The Los Angeles Department of Transportation has sharply criticized the federal government's analysis of how a proposed 937,000-square-foot FBI headquarters and the renovation of the existing Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard would affect Westside traffic.
In an April 20 letter to the General Services Administration, posted by activists on www.federalbuilding.org, the department lambasted the government for failing to coordinate with local and state transportation and transit agencies. The government was also faulted for errors and omissions in how it computed traffic counts. The project is expected to put 1,000 more cars on the road at the peak of the morning commute.
The letter says the government, in computing the anticipated net increase in traffic, used incorrect data. The study said 1,915 employees worked at the existing office tower, which, in fact, houses 1,100 workers.
The letter noted that the report expected a significant effect on traffic at 30 intersections, yet proposed mitigations at just four of them. In addition, the department said, the study ignored the possible adverse effects on the area's busy residential streets.
"With many of the area's major arterials operating at gridlock conditions during peak commute hours, the potential for commuter cut-through traffic through neighborhood streets should be evaluated," said the letter, signed by James Okazaki, the department's assistant general manager.
Okazaki called for the General Services Administration to work with the department to revise the traffic study.
The General Services Administration confirmed it had received the letter and forwarded it to its traffic consultant, Katz Okitsu & Associates.
Activist Laura Lake called the letter "extraordinary."
"In the 20 years that I've interacted with DOT, they've said yes to every single project," said Lake, co-chairwoman of the Federal Building Coalition, a group pushing the federal government to craft a master plan for the hundreds of acres it owns along Wilshire. "When the city of L.A. says no, you know it's bad."