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Beverly Hills News – City Council to Explore a Second Portal at Wilshire/Rodeo Metro Station

Posted: Wednesday, August 5, 2015 – 2:50 PM

By Victoria Talbot

With work underway at the La Cienega station to relocate utilities, the Beverly Hills City Council began discussions on the second Beverly Hills “Wilshire/Rodeo” portal for the Metro Purple Line Extension, to be located on Wilshire Boulevard between the alley on N. Canon Drive and Reeves Drive.

Currently, that station is planned to run from Wilshire/Rodeo to Century City at Constellation Boulevard, pending litigation with the Beverly Hills Unified School District over tunneling beneath Beverly Hills High School, which is ongoing. 

Metro has budgeted a single portal access on the southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Reeves Drive for access to the business triangle which is to be located at the current site of the Ace Gallery at 9430 Wilshire Blvd. Other buildings impacted to be used for staging are located at 9383, 9393, and 9399 Wilshire Boulevard.

Councilman Willie Brien requested to have a second portal on the agenda for Tuesday’s Study Session to examine whether to ask staff to study that possibility for pedestrians. An exit on the north side of the street would avert pedestrian crossings on the busy Wilshire intersection to reach the business triangle.

Brien’s contention is that the City should be diligent in exploring every possibility now because there will not be any opportunity to do so once the station is completed. 

The cost of a second portal is estimated to exceed $25 million, said City engineer Mark  Cuneo. Costs for the second portal would then would be paid with local and private funding.

The building being considered is located adjacent to the 9461 Wilshire Boulevard Office building, currently occupied by Chase. A conceptual design from 2011 showed that a “half portal could be built at this location with the removal of the southbound turn lane from Beverly Drive to Wilshire Boulevard. A development agreement from August 2007 includes a provision that the developer provide an easement for the purpose of a portal for  a subway station under Wilshire Boulevard,” according to the staff report.

The tentative plan is to proceed with “advanced preliminary engineering” for Section 2, from Wilshire/Rodeo to Century City. The draft Project Definition Documents for Section 2 will include the Wilshire/Rodeo station plans, street work sections, traffic control, utility relocations and construction staging areas to be used for procurement of the Design-Build Contractor for that section.

In 2011, Councilmember Lili Bosse was on the Planning Commission. Bosse pointed out that the commission discussions showed that the City would lose 14 parking spaces and the right-turn lane on Beverly Drive. For that reason, the second portal was not pursued.

Other options include a “half-portal” insisted Brien. “A second partial portal, not a full portal,” said Brien, “like in New York and Washington, D.C. with escalators or elevators that would take up less space without the larger impacts.”

Mirisch agreed with Brien’s assessment. “You gotta cross the street,” said Vice Mayor John Mirisch. “We’ve got one shot at it. This is one of the reasons we are paying billions in taxes to Metro and they should get it right the first time.”

Council agreed to have staff investigate the second portal and look at traffic and parking impacts and budget. 

Both stations, La Cienega and Rodeo/Wilshire, are being constructed without a plan for public parking and to date, Cuneo confirmed, Metro has no curb cut-out for drop-offs, either. “Access is one of the things we are discussing with Metro,” he said.

Metro has proposed a bicycle option for access, calling it “first-mile/last mile,” with a proposal to eventually incorporate bike share stations along the route. 

Touted as transportation to the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles, access to the Metro is indeed, going to be an issue. 

Ladies, enjoy the bike ride to the portals in your evening gowns!

 

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