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Universal City Project Could Bring Traffic Hell

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A rendering of what Metro Studio@Lankershim could look like

The proposed Metro Studio@Lankershim (it will be the "NBC West Coast News Headquarters") that would be built over the Universal City Metro Red Line Station is an excellent project for the economy, jobs and the entertainment industry in Los Angeles. "The truth is we are in an almost life-and-death struggle to preserve and grow our entertainment jobs in Los Angeles and particularly in the Valley," LA Deputy Mayor Bud Ovrom told the Daily News in a story about the project's Environmental Impact Report (.pdf), which studies how it would affect traffic.

Despite being built directly over a subway station, the report says that the project would bring in an estimated 14,000 car trips per day. It's a two phased project with the first one to be completed by late 2011 and include a 24-story office tower, NBC's five-story production site and 1,900 parking spaces, including 800 spaces for the Metro station," writes Connie Llanos. "Phase II, completed in 2015, would include either a 24-story office tower or a 34-story hotel and residential project with 300 hotel rooms, 400 residential units and no more than 11,000 square feet of retail. It would include almost 1,800 parking spaces."

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City Councilman Tom LaBonge who represents the area says "What has been proposed is too intense. This is not a New York City block." But the developers say they will be promoting public transit, flex cars, a proposed direct on- and off-ramp and will be giving $30 million in traffic mitigation improvements.

But has NBC Universal, who will be the tenant of this project developed by Thomas Properties, proven themselves in the past for their public transit promotion? We don't think so. They continue to run ads for the theme park where people are standing within a block of a red line station, yet are trying to hitchhike a ride. They don't want a bicycle path along the LA River going by them. And the worst is that on Earth Day, they only promoted free parking for hybrids and not the use of the subway station right next door.

Don't get us wrong. We're all for this project and the benefits it can give Los Angeles. But they have a long way to go to prove that they will make public transit work.