As anyone who lives in and around the Westside knows, traffic, pollution and congestion don't obey council district or even city boundaries. Rancho Park residents can regulary be impacted by what is going on in Santa Monica or Westwood and vice versa.
With large projects like the Rancho Park-area Casden complex at Sepulveda and Exposition, Santa Monica's Bergamot Village and others in various stages of planning and development, the Council District 11 Transportation Advisory Committee recently addressed the need for districts to work together for the betterment of the entire Westside.
At their February meeting they approved a motion requesting that, "Councilmembers Rosendahl and Koretz collaborate with other jurisdictions to form a Regional Cumulative Transportation/Land Use Plan for large projects that affect the following geography: Northern boundary of Santa Monica Mountains, Western boundary of the Pacific Ocean, Southern boundary of LAX/Westchester, and Eastern boundary of La Cienega Boulevard."
The motion also had significant input from some members of Council District 5, which covers Rancho Park, Cheviot Hills, Westwood and other nearby neighborhoods.
Writing on the City Watch blog, CD11 Transportation Advisory Committee co-chair Ken Alpern stressed the importance of communities working together to prevent overdevelopment of the Westside, noting that project that may exist in one neighborhood impacts residents of near and far areas as well.
"The border is just a line on a map, but living on the wrong side of the border leaves a person with virtually no voice or ability to slow down or demand mitigation for an oversized project," he writes.
Alpern, who also chairs the non-profit Transit Coalition also noted that support for the Expo Line and other transportation projects does not equal support for overdevelopment.
"It should be reminded, and re-reminded, however, that none of the citizen/grassroots advocates who fought for either the Expo or Wilshire rail lines are in favor of these megaprojects—and that those building the large Westside developments pay very little mitigation towards their impacts, or to the creation of these rail lines or other infrastructure projects."
Councilmembers Rosendahl and Koretz worked together last year to get an above-ground crossing for the Expo Line, using $5 million from the West LA Traffic Improvement Mitigation Plan (TIMP) to fund grade separation at Sepulveda Blvd. It remains to be seen if that mitigation is undone by the size of the proposed Casden development at Pico/Sepulveda and Expostion.
If that is the case, Alpern and other transportation advocates are hoping Rancho Parkers can count on our neighbors to the north, east, south and west to work together to bring neccesary improvements and changes that will benefit the whole Westside and city.