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City drops controversial plans to widen Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood

May 21, 2009 |  7:09 pm

Los Angeles city traffic officials have abruptly dropped a plan to widen congested Sunset Boulevard in Brentwood after the proposal generated widespread community outcry.

The controversy underscores the challenges traffic planners sometimes face in attempting to improve traffic flow,even in notoriously clogged areas like the Westside.

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation last month proposed adding one eastbound lane on Sunset, from Barrington Avenue to Gunston Drive. Officials had asked the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to fund about $4 million of the project’s estimated $6.1-million price tag.

The department shelved the project at the request of Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, whose district includes the Brentwood. Rosendahl said he initially supported the department’s funding application because he believed the money would not be restricted to a specific road proposal. But he said he learned the money would be limited to widening Sunset Boulevard, a proposal to which there was "tremendous opposition," he said.

Hundreds of residents contacted Rosendahl, questioning whether adding a lane would effectively ease traffic congestion. They also said the proposal was not properly vetted and that widening Sunset Boulevard violated existing community plans to preserve the scenic highway.

"I am open to suggestions for what to do with Sunset," Rosendahl said. "Nobody has a magic bullet at this point."

--Joanna Lin