WESTFIELD MALL EXPANSION
TASC POSITION LETTER
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
6262 Van Nuys Blvd
Van Nuys, Ca 91401
Environmental Case NO ENV-2016-3909-EIR
Project Name Promenade 2035
Project Applicant Westfield Promenade LLC
Our organization the TOPANGA ASSOCIATION FOR A SCENIC COMMUNITY represents over 200 residents living in Topanga Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains. Our organization has been involved in every land use battle in Topanga since 1963.
We have had the opportunity to review the above mentioned draft SEIR with an emphasis on the traffic studies. We are concerned that the traffic impacts to our community have not been considered nor addressed. We believe the SEIR traffic study is inadequate for the following reasons:
- Proposed Project Traffic Impacts to Topanga Canyon
The entire town of Topanga has only one primary artery — Topanga Canyon Blvd. There are no alternative routes, so every commuter, every concert/sporting event attendee, and every shopper further clogs an already over-burdened highway, making the road more congested and hazardous for residents and our children. In 2008, a traffic study showed that over 18,000 cars per day traverse our canyon road, which has only increased in recent years.
Furthermore, Topanga Canyon Blvd is the first State highway west of the 405 freeway to connect Woodland Hills with the Pacific Coast Highway. As such, the proposed project will increase traffic substantially on Topanga Canyon Blvd. We have not seen nor has any traffic Study been done by Caltrans or the LA County Dept of Public Works.
We are requesting that a full study be done before any approvals be given.
Some primary concerns are:
- Westfield’s proposed expanded center will increase daily traffic by the multiples of thousands on Topanga Canyon Blvd, which is already overloaded.
- The 15,000 seat arena, in particular, will draw people from the west side, not only increasing the number of cars on the road, but likely having drivers under the influence and/or smoking who will be navigating an unfamiliar, winding road as they return home.
- Traffic violations increase in direct correlation to the number of cars on the road. Most violations in Topanga are due to driving at unsafe speeds and DUI’s. Many times, wildfires and death are the result.
Increased traffic will lead to the following impacts to Topanga:
1. Increased fire risks. The threat of wildfire is so great in Topanga, and escape time so narrow, that Topanga Canyon conducts periodic fire safety meetings with LA County Fire personnel to remind residents to be vigilant in fire safety. Commuters traveling through Topanga Canyon to a stadium are most likely unaware of the extreme fire dangers that are caused by a simple cigarette butt.
2. More congestion, longer travel times.
3. Trash along Topanga Canyon Blvd, which is also hazardous to the creek and animals.
4. Increased sound. This is especially problematic at night after an event – include in the proposed Traffic study a sound test must be included.
5. Reduced air quality, as exhaust pollution gets trapped between the mountains.
6. Ingress and egress problems with County neighborhood streets flowing onto Topanga Canyon Blvd.
7. Increased risk to wildlife crossing along Topanga Canyon Blvd.
- The SEIR is incomplete and inadequate with examples below
The SEIR completely fails to take into account the impact that the proposed project will have on Topanga. In fact, Topanga Canyon was not even mentioned as an area of study in the SEIR. This is extremely concerning for the following reasons:
- On p. IV. K-17, the SEIR states that 47 intersections were analyzed for the proposed project. Yet none of those 47 intersections were located in Topanga Canyon, which is a glaring omission.
- Of the 47 intersections analyzed, 4 were determined to operate at LOS E or worse, which is defined as POOR and indicates long lines of waiting traffic. One of these 4 LOS E intersections is the intersection of Topanga Canyon Blvd and Ventura Blvd. As a point of reference, virtually every vehicle that travels north on Topanga Canyon Blvd, including residents of Topanga, already must encounter that intersection at TCB and Ventura Blvds. The fact that this intersection has already been determined to have the very POOREST conditions indicates that there is an existing major problem. The proposed project will increase traffic immensely at this already problematic intersection. This is unacceptable to residents of Topanga, and must be addressed.
- Even worse, on p. IV. K-78, the SEIR studied the 47 intersections under the category “Existing with Full Promenade (Including ESC) Plus EMP”. This study determined that 2 of the 47 intersections received the absolute worst rating, which is LOS F. The definition of LOS F = FAILURE. Incredibly, both of these 2 FAILURE intersections are 2 intersections in which Topangans are directly impacted, including the intersection of TCB and Ventura Blvd.
- Mitigation: Throughout the SEIR, there are mentions of mitigation. Yet nowhere in the SEIR does it state any specific mitigations when it comes to the problematic intersection of TCB and Ventura Blvds. There is also no mention of any impact to Topanga traffic, much less any possible mitigation.
We believe that the traffic portion of the SEIR is inadequate. We ask that you incorporate the impacts that the proposed project will have on the 8000 residents of Topanga Canyon.
Topanga Association for a Scenic Community