On Monday, January 11, 2016 Metro and its design-build contractor for the Purple Line Subway Extension will present details of a draft Traffic Management Plan (TMP) that has been prepared for the Wilshire-La Brea decking operations, which are scheduled to start in April 2016. This is the plan that was requested by local neighborhoods and City Council Member David Ryu last fall, when presented with a choice between two different closure schedules for Wilshire. The closures are necessary to facilitate installation of support decking at street level, which will provide a structure under which the Wilshire/La Brea subway station will be built. (One option would require a full closure of the street from Highland to Detroit (except for some very limited business access between Highland and Mansfield) for seven weeks, and the other would close it for 16 weekends. Both options would include six additional weekend closures from La Brea to Detroit.)
The presentation will be held at the Korean Cultural Center Auditorium (3rd Floor, 5505 Wilshire Blvd.) at 6 p.m. on Monday.
Metro will address the following questions at the meeting:
• What is a Traffic Management Plan (TMP)
• Why is the TMP needed? Who approves TMP?
• Overview of La Brea decking TMP
• Traffic Counts
• Detour Routes
• Mitigation Measures
As soon as the meeting was announced, however, rumblings of discontent began among neighborhoods that had previously expressed displeasure with Metro’s earlier plans and presentations. Back in November, neighborhoods such as Miracle Mile, Hancock Park and others issued statements saying that Metro had not provided nearby residents with enough data on peak traffic flow on weekdays vs. weekends, or potential traffic mitigation measures that could be used on either week days or weekends, for them to responsibly make a choice between the two closure plans.
After a request from City Council Member David Ryu, Metro said it would conduct a traffic study and report back in January. After the announcement of the January 11 meeting, however, protests were again heard from neighbors, asking why Metro was not providing the draft traffic plan to neighbors to study before the meeting, so they could come to the meeting better prepared to discuss the details.
Metro representative Kasey Shuda replied that Metro does not provide draft documents before their official release at public meetings. She noted, however, that in addition to Monday’s community presentation, Metro will also attend both the Mid-City West Community Council and Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council meetings next week (on January 12 and 13, respectively), which would provide additional opportunities for neighborhood review and discussion. She also said that Metro representatives are willing and available to come to meetings, gatherings or events in any neighborhoods that may wish to discuss the plans further.
James O’Sullivan, president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association, said he is afraid that neighbors and – in particular, the Neighborhood Councils, whose schedules require at least a month or two to fully consider and vote on matters that affect the community – need more time to study and discuss the proposed plan before Monday’s meeting…and before having to submit opinions on behalf of their areas to Mr. Ryu, who will make the final recommendation on which closure plan to support.
O’Sullivan said, “I believe they want to rush this through with smoke and mirrors, and of course with no time before they expect David to make a decision.”
O’Sullivan said neighborhood groups should be allowed to take the time they need before being pushed to weigh in on the proposed traffic plan. “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part,” he said. “We have the right to take the time we need to make sure our communities and our children are not being put at risk.”
Ryu’s office is also trying to pull together community opinion in advance of Monday’s meeting. In a letter to community leaders yesterday, Field Deputy Nikki Ezhari asked neighborhoods to submit their “wish lists” for traffic mitigation measures, especially at well-known trouble spots, over the next few days. She noted that Metro had said in the past that it “will not be doing any community traffic mitigation” during the Wilshire Blvd. closures, but “we want to push for them to do so, or at least have the specific areas on their radar.”
If people cannot make it to one of the meetings mentioned above, comments can be submitted directly to Metro, the CD4 office, or the GWNC at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, Metro will also hold its regularly-scheduled bi-monthly Construction Community Meeting on Thursday, January 21, at Los Angeles High School, 6:00 p.m. For more information on that meeting, or the subway project itself, visit metro.net/purplelineext.