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City, County Officials Still Haggling on Universal Evolution Project; Traffic Remains Key Concern

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There are two major projects that have been in the works for quite some time, and both will have a significant impact on traffic, transit, employment, and recreation in the small neighborhood of Universal City.

County and City officials are still trying to clarify and untangle all the pieces of what NBC Universal is calling their Evolution project, which has a 20-year scope, during which time "the studio plans to redevelop its 391-acre property into an environmentally sustainable theme park, business and entertainment industry hub with more than 2,900 new apartments and condos, 35 acres of open space, a 500-room hotel and a refurbished amphitheater," according to the Daily News.

This is not to be confused, however, with the MTA project, Metro Studio@Lankershim, which is a two-phase transit-oriented development on top of the Universal City Red Line stop that was initially projected to be completed by 2015. Both projects include facilities for use by NBC, residential and retail space, and could wind up creating more traffic hell.

But Universal claims the Evolution project will actually relieve congestion. According to spokeswoman Cindy Gardner, NBC Universal plans to put $100 million towards improving traffic flow, which they believe will "serve as a catalyst to accelerate local, regional and freeway improvements in the Valley."

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Now, as the city and county work to prepare the environmental impact report for this $3 billion "makeover" officials are trying to determine who will conduct which of the public hearings needed to move forward with the endeavor. One meeting is as early as next week, however, notes Streetsblog: "NBC Universal is holding a community meeting next Tuesday, May 18 at 4:00 P.M. at the Universal Studio's lot. You have to RSVP by this Friday, May 14 to get past security. Call 818-700-3583 to reserve a spot."

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