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Council addresses local traffic

Ben Godar

City Council members meeting this week to discuss traffic issues said

they would be willing to consider a policy to limit development that

contributes significantly to street congestion.

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The proposal was raised Tuesday during the first of two scheduled

traffic study sessions designed to provide the council with an

overview of traffic issues facing the city as well as projections for

future road use.

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The amount of traffic congestion is measured on a scale of A

through F, with A representing free-flowing traffic and F categorized

by long stoppages. During peak times, Traffic Engineer Ken Johnson

told the council the level of service in Burbank ranks in the D

range.

City officials expect development of commercial and industrial

space to grow at a net pace of 648,000 square feet per year through

2015. That would mean an additional 8,000 to 10,000 cars per year on

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the road, Johnson said.

Despite the continuing growth, Johnson said improvements such as

traffic signal interconnection would help mitigate congestion.

“We will never get back to the 1950s or even get back to the

1970s, but we will be able to handle the traffic as efficiently as we

can and be in the same spot as every other city in this part of the

world,” he said.

Several council members expressed interest in drafting a policy

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that would put a cap on how much increased traffic a new development

could generate.

Mayor Stacey Murphy said one reason she did not support the Platt

Project, a large mixed-use project the council denied in April, was

because it would have decreased the traffic flow to a level of F.

City officials also said developments near the so-called “five

points” intersection have increased traffic there. Of the 55,000 cars

that cross there daily, city officials said 20,000 are generated by

Costco and the Empire Center.

“Development has proceeded at a pace that is more rapid than our

ability to mitigate the impact,” Councilman Dave Golonski said.

Despite the congestion that exists in Burbank, Murphy said traffic

in the city is still in better shape than neighboring parts of the

San Fernando Valley.

“We live in L.A. and people are still very car-dependent,” she

said.


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