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.