Questions and lively discussion ensued Wednesday during a meeting at the Felicia Mahood Senior Citizen Center about Westside transportation issues. About 25 people gathered at the West L.A. center for the last in a series of three public workshops in June held by city transportation officials and consultants so they could better understand the issues of most concern to West L.A. residents.
Officials presented a Westside Mobility Study to the workshops' participants and will use their feedback to help develop a comprehensive plan designed to mitigate the region's infamous parking and traffic congestion problems. The first draft of the plan is slated for release in the fall, city Transportation Engineer Edward Guerrero said.
Barbara Broide, president of the Westwood South of Santa Monica Boulevard Homeowners Association, said she felt pleased that Westside residents had the opportunity to make their voices heard on transportation matters.
“I think there’s healthy discussion that’s been raised, a lot of issues that were on the minds of many people about how the study is being conducted,” she said.
Parking quickly turned into the most contentious issue among community members during the hour-long meeting. The Westside Mobility Study has dedicated a significant amount of resources on parking.
The parking debate has splintered into two basic camps, said Bill Hurrell, vice president of Wilbur-Smith Associates, which headed a parking study done early this year. Some view the availability of parking as the cause of traffic congestion, while others view it as the solution to traffic congestion.
“It’s not about more or less [parking] but about using what we have,” said Culver City resident Eric Bruins, who rode his bike to the meeting.
Keeping up with private and commercial development will remain a constant problem, Hurrell said. Other key areas of the study highlighted at the workshop included bicycle and pedestrian corridors, and rail lines. Both are at very early stages in the process.
Maps, coupled with data gathered from studies on parking and pedestrian access, were displayed on poster board. Heavily traveled corridors, such as Pico and Santa Monica boulevards, were highlighted in red.
An array of colored Post-it Notes bearing hastily scrawled diagrams or comments such as “Need to create a second stop at LAX Flyaway at Pico Expo” covered the poster board.
Transportation authorities will integrate both the Post-it suggestions and verbal comments into a draft transit plan that will be released for public review in November, said Tom Gaul, project manager for the Westside Mobility Study. A more comprehensive plan is expected to emerge by the middle of next year.
This article first appeared on Brentwood Patch.