Posts Tagged ‘Hollywood’

Event Summary – “Hollywood Central Park – A Freeway Cap Park…”

August 18, 2014 in 2014 | Comments (0)

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Southern California Planning Congress
Event Summary – July 2014

Hollywood Central Park:
A Freeway Cap Park Bridging
Divided Neighborhoods



Our guest speaker for the evening was Laurie L. Goldman, Executive Director and Founding President of Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHP).  Ms. Goldman presented the development concept and working model of the proposal to cap the US-101 Hollywood Freeway within the Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles to create a 40-acre public park.


Hollywood Park Event - Bob Fazio - IMG_1481


Bob Fazio, SCPC’s Vice President of Programs, introduced the speaker and project, giving some background on its origins in the days when the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA\LA) was still active.

Ms. Goldman then provided a history of the project and its design concept, which she reviewed through the aid of a physical model. When implemented, the project will provide 40 acres of new parkland within the Hollywood community.  Seattle’s urban park over the I-5 freeway near its downtown opened in 1976, and the Hollywood Park concept came to life the following year.


Hollywood Park Event - Laurie Goldman - IMG_1484


The CRA conducted the first feasibility study for the Hollywood Central Park in 2007, and in 2009, Friends of the Hollywood Park (FHP) was created. The New York High Line linear park was created soon after on the West Side of Manhattan on an abandoned railroad viaduct, opening in 2009 and then extended in 2011.

The local area in Hollywood is park poor.  With a population of 187,000 inhabitants, including approximately 40,000 children, the creation of new open space is needed and will raise the low amount of park acreage per capita.  Federal funding for the environmental impact report has been pursued through the offices of both former City of Los Angeles Mayor Villaragosa and current Mayor Garcetti. Construction cost has initially been estimated at close to $1 billion.


Hollywood Park Event - Laurie Goldman and Group 2 - IMG_1489

Hollywood Park Event - Laurie Goldman and Group - IMG_1493


A major challenges in developing the park is its presence over a State-owned (Caltrans) facility. FHP has worked out a coordination plan where one representative from Caltrans funnels all communication, to avoid a complicated coordination scheme where multiple Caltrans divisions are communicating in parallel with the project team but not with each other.  The County of Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has become the assumed funding clearinghouse for many State and Federal funding streams, but this project is unique and an atypical government-funded major infrastructure project in the area.

An additional challenge for the project is City zoning designations.  If an “open space” designation were to be used for the park, certain complementary uses that would make the park functional would be prohibited.  Special zoning for this project is being pursued to allow all planned elements.

FHP is also buying land along the edges of the park to enable development of affordable housing projects to increase much-needed new residential uses that would be complemented by the nearby park and ensure that low- and moderate-income residents would not be displaced by the project and its impact on property values.


Hollywood Park Event - Park Model - IMG_1498


We look forward to seeing this project develop.  It will provide much-needed park land in Hollywood and a viable community gathering place.


For more information, visit the project updates page.





SCPC Event Summary – “A 20-Year Blueprint For Universal City Hollywood”

December 1, 2012 in 2012 | Comments (0)

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Southern California Planning Congress
Event Summary – October 2012

A 20-Year Blueprint For
Universal City Hollywood



The Southern California Planning Congress met at Taix French Restaurant to hear about The Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative from the NBCUniversal project team. The following speakers were part of the program:


  • Corinne Verdery, Chief Real Estate Development & Planning Officer,
    Global Real Estate – NBCUniversal
  • Darnell Tyler, Director, West Coast Real Estate – NBCUniversal
  • Pat Gibson, Principal – Gibson Transportation


The NBCUniversal Evolution Plan includes upgrades and improvements to the site’s production and post production facilities, a revitalized entertainment destination, and modern office space, all without expanding the current property footprint. 

The  Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative also includes  more than $100 million dollars in  local and regional transit and transportation improvements, and a Transportation Demand Management program. Universal estimates that the project will create over 30,000 jobs during construction and operations. 



 Land Use Summary - Source NBCUniversal



The project was announced in December 2006 as a long-term plan for the 391-acre Universal City property. The project included upgrades and improvements to studio production and post production facilities, additional new media-related office space, enhancements to Universal Studios Hollywood Theme Park and CityWalk, and the creation of a new 2,937-unit residential neighborhood, which would include 35 acres of new open space.

In 2007, the Evolution Plan entered into the environmental review process phase.  A number of comments were received on the Draft EIR from the community as well as from County Supervisor Yaroslavsky and City Councilmember LaBonge, requesting that the residential portion of the project be eliminated.  The no-residential alternative was analyzed in the Final EIR and subsequently chosen as the environmentally-superior alternative.

The stated outcome of the chosen project alternative includes the following:

  • Less intensive use of the property;
  • Less traffic, less significant impacts after mitigation; and
  • Less neighborhood impacts, with largely the same mitigation package as the plan with residential.


The next part of the team’s presentation focused on transportation improvements related to the 20-year plan. 



 Overall Improvements - Source NBCUniversal


While the Evolution Plan No Residential Alternative will generate less traffic, the 20-year project will include an investment of more than $100 million in transportation and transit improvements, including:

  • Adding a new southbound on-ramp to the 101 Freeway from Universal Studios Boulevard.
  • Improving the 101 Freeway interchange at Campo de Cahuenga Way.
  • Improving more than 120 intersections.
  • Upgrading and widening Lankershim Blvd., Barham Blvd. and Forest Lawn Drive.



Regional Access Enhancements - Source NBCUniversal


In an innovative application of mitigation measures, Universal has partnered with Caltrans to provide a catalyst to improve the five-mile stretch of 101 corridor from Highland Avenue to the 101/134 interchange.  Universal has agreed to prepare the construction plans and provide initial funding so that future transportation funding from the State or the Federal government can be applied to a shovel-ready set of projects when additional funding becomes available. 

The corridor improvements include an upgrade to the State Route 134 freeway in both directions at the US-101 freeway interchange, and upgrades to access ramps. 



Property Edge Improvements - Source NBCUniversal


The project will invest in transit improvements and programs to connect employees and theme park guests to the adjacent Metro Station at Lankershim Boulevard, including shuttles and a transportation demand management program.



Transit Improvements - Source NBCUniversal



Visit the project web site at