Earlier today, AEG announced the completion of the first draft of environmental documents for Farmers Field, the proposed football stadium for Downtown Los Angeles. The document, available on City Planning’s website, is a mammoth 10,000 pages and the ceremonial handing over of the documents to the city at today’s event involved 13 overflowing three ring binders.
Of course, the EIR was already available on City Planning’s website.
With only 45 days to examine all 10,000 pages, the clock is running. Here is our first thoughts on the transportation planning for Farmers Field.
Increasing Capacity on the 101
When the Daily News published its exclusive report on the transportation planning for the Downtown Stadium last night, it focused on a proposal to widen the 101 freeway from Downtown Los Angeles to Glendale Boulevard. While the idea of eliminating a bottleneck probably appeals to car commuters from the Valley to Downtown and football fans alike, Caltrans and the other agencies who will spend AEG’s $2.5 million to study the project need to be vigilant.
Lat month, the Metro Board authorized a funding agreement (Item 8) with Caltrans of $100,000 for development of Project Study Report (PSR) for the “Highway 101 Auxiliary Lane Project” that appears to be the same project proposed by AEG. It should take up to six months for Metro, Caltrans and other participating agreements to be ready for the study.
Increasing capacity on one highway in an area where it connects with so many other highways in such a short area is fraught with peril, even if one only measures a highway project’s success by traffic flow. True, traffic may flow through the couple of miles that are bottlenecked now, but opening the flow in that area could encourage more people to drive to more destinations and increase congestion elsewhere.
Of course, the new traffic patterns will impact congestion, air quality, and life in general on a daily basis, not just on game day. If the traffic study shows an increased amount of cars on the 101 and connected highways, and it probably will, officials will have to decide whether or not increasing the amount of cars on L.A.’s freeways is a cost the region is willing to pay to increase access to a special event’s center.
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