Streetsblog Shorts: Wal-Mart Study Out of Date, Two Views on Westside Subway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  However, few have discussed how out of date the traffic study is for the plan.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.



Salad Days Are Over for Walmart. Now What?

The business model for big box stores like Walmart just doesn’t seem to be holding up quite like it did for so long. Wall Street analysts are suggesting some sweeping changes for the retail giant with the enormous parking lots. Chuck Marohn at Strong Towns points us to this snippet from CBS News: The big-box […]

Mad As Hell Or Mad As a Hatter?

No one can deny that our region is gripped by many problematic planning pressures – intense traffic congestion, unaffordable housing, increasing density, and the aesthetic blight of poorly designed buildings. Residents’ frustration often boils over at city council and community group meetings. Are planning "elites" so out of touch with resident concerns that they have […]

Just Words, Mr. President?

Barack Obama is justly renowned for his speaking style; he chooses his words with professorial precision. But on today’s featured Streetsblog Network post, the NRDC‘s Deron Lovaas, writing at The Infrastructurist, points out that the president used the "H" word — that would be "highways" — inaccurately during a recent visit to the USDOT: Photo […]

Today on

Streetsblog Network is our brand new clearinghouse of sustainable transport, smart growth and livable streets news, linked from blogs across the country. Here’s a taste of what’s on the site right now. Seeking Redemption for the Strip Mall. Milwaukee, WI: Is there an upside to strip mall sprawl? Some believe big box stores like Wal-Mart, […]