Streetsblog Shorts: Wal-Mart Study Out of Date, Two Views on Westside Subway

We’re going to experiment in the coming weeks with a new weekly series highlighting a couple of stories that we weren’t able to build into full Streetsblog stories, but deserve more than just a mention in Today’s Headlines.

Wal Mart Traffic Study – A lot has been said in the press and City Hall about a new Wal Mart Grocery Store going in at the corner of Caeser Chavez and Grand Avenue.  However, few have discussed how out of date the traffic study is for the plan.  In 1989, developers received a “negative declaration” for their retail plans for the site.  This means that as long as plans for the 100,000 sq. foot of retail conform to the dimensions in that original traffic study the city believes there will be no impact on the local and regional traffic patterns.

I was in 7th grade in 1989.  Magic Johnson was still a perennial MVP candidate.  George H.W. Bush was President.  Streetsblog doesn’t take a position on Wal Marts in and of themself, but we do worry about laws that make it so easy to develop without knowing what the transportation impacts are.

And if you wanted to measure the impacts for yourself based on this study, good luck.  The documents aren’t online and are only available by actually visiting City Planning.

Two Tales in Beverly Hills – As news of the Shannon & Wilson study commissioned by the City of Beverly Hills, first announced on Streetsblog on Monday, everyone focused on the portion of the study that basically said that with proper mitigation one can tunnel under Beverly Hills High School without impacting the school or its rebuilding plans.  Advocates all pounced on this as the silver bullet that would slay opposition in Beverly Hills, especially when one considers that the tax that is paying for the professional opposition funded by the Beverly Hills Unified School District is under-performing.

But when L.A. Weekly covered the story, or when the Beverly Hills Courier put it on the front page today, there was scant mention of this part of the study.  L.A. Weekly ignored it altogether.  The Courier put one paragraph in a nearly 1,000 word article as though it were a bar.  The Couier also put together a ten minute highlight reel of Shannon & Wilson’s ninety minute presentation to the Beverly Hills City Council this week.  Absent was any mention of their findings about tunneling under the high school.

The narrative in Beverly Hills is that the City Council and School District are doing the due diligence that Metro didn’t, and that the upcoming reports on the BHUSD’s will be the definitive report.  The narrative outside is that the people of Beverly Hills are being led around by manipulative leaders who are fighting the subway for political gain.  When the two sides can’t even get the same news, it’s no wonder they remain so far apart.

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