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Yaroslavsky Seeks Vans, Task Force to Combat Traffic

August 20, 1987|BARBARA BAIRD | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, a slow-growth proponent, has asked the council to approve three plans to fight traffic congestion in the Westside.

One proposal, which was introduced to the council on Tuesday and scheduled for a vote Friday, would establish a Tri-City Traffic Task Force in which Los Angeles, West Hollywood and Beverly Hills would work together to alleviate regional traffic problems.

The other two plans, presented by Yaroslavsky on Wednesday and scheduled for a council vote next week, are intended to reduce congestion in the Century City area.

'Law Connection'

One of the proposals is a van service, which the councilman has dubbed the "L. A. Law Connection," that would transport Century City-area attorneys and staff to and from downtown Los Angeles.

The other calls for a shuttle connecting retail, commercial, cultural and restaurant attractions in Century City and Beverly Hills.

The idea for the traffic task force arose out of a need for regional traffic planning, officials said.

The general and community plans for Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood were drafted independently, even though development in each city affects traffic in the others, officials said.

"The pace of development has been so intense as to overwhelm the abilities of the cities to provide adequate traffic circulation," Yaroslavsky said in a resolution to the council on Tuesday. "Traffic from new development is expected to increase, exacerbating traffic congestion."

Money for the task force would be sought from the Fuel Efficient Transportation System Management program, which is funded by state gasoline taxes and provided to local governments to save fuel through traffic improvements.

The task force would develop plans to meet transportation needs in an area bounded by Beverly, Sunset and Olympic boulevards and La Brea Avenue, Yaroslavsky said.

The "L.A. Law Connection" would provide transportation from Century City, which has a high concentration of law and professional offices, to courthouses, government offices and the law library in downtown Los Angeles, planners said.

"Angelenos tend to jump into their own cars when they need to go someplace during the workday," Yaroslavsky said. "As Century City has matured into a major activity center, we can take advantage of the numbers of employees there and encourage them to use alternative transportation services."

Peter Weil, president of the Century City Bar Assn., said the service "would not only relieve traffic congestion, it would also make car-pooling to and from work a more attractive alternative for lawyers, paralegals, legal secretaries, clerks and clients."

The van or mini-bus service would be funded by riders and no taxpayer subsidy would be needed, officials said. The city would arrange for a private contractor to operate the service, they said.

The other shuttle proposal, which would run between Century City and Beverly Hills, would be contracted by the City of Los Angeles and operated by the City of Beverly Hills, officials said. It would be funded through Proposition A, a measure approved by voters in 1978 that allocates a one-half cent sales tax increase for transit service.

Beverly Hills Mayor Benjamin H. Stansbury supports the shuttle plan, and said the city has already allocated funds to purchase new shuttle vehicles for use in Beverly Hills' business district. "We are quite excited about extending this service to Century City," he said.

Joel Baker, executive director of the Century City Chamber of Commerce, said the program would "be a boon to retailers, professionals and shoppers in both our business districts."

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