A $100 million plan to expand a private Brentwood girls’ school won unanimous approval today from the Los Angeles City Council, despite objections from residents who say the project will increase traffic congestion.
The expansion of the Archer School for Girls, at 11725 Sunset Blvd., calls for building a new gym, performing arts and visual arts facilities and an underground parking garage with space for 200 cars.
Some neighbors contend that construction on the project — which is expected to last three years — will worsen traffic on Sunset Boulevard near Barrington Avenue, which already suffers from congestion.
Councilman Mike Bonin, whose district includes the school, said he opposed the original concept for the project, but has since worked out a compromise with school officials that he said will actually improve traffic in the area.
Bonin said construction time, which was originally set to be six years, was cut in half. A planned aquatics center was also nixed and the size of the performing arts center was reduced, part of about 50 changes that were made to the project plans.
Bonin said the compromises include several provisions that directly affect traffic, including a requirement that 76 percent of Archer students be bused to school, a cap on the number of cars allowed on campus during sports and special events, and a limit on the number, timing and size of events the school can hold each year.
“I promised I would not approve a project that made traffic worse, and we did even better than that,” Bonin said in a statement. “The scaled-back Archer proposal will actually reduce traffic on Sunset.”
Bonin said he “put such incredibly strict requirements on the project for busing, carpooling and trip caps, it will actually create less traffic than it does now.”
Opponents of the project who claim they represent the majority of Brentwood residents say that these changes will not reduce congestion.
They believe the project “will seriously worsen the traffic mess that already exists along a 1.2-mile corridor at Sunset Boulevard, between the 405 Freeway and Kenter/Bundy Drive,” said John Schwada, spokesman for the residents.
“Residents say they are now virtual prisoners in their homes during peak rush hours and find it incredible that Archer’s supporters have argued that the campus expansion plan will actually reduce the Sunset corridor’s traffic congestion,” he said.