8555 Santa Monica Development Projected to Cause Traffic Problems at Holloway and Hancock

Illustration of proposed 8555 Santa Monica Blvd. development.

A draft environmental impact report on the proposed development on the northwest corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and West Knoll Drive says the project would have a significant impact on evening rush hour traffic at the intersection of Hancock Avenue and Holloway Drive.

The report describes the impact as “significant and unavoidable” with no feasible measures to reduce that impact.

The report, prepared by Rincon Consultants and Fehr and Peers, notes that 17 intersections (including one in Los Angeles) and eight street segments were studied. It said that nine of those intersections, including Hancock and Holloway, already have a “level of service” during rush hours of E or F. “F” is the lowest level of service, with vehicles having to stop 80 or more seconds than usual.

“Backups from nearby locations or on cross streets may restrict or prevent movement of vehicles out of the intersection approaches,” the study says, noting such backups could cause “tremendous delays with continuously increasing queue lengths.”

The nine intersections with high levels of traffic congestion are:

— Hancock Avenue and Holloway Drive (afternoon peak hour)
— Hancock Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard (morning peak hour)
— Westbourne Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard (afternoon peak hour)
— La Cienega Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard (AM, mid-day, and afternoon peak hours)
— La Cienega Boulevard and Fountain Avenue (morning peak hour)
— La Cienega Boulevard and Holloway Drive (afternoon peak hour)
— La Cienega Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard (AM, mid-day, and afternoon peak hours)
— La Cienega Boulevard and Sherwood Drive (morning peak hour)
— La Cienega Boulevard and Melrose Avenue (afternoon peak hour)

The development is a project of Soto Capital LP, one of several companies owned by Behnam Soroudi, who also has extensive real estate interests through his Ruby Group, Harper Enterprises and other companies.

It has been revised since it was proposed in 2013, with Soto adding two residential lots to the project site (along West Knoll Drive. As now designed, it will include 97 apartment units and 12 “live/work” units, 6,079 square feet of office space, a 3,718 square foot hair salon, a 2,820 square foot restaurant space and 15,678 square feet for shops. It would have one driveway onto West Knoll and one driveway onto Santa Monica Boulevard that will serve as the primary commercial
entrance and would allow right and left turns into the project and right-turns only out of it.

While the EIR found the construction of the project would generate traffic and noise, it said there are options for mitigating the impact of those on neighbors. It found no other environmental issues that were serious or could not be mitigated.

The project has drawn criticism from its neighbors, who feel the design isn’t compatible with existing on West Knoll and are concerned about the traffic it would generate.

The EIR must be reviewed by the Planning Commission and eventually approved by the City Council for it to begin. The Soroudi family has a major donor to the campaigns of West Hollywood City Council members.

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Cy Singer
Cy Singer
3 years ago

Development in WeHo is negatively impacting the positive experience of this City. WeHo today is nothing but a for-profit construction zone. No matter where one goes in this postage-stamp footprint of a City there are road closures, over-sized flat bed trucks, and crawler cranes. This area has become a landfill, complete with slimy grey water running street gutters, stench-filled alleyways and over-populated homeless parks. The planning and ‘visionary’ experts at City Hall are bullied by developers and shamed into submission by overpowering commerce driven chambers. City Hall needs better management. Management with a vision of a better future and not… Read more »

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 years ago
Reply to  Cy Singer

Agree. Good thing city planning and council members sit on a dais – since they have lost the last of their spines. (joke Joy Behar made on The View re: Paul Ryan – but fits here too)

Observer
Observer
3 years ago

Message to Planning Commission: Time to sharpen your antennae. This project is wrong in too many ways and a stamp of approval will will not engender appropriate future development. On an elementary level a project on this site should have been broken up, at least mimicking the footprint of the one currently in place. If anyone feels the Ramada is a forgettable, unattractive structure, desperately in need of a new exterior, the plan presented will have the same result despite its bright shiny apple green panels that one of the commissioners will love.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
3 years ago

Nate, I appreciate your concern but there is plenty of housing for young people, (or anyone) just as long as they are affluent. We can build thousands of new units but West Hollywood is not going to be affordable to young people just starting their lives unless they are willing to have room mates or get lucky and find a unit in an older building where there are limited amenities. As a young gay man I found West Hollywood to be very affordable; so many of my peers moved here that we needed rent control to protect existing tenants. New… Read more »

Todd Bianco
3 years ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Steve is right – we keep tearing down old residential and commercial buildings and building new housing, mostly on the east side. All those hundreds of units are hardly what I’d call “affordable.” All the housing built is for those making many times the minimum wage, which precludes most people from affording a place on their own. Building these new units won’t make a bit of difference. The developer wouldn’t be building them unless he believed being a residential landlord was going to be very profitable in the short and long run. There is nothing West Hollywood can do to… Read more »

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 years ago
Reply to  Todd Bianco

You are correct in applying the basic Principles of Economics with Supply & Demand determine how many new units and the type/rent is part of that. The only time the fundamentals of Economics do not function correctly is when there is government getting involved and disrupting what would make our Housing Blocks on SMB an financial catastrophe no developer would do … well not after the first completed Housing Block is used/tented. OUR CURRENT NEW HOUSING BLOCKS AND THE ONES ALREADY PLANNED AND AND APPROVED ARE SOMEHOW MAKING HUGE PROFITS – against common sense and Economic Theory. 1. The housing… Read more »

Jessica
Jessica
3 years ago

I agree with Nate. Those of us who don’t already own homes/condos in West Hollywood are struggling. Our worry isn’t devaluation of our assets (as Jonathan Simmons mentioned), but a serious concern about whether or not we will have somewhere we can afford to live. This will add 97 more apartments in a city infamous for its housing shortage. If it has affordable units, I’d love to live there. Don’t love that it makes traffic worse at one intersection, but it’s worth it, especially considering what the existing structure looks like. It’s definitely time for an upgrade.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Jessica, if you are currently a west hollywood resident, you have a home. By hoping the property values fall for home owners by a poorly thought out overdeveloped project will somehow either make your housing costs go down, or make an upgrade to you current living standards …. Neither will happen. The rents for theses new Apartment Blocks, or Condo Price … is always so high, it exceeds more desirable and less expensive housing on residential streets. So the supposition that there is a housing unit shortage is absurd. West Hollywood is already the most densely populated city, relative to… Read more »

jeffery ward
jeffery ward
3 years ago

The current project in progress on the southeast corner of SMB and West Knoll south, and in the guise of pedestrian safety has already led to the start of changing this intersection, it is happening now under the Pedestrian Safety issues, but a Left turn lane from West Knoll south to west bound SMB, a left turn lane from SMB westbound onto West Knoll south, and a left turn lane from SMB eastbound north into this proposed project, with pedestrian enhancements is already happening starting this week, and no one should be surprised if the Westmount stop and the Alta… Read more »

Jim Nasium
Jim Nasium
3 years ago

I never read them but all I know is that Jonathon Simmons’ comments are way too long.

Woody, please have a talk with him.

Nate
Nate
3 years ago

By limiting development, and not bringing down / slowing down the elevated real estate prices in West Hollywood, you make it near impossible for the younger generation to buy their first home. Not saying I love this development, but more homes/apartments are definitely needed to be built!

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 years ago

As a resident of the area, neighbor with woody, we have each brought up for discussion many of the problems that any large project on that lot at the corner of w knoll and smb. It is a NIGHTMARE with out any major project at all. Most of us have dogs, and we walk them, shop at the Pet Store on the Corner and could probably tell a new personal “near miss” or “scary close call” walking their dogs on the sidewalk and the CURRENT CAR/PARKING DRIVERS, HOMELESS ON THE GRASS BELOW THE TREES …. and “some of the customers… Read more »

Shawn Thompson
Shawn Thompson
3 years ago

You know this will get approved. The Developers made sure Duran and Hellman got re-elected along with Lindsey as the third vote its a done deal. The #weho democracy is broken

Creative One
Creative One
3 years ago

SE, you bring up a valid point. It’s time to reconsider the closures of those streets. Reopening, with traffic calming measures (and perhaps one-way directions) should be reviewed.

PeteP
PeteP
3 years ago

I agree with SE. All of these decisions to close certain streets have been made on an ad hoc basis without thinking about the impacts on neighboring streets or the community overall.
The worst example is closing Alta Loma which was done to get neighbor support for the Millennium project (now Sunset La Cienega).

Significant solutions to avoidable E & F Intersections
Significant solutions to avoidable E & F Intersections
3 years ago

This may be a dumb question but when an DEIR indicates significant and unavoidable effects from said development, why is that development allowed to proceed. That seems a red flag that folks are oblivious to and produces shoulder shrugs. There is no miracle traffic solution in the foreseeable future. A reduction in density and intrusion into the neighborhood could be a viable solution to a recurring problem. Operating in an atmosphere oblivious to that could be termed insanity.

Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
3 years ago

I tend to thing they push things through using “alternative facts” However, I recently pulled info on the failed Walgreens Project. I only scanned the massive report but was surprised, in the good way, to see there were letters submitted by local residents near that proposed project, objecting not just the project, but the responses to Negative EIR the City Got from the Review Board on first submission in which the City explained away the subterranean toxic waste that would exposed to the air and spread to local neighbors, were very strongly disputed and submitted independently by the same nearby… Read more »

fine7760
3 years ago

Concerning the Walgreens project. It seems those on the Planning Commission and on the city Council travel around with blinders on. They were assured all deliveries would be made by conventional trucks, not semi’s. I have never seen a Walgreens conventional Walgreens delivery truck only a set of doubles in the Los Angeles area. Plus Coke and most of the beer and soda delivery trucks are semi’s as well. How the hell were they going to monouver down Havenhurst and into the narrow service driveway proposed. We see the same short sighted decisions with many commercial projects approved and built… Read more »