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State Hurdles Passed, Stadium Talk Returns to L.A. and to Traffic

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, September 21, 2011, at 08:41PM
Farmers Field Gensler / AEG

Rendering of pedestrians on Chick Hearn Court outside Staples Center and the proposed Farmers Field project.

Now that a bill to speed any environmental appeals of AEG's proposed Farmers Field project is sitting on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown, the stage for discussion of the $1.2-billion stadium and convention center project is set to return to Los Angeles.

On Monday, the City Council's stadium committee will begin to dig into the transportation issues around the project and potential ways in which AEG might mitigate them.

“I look forward to starting the important discussion about ways in which we can maximize and support the development of public transit uses around the proposed stadium and events center," said Councilwoman Jan Perry in a statement on Tuesday. "This is our opportunity to develop a project that meets the needs of the region, encourages pedestrian-oriented uses, and gets people out of their cars and onto the hundreds of bus and train options already available."

The state bill, SB 292, requires that AEG's project generate ten percent less car trips than any other NFL stadium. That is in line with AEG's self-professed aim to make the project the country's most transit-friendly.

While the company has gone to great lengths to emphasize that gridlock around the stadium site is not quite as bad as folks seem to think, traffic remains one of the top arguments brought out by those who oppose the L.A. Live developer's plans.

Monday's meeting will mark the first formal public discussions of just what AEG should be expected to pay in transit and traffic-related mitigations.

The company has already said that it plans to pay for improvements to Metro's Pico / Chick Hearn light rail station, which will serve both the Blue and Expo lines by the time the stadium opens.

If a meeting of the mayor's blue ribbon committee earlier this year is any indication, mitigation talk will center around creating multi-modal "mobility hubs," connecting transit together with bicycles and pedestrians. The site offers "really unique opportunities" to connect into transit, Planning department head Michael LoGrande told the panel at the time.

Plans for a Downtown streetcar should also benefit. The planned line would connect L.A. Live and the Convention Center to Broadway and Bunker Hill. AEG head Tim Leiweke told a council committee earlier this year that he expects his company to be the project's biggest funder.

Monday's meeting will take place at 8:30am in room 1010 of City Hall.

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