The developer of a football stadium in downtown Los Angeles faces many challenges. These include attracting a team to our city and changing L.A.’s car culture, since people prefer to drive instead of using public transportation.
According to a new environmental report, the 72,000-seat stadium will have “unavoidable significant impacts,” on its surroundings. The stadium will be located in a low-income, Latino-majority neighborhood, which already experiences traffic congestion when the Lakers play at Staples Center.
LA Life’s owner, Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), is committed to having a stadium where car traffic is at least 10% less than any other NFL stadium. Stadium attendees are expected to take almost 20,000 additional car trips, per the environmental report, and AEG must also lessen the carbon dioxide pollution this will cause.
To that end, AEG is spending about $35 million to expand the freeway and the metro station near the project. Changing the car culture that predominates in Los Angeles is an ambitious goal. It will also be tough to convince football fans to give up their traditional tailgating in the stadium parking lot before the game, and to take personal responsibility by using public transportation to avoid pollution.
For this goal to be achieved, fans need great incentives to leave their cars behind and use the metro or bus.
Without a doubt, the construction of Farmers Field in LA Live will create jobs and attract consumers to the area. This benefits Los Angeles.
But we must also think about the residents of the neighboring area, who won’t directly benefit from the jobs created or the new revenue connected to the stadium. However, they will be directly impacted by the problems of an increase in traffic.
Promoting public transportation is a good idea, but it isn’t enough to lessen the inconvenience to these neighbors. We think the project should somehow recognize they are being inconvenienced and compensate the residents in some way for having to put up with a lower quality of life for the good of all Angelenos.
The one who should do this isn’t AEG, but rather the City Council, whose job is to look after the interests of all of our city’s residents. After a 45-day public comment period, AEG’s plan goes to the municipal council for approval. There is still time to improve the project.