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Council Approves Funding for Olympic-Pico Environmental Study
By Alice Walton, CNS
Published July 17, 2008

CNS – The Los Angeles City Council allocated $500,000 July 9, for a report detailing the potential environmental impacts of a plan to convert parts of Olympic and Pico boulevards into one-way streets. The goal of the “Olympic-West Pico-East” initiative is to ease gridlock on the two major boulevards, between La Brea and Centinela avenues, by limiting where drivers can park during morning and afternoon rush-hour periods and re-timing traffic lights to give preferential treatment to westbound traffic on Olympic and eastbound traffic on Pico. A third phase of the plan calls for adding more westbound lanes on Olympic and eastbound lanes on Pico.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes parts of both boulevards, said he was pleased the EIR process is moving forward and urged officials with the Transportation and Planning departments to work together to find parking alternatives for businesses on Olympic and Pico.

“On my side of the (San Diego) 405 (Freeway), my Pico is narrow. There’s lots of good businesses there that are threatened unless we can figure out a parking opportunity for them, so I’m delighted that this process is now in place,” Rosendahl said.

“Transportation and Planning need to be joined at the hip in everything we do in this city, and this motion secures that for the Pico-Olympic corridor,” he added.

Damien Newton, with StreetsBlog Los Angeles, urged the council to consider alternative designs that would increase “the number of people that could be moved on these streets if there were wider sidewalks, if there were bike lanes, bus-only facilities. Would we actually be able to move more people by having people on the buses?”

The Olympic/Pico initiative prompted lawsuits from the Greater West Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Westwood South of Santa Monica Homeowners Association, which challenged the adequacy of the environmental study done by the city. Two months ago, a Norwalk Superior Court judge agreed and ordered the city to complete further environmental analysis, which is expected to take several months to complete.


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