core. Phase 2 of the Westside Subway Extension will bring two stations and about two miles of tunnels under Beverly Hills, serving its commercial and office centers along Wilshire Boulevard. This second phase will also include a station at Century City, the third largest employment center in Los Angeles County.

Unlike phase 1, many details need to be worked out on the precise placement of stations and the alignment of the tunnels.  The first station of phase 2, Wilshire/La Cienega is very close to a potential junction with a line to the North Hollywood station along San Vincente and Santa Monica Boulevards. Alternatives four and five of the current study (see this metro presentation) include this line. The West Hollywood line is unfunded under Measure R and will only attract significant patronage at its terminus, Hollywood/Highland. The four other stations on the line are predicted to draw less than 2000 daily riders each. For these two reasons, the West Hollywood line is very unlikely to be build in the near future. However, to future proof the Westside Subway Extension, the location of the Wilshire/La Cienega station must be the further east of two alternative locations currently under consideration. A station on the east side of the intersection of Wilshire and La Cienega would permit a normal island platform configuration instead of a stacked configuration (think Wilshire/Vermont). The tunnel bellmouths and connection structure could then be located about 1000 feet west of the island platform station, plenty of space for the underground grade separation necessary for the junction.

Metro’s study is considering several alternatives for the Century City station, both for the station’s location and the alignment of the tunnels on either side of the station. Century City is essentially a square development with office high rises on the east side, a large upscale shopping center to the northwest and housing to the south. Santa Monica Boulevard borders the area to the north, and Olympic Boulevard to the south, with Constellation Boulevard running right through the middle. Avenue of the Stars is the north-south arterial through the middle of the development. The two station locations under consideration are Santa Monica and Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars. The optimal location for the station is plainly the latter. Santa Monica Boulevard in the area of Century City is nearly a freeway with eight traffic lanes, making it a pedestrian’s nightmare. This hostile environment plus cutting the catchment area of the station in half due to the neighboring Los Angeles Country Club makes the Constellation/Avenue of the Stars location much more preferable. The only downside for this station location is increased construction disruption and slightly increased cost. Both of these negatives hardly outweigh the advantages of a pedestrian friendly station that lies in the center of a major employment center instead of outside it.

If all goes to plan, an admittedly unlikely situation, Phase 2 to Century City should open in 2026 and  cost around 2.1 billion dollars.


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About Karl Tingwald

Civil engineering student at the University of Southern California with a severe transportation compulsion.

Posted on April 16, 2010, in Los Angeles, Measure R, Westside Subway Extension and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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