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Freeway Ramps? Longer Trains? Traffic Requests Around Farmers Field Already Adding Up

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 07:29PM
Farmers Field Gensler / AEG

Rendering of AEG's proposed Farmers Field project.

The draft version of environmental impact documents for AEG's proposed Farmers Field NFL stadium should be released in January of 2012 according to a timeline detailed on Tuesday evening by the city's top planner.

If the meeting of the City Council's ad-hoc stadium committee is any indication, the comments on the documents should be full of wide-ranging ideas. Committee members focused on transportation impacts, and each had their own idea of how to solve Downtown's traffic woes.

Councilman Ed Reyes spent several minutes urging planning staff to study the concept of adding freeway ramps straight into and out of AEG's parking facilities, with an aim toward removing cars from the streets of Pico Union. Councilwoman Jan Perry noted that the move could instead create reduce chances for business activity in the neighborhood just west of the 110 freeway.

Councilman Tom LaBonge asked to make sure that Metro was preparing to run longer trains on the Blue and Expo lines on game days. Four cars just aren't enough, he said. One problem: all of the stations on both lines have four car stations and would need to be expanded to allow Metro to run any more cars. San Diego, which LaBonge mentioned as his example, runs trains that board at street level.

As for Perry, she made the much more reasonable request that the stadium might serve as the impetus for the city to bring all of its systems together to provide a single view of traffic management and street closures for filming and construction. She noted that during the meeting she had gotten a text asking whether the production company filming the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises" could squeeze 8th and Hill down to one lane during rush hour on Friday, and wondered just how such a request would work with the stadium up and running.

Two weeks ago, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 292, which speeds up AEG's environmental clearance process for the stadium project. In keeping with the provisions of that bill, a CEQA workshop and a public hearing would be held in January and February, followed by mediation with any parties raising objections to the document. The final EIR would be released in April, and could be certified in May, 2012.

Planning chief Michael LoGrande told the committee that the department has so far received approximately 20 percent of the final document.

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