By Bill Hendrickson
Traffic is bad in Los Angeles and housing is unaffordable. The proposed new housing development at 2910 San Fernando Road in Glassell Park will make traffic worse and do little for affordable housing.
Nevertheless, in September, the City Planning staff advised the City Planning Commissioners to approve the project – and the commissioners did just that.
The development, by Fairfield Residential of San Diego, will put 370 housing units (including 31 affordable apartments) on the take-your-life-in-your-hands-getting-through-this intersection at San Fernando Road and the Glendale (2) Freeway. The development will include 597 parking spaces.
The City Planning Department rejected a request by the Glassell Park Improvement Association (GPIA) for a full Environmental Impact Report to analyze traffic and safety concerns. The department basically granted the request of the Glassell Park Neighborhood Council for no left turns into or out of the building and signage to that effect. No one talked about the bat turns and related maneuvers that drivers turning right will have to pull to get headed in the direction they need to go.
The City did require the developer to take some steps to ameliorate the traffic that will be caused by hundreds of cars going into and out of the building. One example: The developer has to create a special area where residents can wait for a ride share; the idea is that if waiting is easier, fewer people will use their own cars.
Unfortunately, that sort of thing does not address the pre-existing congestion and safety issues at the location.
The underlying problem in all this is that the city does not ask more of developers and of itself to help ensure that the City gets the improvements it needs. Setting aside 8% of units for affordable housing is just not enough. Try 20%. Ditto putting up signage to “fix” a traffic problem when real infrastructure improvements are needed.
2910 San Fernando Road is a case study in why and how we have to do better.
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Bill Hendrickson, MBA, publisher of the Boulevard Sentinel, has extensive small business management, marketing and sales experience in corporate finance and real estate development and plays a not terrible game of golf.