Message from Councilman Mike Bonin: Earlier today, the City Council voted to approve a significantly scaled-down version of the Archer School’s project in Brentwood. This has been a hot topic around the neighborhood these days, so let me get straight to the point: I promised repeatedly that I would not support a project that makes traffic worse and I am proud to report that I delivered. The approved project will actually reduce Archer’s impact on Sunset traffic.
That’s right. It will reduce traffic. Some people have asked how that is possible. It’s possible because on any given day there will be fewer cars coming to campus, and at less impactful times – as a result of a set of more than 50 changes to the project, including remarkably strict and groundbreaking conditions, which include:
Fewer permitted car trips to and from campus than are currently allowed;
A cap on the number of car trips allowed on campus per year.
A requirement for a whopping 76 percent of students to use vans or buses to get to and from school;
A requirement that parent-driven carpools have at least three students per car.
Strict limits on the number of and the attendance at special events, and strict event management protocols that allow only a certain number of attendees to receive tickets and permission to arrive by car.
Limits on peak hours trips, even requiring many faculty to arrive and leave campus at off-peak hours.
In addition, at the request of the community, a requirement that construction be limited to no more than three years and that, during the limited construction period, Archer implement a detailed construction traffic management plan to address concerns related to construction traffic.
This remarkable set of traffic mitigations sets a new and very high bar for every other institution on the Sunset corridor. If the other institutions along the corridor agree to conditions similar to what are outlined in the Archer Conditional Use Permit and the covenant, we can create a noticeable improvement in Sunset traffic. I intend to use this agreement as a new standard for the conditions that should apply to other institutions.
This scaled-down project is enshrined in a 20-year covenant signed by the Brentwood Homeowners Association, the Residential Neighbors of Archer, and the Archer School for Girls, which will allow Archer to modernize its campus while ensuring that the region is protected from traffic and that the local neighborhood is protected from noise and other community impacts.
This is a huge victory for everyone involved, including residents throughout Brentwood and everyone who drives through the Westside on Sunset Boulevard. The process to get here was robust, transparent, and detailed. The process began nearly four years ago, under my predecessor. Over the course of the last two years, my staff and I worked closely with community members and organizations throughout Brentwood to challenge Archer to deliver a project that actually reduced its traffic along Sunset Boulevard and addressed a long and detailed list of requirements.
In an open letter I wrote to the school in October 2014, I asked for 33 changes to the project, many of them dramatic, and all of them designed to address traffic or neighborhood impacts. Working with my office and community stakeholders, the school modified its proposal several times – each time meeting more of my demands. After public hearings in front of the Citywide Planning Commission and the Planning and Land Use Management Committee of the City Council, those 33 requirements and several more were fully addressed in the project. In total, more than 50 changes were made to the project to address traffic and neighborhood impacts.
The Archer proposal is one of the more controversial developments I have dealt with since taking office last year. Archer is a world-class institution in a terribly complex location. A phenomenal school for bright, talented young women, surrounded by a residential neighborhood and one of the worst traffic choke points in the City. I am very proud that by working together, we were able to reach a compromise that will not just maintain the status quo, but will actually improve our neighborhood and reduce traffic.
Mike Bonin represents the 11th District on the Los Angeles City Council, bringing a powerful voice for neighborhood empowerment and common sense solutions to city government.
As Councilmember for the city’s Westside, Mike’s priority is to put neighborhoods first. He is working to promote mass transit and traffic relief, protect the environment, and use technology to make government more effective, efficient and transparent.