The Holiday Inn, Fred Segal and Frank Gehry's proposed 21-story hotel and condo tower are among seven downtown locations city planners consider key for development and improving traffic.
At the prominent sites, the city will look to negotiate development agreements, allowing property owners to build beyond height and other city zoning restrictions, and, in exchange, will secure community benefits—particularly those, such as parking lots, that would help alleviate traffic jams.
In a report updating city planning commissioners about the Downtown Specific Plan, city planners say with the busy district already built-out, investing in new, large capital infrastructure projects to relieve congestion would be "costly and complicated."
So, they are looking instead at partnering with developers to achieve that goal. The downtown plan is still being drafted, and its circulation elements are scheduled to be reviewed Wednesday night by the Planning Commission.
The seven so-called opportunity sites are mostly located on the outskirts of downtown, either near the 10 Freeway, on Ocean Avenue, or Fifth Street, so planners hope enticing developers to build parking lots on the properties will mean "cars never reach downtown streets."
Other developer contributions to deal with traffic could include: building new pedestrian paths and parks; offering bikes to employees and to tourists who will ride the Expo line into downtown; and incorporating smaller shops and restaurants that would serve nearby residents.
The sites, and their potential public benefits, as idetified in the draft Downtown Specific Plan, are pictured in the photo gallery above this text.
Development agreements are not the city's only tool for dealing with traffic.
A number of improvements are already, including reconstructing and doubling the capacity of Parking Structure No. 6 and freeing up spaces at the downtown garages by relocating longterm parkers to the Civic Center.
Additionally, the Downtown Specific Plan calls for wider sidewalks on Wilshire Boulevard at the north end of the Third Street Promenade; traffic signal synchronization; and new "dynamic" signs that will direct drivers to lots and garages with the most availability; among other changes.