Bill Rosendahl, Unplugged in Del Rey

3_27_09_rosendahl.jpgPhoto:UWEC

Last night, Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl held a forum for residents of Del Rey to discuss their traffic concerns with officials with Caltrans and LADOT.  At first, I wondered why it was called a "traffic" and not "transportation" forum, but I soon learned why as the only question that wasn’t about moving cars or widenings was from a gentleman complaining about planted medians.

However, the forum also provided a chance to observe the presumed-future-Transportation Committee Chair on his home turf, without being surrounded by other Councilmembers or the pretenses of City Hall.  And, he was pretty much the same guy that I’ve gotten to know from countless trips to City Hall and various other community hearings.  He pushed his favorite transit projects, both bus and rail, and bemoaned the role of city and state politics.  In typical Rosendahl fashion, he even turned the disappointment of not being appointed to the Metro Board into a positive…he’s not going to owe the Mayor anything as Transportation Committee Chair.

So why is there so much car congestion on the Westside?  Rosendahl blamed the planners of the 1970’s and 1980’s for not building the transit projects that are now being plannned.

Rosendahl pushed four major transit projects as the best way to "fix" Del Rey traffic disaster, even as the community asked more and more questions about fixing bottlenecks.  The Councilman was more than receptive to relieving bottlnecks, but when discussing his own transportation plan stuck to what are probably old favorites to Streetsblog readers: a Green Line Extension to LAX, a completed Subway to the Sea, an Expo Line that reaches Santa Monica and a Rapid Bus Line for Venice.

He also pushed the building of more affordable housing so that the people that many of those who work in the 11th District can live here.  He also argued for better senior housing so that "we don’t kick people out once they turn 60."

Meanwhile, the Del Rey community is one primed for transportation reform.  While there were a lot of concerns about car travel time, there were equally as many complaints about the secondary impacts of the highways on their lives.  The chief complaint: the noise.  All hours of the day and night, highway traffic intrudes on their lives, be it the 90 or the 405, a lack of sound walls and constant traffic has made the constant noise pollution a part of their lives.  The noise is so bad that in the words of one resident, "My dog won’t even go out at night."

While Caltrans seemed interested in rechecking to see if soundwalls are needed in this section, the long term issues remain for Del Rey.  What can truly be done to relieve car congestion, and what effect, if any, long-term impact will there be from eliminating bottlenecks.

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