$100 Million of Road Projects to Support “Evolution”

5_13_10_universal_laist.jpgImage via LAist

Earlier this week, Streetsblog waded back into the debate over two controversial development projects sponsored by NBC Universal in North Hollywood.  One of those projects, which NBC is calling "Evolution" will redevelop a 391 acre parcel and will include a theme park, business and entertainment
industry center, more than 2,900 new apartments and condos, 35 acres
of open space, a 500-room hotel and a refurbished amphitheater.  Residents are complaining about a coming traffic crush. 

NBC Universal responds that they have a $100 million plan to "mitigate" the traffic impacts.  Thanks to the above graphic from LAist, we can break down the projects by what mode is supported.  To read more about Evolution, check out this article in the Daily News or the follow-up in LAist.

$100 million dollars!  Wow, they’re going to be able to do a lot of good with that.  I hope they don’t blow it all on stupid auto expansion.  Let’s look at the project list.

Auto Capacity Projects

  • US 101/SR 134 Interchange Improvements
  • US 101 Freeway Widening from SR 134 to Lankershim Boulevard
  • US 101 Interchange Improvements at Campo de Cahuenga
  • Langershim Boulevard Additional Lanes/Beutification
  • Southbound US 101 Freeway Widening from Vineland Avenue to Barham Boulevard
  • Southbound US 101 Freeway Access
  • Cahuenga Boulevard Widening
  • Improved Highland Avenue/US 101 Freeway/Cahuenga Boulevard Connection
  • Northbound US 101 Freeway Widening from Highland Avenue to Vineland Avenue
  • Barham Boulevard Additional Lanes/Beautification
  • Lakeside Drive Roadway Improvements
  • New North/South Road
  • Universal Hollywood Drive Roadway Improvements

Transit Projects

  • Metro Rapid Bus Ventura Boulevard/Studio City
  • Hollywood and West Hollywood Shuttle
  • Media District and Metrolink Shuttle

People Powered Transportation Projects

  • Forest Lawn Drive Signal Coordination, Sidewalk and Bike Lanes


10 thoughts on $100 Million of Road Projects to Support “Evolution”

  1. I’m sure that NBC Universal will be upgrading the shit pipe system below groun too for this project. Glad our streets and development have so much in common with the sewer pipe system!

    And @bikinginla: What was that? Bikes, walking, and buses are transportation too?! I couldn’t hear you over the roar of the traffic to the new NBC automobile parking complex.

  2. “But someone might toss a screenplay over our fence”

    (Yes, that is the reason the bikepath is stalled)

  3. That’s easy to fix, Erik. Just put a big slot in the fence with a sign saying “Deposit Scripts Here.” And have it lead directly to the mulcher.

  4. What universal city should have is a light rail (or streetcar, or yes, even monorail) system to connect people from the subway stops to the destinations. You could probably do it for under 100m too.

  5. I totally disagree jass, this new suburban/”urban” security complex needs something drastic to help keep its citizens mobile: it needs a freeway to cut directly through it! This has worked wonders in East L.A. for generations. I am sure, with enough bribes paid, you could convince the residents of Boyle Heights and East L.A. to relinquish their title as the most heavily cut up with car infrastructure neighborhood in L.A. and pass some of this mid-20th century neighborhood design genius to Universal City (which clearly beckons for more and more automobile traffic, road widenings, faster car travel times, and air pollution).

  6. I grew up on the Hollywood side of Barham blvd near cahuenga east.. Over the years Universal Studios and the DOT rammed their plans right through our neighborhood transforming our front porch into a smoggy traffic jam snarled adjacent chunk of real estate. I saw quite a few car crashes over the years from unsafe street design and light timing. As a kid I just thought it was just a normal part of life to be in a car crash. Several times I’ve seen people die, and I even witnessed a crash take out our front porch entirely. This all could have largely been prevented had universal given up that little tip of land in the north by the 101 / 134 connection back in the 60’s when the freeway was being built. Notice how there is no 101 north to 134 east transfer? That was the lobbiests from Universal who helped block it. Our neighborhood had no chance against the corporate giant and today Barham is the defacto freeway connection It looks like it’s going to be widened yet again to 6 lanes.

    This “evolution” plan is just a continuance of the Universal tradition that doesn’t give a EFF about surrounding communities it just facilitates more cars loaded with consumers to file into their money circus.

  7. One of the principal consultants for this project spoke in my Transportation Engineering class at UCLA yesterday, and I was horrified at the flawed, dated methodology they used to predict how this project will impact the communities around it. It is this flawed, morally bankrupt methodology that produces the $100 millon in road projects Damien catalogues above.

    They use the 50-year-old “trip generation” 4-step model to predict how many trips the project will generate, and where those trips will go.

    One of the huge assumptions this model requires is the mode split. They assume that mode split at the project will be the mode split we observe today.

    That sounds reasonable, on the surface, but here’s the problem with it:

    The way people travel is a function of the infrastructure that is provided to them. Give people wide, free roads, and plentiful free parking, and guess what they do? They drive. If we assume that today’s mode split will be tomorrow’s mode split when we made these predictions, we create a self-fulfilling prophecy, and we spend our money to keep the driving status quo going strong.


    NBC Evolution, LADOT, and the County completely neglect this fact, so of course they predict that their project is going to cause automobile traffic, and that the natural course of action is to widen roads. They don’t bother to account for the fact that widening roads (to the tune of a $100 Million dollar subsidy) will just cause more people to drive.

    Come on, LA! We need to demand that our government spend its transportation money in proportion to the travel behavior we want to see IN THE FUTURE. The LA Bike Plan sets a goal of 10% of trips being taken by bike. We should spend at least 10% of our transportation budget on bicycle infrastructure until that happens. Analogously, we’re spending tons of money on transit as part of an ambitious 30/10 project. Why would we undercut that investment by at the same time spending enormous sums of money on freeway widening?

    LADOT and NBC Universal operate with traffic models and assumptions that will keep this city driving forever, if we don’t stop them.

  8. Another way to put it is, the best way to ensure that the project will not cause a traffic crush in the surrounding neighborhoods is to spend money on transit, bikeways, and sidewalks, and remove the subsidies for free parking and free roads.

    LADOT and Department of City Planning can easily do this. They have the tools, and they are:
    maximum parking requirements,
    required development fees dedicated to biking, walking, and transit, moratoriums on road widening,
    and more.

    What they do instead is require development to subsidize driving at the expense of us all.

    I’m tired of paying for other people’s free roads and free parking.

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