Culver City Council Rejects Plan to Move Intersection

Times Staff Writer

The Culver City Council has rejected a proposal for moving the intersection of Sepulveda and Jefferson boulevards after a homeowners group complained that the realignment would make it harder for residents to get in and out of their townhouse complex.

Meeting as the city Redevelopment Agency, the council on Monday directed agency staff to study the matter further and to consult with residents of Studio Village Townhouses on Sepulveda Boulevard. The residents opposed the proposal, which was rejected Monday, because it called for a ban on left turns into and out of the complex.

An overflow crowd of about 150 applauded the decision. But council members cautioned that something will have to be done to relieve traffic on the two heavily traveled streets, which join at a V intersection.

“There’s no question that there’s a lot of study that needs to be done,” Mayor Paul Jacobs said. “But to do nothing is also a concern to me.”


Last Phase

Jody Hall-Esser, assistant executive director of the agency, said staff members will meet with residents in January to try to devise a way to move the intersection without interfering with residents’ access to their homes.

Realignment of the intersection is the last phase of a program designed to remedy traffic congestion along Sepulveda Boulevard near Fox Hills Mall. Earlier this year, Sepulveda was widened, and new traffic signals were installed and synchronized to adjust to traffic patterns.

The city wants to move the intersection of Sepulveda and Jefferson because it is 300 feet from the intersection of Sepulveda and Sawtelle boulevards. Traffic engineers say that for maximum traffic flow, the two intersections should be a minimum of 600 feet apart.


The proposal recommended by agency staff called for realigning Jefferson slightly eastward at Cota Street into part of an existing shopping center. The realigned road then would have headed southwest just past Dobson Way and cut across the Studio Drive-In Theater and a corner of a post office parking lot. Jefferson would have intersected Sepulveda about 200 feet north of Janisann Avenue, about 950 feet from the intersection of Sepulveda and Sawtelle.

‘We Would Suffer’

The new intersection would have been about 300 feet south of the main entrance into the Studio Village Townhouses, making it necessary to prohibit left turns into and out of the driveway from Sepulveda.

That ban, residents said, would have made it difficult for anyone northbound on Sepulveda to enter the complex or for anyone to leave the complex and turn north on Sepulveda.

“We would suffer greatly,” resident Arthur Chapman said.

Roger Kent, a spokesman for the 126-unit townhouse complex, said the 400 residents there generate 1,000 vehicle trips daily, with at least half of those making left turns into or out of the complex at Sepulveda Boulevard.

Stan Levy, a spokesman for Temple Akiba, next to the townhouse complex, also complained that the ban would create access and parking problems for his congregation.

“I can’t believe the Redevelopment Agency would want to cut us off at our knees,” Levy said.


Merchants’ Concerns

Representatives of businesses along Jefferson and the owners of the shopping center also complained that they could lose business because of the loss of street visibility under the proposal.

Councilman Steven Gourley agreed that neither the proposal nor three alternate proposals studied by agency staff would work.

“I don’t like, or I’m not overwhelmingly enthusiastic about, any of the alternatives,” he said.

Councilman James D. Boulgarides said the situation may be one of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”

But council members Richard M. Alexander and Jozelle Smith both warned that the intersection of Jefferson and Sepulveda will have to be moved.

“My feeling is that it is broken, and that we will have to fix it,” Smith said. “Something has to be done about those two intersections.”

“We probably are looking at a traffic problem that will become so horrendous that people eventually will demand that we do something,” Alexander said. “We are trying to be anticipatory . . . but apparently that doesn’t work in a democracy.”


The other proposals included one that would have realigned Sepulveda rather than Jefferson, but it would not have achieved the desired increase in traffic volume capacity. The two other proposals would have realigned Jefferson to the southwest to intersect Sepulveda opposite Janisann Avenue. But they involved removing the post office.

The postmaster has told city officials he is willing to redesign his parking lot, but does not want to relocate the building. The redevelopment agency does not have the authority to condemn and acquire property leased or owned by another governmental entity without its consent.