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Mailbag: Renovations put pressure on Rancho area

September 02, 2010

Rancho-area residents living immediately adjacent to the ongoing construction of a daycare center at the Disney Imagineering campus on Flower Street are correct to monitor and voice complaints about quality-of-life impacts on their daily lives ("Disney construction angers residents," Aug. 27). And the City Council's recent response to address these issues right away, suggesting even more strict regulation, is absolutely correct.

Rancho residents like myself have been witness to the infrastructure upgrades and facility construction over the last several years, recognizing both the improved appearance of Disney's portion of the Grand Central Creative Campus, as well as the more unpleasant impacts associated with trucks and traffic, roadwork, and construction noise, dust and vibration.

Back at the end of the last decade, a dedicated group, of which I was a participant, from the Glendale Homeowners Coordinating Council membership addressed Disney's ambitious proposed plans by scrutinizing a huge Environmental Impact Report that was finalized in 2000 as an agreement between the city and the company after raising, and having codified, these very kinds of concerns. It included the now-completed KABC-TV facility and sign tower, and the massive office buildings.

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There is more activity ahead, and at the very end, the long-awaited restoration and reopening of the historic, near-forgotten Grand Central Air Terminal by Disney. In the meantime, residents and officials would do well to be more alert to the need to identify and resolve impacts that were not only foreseen, but due to the passage of time over 10 years, may require even more robust mitigation.

These relate to employee traffic upticks in the area, growing local vehicle and cyclist safety needs, long-delayed traffic calming plans for Sonora Avenue between Flower Street and the intersection with Victory Boulevard, and the interface with Griffith Manor Park's remodel project on Flower Street, as well as the anticipated start of Glendale Narrows Riverwalk Park near Garden Street.

For example, Sonora's four lanes with no left-turn pockets and a lone pedestrian crossing at Lake Street is afflicted more by the velocity than the volume of traffic, except for the rush hour backup at Victory that can grow to 20 vehicles in length and make egress from side streets difficult.

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