Traffic woes on horizon with new development


As a host of new mixed use and commercial development begin to come online, traffic congestion might soon begin to sprout in areas surrounding the Expo Line.

And two of the candidates for the two City Council seats next year are worried about the potential fallout of a glut of developments slated for the light rail corridor.

The Wesley, a dual-use project proposed by Karney Properties Co., would bring 234 new apartment and 45,000 square feet of commercial use at the ground level, subterranean parking and 30,000 square feet of open space at 8700-8750 Washington Boulevard near the Expo Line station.

The developer held a Nov. 9 community meeting on the project, which will join a new nearby office complex that will house cable network HBO and the former cooking supplies Surfas Culinary District, another mixed use complex at 3434 Wesley St.  and the Access Culver City Apartments across Wesley, which came online last year.

Perhaps the biggest of all is the $300 million Ivy Station Complex , the city centerpiece transient –oriented development at the light rail station that will house apartments, retail stores, shops, a restaurant, a hotel, an office building  and underground parking.

“I’m concerned about what’s going to happen to the (nearby) Arts District (a few east of the Helms Bakery District). How is traffic going to impact that thriving area?” asked candidate Marcus Tiggs, a former Culver City Planning commissioner who ran last year.   “Everything seems to be happening at the same time.”

Daniel Lee, who came in fourth place in the 2016 council race, also acknowledged that at least in the near future after the projects are completed there will be an increase in vehicular traffic in the Washington Boulevard/Wesley Street corridor.

“There will be a period of congestion due to all of these developments,” Lee said.

Both Lee and Tiggs believe a rewrite of the city’s general plan—which govern land use, planning, neighborhood development, building heights and planning codes in cities— will be crucial to how city planners design future development in Culver City.

“In the future, there needs to be better planning so that we can get people out of their cars,” Lee said.

“The key is to get people energized about the general plan and how it will affect not just the city but their neighborhoods as well,” Tiggs added, citing how previous public meetings around planning have not always been well attended.  “People need to feel like they have a reason to come out.”

Culver City leaders past and present have said on multiple occasions that new developments that generate sale and business tax are need due to the lack of projects that came online during the 2007 recession and the loss of Redevelopment Agency dollars several years ago.

Both candidates say they back new development in certain areas, especially transit-oriented projects, which are found adjacent to light rail lines.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm for development in that area. It makes sense to have some type of development near the light rail station,” Lee said.

Tiggs, who is running for council for the third time, said city leaders have a greater responsibility to their residents as discussions about rewriting Culver City’s general plan begin next year ? and the two new members of the council will be involved in and eventually vote on the new plan.

“We need to listen to the public when they come out to hear. I think that’s what people sometimes feel is missing,” he said.

Alex Fisch, who is also running for a seat on the City Council, could not be reached for comment.