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NBC project needs to be judged realistically

November 20, 2010

Residents take solace: A draft environmental impact report for the massive NBC Universal development on the west side of town should have a minimal effect on traffic. That is, if you believe all the people using 2 million square feet of commercial space, including 500 hotel rooms and 2,937 residential units, will use mostly public transit.

It's a mighty large assumption to make, especially in an area where cars are just as much of an accessory as hairstyles. That project consultants say widening a few lanes here and adding a few stoplights there should take care of the rest is almost laughable.

With the draft environmental impact report out for all to see, and comment, now is the time to make doubly sure that Burbank's backside is covered. The report is certainly voluminous, so much so that it will likely be either daunting or a major turnoff to the average resident or property owner in west Burbank.

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But chapters, footnotes and pdfs aside, it doesn't take a great deal of research or engineering know-how to see that a combined 3,437 living or guest units is going to have a major impact on the region. And that's not counting the hundreds of workers who will be commuting to and from all that commercial development.

This project clearly has enough inertia behind it to eventually break ground. The only question is, will city officials and neighborhood stakeholders have the gusto to work truly adequate concessions into the project before it's too late.

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