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Transit Group Has Some Issues With NBC Universal Evolution Project

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Representing the Transit Coalition, executive director Bart Reed sent a long letter to the planning department earlier this month regarding the NBC Universal Evolution Plan. The TC has a few things to say about Universal’s expansion plans—basically the traffic plans are too focused on conveniencing cars and not very worried about pedestrians and transit riders—and believe changes are needed before the project “meets the California Environmental Quality Act standard for less than significant [environmental] impacts.” To alleviate traffic, Universal has proposed purchasing and maintaining an articulated bus (the long ones, like on Wilshire and the Orange Line) for Ventura Boulevard. Reed writes that this idea is half-cooked because Metro doesn’t have a shortage of buses—instead Universal should provide Metro money to operate more off-peak (non-rush hour) service on the Rapid 750 line, Reed says.

The most surprising suggestion from the TC is their desire to scratch Universal’s proposed pedestrian bridge crossing Lankershim from the subway stop to the amusement park shuttle across the street. “In order to have a bridge that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the structure would have to be of a size that would require a significant amount of time for pedestrians to scale and descend. Moreover, the bridge would only connect the subway entrance with the Project Area; however, the removal of crosswalks would impede riders switching between through buses on Lankershim Boulevard and the transit center. Far from being an amenity, the bridge will be an impediment to pedestrian movement.”

The letter also makes it clear their position that Universal “participate in completion of the Los Angeles River Bicycle Path between Barham Boulevard and Lankershim Boulevard along the Los Angeles River.”

There’s also many suggestions regarding the rejiggering of traffic lights (e.g., “move the traffic signal from the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Plaza Parkway to the shopping plaza’s entrance from Vineland Avenue,” and calls for protect-permissive signals [left-turn signals that go from green arrow to yellow arrow to green light] so that buses may turn if opposing traffic or walkers aren’t preventing them). Other small suggestions include linking a proposed shuttle system with an existing transit provider, like Metro or Burbank’s bus system, and providing free transit passes for both Metro and the BurbankBus.
· Transit Coalition Letter [PDF]
· The Transit Coalition [Official Site]
· NBC Universal Plans Brings Out the Public in Studio City [NBC Universal]