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Homeowners Seek to Head Off Traffic Woes at Cahuenga Pass

August 01, 1986|GREG BRAXTON | Times Staff Writer

Planned development around the Cahuenga Pass has spurred a coalition of homeowner groups to investigate ways to combat gridlock in an area that they say is already choked with traffic.

The Cahuenga Pass Coalition, composed of groups stretching from Hollywood to Studio City, met Wednesday with developers and representatives of state and local government agencies. Much of the discussion focused on a proposed $150-million office, shopping and entertainment complex in Hollywood and a 17-screen movie theater scheduled to open next year in Universal City.

Traffic from Hollywood Boulevard, the Hollywood Bowl, Universal Studios Tour and the Burbank Media District, which houses many studios, already feeds into the Cahuenga Pass, "making it almost impossible to travel so much of the time," coalition President Brian Moore said.

"If it's a mess now, you can imagine what a mess it will be if everything that is planned goes up?" Moore said. Added development will have far-reaching effects on all nearby communities, he said.

Traffic problems in the area already are under study by a committee formed by Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

A preliminary report, completed June 30 after a four-month analysis, included recommendations that Los Angeles city officials study the feasibility of widening two roads: Cahuenga Boulevard between Franklin Avenue and Lankershim Boulevard, and Barham Boulevard between the Hollywood Freeway and Forest Lawn Drive. The Barham Bridge should also be widened in conjunction with any improvements on Cahuenga, the study said.

The report also recommended that Burbank officials consider widening Olive Avenue between Forest Lawn Drive and the Ventura Freeway, including on- and off-ramps. Burbank Mayor Mary E. Kelsey attended Wednesday's meeting.

The Cahuenga Pass Coalition was formed in 1983 by people concerned mainly about residential and commercial projects affecting residential neighborhoods in Hollywood. As development increased on the other side of the pass that connects the east San Fernando Valley and Hollywood, the group gained members from Toluca Lake and Burbank.

Wednesday's meeting at the First Methodist Church in Hollywood was meant to be strictly "informational," coalition leaders said, although several residents voiced opposition to the latest projects.

"There are so many jurisdictions involved that we want to make sure everyone knows what the other person is doing," Moore said, noting that the pass area stretches through two cities, two Los Angeles City Council districts and three community redevelopment areas.

He was referring to maps, prepared by Antonovich's committee, that define the "affected area" of the pass as bordered on the south by Franklin Boulevard and Highland Avenue, and stretching north past the Hollywood Bowl to the northbound Hollywood Freeway and adjacent Cahuenga Boulevard.

The affected area also includes Barham Boulevard, which is connected to Cahuenga Boulevard by a bridge over the freeway and leads northward into Burbank and the Media District.

The recommendations, prepared by a subcommittee, have not yet been submitted to the full committee for consideration, officials said. Cost figures and environmental impact studies have not been completed for the improvements mentioned.

Moore said the coalition will watch the progress of the recommendations carefully. "We have to look at this problem before the development goes up," he said. "We're so tired of the city backing developers, then looking at the problems these projects cause after it's too late."

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