NBC Universal Proposal Studied by Friends of Griffith Park

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universal_expansionHere is the letter filed by FOGP in response to the NBC Universal Evolution proposed project.

The NBC Universal Evolution project promises to deliver “43,000 jobs, transit solutions, and 2 billion dollars of economic activity to the area”, according to the brochures NBC has widely distributed to the communities surrounding Griffith Park. Yet, the rest of the story isn’t told in those colorful mailers.

The very brief comment period for the proposed project’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) – 39,000 pages long – ended on Feb 4, 2011. Among the many responses filed with the City Planning Department, Friends of Griffith Park made comments in a 5-page letter regarding impacts on Griffith Park.

The proposed project is immense. It’s a 391 acre development which includes office space and 3,000 residential homes. To accommodate so much new traffic from such a high-density new area, widening of Forest Lawn Drive to 4 lanes is part of the plan. This aspect of the plan could have serious negative impacts on Griffith Park, since Forest Lawn Drive actually comes directly into and through Griffith Park.

“Quality of experience” is an attribute park users expect above and beyond what they expect in non-park settings. While a 2-lane road leading to the park already delivers elevated rush hour traffic, the possibility of a 4-lane road coming into the park is preposterous. Besides diminished peace and tranquility, safety of park users – the runners, hikers, bicyclists, and picnickers – would be compromised. Wildlife would suffer increased mortality rates, and the Forest Lawn Drive stretch is already recognized as a high kill-rate road, where even a bobcat suffered its ill fate in recently.

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