Study Projects Traffic Impact on Fountain Avenue from 8150 Sunset Project

8150-sunset-blvd
Artist rendering of proposed 8150 Sunset Blvd. project

 

CORRECTION:  The following story has been corrected to note that West Hollywood City Councilmember John Duran did not vote against a proposal that the city ask a joint committee of the state legislature to deny immediate approval of a request by Townscape Partners. In fact, Duran abstained from that vote, telling his Council colleagues that the proposal had come before them so late that he didn’t have time to adequately analyze it. WEHOville regrets the error.

The controversial project proposed for 8150 Sunset Boulevard on the northern border of West Hollywood is likely to have an impact on traffic in WeHo according to a study commissioned by the project’s developer.

The study, by Hirsch Green Transportation Consulting, projects a delay of 1.3 minutes per vehicle during evening rush hours at the intersection of Havenhurst Drive and Fountain Avenue in 2018, by which time the project is expected to be completed.

Fountain already is congested from 5 p.m. to as late as 7 p.m. by motorists seeking to avoid congestion on Santa Monica Boulevard to the south. The Hirsch Green study says between 33,500 and 35,000 cars travel each day in both directions on Fountain between Sweetzer Avenue to the west and Fairfax Avenue to the east.

Havenhurst Drive, dominated by multi-family residential buildings, now has an average of just over 1,800 vehicles per day. The study doesn’t see much impact from the project on Havenhurst traffic from the project’s restaurants and shops, noting that cars cannot enter the commercial parking structure from Havenhurst and those exiting onto Havenhurst may only make a right turn toward Sunset. However, it says that 60 percent of the traffic from residents coming into the project is likely to enter the driveway on Havenhurst Drive. Those leaving the residential parking structure will only be allowed to make a right turn, taking them to Sunset Boulevard. If headed south, those residents are likely to swing around the block and drive south on Crescent Heights, the study says.

The study predicts only very minor delays at 14 other West Hollywood intersections such as Sunset and La Cienega boulevards and Fountain and Sweetzer avenues. Hirsch Green recommends that a traffic light be installed at the Havenhurst / Fountain intersection to reduce traffic wait time there.

Increased traffic is only one of several issues raised by nearby residents of West Hollywood who are opposed to the project, which sits within the boundaries of Los Angeles. The 2.6 acre site is bordered Sunset Boulevard on the north, Havenhurst Drive on the west and North Crescent Heights Boulevard on the east. Havenhurst and North Crescent Heights, which are within West Hollywood’s borders, are the site of a number of condominium and apartment buildings.

At a meeting with Townscape Partners in September 2013, area residents also aired concerns over the project’s impact on available parking, on the demolition of the Chase Bank building on the project site, which some see as having historical qualities, and on the impact of a 16-story apartment building along Havenhurst.

The 8150 Sunset project would include approximately 111,339 square feet of commercial retail and restaurant space on three lower levels (one of them underground) and one rooftop level. In addition, it would include 223,000 square feet of residential space, with 249 market rate apartments and 28 apartments for low income people. Among the amenities it would offer residents is a private pool about 7,000 square feet of space devoted to a fitness center, lobby, library and business center. The 849 parking spaces would be housed in a seven‐level structure, three of whose levels would be almost or completely underground.

The recently released draft environmental impact study of the project projects a 17 percent increase in overall traffic because of it, with 6,373 trips per day, including 231 trips during the morning peak hour, and 565 trips during the evening peak hour. Of those trips, nearly 5,000 are projected to come from visitors to the projects shops. The shopping center now on the site generates about 5,296 daily trips, including 313 trips during the morning peak hour, and 349 trips during the evening peak hour according to the environmental review.

In its lengthy fight to get approval for the project Townscape was successful in having the state give it a special status that would protect it from a prolonged legal battle with residents who oppose it. That status also would bar local agencies from considering the aesthetic or parking impact of the project in deciding whether to approve it.

Townscape has asked that the project be designated as an “environmental leadership development project” (ELDP). That designation means the local agency evaluating the project can’t consider its impact on parking or aesthetic issues such as whether it creates increased glare or blocks the view of public spaces. It also stipulates that any lawsuits regarding the project must be resolved within 270 days.

The West Hollywood City Council last May asked a joint committee of the state legislature to deny Townscape’s request in a five to one vote. John Duran abstained from that vote, telling his Council colleagues that the proposal had come before them so late that he didn’t have time to adequately analyze it. Duran has been a major recipient of campaign donations for his last City Council race and his unsuccessful race last summer for a seat on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors from Townscape and one of its partners, Tyler Siegel. Duran also has spoken in favor of Townscape’s controversial 8899 Beverly project. The Council in September asked city staff members to work with Townscape to explore the possibility of reducing the size of the project, which would more than double a building that already exceeds the size permitted by the city’s zoning ordinance.

The Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council Planning, Land Use & Management committee will hold a public meeting to discuss the draft environmental review plan at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the William & Ariel Durant Public Library at 7140 Sunset Blvd.


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Franz
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Franz

Fountain Ave needs to be slowed down anyway. It’s a residential street, yet people treat it like a freeway, with speeds of up to 45 mph+ being the norm. More stop signs are needed, the speed limit reduced to 25 mph and an actual bike lane needs to be added. I live on Fountain and Pointsettia Pl and everyone speeds. It’s not a very pleasant place to walk on. It’s also a designated bike route but it’s so dangerous to bike on because of the speeding!

fine7760
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Most of Fountain Ave. west of La Brea is in both Los Angeles (north side) and West Hollywood (south side). That alone presents problems. I agree, it’s not safe to ride one’s bike on Fountain. But it’s also unsafe to ride on Santa Monica and Sunset. These stupid ideas that if the city paints a line in the street all of a sudden bike riders are safe is pure fantasy. Some drivers have a hard time just staying in one lane and not hitting another motor vehicle. Added to the normal hazards are bike riders. In addition those so called… Read more »

judson greene
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judson greene

The common denominator of all these projects is that the citizen’s of West Hollywood keep telling the elected Council Members at Large aka Council Members responsible to nobody that we are not interested in these huge developments. We are in a record drought being told to conserve as there is no water coming in the foreseeable future that will eliminate this drought and we are told to cut consumption of electricity as there is no more power coming down Path 15. Yet West Hollywood manipulated the regulation LA has that resources and emergency water and power have proven resources by… Read more »

PeteP
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PeteP

If you followed the approval process for the Sunset/La Cienega project (called Sunset Millennium at the time), you would know that it did not have to undergo a complete environmental review. Instead, it piggybacked on the approval of the “Master EIR” for the Sunset Specific Plan which was approved years earlier. Moreover, the original proposal for that site contemplated condos – now it is mostly hotel. Hotel projects generate much more traffic than residential. Also, don’t forget that there’s an existing commercial project at the Crescent Heights site that currently generates huge amounts of traffic (including a McDonald’s drive thru).… Read more »

mike dunn
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mike dunn

The current La Cienega project had a environmental impact report done several years ago before the project was abandoned. Besides the low rise commercial there were two high rise buildings, one on each corner. The amount of traffic even with that tacky Mc Donald’s does not generate the massive traffic that will result from this new project. With that said all vehicle entrances/exits from the project should use either Sunset and /or Crescent Hghts. Why should the residential neighborhood be impacted with the added traffic generated by this mostly commercial development? Close the street at the West Hollywood border and… Read more »

mike dunn
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mike dunn

The Sunset/ La Cienega project replaces two high rises and numerous other commercial buildings. I think this new development being built using some half a** law that makes it next to impossible for anyone to oppose it needs a unusual unorthodox solution. In my opinion the Target project was built without a right turn lane at La Brea and a safer farside MTA bus stop not implemented. Progress cannot be stopped. Old, inefficient developments are going to be replaced. Other than the historic bank building the rest of the tacky shopping plaza needs to be replaced. But using this weird… Read more »

PeteP
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PeteP

I see. So it’s OK for West Hollywood to generate huge increases in traffic with the Sunset/La Cienega project along with all of the other new hotel projects along Sunset, but any development in L.A. must be shut down. The fact is that WeHo has a long history of approving projects that will negatively impact traffic in L.A. The Target project is a perfect example. It is located right on the boundary with L.A. and generates huge amounts of traffic. With respect to shutting down Havenhurst, that is a terrible idea. WeHo has already shut down numerous streets that flow… Read more »

mike dunn
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mike dunn

Simple solution! Make Havenhurst a “Dead -End ” street terminating at the West Hollywood border. Then all the new traffic created in Los Angeles has to stay in Los Angeles until it starts down Crescent Hghts. and Fountain Ave will not be affected.