Formal Appeal Filed Against MyFigueroa! Streetscape Project by Auto Dealerships

It’s not quite a series of scribbles by Eli Broad, but the formal appeal of the MyFigueroa! Project, also known as the South Figueroa Streetscape Project, by Darryl Holter of the Shammus Auto Group is so half-baked, it’s hard to believe that anyone would take it seriously.

The two-page hand-written complaint contains no new information or studies, just a repetition of Holter’s clearly stated belief (pages 40-42 of this report) that a road diet, dedicated transit lane, and cycletracks will be bad for his business. By law, Holter’s appeal will eventually be heard by the entire Los Angeles City Council. Council staff confirmed this morning the appeal will first be heard by the Planning and Land Use Committee but could not give a timeline on when the Council would take up the issue.The Department of Planning found in August that the project has no significant impact on businesses in the area, but the Council can overturn that decision.

While Holter’s two page memo hardly seems the basis to overturn an environmental study, he likely has the support of his local Council Member, Curren Price who authored a motion questioning the study on many of the same grounds. And if one needs proof that the Council doesn’t truly understand livable street design and bicycle safety, all he or she has to do is look at the gravelly remains of what was once the city’s signature bicycle safety project running adjacent to City Hall.

MyFigueroa! is a plan to create Los Angeles’ first Complete Street or Living Street. The project area includes four miles of streets that stretch from downtown L.A.  to South Los Angeles: Figueroa Street from 7th Street in downtown Los Angeles to 41st Street, just south of Exposition Park; 11th Street from Figueroa Street east to Broadway in the South Park neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles; and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from Figueroa Street west to Vermont Avenue, on the south edge of Exposition Park.

Different parts of the project will see different road improvements. For more details, visit the MyFigueroa! website.

As Streetsblog has noted before, Holter’s opinions aren’t supported by facts when looking at how similar projects have impacted traffic and businesses in other cities. A quick email with other Streetsblog editors found examples of popular road diets. Recent studies show that road diets aren’t bad for business. While some diets have caused an increase in congestion, they uniformly show a clear reduction in vehicle crashes.

In the case of the South Figueroa Streetscape Project, there just happens to be a gigantic freeway running parallel to the street for people who feel inconvenienced by the lack of mixed-use travel lanes.

Outside of the poor penmanship demonstrated in the appeal, another sign that Holter is phoning in his objection comes from the fact that he is appealing the entire certification. There are options to just question one part of the document, but Holter is protesting not just for the area of South Figueroa Street near his car-selling empire, but also the areas on 11st Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

But remember, Holter and his allies don’t have to stop the project, just stall it. The project is funded through funds from State Proposition 1C, and funding is default if the project has not completed construction by the end of December, 2014. LADOT. The project team is confident it remains on track to completion, but any significant delay could prove fatal.

  • Erik Griswold

    Delay, obfuscate, and raise doubt. All the hallmarks of Los Angeles transportation planning history!

  • Anonymous

    Imagine that…a car dealership is against having space taken away from private motor vehicles in order to install something for other forms of transportation that compete against it.

    After seeing this and the opposition by the film industry concerning the green bike lanes on Spring St. this reminds me of the immortal words Groucho Marx sings in the movie Horse Feathers:

    I don’t know what they have to say.

    It makes no difference anyway.

    Whatever it is I’m against it.

    No matter what it is or who commenced it.

    I’m against it.

    Your proposition may be good.

    But lets have one thing understood.

    Whatever it is I’m against it.

    And even when you changed it or condensed it.

    I’m against it.

  • wildstar

    I live downtown and take my VW to their dealership. I just wrote to them and told them that unless their stance changes, I’ll be taking my business elsewhere.

  • brianmojo

    What can we do to fight this?

  • Fred

    How sad that Streetsblog minions have to poke fun at the appellant’s handwriting, rather than stick to a serious discussion on the merits of the plan.

    There should be no rush to implement, Prop 1C or not. The cycle track and “road diet”, if truly supported by a fully-informed majority-public, will have see funding follow.

  • Niall Huffman

    MyFig “will see funding follow”? Taxpayer money doesn’t magically flow to worthy bike/pedestrian/streetscape projects; cities have to actively chase after funding in order to get things done. In the city of LA especially, it’s a very complicated process to even get the different city agencies to agree on a work plan before applying for major grants like this one. Opportunities to apply only come along so often, and Sacramento will be much less likely to award multiple grants to the same project, especially if the city tries and ends up failing to implement it within the required timeframe the first time around.

    And how exactly would the city be “rushing” to implement this? The design and planning process has been ongoing since 2010, during which time multiple rounds of well-publicized meetings were held.

    I agree that the dig at the appellant’s handwriting was gratuitous; however, it’s only two words (“poor penmanship”) out of about 300. There’s no lack of serious discussion in Damien’s post.

  • R O

    I take my VW to Volkswagen of DTLA as well. But no longer.

  • Guest

    Slight digression, but this is as good a place to post it. I read on another myFig article the AAA building referred to as the regional headquarters. that is not true. Their regional headquarters are in Costa Mesa, in Orange County. The Figueroa is their historic headquarters, but now it is occupied by one branch office, and a bunch of empty underused offices.

  • ubrayj02

    Raise hell with a group of like-minded people.

  • Roadblock

    Car dealerships in the city are just a WASTE of space. WORSE than giant parking lots. Imagine the housing and development that could replace these big useless establishments. Leave the car lots to the outer suburban areas like Cerritos, and build some density along the corridor. Thousands of USC students, Staples Center attendees and DTLA residents could use this valuable real estate to generate real tax revenue for the city. Selling a couple cars every month from the lot is hardly the best use of space. Sad.

  • calwatch

    As a free country, how do you plan to make this change? Banning car dealerships is not the answer, but having other development in the area to increase property values and upzoning such that a developer will buy out the car dealership is better.

  • April Economides

    Damien, I strongly encourage you to meet with Darryl one-on-one, as he is more reasonable than you’re giving him credit for. At least some of your assumptions are incorrect and his views are not that black and white.

  • michael macdonald

    I hope you will both join us here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/myfig/

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