Note to City Council: Don’t Forget the Transportation Plan for the Stadium
By this point, its becoming clear that for City Officials, the transportation planning for the AEG stadium is a secondary issue for the politicians who will approve a deal with AEG, possibly within the next 45 days. While the Council is debating and discussing a lot of complicated issues, it’s taking its eyes off the ball when it comes to transportation planning.
It appears that the people making the decision on the stadium are most interested on the dollars and cents of the deal but that doesn’t mean they can afford to ignore the stadium’s impact on the community that surrounds the stadium site, a community where residents’ incomes are well below the national and city-wide averages.
Over the weekend, Councilman Bill Rosendahl published on Scribd a thirteen page letter from City Staff responding to thirty eight questions he had emailed them at different times. Of those questions, one was about transportation, and it was about relocating car parking spaces. Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick-down towards the AEG-created deadline of July 31 for the city and agency to reach an agreement.
One of the reasons the city should be demanding more details about the transportation plan now, before an agreement is reached, instead of during the environmental review process, is that AEG is still planning to push for state legislation that would disallow any lawsuits to be brought against its environmental documents, including a traffic and transportation study. If the city moves forward with a deal with AEG before details of the transportation plan are known, it could be hard to fix a flawed plan later in the process.
In an editorial calling for a deal to be reached post-haste, the Los Angeles Times notes that AEG claims it could one day host the first Super Bowl where the majority of fans arrive via foot, but those dreams are just that without a plan. After all, the Stadium will be located near the Staple Center, and while the Stadium will hold many more people than the arena, its worth noting that most attendees to these events get there by car.
Where it gets even more complicated is in AEG’s plans for boxing or wrestling or the Final Four. Those events and others like them take place at all hours and would put real stress on the area’s already groaning road network. Recognizing that, AEG has grand dreams of bolstering the public transportation options around LA Live and of hosting the first Super Bowl in history at which most fans arrive on foot, either from nearby hotels or from train stations or shuttles. It’s the council’s duty to see that those plans are not just selling tools but real proposals cemented in the ultimate deal, with AEG bearing its share of the responsibility for planning and funding them.
Streetsblog has outlined four ways that AEG can earn the public’s trust that the Stadium won’t create a Carmageddon whenever the stadium is full, and can do so in the next month. Our ask includes commitments to a peer-reviewed traffic study, renderings for the pedestrian environment surrounding the stadium, a plan and budget for a bike valet, and a media plan to encourage transit. If AEG can’t commit to these four low-cost but high impact items now, the Council should balk at any stadium plan or demand a promise that AEG doesn’t seek any exclusion from challenges to its transportation plan and review.