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Traffic Proposal Could Raise $235 Million : Developers Would Pay for Improvements to Ensure Free Flow by LAX

March 21, 1985|KENNETH J. FANUCCHI | Times Staff Writer

Developers of industrial and commercial coastal property in Los Angeles would have to pay as much as $235 million for transportation improvements under a proposed ordinance designed to ensure free-flowing traffic between Venice and Los Angeles International Airport.

Prepared by the city's Planning and Transportation departments, the proposal would allow developers to pay less in fees if they implement plans to reduce the number of automobile trips from their new buildings.

"Every development that puts cars on the streets is going to be affected by the plan," said David Gay, a Los Angeles city planner. "The large developments must figure a way to get cars off the streets. You won't see traffic congestion disappear when the plan is implemented. But you might see the congestion slowed down."

The proposal, known officially as the Coastal Transportation Corridor Specific Plan, covers property west of the San Diego Freeway between Santa Monica and El Segundo. The territory includes the massive Summa Corp. development, near Marina del Rey, that may be annexed by the city.

Public meetings on the plan will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Loyola Marymount University, Westchester, and April 4 at Old Venice City Hall, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice. A public hearing on the draft environmental impact report is set for 7 p.m. April 17 in the Westchester Municipal Building, 7166 W. Manchester Blvd., Westchester.

The plan then will be heard by the City Planning Commission and the City Council, where it has the support of Council President Pat Russell. Russell last May established the Ad Hoc Transportation Corridor Committee to oversee development of the proposal.

Under the plan, a developer would pay a one-time fee of $2,010 for each afternoon rush-hour trip generated by a new development. The fee is based on the cost of public improvements to accommodate a single automobile over a 25-year period.

The number of trips is determined by the size and type of business, ranging from a low of 0.3 trips per 1,000 square feet in an industrial storage facility to a high of at least 200 trips for a commercial office building of more than 100,000 square feet. Planners have projected that fees could total $235 million over the next 25 years.

Transportation fees on commercial property in the development proposed by the Summa Corp. have been estimated at $12 million.

Residential property, churches, temples, schools below college level and commercial parking lots would be exempt.

The money would be placed in a trust fund for traffic-management programs, public-transit improvements, widening of existing routes and construction of new ones. It could not be used for routine maintenance, alley improvements or curb, gutter and sidewalk repairs.

Some of the projects suggested for funding:

- Extending Admiralty Way as a four-lane highway from Jefferson Boulevard south to Lincoln Boulevard.

- Extending Airport Boulevard south of Century Boulevard, under LAX runways as a six-lane road to intersect with Imperial Highway.

- Widening Centinela Avenue from Sepulveda Boulevard to National Boulevard; Culver Boulevard from the Marina Freeway to Sepulveda Boulevard; Lincoln Boulevard north of Venice Boulevard, and Rose Avenue between Lincoln and the beach parking lots.

- Widening the approaches to several intersections, among them Lincoln/Manchester, Lincoln/Venice, Lincoln/ Washington, Sepulveda/La Cienega and Airport/Century.

City planner Gay said that the fees would represent a substantial increase in the city's street capital improvement program, in which the expenditures now average $9 million yearly.

"You can easily determine that the city would have a much greater capability of improving the transportation system in the city," he said.

Developers could reduce their fees by a variety of methods, including dedicating land for a light-rail line or transit stop or building a pedestrian bridge or tunnel. They could also subsidize a ride-sharing or transit-pass program or the building and operation of bus or light-rail transit systems or stations.

Gay conceded that the plan's major impact would be felt in Westchester and around the airport, where there is more open land for development, rather than in the Venice, Palms and Mar Vista areas, which are already heavily developed.

"But there still is a lot of development in the Westside," he said, "particularly in tearing down smaller buildings to construct large ones. With the new fee structure, the city will be allowed to improve the system."

He said that he has heard some complaints about the plan from developers, but has not encountered major organized opposition.

"I don't know how the plan will be accepted," Gay said. "We think there is general support for the plan because traffic congestion is not good for business."

Pat Stitzenberger, executive director of the Coastal Transportation Coalition, a consortium of six large Westside and airport corporations, said that it is premature for her group to comment on the plan. "We will want to see more details before making a judgment," she said.

She said that the coalition is most concerned that the programs developed under the plan actually improve traffic in the area.

"We want some bang for the buck," Stitzenberger said. "We want a good set of improvements. We want to avoid the problems of downtown Los Angeles by keeping the traffic mobility at least as good as it is today."

Members of the coalition include Playa Vista, Howard Hughes Center, Hughes Aircraft, Continental Development Corp., Garrett Corp. and the Koll Co.

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