Category Archives: Infrastructure

Easing LA Port’s Congestion

Unfortunately, over the last few months there has been a huge increase in backdated containers at both Long Beach and LA ports. This has caused tremendous congestion as shipping companies have not moved their containers fast enough at marine terminals.

One way of dealing with the issue has been to impose fines.  If the containers remain at the port for more than 9 days, the shipping companies will be fined each day thereafter starting with $100 for each container.   The fine will be more onerous for the containers that need to be transferred by rail and the penalties for them will begin after 3 days of being at the port.

The issue is a simple one of space which has resulted in an interruption to the global supply chain.  As it is a ruling was made to permit the port complex to work 24 hours a day to move the load.  Given that a disproportionate number of containers from outside of America end up in LA and Long Beach which come from abroad (approximately 40%) and the substantial increase in orders since the beginning of the pandemic, this problem has now gotten significantly worse.

The fact that the Biden administration has gotten involved by making this law is indicative of how important the ports are to America’s economy.

Funding Secured for Infrastructure Improvements

More than $71m has been secured in federal funding.  This will be used for 20 projects throughout California. The projects still need to receive full Senate approval.

Senator Padilla explained:

“I’m proud to support projects that will strengthen our water infrastructure, improve our ability to fight fires, and help develop small businesses. I am constantly working to help meet the needs of California’s diverse population, economy, and geography. And in response to the current drought and wildfires, I will keep fighting to secure federal funding to increase California’s water resiliency and aid communities across California.”

In LA there was also cause for celebration by the Mayor who received approval for a $100 billion budget for the California Comeback Plan to help locals.  He said:

“These funds and many more will help us expand and implement programs that will have lasting, positive impacts on our city and our communities.  Thanks to our Los Angeles legislative delegation, our city secured some big wins. I want to thank our delegation and Governor Newsom for the important resources that will be coming to our community to address homelessness, housing, economic recovery, climate change, and more.”

Some of the money will be used for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power clients who have not been able to pay their bills due to the pandemic; expansion of summer youth employment programs; LA’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development Program; Enhanced pedestrian access at Louise Avenue 1010 Freeway; San Fernando Valley’s Roller and Skateboard Rink ; Potrero Canyon Pacific Coast Highway Pedestrian Bridge improvements and much more.

Local Infrastructure Projects

More than $39m was allocated to transportation and infrastructure projects being undertaken by LA County. The money – given by the California Transportation Commission – was split among a few organizations, the most ($27.8m) of which was earmarked for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. With this money, 78 light rail vehicles, will be purchased and thereafter the possibility of purchasing an additional 39.

Five zero-emission battery electric buses will be purchased by the Long Beach Transit/Electric Commuter Express. That organization will use the rest of its allocated $6.5m to reach its goal of zero-emission over-the-road coach commuter route between Long Beach and UCLA.

The $5m given to the Los Angeles Regional Transit System Integration and Modernization Program is to be put toward the completion of the Vermont Transit Corridor’s environmental documentation.  Included in this will be a transit service from Hollywood Boulevard to 120th Street.

This money comes after the $924 million which was given in May in an effort to improve transportation infrastructure throughout the state.  According to Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) Director Toks Omishakin:

“Caltrans is building a brighter future through a transportation network that serves all Californians. This significant investment will help us fortify and enhance our state’s vast network of highways, bridges, transit lines, bikeways and pedestrian routes.”

In related news, there is a chance that additional passenger rail service will be implemented for Las Vegas; a move that was endorsed by M.J. Maynard, CEO of Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada.  He sees this as a further choice for those traveling to Las Vegas which will facilitate “congestion, improve our air quality and significantly enhance the overall visitor experience.”

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.”