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Discussion Starter · #361 ·


Report: Closing the 710 Freeway gap would take years and cost billions

In a 2,260-page draft environmental report, the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority examined four construction options they say could address the congestion and health issues that stem from the 710’s abrupt ending on a surface street in Alhambra. The freeway is a favored route for truckers shuttling between the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and distribution centers in central Los Angeles County.

"This area is widely considered to have an incomplete transportation infrastructure," Metro spokesman Paul Gonzales told the Los Angeles Times. "The way it affects the region is part of this study -- what it means for traffic, what it means for mobility, what it means for air pollution. We closely associate the 710 with a handful of specific cities, but it’s connected to the whole region."

A 4.9-mile tunnel would be the longest in California, and almost as long as downtown Boston's 5.1-mile Big Dig tunnel. Under either option, drivers could be charged a toll and trucks could be barred from the tunnels, the report said.

A 12-mile rapid bus route would link Huntington Drive in San Marino to Whittier Boulevard in Montebello, according to the environmental analysis. Buses would have some dedicated lanes, and could run every 10 minutes during peak hours. Adding the bus routes would cost $241 million and take about two years.

A 7.5-mile light-rail line would cost $2.4 billion and would add seven stops to Los Angeles County’s growing rail system, the report said, connecting the Gold Line’s Fillmore Station in Pasadena with the East L.A. Civic Center stop. The route would run underground through Pasadena and South Pasadena, then run on elevated tracks through Monterey Park and East Los Angeles. Construction would take about six years.

Caltrans and Metro are accepting comments from the public until July 6. The Metro board of directors will choose a final option for the project sometime in 2016, Gonzales said.
http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-710-freeway-report-20150306-story.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #362 ·


Diamond Bar councilman to promote 57/60 Freeway interchange project in Washington

Diamond Bar Councilman Jimmy Lin is a man on a mission. Lin is traveling to Washington, D.C., next week to lobby Congress for the 57/60 interchange improvement project.

“I’m going to talk to our senators and congressmen about supporting our efforts to relieve the traffic congestion at this dangerous interchange,” Lin said.

The new councilman will promote the $256 million project to realign the freeways at the so-called Diamond Bar crunch. Lin wants congress to include it in the next highway bill it considers.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-n...760-freeway-interchange-project-in-washington
 

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Monterey Park council to hear DoubleTree by Hilton plan

A six-story DoubleTree by Hilton could be the first of three hotels to break ground on the North Atlantic Boulevard corridor. Details of the two-year construction project will be available at a City Council meeting today.

The 180-room project would include a 4,000-square-foot independent restaurant, 1,000 square feet of retail space and 263 parking spaces in a three-level subterranean garage, according to a Planning Commission report.

Yung Kao, from Architech Group, will present the 1.12-acre design at the council’s regular Wednesday 7 p.m. meeting, including what will replace a vacant lot at 220 N. Atlantic Boulevard. The project has already been approved by the Planning Commission and Design Review Board, and the DoubleTree arm fits within the scope of the city’s General Plan.

“The City Council wouldn’t have to approve it, but a project of this size would normally have been approved by a redevelopment board, which was made up of the City Council members,” City Manager Paul Talbot said, adding redevelopment boards across the state disappeared in 2011.

Tour buses would load and unload passengers in the DoubleTree’s parking lot, so frequent trips don’t impede traffic flow, Kao said.

“A project of this size would add a very tiny fraction of trip numbers to the number that is already there, and if you translate that increase to how much longer people are likely to have to wait at a traffic light, it’s less than half a second,” Kao said.

There are more than 400 DoubleTree hotels and resorts in the world, according to a Hilton website.

“In the States, there are not a lot of new DoubleTree hotels, but overseas — particularly in Asia — DoubleTree has a very prestigious image,” Kao said. “It’s brand new and has a contemporary design.”

Monterey Park is 67 percent Asian, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.

The DoubleTree project is considerably less controversial than the six-story, 210,400-square-foot, 288-room Courtyard by Marriott planned for 521-633 N. Atlantic Boulevard, near Alhambra.

Alhambra Mayor Gary Yamauchi said he is glad Monterey Park consulted with Alhambra about its hotel projects.

“We appreciate them contacting us and inviting us to attend these public meetings that they have,” he said. “It’s so close to our border that it does affect the people of Alhambra.”

Tara Schultz, Alhambra assistant city manager, wrote a letter in February thanking Monterey Park officials for addressing local traffic concerns.

“The residents and the city continue to have great concerns regarding the potential parking impacts to the neighborhood once the project is completed,” Schultz wrote. “Accordingly, we would anticipate that the city of Monterey Park would re-evaluate the parking impacts of the project after its completion and implement any measures necessary to alleviate any parking issues.”
http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/gov...rk-council-to-hear-doubletree-by-hilton-plan#

Video of presentation...
http://monterey-park.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=494
 
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Discussion Starter · #365 ·
Irwindale Speedway likely to be demolished for outlet mall

IRWINDALE >> City officials Wednesday will likely approve plans to demolish the iconic Irwindale Speedway to pave way for a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall.

City Council will hold a public hearing about the project at a meeting where officials are also expected to approve a development agreement with Irwindale Outlets Partners, LLC, change the site’s zoning code to commercial and certify the final Environmental Impact Report.

The Irwindale Outlet Center project, which includes design plans for an outdoor shopping center, entertainment stage, a central plaza and dining courtyard, is expected to generate thousands of jobs and bring a new heartbeat to the community.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/governmen...edway-likely-to-be-demolished-for-outlet-mall
 

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Discussion Starter · #366 ·


605-10 freeway interchange improvements coming to a close

A massive overhead ramp that will fix one of the Los Angeles County’s most dangerous interchanges could open this fall, but the headaches of construction on the 10 Freeway will continue for years.

When Caltrans finishes the long-awaited fly-over ramp linking the southbound 605 to the eastbound 10, it will still be several more years before completion of a widening project that adds a carpool lane out to the 57 Freeway in Pomona.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-n...ovements-coming-to-a-close?source=most_viewed
 

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Discussion Starter · #367 ·


Pasadena sees a flurry of hotel development, expansions and makeovers

Visitors walking into the former Hotel Constance on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena are often surprised because the inside is so different from the 1920s Spanish-style exterior.

"There is an ah-ha moment, for sure," hotel executive Paul Jan Zdunek said. "Not everyone likes it. It may not fit what they had imagined" from observing the outside.

What guests encounter, he said, is "an amazing pop of techno Thai culture" in bold colors and fluid shapes.

DusitD2 is the avant-garde, mid-price brand of Dusit International, a Thai hotel management company that operates luxury properties in several countries, including Thailand, China and United Arab Emirates. The Constance is Dusit's first inn in the United States.

Average occupancy in Pasadena hotels has risen substantially in the last five years to nearly 85%, which is "extremely high," according to hospitality analyst Bruce Baltin of PKF Consulting USA. The city is undersupplied with rooms, he said, and new hotels are coming to the central city.

A 144-room Residence Inn is expected to be completed by November on Fair Oaks Avenue north of Old Pasadena.

Other projects in the pipeline include a Hyatt Place to replace the former Macy's department store building in the Paseo Colorado shopping center on Colorado Boulevard and a Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants branch encompassing the former YWCA built in 1922 on North Marengo Avenue.

Last month the Westin Pasadena on North Los Robles Avenue sold for $142.5 million to a New York real estate investment trust that plans to spend an additional $15.5 million on renovation of the guest rooms and other improvements.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-pasadena-hotels-20150409-story.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #369 ·


Most at first 710 Freeway gap hearing favor building tunnel

MONTEREY PARK >> At the first public hearing on closing the 4.5-mile 710 Freeway gap since the release of a key environmental report, most speakers on Saturday favored building a tunnel and vehemently opposed a light-rail system.

“I live two blocks from where the 710 Freeway ends at Valley Boulevard and the traffic is horrendous there. I’m hoping the tunnel will go through and take cars off Alhambra streets,” testified Carol Jones, Alhambra resident.

Caltrans and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) spent four years at a cost of $40 million studying different ways to move traffic from one freeway stub — at Valley Boulevard in Alhambra — to the other near Del Mar Avenue in Pasadena, where the freeway would connect to the 210/134 interchange. The resulting Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement looks at five options: a no-build option; a traffic management system that would upgrade streets and sync traffic signals at local intersections to move traffic more quickly; a dedicated busway with high-frequency service and few stops; a 7.5-mile light-rail line that would stretch from East Los Angeles to Pasadena and a 6.3-mile freeway tunnel, of which 4.2 miles would be completely underground.

Of the 51 speakers, most thought continuing the freeway via a tunnel under El Sereno, Alhambra, South Pasadena and Pasadena would alleviate the most traffic — echoing the same conclusion contained in the 26,000-page EIR/EIS, released March 6.

“It is imperative we get this done. The best alternative is a dual-bore tunnel,” said David Thomas.

Brian Lewin said residents of southeast Los Angeles and the western San Gabriel Valley have suffered through heavier traffic on local streets for half a century due to a freeway that starts in Long Beach but ends abruptly in Alhambra. His mother was told her house in El Sereno would be taken for a freeway — that was in 1959, he said.

“This has gone incomplete for far too long. The only thing we need to do is finish this,” said Lewin, who lives in Rosemead.

Besides private citizens, local elected officials testified in favor of a tunnel.

“A tunnel improves the regional transportation system and you will also improve the air quality in the region,” said San Marino Mayor Eugene Sun.

Monterey Park City Councilwoman Teresa Real-Sebastian said extending the 710 is not just about Alhambra or South Pasadena but is a regional issue. “The 710 was never intended to end on Valley Boulevard; anyone who lives in any of these cities knows all that extra traffic spills onto our communities, where we work, where we play. The tunnel is the only option that will get mobility back on track,” she said.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-n...710-freeway-gap-hearing-favor-building-tunnel
 

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Discussion Starter · #370 ·

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Discussion Starter · #372 ·


Porto’s Bakery is coming to West Covina

After months of uncertainty, Porto’s Bakery & Cafe will be coming to town.

The bakery is expected to bring in $70,000 to $80,000 in annual sales tax revenue to the city and create about 175 jobs, city officials said.

“We had been searching in West Covina for a very long time because it is the perfect community for us to thrive,” said Raul Porto, Jr., son of company founders Raul Porto Sr. and Rosa Porto. “We appreciate the efforts of both the City of West Covina and the County of Los Angeles for working so quickly with us to make this dream a reality.”

The eatery chain bought the former Crazy Horse bikini bar and grill building at 1360 W. Garvey Ave. and plans to open its new location in 2017, West Covina officials said Thursday in a written statement.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/business/20150423/portos-bakery-is-coming-to-west-covina
 

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Discussion Starter · #373 ·


Council backs development that expands Old Pasadena

A million square-foot development that will reshape the northwest portion of Old Pasadena received unanimous support from the City Council on Monday.

The 100 West Walnut project will turn 22 acres of land surrounding the Parsons building near Walnut Street and Fair Oaks Avenue into an expansion of the city’s downtown with new restaurants, office space and 475 residential units.

“It’s transformative for the city, and it’s transformative for Old Pasadena, because what it allows is for Old Pasadena to complete its neighborhoods, north up to Walnut and filling in that space,” said Councilwoman Margaret McAustin. “I’ve lived in Pasadena for 40 years and I’ve never seen a 1 million square foot project.”

“Overall, 100 West Walnut is a game-changer for Pasadena,” Walker said. “It will bring new housing to a great part of the city, it will bring class-A beautiful office space to hellp recruit and create business in Pasadena. This will be a job generator for Pasadena, which also means steady resources for general fund revenue to fund critical city services over the long term.”
http://www.sgvtribune.com/governmen...l-backs-development-that-expands-old-pasadena
 

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Discussion Starter · #374 ·


San Gabriel Valley COG recommends tunnel option for 710

“This has been going on for decades. It blows my mind for you to say it is premature,” retorted Alhambra City Councilwoman Barbara Messina, who introduced the successful motion.

Messina said the support for a tolled tunnel is in line with the Southern California Association of Governments, which put the tunnel option into its Regional Transportation Plan in 2012.

“SCAG has the (710) tunnel in their RTP. It meets requirements of the federal government on air quality, mobility and congestion,” Messina told the board. Dissenters said the vote in support of a freeway tunnel would break the SGVCOG in half. Some urged a no position to preserve a unified voice in the region on transportation matters.

Alhambra is a leading force in the 710 Coalition, which calls for “closing the gap” of the freeway that starts in Long Beach and is considered the missing link in the 14 Southern California freeways. Caltrans first proposed the extension in 1959. Other cities in the group include San Marino, Monterey Park, Rosemead and San Gabriel.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-n...l-valley-cog-recommends-tunnel-option-for-710
 

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Discussion Starter · #375 ·


Triple Crown winner American Pharoah returns to California

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) — Triple Crown winner American Pharoah returned home to Santa Anita in California and was greeted by a crowd of well-wishers, including Oscar-winning actress Julia Roberts.

Baffert says it’s great to have American Pharoah home after he became the first horse since 1978 to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes.

American Pharoah will make a public appearance at the track on June 27 when he will be paraded.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/sport...rican-pharoah-returns-to-california/28954981/
 

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Double-Tree Hotel project at 220 N. Atlantic Boulevard, Monterey Park. Pics taken by me on 20 June, 2015.





 
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Discussion Starter · #377 ·


710 Freeway gap economic study says tunnel would produce greatest benefits

Time saved is the most valued factor in the study, followed by cost savings for car owners and savings from fewer car crashes. The report says when commuters use the single-bore tunnel to get from the end of the 710 Freeway in El Sereno at the Alhambra border up to Pasadena at the 134/210 freeway interchange — about 90,000 cars per day — it would divert traffic from nearby surface streets which tend to have higher crash rates than freeways. This saves money, time and calculates into greater benefits.

“The major issue also is that it will open up all the other freeways in the region. It frees up the interchange in downtown Los Angeles,” said Alhambra City Councilwoman Barbara Messina, a freeway tunnel proponent.
http://www.sgvtribune.com/general-n...y-says-tunnel-would-produce-greatest-benefits
 

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Alibaba's New Pasadena Hub Signals LA As Growing Gateway To China



Alibaba's move into Los Angeles by leasing a 22,000 square foot office space in Pasadena’s new Playhouse Plaza signals a bigger opening of cross-border China and southern California business connections. These links are being framed around technology entrepreneurship, venture investment and nearby innovation hubs that seek to make startups more central to the city’s economic base.

This is a catch up for LA compared with its northern neighbor San Francisco. Sand Hill Road venture capitalists have long been bridged with China, and Chinese tech titans Baidu , Alibaba, Tencent, Fosun and Renren have been setting up bases and making numerous investments in Valley startups over the past few years.

But far fewer SoCal venture and tech links with China have existed. Now a new corridor between LA and China is emerging from Silicon Beach in trendy Santa Monica to San Gabriel Valley’s Pasadena. Famous for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and parade, Pasadena is getting on California’s innovation hotspots map with startups from the world-renown Caltech, Idealab, the Art Center College of Design – and soon Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

Peter Brack, an entrepreneur and investor at Mucker Capital in LA, observes that southern California startups center on digital media and entertainment sectors while northern California’s emerging companies hinge on deep-rooted technology in software, big data, artificial intelligence and the like. Synergies between the core tech-focused Bay Area and Beijing have existed for years, but haven’t developed much yet with LA’s glitzy and creative small businesses in media and film.

The China-LA link is gradually strengthening though as leading Chinese companies such as Alibaba, Fosun, LETV and Dalian Wanda go global and begin doing Hollywood type deals. Chinese tech investors have arrived too such as Tencent’s $250 million majority stake investment in LA-based video game maker Riot Games in 2011 and BYD's plant opening in 2013 to produce electric vehicles.

Meanwhile, downtown LA has become a magnet for Chinese developers and purchasers, ranging from the LA Marriott Sheraton Universal Hotel to mixed retail-residential complexes Fig Central and the Metropolis project.

Not to be overlooked are the newly affluent Chinese who are buying up pricey residential real estate. Chinese are the top foreign buyers of U.S. homes, with Los Angeles a focal point. Catherine Marcus, a broker at Sotheby’s in Beverly Hills, says Chinese are buying up brand new, multi-million dollar mansions in Pasadena, Beverly Hills and other rich enclaves as a long-term investment overseas. One Chinese family even bought a decorator showcase home equipped with the latest gadgets for their teen-age son to stay in while enrolled in USC.

East LA’s suburban Arcadia, adjacent to Pasadena, has become a haven for newly rich Chinese and is known as a Chinese Beverly Hills. A branch of the Chinese restaurant chain Hai Di Lao, popular for its tasty hot pot dishes, was packed here on a recent visit.

Tourism in LA is naturally benefiting as an influx of Chinese soak up Hollywood and Disneyland culture. Sage Brennan, a consultant in LA specializing in the China travel market, says Chinese lead among foreign visitors arriving at LAX. He’s working with the city of LA, Pasadena’s tourism board and the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills on reaching Chinese clientele.

The Four Seasons Hotel, which derives 10 percent of its business from Chinese guests, is making sure to cater to this fast-growing segment. A Mandarin-speaking guest relations manager has recently been appointed to be a main contact for China guests, the web site and tourist guide book have been translated, the breakfast menu features congee, and China UnionPay credit and debit cards are accepted. The hotel’s marketing director Greg Velasquez is reaching out to Chinese travelers through the mobile messaging app WeChat. Such moves have helped the Four Seasons to be designated “China Ready” by the LA Tourism and Convention Bureau.

The Chinese-owned luxurious Langham Hotel (formerly the Huntington) in Pasadena is tapping the Chinese market as well with tai chi classses and spa treatments that feature Chinese traditional medicine.

China investment in U.S. business was almost non-existent just 15 years ago, following a trend of Japanese buying up trophy properties such as Pebble Beach, but it’s climbed to $50 billion and is predicted to reach $200 billion by 2020, according to a report by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. At nearly $6 billion, California tops the U.S. destinations for Chinese business investment, mostly in Los Angeles and San Francisco metros.

Silicon Dragon’s forum in LA, July 29-30, will delve into this trend of LA as a gateway city for China investment, with tech talks, venture panels and deal making at the Pasadena Convention Center, just a few blocks from Alibaba’s soon-to-open digs.
http://www.forbes.com/sites/rebecca...hub-signals-la-as-growing-gateway-to-china/2/
 

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Then, why is the San Fernando Valley ignored from a growing Chinese population?
The typical pattern is that early Chinese immigrants (which were relatively few in LA) settled in urban "Chinatowns" but later immigrants moved to the more well-to-do suburbs (same sort of pattern in the Bay Area and NY).

The SGV has the advantage of being mostly separate cities, which are better maintained due to being outside the LA city limits. School districts in particular, which are really quite bad in LA, encourage parents with an interest in their children's education to move into other areas, and most Asians are strongly focused on education. The SFV unfortunately is almost entirely LAUSD.

See also the OC, where the densest Chinese population is in places like Irvine, which have excellent schools and very well run city services.
 
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