Los Angeles City Councilmen John Ferraro and Michael Woo have promised neighborhood groups near Dodger Stadium that they will push for a municipal study of traffic problems generated by baseball fans.
The neighborhood organizations have been calling for such a study for more than a year. They greeted the pledge as the first step to loosening what they say is the stranglehold Dodger traffic has on parts of Echo Park, Silver Lake, Solano Canyon and Elysian Valley.
"We're moving in the right direction," said Barbara Vineyard, one of the leaders of Neighbors of Dodger Stadium, a coalition of several residents' groups in the area. The coalition met with Ferraro and Woo last week.
"I think we came out with exactly what we were after," said Jeb Brighouse, chairman of the Echo Park Renters and Homeowners Assn. "We're not trying to do anything against the Dodgers. We just want their traffic, which is inevitable, not to be such a dreadful burden on the neighborhoods."
The neighborhood groups want to make sure that the study is conducted during the current baseball season so that traffic-easing measures can be put into effect next year. Those measures may include closing some local streets to non-residential traffic during games.
Expects Ferraro Motion
Bill Garcia, chief deputy to Ferraro, said he expects Ferraro to introduce a motion for financing sometime in the next two weeks and that Woo will second the resolution. Garcia said the two councilmen will lobby other council members to vote for it. Ferraro's 14th District surrounds the stadium and Woo's 13th District is near it.
City transportation planners last year estimated that such a study could cost about $20,000. Neighborhood leaders say a proper job would cost as much as $50,000.
"We hope to settle that real quick," Garcia said about the cost discrepancy. The city transportation department is expected to ask for bids from private consultants to conduct the study.
Garcia said he is thinking about approaching the Dodgers for some financial contribution to the study.
Bill Shumard, the Dodgers' director of community services and special events, declined comment on the possible study or sharing its costs. At the request of Neighbors of Dodger Stadium, the baseball organization this spring sent out 15,000 season schedules, with an introduction written in English, Spanish and Chinese, to area residents so they could plan their lives around the games--or decide to attend on occasion.
Some residents complain that local streets are sometimes so jammed with Dodger traffic that they cannot get in or out of their own driveways. Freeway rush-hour commutes are made unbearable, they say, when the Dodgers start night games at 5:30, two hours earlier than usual, to accommodate television audiences on the East Coast.
The proposed study would also look at ways to ease traffic through Northeast Los Angeles headed to or from downtown.
For example, many commuters try to avoid delays at the single-lane transition between the southbound Golden State Freeway and the southbound Pasadena Freeway by cutting through Elysian Park and Solano Canyon. As a solution, some neighborhood activists support a proposal to build a southeast spur of the Golden State Freeway to Union Station.
The boundaries of the study, as proposed, would be the Golden State Freeway and Riverside Drive on the north and east, the Pasadena Freeway and Temple Street on the south and Silver Lake Boulevard on the west. The neighborhood groups say they hope special attention will be paid to such streets as Scott Avenue and Sunset and Glendale boulevards, which serve as feeders to the stadium.
The emphasis will be different from most other kinds of traffic reports, according to Gilda Haas, an aide to Woo.
"The goal will not be to get people to the stadium as expeditiously as possible but to make sure that quality of life is not destroyed in several communities," she said.