The city's preliminary deal with Anschutz Entertainment Group is light on the mitigation front, which has some traffic engineers wondering just how the developers plan to keep cars moving after the games. From the LA Weekly:
Robert Shanteau, a California consulting traffic engineer who helped create statewide standards for traffic signals that detect bicycles and motorcycles, is bothered that no City Council member seriously broached the subject of the massive costs to rebuild downtown roads and possibly freeway on-ramps and off-ramps. Those infrastructure needs were left out of both the MOU and the city's key analysis, the so-called "Comprehensive Economic Analysis of the Proposed Downtown Los Angeles Stadium and Convention Center Project." "In working for public agencies," Shanteau says, "I have found it impossible to provide unbiased professional input on a project when the City Council members have already made up their minds they want it."
Presumably, the traffic issue will come up in the environmental impact report that AEG is preparing on the stadium. Thing is, what happens if the mitigations proposed are not deemed adequate? Would the City Council be willing nix the entire project? Doubtful. And what happens if the stadium requires more infrastructure work than AEG is willing to pay for? Does that mean it's on L.A.'s dime? Better not be.
Traffic engineers and environmental leaders say congestion downtown can be expected to worsen drastically, despite rosy depictions by AEG, with "mitigation" around Farmers Field easily costing tens of millions of dollars. Under the city's longtime approach to development, they say AEG won't pay for more than a fraction of that, while taxpayers can expect to pay about 90 percent. And they expect the mitigations to fall short, leaving downtown with permanent new traffic problems. [AEG flak Michael] Roth sees it differently, assuring L.A. Weekly that an extensive traffic study launched by AEG, which he says has long been under way, will show that "we will be OK on traffic."
Quentin Fleming, a consultant who teaches strategic management at USC's Marshall School of Business, was at a June meeting in Mar Vista where Leiweke and an AEG traffic engineer again touted downtown's easy-in/easy-out access. Fleming couldn't believe what he was hearing. "AEG's claim defied reality," he says. "If the stadium is going to be as 'successful' as AEG claims, traffic is going to be a nightmare."
James Moore who handles transportation issues at the Rand Corp., tells the Weekly: "We have no business making the stadium decision without this level of [traffic] analysis in all dimensions."