Friday, March 5, 2010

Would San Pedro and San Pedrans Be Negatively Impacted If Dorms Are Built At Marymount?

The title is the question and the basic answer is yes!

According to the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Marymount College Facilities Expansion Project, there are a number of issues that have been documented that would negatively impact parts of San Pedro and many residents of San Pedro.

First and foremost is the additional traffic created by the Expansion Project, even taking into account on-campus housing at the college.

According to the FEIR, there would be an addition of 1,536 vehicle trips generated by the completed Project.

40% of that additional traffic would be along Western Avenue between Trudie Drive/Capitol Drive and Palos Verdes Drive North.

Another 25% of the additional traffic, would utilize the intersection of 9th Street and Western Avenue.

There is a lesser percentage of additional traffic that will go through San Pedro via 25Th Street.

The vast majority of traffic currently generated associated with Marymount College travels at least in part, through sections of San Pedro and that will only increase should their Expansion Project be completed, especially with on-campus housing.

This is in addition to the existing college traffic now encountered by residents.

The intersection of Palos Verdes Drive East and Palos Verdes Drive South is used by many residents of San Pedro on a regular basis.

According to the FEIR, the completed project would create an intersection that cannot be fully mitigated to create anything other than having unacceptable and unavoidable impacts.

That intersection would still have some mitigation provided.

The FEIR also states that a traffic signal system will be placed at the intersection of Miraleste Drive and Palos Verdes Drive East.

This intersection operates now at a Level of Service (LOS) with a grade of 'F'. This intersection has met the warrants established to be signalized for some time.

There are many San Pedrans who utilize this intersection on a regular basis also.

Even though signals are warranted, there is a continuing debate regarding the concept that regular users of that intersection do not want it to have signals installed.

There are two periods of time during most weekdays, when traffic at that intersection is very congested.

Before school and after school periods of time find the intersection particularly congested as would be expected due to the proximity of Miralest Intermediate School and a few elementary schools in the area, added to the traffic generated by Marymount's students, faculty, and staff.

While the following is not directly connected to the FEIR, it should be mentioned.

Marymount has a student body where approximately 90% attend the campus on a full time basis.

That is a remarkable percentage in terms of a Junior College or Community College. Statistically, most two-year colleges have only part time students as seen at colleges like Harbor College or Los Angeles Valley College.

With the prospect that has recently been confirmed that Marymount will become a four-year institution, employment impacts not need to be considered.

Because Marymount College sits in a residential area, there are very few jobs that could be offered to students locally. There are many more opportunities for employment in San Pedro.

If more Marymount students seek employment while attend that school, they will most likely look at businesses in San Pedro for jobs.

When there are more Marymount students working in San Pedro, there are fewer San Pedrans that can be offered employment.

Sure it is a slight number, probably around 300 job seekers from Marymount that has 793 students with 250 of them Bachelor's candidates. But 300 jobs in this current economy can be seen as a big deal.

I don't want to see qualified San Pedrans get crowded out of employment opportunities by Marymount students seeking employment.

Having the Pacific Heights and Palos Verdes North off-campus housing sites in San Pedro, may not sit well with some residents living near those two facilities.

Students living at those facilities spend money. The Pacific Heights building is located near Cabrillo Avenue and 24Th Street. So, many students living there spend money buying food, goods, and services more in San Pedro than perhaps, the students living at the Palos Verdes North site.

The Marymount Administration has stated a number of times that they would close the Pacific Heights facility. Of course their word has proven to not be their bond and the site remains open and populated by approximately 116 students and staff members.

Marymount seeks to have on-campus housing for up to 250 students and five staff members.

Residents of those facilities would find a cafeteria built on the campus to accomodate their needs.

Should Pacific Heights close and on-campus housing be populated, there would be at least a small revenue loss to businesses in San Pedro.

Sales tax revenue now collected from residents living in the two off-campus housing sites would likely decrease because of fewer folks living in San Pedro. Again this may only be a small number, but it is a recognizable number.

There would be property tax revenue created in San Pedro if Marymount finally sells its Pacific Heights building and the new owners are not affiliated with a tax-exempt organization.

This could also apply if the college sells its Palos Verdes North site.

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