A preliminary study has concluded that 20th Century Fox's proposed expansion would cause studio traffic to double, but still remain well within the limits allowed by the Century City land-use plan.
The study released by Fox on Wednesday contends that the 8,050 new daily vehicle trips that the expanded studio facility would generate can be mitigated "to a level of insignificance" by about $5 million worth of improvements, which Fox would pay for. They range from installing improved traffic signals and turn lanes to widening freeway on-ramps.
All estimates were based on the times when the studio will be running at full tilt. Because of cyclic production schedules, this is about a third of the year, according to the report.
Previously, Fox had planned to convert the historic movie lot between Pico and Olympic boulevards to high-rise condominiums and move its operations somewhere on the fringes of Los Angeles, where land is cheaper. Now it wants to consolidate its entertainment empire in West Los Angeles, moving KTTV operations from Hollywood and adding 771,000 square feet of space to the 1.1 million already built. There would be 4,500 parking spots at Fox when it is fully expanded.
The traffic analysis, prepared by Crain & Associates for Fox, was presented Wednesday to an ad hoc traffic committee composed of homeowner-group representatives, who will advise their associations on the traffic issue, which all agree is the greatest problem posed by an expansion.
Fox has paid for a separate consultant to assist the committee, and the report is certain to be closely scrutinized by suspicious homeowners concerned about their residential streets, which already are used as thoroughfares by many commuters to Century City.
The city Department of Transportation will also conduct a review of the Fox study.
Fox Vice President David Handelman said in a written release that the expanded studio is a better deal for the community than condominiums, which would create a steady stream of traffic. During the two-thirds of the year when the studio is not in full production, residents would have a respite, but still have the advantage of the traffic mitigation measures installed by Fox, Handelman said.
According to the Fox figures, the studio now generates about 7,720 daily trips and will generate 15,770 when the studio is fully expanded. Under the Century City Specific Plan, 16,120 trips are allowed.
During the peak hour of morning traffic, the studio expansion would add 1,140 more cars to the nearby roadways. The afternoon peak load would be increased by 1,025 vehicles.
At peak hours, the streets most affected would include Motor Avenue, a residential street that cuts though Cheviot Hills; Pico Boulevard; Olympic Boulevard; Avenue of the Stars, and Overland Avenue.
Also extensively affected would be Galaxy Way and Empyrean Way in Century City, and the intersection of Monte Mar near Beverwil Drive, which is east of the project.
Many of the intersections studied in the report are already seriously clogged, the report noted.
If it can obtain the zone changes required for its expansion, Fox wants to close the main entrance to the studio on Pico Boulevard at Motor Avenue. But there will be a driveway and traffic signal west of Motor on Pico to allow entrance to an 800-space parking garage.
Under Fox's proposal, most traffic would enter the expanded facility from the east, via Avenue of the Stars. Plans call for a 2,800-space parking garage there--serving most employees--and reached by Galaxy Way. There also is to be an entrance from Olympic Boulevard.
The studio said it can cut its daily trips to less than 15,000 by implementing a car- and van-pooling plan, and by providing on-site services, such as automatic teller machines. The company also plans to bring in its audiences for television shows by bus.