Note to readers: The following guest editorial is by “private citizen” Lauren Cole. She is not speaking for the Brentwood Community Council or any other organizations — Editor.
Guest Editorial by Lauren Cole
You may have received an email from our Councilman Mike Bonin, touting that Brentwood School will meet Bonin’s “Sunset Standard” and reduce its peak hour traffic by 40 percent Don’t believe it.
The Planning Commission issued a ruling in December requiring Brentwood School, located at the gridlocked intersection of Sunset and Barrington Place, to reduce its peak hour traffic by 40 percent.
The ruling was issued after the Brentwood Community Council spent over a year negotiating with the Council Office and Brentwood School to reduce the school’s traffic impact and the Planning Commission agreed with the Community that Brentwood School must significantly reduce its traffic.
The Archer School for Girls, also at Sunset and Barrington, abides by strict transportation restrictions. If Brentwood School had similar requirements, it would contribute 45 percent less peak hour traffic than it does today, after it increases enrollment by 38 percent. (Brentwood School plans to increase enrollment from 695 to 960 students.)
So what happened? Why don’t Westside residents and commuters get the 40 percent reduction that the City Planning Department required?
In late January, Bonin and Brentwood School stealthily negotiated and signed an agreement that guts the Planning Commission’s ruling and introduces several loopholes into the Planning Commission’s conditions, including:
- Brentwood School can enroll as many as 959 students and only reduce its traffic by 12.5 percent, not 40 percent.
- Brentwood School can increase afternoon traffic.
- The Planning Commission required Brentwood School to meet a daily cap on peak hour trips. Now it only has to meet an average over a semester. This allows the school to increase traffic many days per year and still meet its target.
- Brentwood School can substantially reduce its requirements by helping Paul Revere Charter School students get school buses. To get this “credit” Brentwood School never has to verify that these buses reduce trips on Sunset, or that students signing up for the buses actually ride them to and from school.
It is shameful and unacceptable that Councilman Bonin runs on a promise to reduce traffic on Sunset, yet works with Brentwood School to slash the Planning Commission’s requirements. Councilman Bonin is elected to protect the community, not to cut side deals with wealthy institutions.
Lauren Cole is the transportation chair for the Brentwood Community Council