Monday is the deadline for residents to weigh in on a draft of a study that… (Raul Roa / Staff Photographer )
Traffic, noise, environmental damage and the displacement of Arroyo Seco runners and hikers topped a laundry list of concerns voiced during a Tuesday hearing about plans for the Rose Bowl to temporarily host professional football games.
The stadium could be ready to accommodate NFL games as early as next fall, but Rose Bowl officials have yet to discuss proposals with the league, team owners or developers planning Farmers Field in downtown Los Angeles, said Rose Bowl General Manager Darryl Dunn.
For professional football to come to the Rose Bowl, Pasadena City Council members must waive restrictions on the number of large events at the stadium after approving an environmental study of the proposal.
Monday is the deadline for the public to weigh in on a draft of the study. The city has so far received 20 emails, 10 letters and 62 verbal comments at public meetings, said city spokesman William Boyer.
A final report including responses to those comments will be published Nov. 9. Council members are expected to review the document on Nov. 19, said city planner David Sinclair.
The Los Angeles City Council voted last week to approve plans by AEG, owners of the Staples Center and L.A. Live, to complete Farmers Field by 2018.
AEG President Tim Leiweke told the Los Angeles Times last week that the company would be ready to strike a deal by March for a team to start playing at a temporary venue in September. The Los Angeles Coliseum is already under consideration, he said. AEG did not return calls about the Rose Bowl.
City and Rose Bowl officials have said bringing in the NFL for a few years would generate much-needed revenue for the city and the stadium, which is undergoing an expensive renovation.
An NFL team would bring 25,500 to 27,700 vehicles to the Rose Bowl on game days, backing up traffic at 58 intersections in the area, according to the draft environmental study.
Traffic would hurt air quality, increase noise levels and displace users of Brookside Park, the Brookside Golf Course, the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center and the Kidspace Museum on game days, the study found.
Residents of neighborhoods near the Rose Bowl who gathered for Tuesday’s meeting of the city’s Recreation and Parks Commission said those impacts are unacceptable.
“If you’re out walking with your dog, you will see there’s a lot of trash that’s just left there” after college games, said Susan McClymonds, vice president of the Linda Vista - Annandale Assn. She said plastic bags and bottle caps would find their way into Arroyo waterways that connect to the Los Angeles River and empty into the Pacific Ocean.
Norm Parker, a frequent Brookside golfer, took issue with the draft study’s suggestion that repairing automobile damage to the course would take as little as one day.
“I’m concerned about the degradation of fairways being used as driveways,” said Parker, adding that back-to-back UCLA and NFL games on rainy days could be particularly disastrous.
Commissioner Patricia Keane said officials should consider ways to reduce traffic and parking by encouraging wider public transportation use. About 6,000 NFL fans would use buses or trains, according to the study.
The Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, which favors bringing in a team, contends that potential benefits to the local economy outweigh noise and traffic impacts “at a venue specifically designed and built to house large-scale and noisy activities.”
“The National Football League represents a potential windfall for our local hospitality industry—our hotels and restaurants—as well as our local shops and businesses,” wrote Chamber President Paul Little, also a member of the Rose Bowl Operating Co.
Don Orsi, a former Linda Vista - Annandale Assn. executive, isn’t pleased with professional football fans in general and those of one potential tenant in particular.
“NFL games are different than UCLA games. The crowds are much tougher. You’ve got much more alcohol,” said Orsi, who asked that the study “include a mitigation measure that the [Oakland] Raiders not be included as a possible NFL team” for the Rose Bowl.
Resident Loring Guessous said she suspects the push to court the NFL was prompted by millions of dollars in cost overruns for ongoing Rose Bowl renovations. The renovation is now expected to cost $170 million, about $18 million over the original budget and with authorities deciding to delay about $14 million worth of work.
Dunn said renovation plans had nothing to do with the NFL, but are “strictly based upon what we feel is in our best interest along with that of our tenants, UCLA and the Tournament of Roses.”
Resident Jonas Peters said concerns about displacing current Arroyo users aren’t only about the stadium’s well-to-do neighbors, but the thousands of people from the region who gather for outdoor sports.