Category Archives: Infrastructure

Developments in Van Nuys

There have been some recent developments in LA’s Van Nuys neighborhood and there are plans for more. Here we look at two: the fire station and a new development on Van Nuys Boulevard/Kittridge Street.

Earlier this month there was a celebratory grand opening at the Van Nuys fire station.  Station 39 will replace the existing fire station (currently located at 14415 Sylvan Street) which is the oldest active station in the region.   At the event guests were treated to a bouncy house, face painting and a delicious pancake breakfast.  The new address is 14615 Oxnard Street, spanning over 18,533 square feet.  It features a ladder truck, a battalion chief command vehicle, two fire engines and two rescue ambulances.

Meanwhile, a report from Urbanize.LA has just approved a mixed-use project to go ahead on Kittridge Street and Van Nuys Boulevard. The aim of this is to erect a five-floor building with over 50 units with one or two bedrooms as well as a community room and outdoor decks.  There will be 3,160 square feet of retail space and a garage on the ground floor.  The project developers are Kitvan LLC and Plus Architects.

Body Scanners at LA’s metro

The LA Metropolitan Transit Authority will be the first Transit Authority in America to use body scanners at its subway.  These will be portable ones which will have the capacity to scan 2,000 people per hour from a distance of 30 feet.

The scanners do not come cheap; each one is $100,000. But technologically they are extremely advanced, utilizing radio waves to see guns and explosives underneath clothing and show them on a split screen display.  According to Alex Wiggins, Chief Law Enforcement office at LA MTA:

“We’re looking specifically for weapons that have the ability to cause a mass-casualty event. We’re looking for explosive vests, we’re looking for assault rifles. We’re not necessarily looking for smaller weapons that don’t have the ability to inflict mass casualties.”

 

Vietnamese-LA Collaboration

An economic alliance has been created between LA and Ho Chi Minh City (in Vietnam) to advance collaboration and information sharing on infrastructure and the development of solar energy. This is being conducted through the following organizations:

 

 

• The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC)
• American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (AmCham)
• Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)

All three organizations signed an MoU on the establishment of this body at the end of last month.

DTLA Developments

There have been some interesting developments/transactions in the DTLA neighborhood recently.  In the real estate industry, Arup is on the move.  Currently based in Playa Vista, the plan is to move to DTLA’s very own Wilshire Grand Center. Arup will take over 66,000 square feet on a 15 year lease which is one of Southern California’s largest 2018 leases.  It is indicative of a general trend of firms moving into the DTLA area which is great for business.

One reason DTLA rentals are becoming more popular is the simple fact of price:  compared to the going rate in Santa Barbara is approximately $5.78  per square foot per month and in LA, $3.55 per month.

All this is great news.  But some say worry that there is still work to be done vis-à-vis enhancement of DTLA’s retail district.  But even that is changing thanks to The Bloc’s “Merchandising Plan” which includes a lease signed by Uniqlo in one of the “most coveted retail spaces,” there in a 15,000 square feet two-story space.  This will be “considered one of the store’s major flagship locations in LA.”

 

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure

With the move over to increased use of electric vehicles in California, infrastructure needs escalate. As such, close to $768 million is being invested into the region’s infrastructure by the California Public Utilities Commission over the next five years.  The other focus of the financing will be put toward fighting against traffic and air pollution as well as reaching the goal of 5 million zero-emission cars by 2030.

San Diego Gas & Electric Co. is joining this venture providing $136 million of the money that will be used to offer rebates to approximately 60,000 customers to install home charging stations.  230 direct current fast-charging stations will be built by Pacific Gas & Electric for approximately $22.5 million. PG&E and Southern California Edison are also making substantial contributions.

Enhancing LA

There have been some moves to alter some of the infrastructure in LA.  The question is, are these ultimately going to beneficial?  The reason this question is posed is due to the recently  CoolSeal project.  This substance is being painted on many streets in LA as a way of potentially “cooling the city down and fighting global warming effects.”

With a $40,000 price for LA taxpayers per mile (LA having 6,500 miles of road), one really has to look at if this is a good idea even if not all of the roads are painted.  In addition, the effects only last 7 years so the process must be repeated at this time.  Still, if it does decrease the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect, then it might be worth it…

Two new laws were recently approved by the LA City Council which would help homeless issues.  One is that projects intended for homeless will be able to avoid the oft-difficult City Hall process that delays matters.  Parking requirements would also be eliminated and “permanent supportive housing” projects would be built higher/more solid than otherwise permitted.  This would result in an additional 200 units of homeless housing annually with government funds.  According to proponents of the homeless this will sustain around 200 extra units of homeless housing every year with government funds.

Cycle-Friendly LA?

LA has never been known for being cycle-friendly.  Hollywood fame?  Yes.  Glamor, fashion and wealth? Absolutely?  Pretentiousness?  You bet.  But cycling?  Absolutely not.

But before you bemoan the City of Angels for its lack of cyclability (is that a word?), let’s take a closer look at any developments that have been made in this realm recently.

Because it should be.  Everyone knows that in a city congested with traffic cycling has to be a good thing.  So what exactly is the city doing to encourage it?

For a start there is a new (tongue-in-cheek) hashtag #LAsucksforcycling which has become a kind of meting place for views and treks in and around the greater LA area.  Also, safe-cycling lanes – initially introduced in New York – was one of the other cities that quickly jumped on the bandwagon. And then there was the Santa Monica scooter startup Bird which fast expanded across Los Angeles.  And Limebike, the Lime-S too.

So there is movement (excuse the pun) to encourage cycling and related-ways of travel in LA.  And more is likely to come as start-ups battle for success.