Award-winning Highland Park bungalow built in 1905 seeks $750K

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A blend of Victorian and Craftsman styles, it features charming original details

Returning to the market in Highland Park is this sweet, 113-year-old bungalow that won a preservation award from the Highland Park Heritage Trust in 2009.

The seller purchased the home 14 years ago from the Takano family, for whom the dwelling is named. According to real estate agent Anna Morrissey, the Takano family was interned in Arizona during WWII, but was able to keep the house because a friend looked after it and ensured the property taxes were paid.

When the Takanos were released, “they were able to come back here,” she says. “And because so many of their family members and relatives were not able to keep their homes, the Takanos were able to give them a place to stay while they were getting back on their feet.”

In its 1,432 square feet, the 1905-built home holds three bedrooms and one bath. A blend of Victorian and Craftsman styles, it features charming original details, including Douglas fir floors, double-hung windows, a built-in china cabinet with leaded glass detail, built-in window seating, and pocket doors.

The Mills Act property, last sold for $375,000 in 2004, is now asking $750,000.


Flamboyant Palms Springs midcentury with pool, gorgeous tile seeks $1.4M

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This place is just plain fun

This Charles DuBois-designed Palm Springs home makes the rainbow-colored Saguaro hotel look like it’s in greyscale.

The bright estate was built in 1961 in the Vista Las Palmas neighborhood. Like many other homes in that area, it was constructed by the Alexander Construction Company, which produced thousands of modernist residences during the 1950s and ’60s.

The nearly 2,000-square-foot house holds two bedrooms and two mosaic-tile-filled bathrooms. Breeze blocks in the “Empress” pattern appear inside and out, creating a link between the interior and the outdoors.

Also creating an indoor-outdoor connection: a row of sliding glass doors that allow for a great view of the patio and pool from within the cool confines of the living room, with its terrazzo floors and floating fireplace hearth—an original feature.

The house sits on a roughly quarter-acre corner lot, fronted by palm trees, a modest lawn, and more of those classic breeze blocks.

Last sold in 2016 for $1.15 million, it’s now seeking $1.395 million.


Construction starts on 20-story Miracle Mile apartment tower near LACMA

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The MVE+Partners-designed tower would rise 20 stories.

The apartments will be close to museums and a future subway station

A soaring apartment complex with 285 apartments is now underway near LACMA.

Developer JH Snyder announced Wednesday that construction has begun on the Residences at Wilshire Curson, a 20-story high-rise next door to Miracle Mile’s SAG-AFTRA Plaza (formerly Museum Square).

The building, designed by MVE+Partners, will hold studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Residents will have access to a rooftop bar, lounge, and pool. Also among the amenities: a gym, lounges, and two floors of underground parking.

The new tower will also bring a new courtyard to the plaza, with a new water feature, landscaping, and and outdoor seating area.

The project, which replaces a parking lot, was initially planned as a 12-story office tower.

The Wilshire Curson apartments are expected to open in late 2020. Their Miracle Mile location will offer a view of the museum as well as the under-construction Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and its big glass dome.

The apartments will also be within a short walk of the future Wilshire/Fairfax stop on the Purple Line extension when it opens in 2023.


Elon Musk’s tunnel won’t fix Dodger Stadium’s traffic

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It’s time to give all Angelenos better access to their ballpark

It’s not easy to get to Dodger Stadium. Perched on a hill and isolated by freeways, the ballpark is designed for and dominated by cars.

Metro offers one good game-day option: The Dodger Express runs buses on dedicated lanes on Sunset from Union Station to the stadium, and a trip takes about 25 minutes.

Another game-day option was revealed yesterday by Hawthorne-based tunneling startup The Boring Company—the Dugout Loop, a three-mile, high-speed underground track that would transport Dodger fans from one of three nearby Red Line stations to the ballpark.

The Dugout Loop would travel much faster than a bus, making the trip in about 4 minutes. But the loop would only serve 1,400 passengers per game. That’s far less efficient than dedicated bus lanes, which can move 4,000 to 8,000 people per hour.

More importantly, the Boring Company’s plan ignores larger problems around getting to Chavez Ravine that could be very easily be addressed—if prioritized by local leaders.

There are simpler solutions that would help a lot more people get to the stadium without using their private cars—and improve transportation access in and around Elysian Park all the time.

No one solution would totally eliminate traffic at the ballpark. But the Dodgers should provide more options to get to the stadium.

Here are five ways to get more people out of their cars when they go to the game. After the transportation problem is solved, the Dodgers can work on converting all those acres of parking lots into housing.

1. Make the stadium more walkable

From the closest transit connections in Echo Park or Chinatown, the walk to Dodger Stadium is about one mile. The Dodgers have made several safety improvements to these routes over the last few years, but the paths still aren’t very welcoming to walkers—and most people don’t know about them.

Turning Vin Scully Avenue into a pedestrian-focused street, with walkways branded in Dodger blue, would help keep walking top of mind for fans. On the other side of the stadium, there’s a pedestrian walkway along the 110 freeway (complete with a spiral staircase) that could be expanded to help people walk safely from the Eastside.

On some of the steeper hills, outdoor escalators, like the ones which are already found all around the stadium, could be employed to help give people a lift. Walking is the best way to work off your Dodger dogs, and after the game, it’s all downhill.

 SkyBound Drones / Shutterstock.com
Virtually every path into Dodger Stadium is designed for cars.

2. Build better bike paths

Despite the less-than-ideal cycling conditions, Dodger Stadium is fairly bikeable—if you’re coming from the west or south. The adjacent neighborhoods and even the public space around the stadium lack dedicated infrastructure that help riders safely access and cross Elysian Park all the time.

One critical connection that could help a lot on game day would be creating a spur off the LA River path which could make a gradual incline up to the stadium. Since hills can be challenging, especially on a hot day, the city could add an electric-assist bike-share hub at the stadium with bikes at several other locations nearby.

3. Add more regional shuttles

In addition to the Dodger Express that runs from Union Station, Metro also runs a South Bay service that makes several stops along the Silver Line busway. Metro could easily expand this program by running separate Dodger Express service from any Hollywood area Red Line station or borrow the Hollywood Bowl’s model, which operates park-and-ride shuttles all over the LA region.

Making these buses efficient, especially near the stadium, would require adding more dedicated lanes to make sure the buses don’t get stuck in traffic. That’s something needed for more bus lines across Los Angeles in general.

4. Run the aerial tram to the other side of the LA River

The proposed aerial tram to the stadium is inspired, privately funded, and fun—but it also stops short. Without transit connections that take the Eastside into consideration, people who have no easy to way to get to the stadium will resort to driving.

The tram should travel in two directions, not just to and from Union Station, but also to another destination across the LA River not readily served by rail—maybe Rio de Los Angeles State Park. Instead of simply replicating the route of the Dodger Express, a tram would give Eastside residents access to Elysian Park, and a fast, scenic way to get to Union Station all the time.

5. Tunnel a subway—but extend it

Some of the most difficult trips to make on LA’s public transit systems are ones that require going around Elysian Park. In nearby neighborhoods that aren’t adjacent to rail, it can take over an hour to go a few miles, especially since buses can only cross the LA River in a handful of places.

This is where a tunnel could really help—provided that it made a connection to the Eastside. Instead of an underground transit system that terminates at Dodger Stadium only on game days, why not continue it to the Cypress Park Gold Line station—or beyond—and run it all the time?

If any tunnel is being built, publicly or privately funded, it should serve more than two communities. It’s time to provide better access to the stadium for Angelenos on the other side of the river who can see game-winning fireworks out their windows—but must cross multiple freeways to get to the game.


In Inglewood, Frank Gehry says his design for LA Philharmonic youth orchestra won’t be ‘precious’

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An exterior view of the Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood.

The architect is converting a 1960s bank building

An old bank building in Inglewood will get the Frank Gehry treatment—but it won’t be “precious,” the architect says.

Gehry is designing the building’s conversion into the new home of the LA Philharmonic’s Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, a free music education program that serves nearly 1,000 students across LA.

“It’s about creating culture within the community,” Gehry said Wednesday, as the design was unveiled to reporters.

Gehry famously designed the LA Philharmonic’s home base, the Disney Concert Hall in Bunker Hill in Downtown Los Angeles. It opened in 2003, quickly becoming one of the most recognizable and iconic buildings in Los Angeles.

LA Phil conductor Gustavo Dudamel said that while the youth orchestra’s new home may not be flashy, it will be a top-quality facility for its purpose—music.

“This project is a message to the world,” he said. “It signifies dignity to our youth.”

The 18,000-square-foot former bank will be expanded and improved to become the 25,000-square-foot Judith and Thomas L. Beckmen YOLA Center at Inglewood. The $14.5 million center will hold a performance space, studios, music library, instrument storage, and rehearsal spaces.

The edifice, built in 1965, will retain much of its exterior. The existing glass, brick, metal, and tile will be reused in the new design. After the renovation, passersby will be able to peek into the space and the performance area.

A new, all-glass rooftop “pop-up” along LaBrea Avenue will bring in natural light. Interior finishes will be simple and durable to accommodate as many as 500 students in the program.

The building was never intended to be a concert hall, so it had its limitations, Gehry said. Major alterations to the building will be made to improve the way sound moves through it.

Gehry said the ceiling had to be raised and the floor dropped—at a “reasonable cost”—to get the ceiling height to 45 feet tall, which is ideal for the acoustics. (Nagata Acoustics, the company responsible for the acoustics at the Disney Concert Hall, will also work on this space.)

The convertible performance space could be set up to host concerts in one large space or in a way that creates two separate rehearsal spaces.

LA Phil chief executive officer Simon Woods said the refurbished structure would be “the beginning of what we hope will be a long and fruitful relationship” with Inglewood residents.

The benefits of this new space could potentially go beyond the youth orchestra.

YOLA is largely an after-school program, which creates the opportunity for the new music center building to be used in the day for other community uses, Woods said.

During construction over the next two years, LA Phil will work with residents to figure out how to use the building as a “community asset.”

Construction on the YOLA Center in Inglewood is slated to start in the spring.


Elon Musk pitches high-speed line to Dodger Stadium

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Called the “Dugout Loop”

First an aerial tram, now an underground, high-speed transit line—that’s the latest proposal for a creative new way to get to Dodger Stadium, and it comes from Elon Musk.

The entrepreneur’s Hawthorne-based company, the Boring Company, announced this evening that it wants to build a subway-like line from Los Feliz or East Hollywood that would ferry Dodger fans to the ballpark in about 4 minutes and at the cost of about $1.

It’s unclear whether the company has already submitted plans for the project to the city, but Mayor Eric Garcetti quickly published a Tweet welcoming the idea.

“It’s always exciting to see innovative ideas like the proposed Dugout Loop to Dodgers Stadium that could help ease congestion on our roads and make our most iconic destinations more accessible to everyone,” he wrote.

It’s an ambitious proposal but if ultimately built, the “Dugout Loop” would provide Angelenos with the quickest route to the stadium, which is nestled above the city in a ravine, making it somewhat difficult to access.

The company plans to use its “loop” machines and technology to build the line. The concept involves transporting passengers in electric-powered, autonomous pods (what the company calls “skates”) that zip through underground tunnels at speeds of 125 to 150 miles per hour.

The “skates” would carry between eight and 16 passengers (far fewer than a subway car) and would be lowered underground from street-level docking stations called “Loop lifts.”

The system is being tested right now in Hawthorne, and Musk has proposed a large Loop network that would run beneath a wide swath of Los Angeles. A stop at Dodger Stadium was already planned as part of that system.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfV8z2JY_bI?rel=0]

For the Dodger Stadium project, the company proposes a single underground tunnel with an eastern terminus at the stadium’s parking lot and a western terminus near one of three Metro Red Line stations, either Vermont Avenue and Sunset in Los Feliz, Vermont and Santa Monica Boulevard in East Hollywood, or Vermont and Beverly Boulevard on the border of Rampart Village.

In a statement, the Dodgers’ owners said they support the proposal.

“We were excited when the Boring Company came to us with this project. Whether it is flying overhead in an aerial transit system or bypassing traffic through an underground tunnel, we are always looking for innovative ways to make it easier for Dodgers fans to get to a game,” said CFO Tucker Kain.


Fashion District project with 379 apartments and retail gets OK from City Council

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Renderings courtesy MVE + Partners.

It could begin work next year

The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously approved an eight-story building proposed for the Fashion District.

The project at 11th and Main streets would bring 379 apartments (including 42 moderate-income units) and roughly 26,000 square feet of retail and office space on the ground floor.

The building, designed by MVE+Partners, would have long balconies and a public central plaza, which would host outdoor dining.

Developed by an LLC with connections to Jade Enterprises, 1100 South Main has been in the works since 2016.

The project’s previously announced timeline anticipated construction beginning in 2019, with completion slated for 2021.

The Fashion District is growing. A planned redevelopment of the Southern California Flower Market would add a 15-story building to the complex (the flower market would continue to operate). The 10-acre City Market project, which would bring a hotel, offices and manufacturing space, and nearly 1,000 apartments, received city council approval in June.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly identified the moderate income units as very low income units. They are not.


Metro rolls out new security scanners to detect weapons, prevent ‘mass casualties’

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Officers testing the security devices in a Metro subway station.

The devices detect concealed explosives

As Metro expands its network of high-capacity trains, the transit agency is investing in new technology to prevent attacks on riders.

On Tuesday, Metro announced that it had purchased devices designed to detect concealed explosives and weapons “intended to cause mass casualties.”

Metro is the first public transit agency in the nation to purchase the scanners, which detect body heat and can rapidly identify objects hidden beneath clothing.

Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero tells Curbed that the devices are portable and will be moved from station-to-station depending on security needs. He says the devices will be “unobtrusive,” and won’t interfere with passengers’ commutes.

Earlier this year, the federal Transportation Security Administration and Amtrak police tested similar technology at New York’s Penn Station. The tests captured the attention of the American Civil Liberties Union, which wrote in March that the scanners “raise serious constitutional questions” about the privacy of passengers.

ACLU analysts point out that courts allow body scanners in airports “because of an ‘administrative exception’ to the Fourth Amendment,” which prevents government agents from searching people without a warrant.

But “it is far from clear that the courts will permit this exception to expand to cover every crowded public place in America,” according to the ACLU.

No large-scale attacks have been carried out on Metro vehicles or in stations, but the agency has recently placed a greater emphasis on security, asking the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments to join the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Metro’s in-house security team in patrolling trains and buses.

“This new technology will augment our already aggressive safety and security measures and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system,” said Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl.

In 2016 and 2017, bomb scares forced temporary station closures in Universal City and Hollywood. In both cases, law enforcement did not find explosives at the scene.

In an announcement, Metro said the new screening tools have been “tested extensively” by TSA, and will allow law enforcement agents to screen passengers “without disrupting foot traffic.”

 Courtesy Metro
A demonstration of the security device’s scanning capability.

The devices do not emit radiation and won’t display “anatomical details” when passengers are screened, according to Metro.

So far, the agency has spent just over $400,000 on the security tools, which cost around $100,000 each.


Metro rolls out new security scanners to detect weapons, prevent ‘mass casulties’

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Officers testing the security devices in a Metro subway station.

The devices detect concealed explosives

As Metro expands its network of high-capacity trains, the transit agency is investing in new technology to prevent attacks on riders.

On Tuesday, Metro announced that it had purchased devices designed to detect concealed explosives and weapons “intended to cause mass casualties.”

Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero tells Curbed that the devices are portable and will be moved from station-to-station depending on security needs. He says the devices will be “unobtrusive,” and won’t interfere with passengers’ commutes.

No large-scale attacks have been carried out on Metro vehicles or in stations, but the agency has recently placed a greater emphasis on security, asking the Los Angeles and Long Beach police departments to join the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Metro’s in-house security team in patrolling trains and buses.

“This new technology will augment our already aggressive safety and security measures and help us proactively deter potential attacks to our system,” said Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl.

In 2016 and 2017, bomb scares forced temporary station closures in Universal City and Hollywood. In both cases, law enforcement did not find explosives at the scene.

In an announcement, Metro said the new screening tools have been “tested extensively” by the federal Transportation Security Administration, and will allow law enforcement agents to screen passengers “without disrupting foot traffic.”

 Courtesy Metro
A demonstration of the security device’s scanning capability.

The devices do not emit radiation and won’t display “anatomical details” when passengers are screened, according to Metro.

So far, the agency has spent just over $400,000 on the security tools, which cost around $100,000 each.


Port of LA looking to add ‘thriving’ new commercial development on 12 waterfront acres

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It’s the latest in a wave of changes at the port

The rapidly changing Port of Los Angeles is looking to transform 12 waterfront acres with “thriving” new commercial development at Cabrillo Way Marina.

The port’s commercial real estate arm put out a prospectus last week outlining the commercial development opportunity, which includes the marina itself and adjoining properties. It’s searching for firm to lease, operate, and build on the marina, which was upgraded in 2011.

Michael Galvin, the port’s director of waterfront and commercial real estate, says redevelopment could include “larger-scale” projects with retail, dining, and entertainment. Ideally, he says, the project would be unique enough to “become a visitor draw in itself.”

But the prospectus says port officials are “open to a variety of commercial development concepts.”

The marina project is just one of many that the port has in the works right now.

 Courtesy of Rapt Studio
A rendering of the San Pedro Public Market.

Just north of the marina site, work is underway now to replace the Ports O’ Call Village with a new Fisherman’s Wharf-style development called San Pedro Public Market. The port is also seeking to redevelop Warehouse 1, a historic, 101-year-old warehouse. And SpaceX recently signed a lease that allows it to build its interplanetary rockets at the port.

Galvin says additional development opportunities at the port will come to market in the next year.

A formal request for qualifications and proposals for the Cabrillo Way Marina site is expected to launch this fall.


Here’s what $950K buys around LA

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From Santa Monica to South Pasadena

Welcome to Curbed Comparisons, where we explore what you can rent or buy for a certain dollar amount in various LA ’hoods. We’ve found five homes and condos within $10,000 of today’s price: $950,000.

Front of house
Dining room
Back patioVia Tara Del Bosco, Sothebys International Realty

We’ll start with a South Pasadena home that dates to 1902. Featuring two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the 1,422-square-foot residence boasts hardwood floors and an updated kitchen equipped with a vintage stove and a farmhouse sink. The home sits on a small 3,486-square-foot lot, but opens to an enclosed backyard with a brick patio and room for a garden. Asking price is $949,000.

House with wall in front
Living room
Back gardenVia Katrina Webb, Pacific Union International

This homey Spanish bungalow in Fairfax was built in 1926 and retains hardwood floors, tile countertops, original wall niches, a (decorative) living room fireplace, and Spanish tile floors in the kitchen. The house has 909 square feet of living space, with two bedrooms and a bathroom. It sits on a tiny 1,791-square-foot lot, but includes a pleasant patio space with room for seating and a garden. Asking price is $948,000.

Front of house
Living room
Back deckVia Ron Tanzman, Rodeo Realty

This two-bedroom house in the Hollywood Hills was built in 1933, but has recently been redone, with new floors, windows, and appliances. The 1,150-square-foot house has two levels and sits on a 7,049-square-foot lot. There are multiple decks, including one that tops the two-car garage and offers some nice views across the hills. Asking price is $949,900.

Living room
BedroomVia Sabine Pleissner, Compass

Here’s a condo in Santa Monica, located just off Montana Avenue. It’s got two bedrooms and two bathrooms, with 1,086 square feet of floor space to work with. The open living room flows into the kitchen, which has stainless steel appliances and a long island. A sliding door opens out to a small private balcony. Asking price is $949,000, with HOA dues of $296 per month.

Front of house
Living room
Sun room
BackyardVia Jill Suarez. Dilbeck Real Estate

This handsome 1950s home in Glendale has some dated elements, but offers plenty of vintage charm, with hardwood floors, wood-paneled walls, a brick fireplace in the living room, and an enclosed patio in the back. The house has three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, with 2,072 square feet of floor space. It sits on a 6,155-square-foot lot with a grassy front lawn and a small bit of yard and garden space in the back. Asking price is $959,000.


Bird, Lime shut down in protest in Santa Monica

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Bird and Lime bricked their vehicles in Santa Monica today as part of “A Day Without Scooters.”

The two leading scooter companies might lose out on an exclusive contract to operate in the city

Scooter startups Bird and Lime have temporarily deactivated their scooters within Santa Monica.

The two micromobility companies dominate the Westside, but their scooter fleets are bricked today across Santa Monica in protest of the city’s move to limit the number of companies that can operate dockless vehicles there.

On Friday, the city’s planning director revealed that ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber—which do not yet operate scooters anywhere—had submitted the top-ranked applications for a pilot program that will allow up to four companies to operate e-bike and e-scooters in Santa Monica.

“As the most experienced shared bike and scooter company in the United States, we are disappointed by the current proposal,” says a statement from Lime CEO Toby Sun.

The shutdown, dubbed “A Day Without a Scooter,” is only temporary, part of a joint campaign from Bird and Lime encouraging riders to rally at City Hall this evening.

It’s the latest dockless drama as cities across the Los Angeles region scramble to deal with a flood of scooters.

Some, including West Hollywood and Beverly Hills, have totally banned them, while others, including Long Beach and Culver City, have launched regulated scooter share programs with a limited number of operators.

Elsewhere, San Francisco is conducting a similar application-based pilot program with contracts that were scheduled to be announced June 30. A decision has not been announced.

Los Angeles’s City Council has discussed regulations, including 12 mph speed limit for all scooters, but has not adopted any policies.

Last month, as part of its shared mobility pilot program, the city of Santa Monica started accepting applications for four potential contracts—two scooter and two e-bike operators—with a goal to begin operating in the city this fall.

Working closely with a limited number of operators will help address parking and safety issues and allow Santa Monica to develop more detailed regulations in partnership with the operators, the program’s website says.

The applications were then scored by a selection committee across seven categories, including experience, operations, and parking and safety.

Among the scooter companies that submitted applications were micromobility players Bird, Lime, and Jump, as well as Razor, which recently started operating a scooter share in Long Beach. Lime didn’t follow directions and submitted one application for both scooters and e-bikes but was not disqualified for it, according to a memo from the city’s planning director dated August 7.

The contracts haven’t been awarded yet, but the planning director’s memo shows Lyft scoring first in both the scooter and e-bike categories.

Jump, which is owned by Uber, is ranked second in both categories. (The company does not operate scooters but it does offer its users the ability to book scooters through a partnership with Lime.)

 City of Santa Monica
Lyft and Jump ranked first and second in both micromobility categories.

Lyft’s scooters or bikes are not yet offered in any city, leading some Santa Monica residents to wonder why the city would choose a ride-hailing giant with no experience over two leading scooter companies that have operated in the city for months—and deployed scooters all over the world.

Similarly, the rankings led representatives from Bird and Lime to issue statements hinting that the companies would be shut out of the process going forward—while blasting Lyft and Uber’s inexperience.

“They want to give the entire e-scooter sharing business to car-based rideshare corporations,” says a statement from Bird. “Neither Lyft nor Uber has ever operated a scooter sharing service, and their services will be far more limited than what you have come to expect.”

Bird, which was founded in Santa Monica, was the first company to launch dockless electric scooters in the U.S. in late 2017, and now operates scooters in dozens of U.S. cities, including Long Beach and Culver City.

Lime, which launched dockless pedal bikes in Santa Monica last year, then added e-bikes and scooters, is operating in 70 cities worldwide, including city-regulated scooter partnerships in Long Beach, Monrovia, and Culver City.

Bird recently announced a plan to work with cities globally to fund and build bike lanes, including a proposal to contribute $1 per vehicle per day to accelerate the construction of bike lanes in Santa Monica. (City manager Rick Cole clarified via Twitter that although Bird had expressed intent to fund lanes, the funds have not yet been collected.) But the last few months have seen a slew of bad local press for the company, including a Los Angeles Times article about how residents are so frustrated by the scooters, they’re setting them on fire and “burying them at sea.”

At the same time, Uber and Lyft have pivoted towards more multimodal, less car-focused forms of transportation, including redesigning their apps to help riders connect with available dockless bikes and scooters.

Last month, just after Lyft bought Motivate, the country’s largest bike-share operator, its founders announced that Lyft Scooter and Lyft Bikes were in development. Lyft also announced a comprehensive safety initiative to eliminate traffic deaths and incentives for rides which connect to public transit.

Lyft spokesperson Alex Rafter directed Curbed to the company’s San Francisco micromobility application for reference, which includes comprehensive equity programs for low-income riders and designated parking zones for scooters.

Uber also applied for San Francisco’s micromobility pilot but has a strong Southern California connection. Since 2015, Jump’s technology has been used by Santa Monica’s Breeze Bike Share, a smart pedal bike system that has dedicated docking areas but can also be locked to any bike rack. Jump’s locking mechanisms could skirt many of the issues around where dockless vehicles are stored between rides, preventing riders from blocking sidewalks or entrances to buildings.

“This is the best of both worlds—we’re familiar with dockless bike share and Santa Monica was an early adopter of that technology,” says Jump CEO Ryan Rzepecki. “We have data going back several years seeing how the bikes are being used.”

The ability to use Uber’s app to connect bike and scooter trips with ride-hailing and public transit is also important in a city like Santa Monica, noted Rzepecki. According to data released by Uber last month, Jump riders in San Francisco are sometimes choosing e-bikes over car trips. “This is about how do we build a multimodal vision.”

Jump does not have scooters in its fleet yet, but Rzepecki confirmed that the scooter which would be used for the Santa Monica pilot would be a new Jump-branded scooter, not part of Uber’s existing partnership with Lime’s scooters. Jump’s San Francisco scooter proposal also showed docking racks for scooters.

In an email that Bird sent to its Santa Monica riders last night, the company claims that a “small city-appointed selection committee” in a “closed-door meeting” will ban Bird from Santa Monica in September. It encourages riders to show up at Santa Monica’s City Hall at 5 p.m. today to “let city leaders know how much you have come to depend on Bird.”

But there is no planned discussion this evening about the scooter pilot, says city spokesperson Constance Farrell.

“So if people come down expecting to give public comment, there isn’t a forum to do that unless they wait out the entirety of the meeting,” she says, which she estimates will be between 11 p.m. and midnight, when comments for non-agenda items are allowed.

Instead, Farrell encourages riders to provide public comments through the shared mobility website, and notes that the rankings are not the last word.

Santa Monica plans to publish all the applications online this week, and a selection committee will consider all public comments as part of the final decision, which will be announced August 30, she says.

“We’re midway through the process for releasing these recommendations,” Farrell says.


Cozy Spanish-style with stellar views asks $729K in Mount Washington

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The house sits on more than half an acre of land.

The two-bedroom home is surrounded by tall trees and gardens

This hillside home in Mount Washington looks like a perfectly pleasant retreat, nestled among tall trees and terraced gardens.

Built in 1933, the Spanish-style residence has just 945 square feet of living space, but it sits on more than half an acre of land, with steps leading down to the property from the street above.

Featuring two bedrooms and one and a half bathrooms, the house has airy interiors, with an updated kitchen that leads into a breakfast nook. The living room is equipped with a fireplace and opens to a covered back deck with excellent views and room for outdoor seating.

The house comes with an additional structure that could be used for storage or as an office or den. Pathways and patios line the property, and there’s a fire pit and horseshoe stakes already set up.

Asking price is $729,000.

Living room
Breakfast nook
Bedroom 1
Back deck
Outdoor furniture
Patio chairs

LA gave developers $1B without ensuring the deals would benefit taxpayers

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A handful of Downtown projects have received tens of millions of dollars worth of financial incentives over the last decade or so.

The deals have benefitted the Wilshire Grand and the LA Live Marriott and Ritz Carlton

City officials have given developers tax benefits valued at $1 billion since 2005—and they need to do a better job ensuring the financial assistance is really needed, says controller Ron Galperin.

In a new report, Galperin says officials are approving agreements with developers to get hotels and other commercial projects built “without a comprehensive strategy” to ensure the deals are “transparent and advantageous to taxpayers.”

“We need a clear road map to ensure consistency, fairness and value for those we serve,” Galperin says.

Developers typically ask for public assistance when projects have a funding gap, and the agreements usually allow developers to keep some of the taxes they collect after the project is built—money the city would otherwise keep.

The controller’s report was released as Los Angeles City Councilmembers debate incentives for four more development projects.

Those projects are a hotel at 3900 Figueroa Street in Exposition Park; a mixed-use development at 3240 Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown; a hotel at Olive and 12th Street in South Park; and the possible expansion of the JW Marriott at LA Live. The amount of financial assistance these projects could receive is still being determined.

The report includes multiple recommendations, including the creation of “a broader, comprehensive citywide economic development strategy” to evaluate whether projects should receive incentives.

The controller also suggests the city hire a consultant or “qualified city entity” with “robust experience” to help evaluate projects seeking financial assistance. That person could suss out if projects could be retooled or redesigned to avoid a “feasibility gap,” the difference between a project’s estimated value when complete and the cost to construct it.

Having someone look out for the city’s best interest during negotiations would give the city an advantage it doesn’t have now.

“I am not convinced at this time that the city has the kind of expertise that would put us in the best negotiating position,” Galperin told the Los Angeles Times.

The report looked at agreements—totaling $654 million—made with developers for five projects from 2005 to 2015: the J.W. Marriott and Ritz Carlton at LA Live; the InterContinental Hotel in the Wilshire Grand; the Courtyard Marriott and Residence Inn north of LA Live; the Hotel Indigo in Metropolis; and the Village at Westfield Topanga, a shopping center in Woodland Hills.

“The city’s intended goal for incentivizing Downtown hotels was to draw more conventions,” the report notes, but the incentive agreements for the projects “do not include guarantees for increased convention bookings.”

The city’s agreement with the Village at Westfield Topanga “does not require that the mall maintain a certain number of jobs, or other benefits as promoted by the city,” the report notes.

In the last two years, the city has approved an additional $345 million for the Frank Gehry-designed Grand Avenue Project; the Cambria hotel near LA Live; and the Fig + Pico hotel.

Ben Carson says LA has too many single-family homes

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Housing advocates have long argued that LA’s zoning rules are too restrictive.

Will future HUD rules force LA to allow denser development?

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson blamed restrictive zoning rules for LA’s affordable housing crisis in an interview with the Wall Street Journal Monday.

The department plans to rework its long-delayed enforcement policy on fair housing, and Carson says the new rules will reward cities that allow for dense development. Using LA as an example of a city where development is restricted to single-family homes in many neighborhoods, Carson argued that such policies limit the supply of housing—at the expense of lower-earning residents.

“Of course you’re going to have skyrocketing prices that no one can afford,” he told the Journal.

Housing advocates have long argued that zoning rules in LA that favor lower-slung development projects contribute to high housing costs and relatively segregated neighborhoods.

Nearly 80 percent of residential land in Los Angeles was zoned for single-family homes, as of 2014.

When HUD unveiled its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rules, under President Obama, restrictive zoning was identified as a key factor contributing to segregation in U.S. cities.

Those rules would have enforced a long-ignored element of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, requiring local officials to make plans for addressing segregation in their communities.

Earlier this year, the department announced that it would delay rollout of those regulations. Later, the department shut down online access to tools needed by communities to create plans. On Monday, the department began the process of rewriting the rules entirely.

Shots at Los Angeles aside, it’s not clear specifically how Carson plans to overhaul the policy. He did tell the Journal that cities with restrictive zoning codes could lose out on federal grant money—though that’s also a possibility under the existing rules.

An announcement from HUD indicates that the department is seeking input from the public on future changes to the policy.


Groovy 60s modern by Bill Mack in Brentwood asking $4.5M

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Built in 1962 with a later expansion by architect/surfboard designer Matt Kivlin

Increasingly popular with Hollywood power-players thanks to its secluded, rural nature, Brentwood’s Mandeville Canyon is also a bastion of noteworthy architecture.

Within the bucolic Westside enclave are homes by such illustrious practitioners as Pierre Koenig, Cliff May, Gerard Colcord, Allen Siple, and Bill Mack, who designed this striking residence on Old Orchard Road that’s just hit the market.

Per the listing, the 1962 modern was later expanded by prolific local architect/surfboard designer Matt Kivlin.

Measuring 3,920 square feet, the woodsy home features four bedrooms, five baths, lofty beamed ceilings, two brick fireplaces, and a plethora of built-ins. Walls of glass, skylights, and multiple decks help blur the line between indoors and out, while the property’s .8-acre grounds contain a swimming pool and a chicken coop.

Last sold for $2.427 million in 2007, it’s now asking $4.5 million.