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CicLAvia: A Good Day in South LA

CicLAvia took to the streets of South LA on Sunday from lovely Leimert Park to the historic Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue, with many testifying on twitter that it was the best and friendliest CicLAvia ever — with spontaneous dance parties and impromptu soccer games, drum processions, live music and local artists at every stop, a Jazz Park, lots of families on bikes, and local celebrities ranging from LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti to LA City Councilmember Curran Price and LADOT chief Seleta Reynolds. Photo of the Eastside Riders (above) and Black Kids on Bikes (below) and the South LA Mobility Advisory Committee (further below) by Sahra Sulaiman for Streetsblog LA, who writes about how CicLAvia seems to be transitioning from being an "open streets" event to an "open communities" festival.

 

Rail to LAX Plans Start Coming Into Focus

The latest from Los Angeles World Airports (which runs LAX), as presented to Metro's board last week: There will be three stations constructed inside the central terminal area for the automated people mover that will connect the Crenshaw Line/LAX line to LAX at the Aviation/96th Street station. There will be a terminal-like structure for the people mover at the Aviation/96th Street station; another station at a new Intermodal Transportation Facility that will have parking, serve as a shuttle bus stop, and as a drop-off and pick-up area for passengers; and there will be a 6th station that will serve a consolidated rental car facility, thereby removing the need for all those endlessly circling shuttles outside the airport. Moving sidewalks will help passengers get from central terminal area stations to the terminals.

Construction of the people mover is to start in 2017 or 2018, and last 5 to 7 years. Completion is slated for 2024, when LA hopes to host the summer Olympics. The city's improved public transit system is central to the Olympics bid, as are recent upgrades to LAX."Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city, with endless diversity, attractions and scenic beauty," Mayor Garcetti said in an earlier press release about the bid.

Read more on Metro's The Source and on Curbed LA.

 

 

Post 362

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti was able to restart stalled talks between Kinkisharyo International LLC and labor and community groups last week with the result that the manufacturer of rail vehicles will expand its light rail manufacturing plant in Palmdale instead of moving its operations out of LA County. Garcetti, at a press conference to announce resolution of the impasse, said "As I oversee the nation's largest public works project as Mayor and Metro chair, it's critical to me that our economy benefits from our $36 billion transportation build out. Creating good, local jobs as we strengthen our local infrastructure is key to my "Back to Basics Agenda." Noted Maria Elena Durazo, immediate past Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor, "Taxpayer-funded projects should benefit workers and residents [in LA County]."

The expansion will create up to 250 jobs building 97 additional cars. In total 175 cars being worked on in Palmdale will go into service on the Crenshaw, Expo and Gold lines.

Read the details on Metro's The Source.

 

Caltrans Allocates $212M of $550M total to LA Metro

Caltrans doled out $550 million of what's left of Prop 1B, the $20 billion transportation bond passed by voters in 2006, providing some of the largest allocations to LA Metro, including $106 million for Expo Phase 2, $59 million for the Regional Connector, $41 million for bus procurement, and $6 million for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Center. Only $290 million remains in the fund for public transit, with an additional $458 million for transit system safety and $240 million for clean goods movement.

Read Melanie Curry on Streetsblog.

 

 

 

Urbanful: Millennials Demand Public Transportation, But Lose Out By Skipping the Voting Booth




On November 2, the online magazine Urbanful put out an article on how millennials’ transportation habits are changing the way cities plan for the future. On November 5, it became clear that millennial’s voting habits have an equally profound effect on public policy, in the opposite direction.

High profile ballot initiatives on a proposed light rail in Austin, TX, and increased funding for transit projects in St. Petersburg and Gainesville, FL went down to defeat amid low voter turnout from 18-29 year olds. Overall, it was a mixed night for such measures in cities across the country, and results were similarly ambivalent on the state level.

This equivocal outcome for transportation policy would be of little note on an eventful election night had it not conflicted with the trend documented at the beginning of this article as well as preliminary polling.
Access to multimodal transportation and reliable public infrastructure are priorities for millennials. “More than half (54%) of millennials surveyed say they would consider moving to another city if it had more and better options for getting around,” according to a recent report, “and 66% say that access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weigh when deciding where to live.”





FINALLY, Groundbreaking on the Subway to the Sea (or Close to It)

[caption id="attachment_4564" align="aligncenter" width="4928"] Finally, groundbreaking on the subway to the sea.[/caption]

Sou Fujimoto's Awesome Austrian Bus Stop Taken Down

[caption id="attachment_4556" align="aligncenter" width="468"] Architect Sou Fujiloto's bus stop in Austria was just taken down due to safety concerns . . .[/caption]

SUBWAY TO THE SEA GROUNDBREAKING FRIDAY

How awesome is that? Digging has begun on a 4-mile segment from the existing Wilshire/Western station to Wilshire and La Cienega boulevards in Beverly Hills — to be completed by 2023. The subway will travel under one of L.A.'s most densely populated and highly trafficked corridors. Writes the LA Times editorial board: "Los Angeles County now has 5 rail lines under construction, including one that will connect to LAX by 2022, and two — the Expo Line to Santa Monica and the Gold Line to Azusa — slated to open in 2016. It's easy to forget that when Villaraigosa pitched the subway to the sea while campaigning for mayor, major transit projects were moving at a snail's pace, if at all."

This was the pullquote: "This is what can happen when politicians deliver on their boldest promises." Thank you Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa!

Apartment Building Boom in LA Mostly Delivering High-End Rentals

[caption id="attachment_4538" align="alignleft" width="500"] Rents at Ava Little Tokyo start at $1,900.[/caption]

Curbed LA has been following LA's rental crisis with stories about low vacancy rates and the booming demand for apartments driving up rentsto terrifying new highs — median income earners here have to spend 47 percent of their household income on median rents. You would think that the apartment-building boom would help: Permits for new apartment construction are at pre-downturn levels and up 15 percent in the first quarter of 2014.  The LA Times reports that the number of building permits issued for apartments and condos last year was higher than at any time since 2006.

Increasing the supply of housing should bring down rents but the problem is that most of the apartments being built are Class A high-end rentals in the most desirable parts of the city. So while luxury rents might level off, the middle and bottom of the market won't likely be helped by this building boom.

Mom-and-pop landlords and smaller apartment complexes haven't been impacted "at all" by the boom, according to Westside Rentals, because "rents just keep going up and up and up." But if it's a really good time to be in the apartment business, it's a rough time to be the average renter . . . READ MORE.

 

Number of Available Apartments in LA Has Fallen Rapidly to 3.3%

Curbed LA says the 2014 USC Casden Multifamly Forecast finds that the median rent in LA County shot up to $1,716 in the second quarter of 2014, making for the biggest annual rent increase in four years. What makes that especially shocking is that, in that same period from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2014, more new housing units opened in LA County (more than 7,500) than at any other time in the last four years.

But it's still not enough — the vacancy rate in the county has actually plummeted since last year, falling 10.8 percent since last year, to just 3.3 percent. USC Lusk Center Director Richard Green explained in a statement that the problem is, as usual, affordability: "Though the economy and employment have improved, renters' incomes are stagnant. So while net absorption and occupancy rates are moving in the right direction, affordability continues to worsen."

It looks like LA will hold its spot as the nation's most unaffordable place for renting, even as developers continue to build. It doesn't help that they're mostly building high-end luxury rentals. READ MORE on Curbed LA.


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