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Study: Westside subway extension won't reduce cars in area

The proposed Westside subway extension would shuttle passengers from Union Station to Westwood in about 25 minutes, but it won't do much to reduce the number of cars in the area, according to a study released today.

A draft environmental impact report released by Metro includes detailed evaluations of various construction alternatives for the proposed $4.2 billion subway project.

Among the various conclusions it draws — it would take commuters 13 minutes to travel along the Purple Line from downtown to the Wilshire/Western station, then another 12 minutes along the extension to reach Westwood.

It also estimated that trains would run about every 3.3 minutes, holding as many as 1,000 people and traveling at a maximum speed of 70 mph.

But the study found that the number of cars on the streets in congested West Los Angeles would be reduced very little by the subway over the next 25 years, with the population expected to continue growing and many people still relying on their cars for transportation.

The subway, however, would provide commuters an alternative to sitting in traffic, according to the report.

The Metro board adopted a long-range plan last year estimating that the subway would be built to the Fairfax area by 2019, Century City by 2026 and Westwood by 2036, although local officials have been lobbying to speed construction of the project.

The draft report can be viewed on Metro's website, Metro will hold a series of public hearings on the report, and will accept written comments on the report for the next 45 days in advance of preparing a final report.

The Metro board is expected to decide in late October which route the subway would take.