Miracle Mile Residential Association Newsletter • January 2014

Miracle Mile
Residential Association

Newsletter • January 2014 • Los Angeles, California                                                                                                    

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The MMRA Channel on YouTube
MMRA 2013 Annual Survey Results
Windsor Square Residents Complain about Subway Construction Site
In the loop...
Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Construction Coming to Miracle Mile
Miracle Mile Real Estate • December 2013 Sales

(...below the fold...)

The Miracle Mile Residential Association
Launches the MMRA Channel on YouTube

Click on image to visit the MMRA Channel
The Miracle Mile in Three Tenses: Past, Present, and Future
• A conversation with Ruth Wallach and Greg Goldin


The Miracle Mile Residential Association has created the MMRA Channel on YouTube as part of an ongoing effort to expand and enhance communication with residents and the greater community. The popular video-sharing website will allow the MMRA to explore an array of issues and events related to the Miracle Mile. Plans are being developed to produce a variety of programs from round-table discussions and interviews to videos on topical subjects.
“If a picture is worth a thousand words, a YouTube video can be worth millions,” said MMRA President James O’Sullivan. “The MMRA Channel will give us the freedom to cover stories in depth without the space limitations of the newsletter. Video is the ideal way to examine an assortment of subjects from subway construction to art deco architecture.”
The inaugural production on the MMRA Channel is The Miracle Mile in Three Tenses: Past, Present, and Future • A conversation with Ruth Wallach and Greg Goldin. Recorded in September 2013, the three-segment program features an engaging discussion exploring the history of the Miracle Mile and how it relates to its future. Wallach and Goldin delve into a wide range of topics: the Miracle Mile as a destination, high-density development, the obstacles to becoming a thriving retail district, and the potential impacts of the Academy Museum and the Peter Zumthor designed re-do of LACMA. 
Ruth Wallach [right] is the head of the Helen Topping Architecture and Fine Arts Library at the University of Southern California. She has authored and co-authored several publications on librarianship, public art, and the history of Los Angeles. Her latest book is “Miracle Mile in Los Angeles: History and Architecture.” It is a comprehensive and definitive history that expertly examines how the automobile and real estate development shaped the Miracle Mile into a commercial district.
Greg Goldin [left] is a long time resident of the Miracle Mile. He has curated several well-received exhibitions at the A+D Architecture and Design Museums on Museum Row. From 2000 to 2012 he was the architecture critic at Los Angeles Magazine. He frequently writes for the Architect's Newspaper and the Los Angeles Times. He is co-author with Sam Lubell of “Never Built Los Angeles,” which examines more than 100 visionary projects that never made it off the drafting table. The book – and the A+D Museum exhibition of the same name ­– received national acclaim.
The MMRA is committed to fostering discussion and debate on matters critical to the quality of life in the Miracle Mile and in Los Angeles at large. In you have ideas or suggestions for future programs on the MMRA Channel please drop us a note at:

MMRA Channel on YouTube The Miracle Mile in Los Angeles: History and Architecture Never Built Los Angeles


MMRA 2013 Annual Survey Results

MMRA 2013 Annual Survey Results

The Miracle Mile Residential Association launched its first annual survey of residents last November to help inform and guide the MMRA board of directors. The poll closed on Dec 31, 2013 and had 113 respondents. [Click here to see the results.]
While far from a scientific study – frankly, some of the questions were poorly phrased and produced ambiguous responses – the survey has proven useful in providing a “snapshot” of resident’s thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics. It allows board members – and residents – to compare their impressions of life in the Miracle Mile to those of their neighbors.
The MMRA board of directors reviewed the survey results at its January 2, 2014 meeting. The board was encouraged by the number of residents who participated in the poll, and that this number contained a substantial number of renters and “short-timers” – those who have lived the Miracle Mile for nine or less years. The MMRA strives to represent the interests of all its residents regardless of whether they are old-timers, newcomers, renters, or homeowners.
The survey confirms that development, traffic, and safety are the primary concerns – all issues that continue to be the central focus of the MMRA. The poll also demonstrates the overall positive opinions of residents regarding the quality of life in the Miracle Mile in terms of safety, “walkablity,” public transportation, convenience to work, and access to cultural resources.
Traffic congestion and large development projects provoked the most negative responses. The consensus of the poll respondents is that traffic is getting worse every day. When asked if they would like to see more large apartment complexes built along Wilshire Boulevard, 87% answered “no.”
The MMRA will continue to employ additional targeted polls from time-to-time to gauge the opinions of residents on specific issues. There’s even a mini poll below on your reaction to the 2013 Annual Survey – and to gather your suggestions on how to improve it.

Click on image to take the poll.


Windsor Square Residents Complain
About Metro Subway Construction Site

Windsor Square Residents Complain
About Metro Subway Construction Site

MMRA Sends Letter to Police Commission
Regarding Community Opposition to Nighttime
Subway Construction
The January 3, 2014 edition of the Larchmont Chronicle detailed the complaints of Windsor Square residents about the Metro subway construction site at Wilshire Boulevard and Lorraine Boulevard [link below]. Round the clock truck traffic, bright flood lights, ground vibration, and noise, were among the issues raised by neighbors – which are the very issues that prompted the Miracle Mile Residential Association [MMRA] to oppose Metro’s plans to operate sites in the Miracle Mile 24-hours-per-day during construction of the Purple Line subway extension.
“The impact on Windsor Village residents will be horrendous,” the Chronicle quoted R.J. Strotz, a member of the Windsor Village Association Board of Directors. The impact in the Miracle Mile will be quadrupled by the four subway construction staging sites located along Wilshire Boulevard: two for the Fairfax station and two for the La Brea station.

Subway construction staging sites at La Brea Ave. and Wilshire Blvd.
Click on image to enlarge.

Metro has made it known that they will be seeking exemptions from ordinances prohibiting nighttime construction activity. In a January 6, 2014 letter to the Los Angeles Police Commission – which regulates work hours ordinances – MMRA President James O’Sullivan wrote: “The nighttime noise disturbance and its negative impact on the nearby residents would be magnified by the extraordinary duration of the Purple Line extension construction. The very length of the subway project is atypical. Hence, the cumulative impact of nighttime construction activities on the residences in the areas surrounding the construction staging sites over the projected nine years of construction would be immense and would deprive these residents of their fundamental right to enjoy the peace and quiet of their own homes.”
The projected haul routes for the dump trucks ferrying dirt from the construction sites will also create nighttime noise and vibration for neighborhoods south of the Miracle Mile. MMRA representatives have met with neighboring residential and homeowner associations to discuss the negative impacts of around-the-clock construction.
Last September, the Mid City West Community Council voted against a motion granting Metro blanket exemptions from work hours rules and ordinances for the construction of the Purple Line subway extension. The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council Transportation Committee will hold a meeting on the disturbances created by the Wilshire/Lorraine construction staging site on Thursday, January 30, 2014. MMRA representatives will be in attendance to continue our efforts to persuade the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council to support our opposition to nighttime construction activity.
For additional information:
MMRA Letter to Los Angeles Police Commission

Larchmont Chronicle: Residents disturbed by Metro staging yard for Purple Line extension
MMRA Newsletter, August 2013: MMRA Opposes Subway Work Hours Exemptions
MMRA Newsletter, October 2013: MMRA Position on Subway Construction Work Hours Supported by Mid City West Community Council

In the loop...


In the loop…

One of the obvious limitations of a monthly newsletter is that a lot can happen between issues. Here are some of the recent stories and events that we are closely monitoring and wanted to share with you:

The Court Challenge to the
Hollywood Community Plan [HCP]:

 The MMRA has been critical of the controversial update of the HCP because we feared its high-rise, high-density elements would serve as a precedent for development in the Miracle Mile. The MMRA also felt that the plan ignored critical infrastructure needs: emergency response times, sewer, water, and other environmental aspects.
On December 10, 2013, Superior Court Judge Allan J. Goodman issued a tentative decision concluding that the actions of the City in approving the HCP constituted an abuse of discretion and that the plan cannot survive in its present form. He also stated that the HCP is “fatally flawed” as a planning document because the City’s projected population growth was inaccurately inflated to justify high-density development.
Los Angeles Times: Judge deals major blow to Hollywood growth plan Thou Shall Not Lie: The Meaning of the Court’s Rejection of the Hollywood Community Plan
MMRA Newsletter, March 2013: Gone Hollywood; How the Hollywood Plan Threatens the Miracle Mile
The Los Angeles 2020 Commission Report:
In early 2013, an independent commission composed of a dozen business, labor and civic leaders was established by Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson to develop a plan to remedy the City’s chronic deficit and promote options for its economic future. "We want to look at what we can do to grow business, to see what structural changes we need to make sure the city is moving in the right direction," Wesson was quoted at the time in the Huffington Post.

The “Los Angeles 2020 Commission,” headed by former Commerce Secretary Mickey Kantor, was criticized for being a group of City Hall insiders and it was anticipated that they would produce a toothless report – but on January 10, 2014, the commission released a scathing indictment of the state of City entitled: A Time for Truth.

“Los Angeles is barely treading water while the rest of the world is moving forward. We risk falling further behind in adapting to the realities of the 21st century and becoming a City in decline,” the report declares on its opening page and then goes on to examine the many ways and reasons the City is failing.

The report is the first of two the commission will issue. The second will make specific recommendations and suggest ideas for addressing the many challenges facing Los Angeles.

The report encountered instant criticism on many fronts and received faint praise from Mayor Garcetti. “We welcome the authors' ideas as we focus on growing our economy and reforming City Hall,” said a spokesperson.
The L.A. Weekly wrote: “It recycles talking points that have been circulating in the business community for years, without bringing any fresh analysis to the city's problems.”  Be that as it may, but for those of us unfamiliar with these talking points it provides an eye-opening look at Los Angeles.
A Time for Truth, The Los Angeles 2020 Commission Report
Los Angeles Times: Report calls L.A. a city in decline, warns of crisis in leadership A Time for Truth…and Solutions

L.A. Weekly: The L.A. 2020 Report Declaring "City in Decline" is a Complete Mess

Academy Museum in Top Two in Lobbyist
 for Third Quarter 2013:

In a Los Angeles City Ethics Commission report released in December 2013, it was revealed that over a three month period, from July to September 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences paid lobbyists $461,798 – of which $440,381 was expended to promote the Academy Museum project to an assortment of City leaders, officials and agencies.

The Academy was only outspent by the developers of the troubled Millennium high-rise project in Hollywood, who reported $572,681 in lobbying expenses.

The Academy is currently preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Report on the conversion of the former May Company building. The MMRA has very serious concerns over the museum’s potential impact in terms of traffic, parking, and noise. The museum could attract over one million visitors a year to the Miracle Mile and host two or more movie premieres a week.

Los Angeles City Ethics Commission News: Nearly $11.5 Million Spent to Lobby City Agencies in Third Quarter

Hollywood Patch: Millennium Hollywood Project Led Lobbyist Spending at L.A. City Hall


Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit Coming to Miracle Mile


Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit
Construction Coming to Miracle Mile

Construction began January 13, 2014 on the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit [BRT] along Wilshire Boulevard between Western Avenue and San Vicente Boulevard. The project will convert curb lanes into peak-hour bus only lanes and include the reconstruction of the existing curb and four middle lanes of Wilshire Boulevard. The BRT lanes will operate during the hours of 7 AM to 9 AM and 4 PM to 7 PM, Monday through Friday. Vehicles making right turns and bicycles will be allowed in the bus lanes.

The first 1.8 mile BRT segment opened in June 2013 from MacArthur Park to Western Avenue.

In order to minimize disruption, work will begin at Western Avenue and progress west along the north side of Wilshire Boulevard through the Miracle Mile. When crews reach La Cienega Boulevard they will return back east along south side Wilshire Boulevard to Western Avenue. The project is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

It is unclear at this time whether the BRT improvements will be made on the sections of Wilshire Boulevard that are to be excavated for construction of the Purple Line subway extension. The MMRA is seeking clarification from Metro and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation. It would be an egregious waste of taxpayer money to repave and repair the Fairfax and La Brea sections of Wilshire for the BRT project and then shortly thereafter tear up the street for the subway construction.

The Wilshire BRT is intended to reduce cross-town travel times for Metro passengers during rush hours – although its effectiveness will be reduced by its abrupt end at Beverly Hills, which decided not to participate in the project. The City of Santa Monica also declined to participate.

Click on map to enlarge.

For additional information:

Wilshire BRT Project homepage
Park LaBrea News/Beverly Press: The new year to bring new work to Wilshire Boulevard


Miracle Mile Real Estate • December 2013 Sales

Miracle Mile Real Estate
 2013 Sales

921 South Sierra Bonita Ave.
3 bdrm, 2 bath; 2,009 sq. ft.
lot: 6,703 sq. ft.
listing price: $997,000
sale price: $900,000
sale date: 12-13-2013

1042 South Ridgeley Ave.
4 bdrm, 3.5 bath; 3,417 sq. ft.
lot: 6,313 sq. ft.
listing price: $1,327,000
sale price: $1,302,000
sale date: 12-6-2013

724 South Stanley Ave., Unit #1
2 bdrm, 2 bath; 1,321 sq. ft.

listing price: $560,000
sale price: $550,000
sale date: 12-11-2013

738 South Ogden Ave.
3 brdm, 2 bath house w/ 6 rental units
lot: 9,791 sq. ft.

listing price: $2,800,000
sale price: $2,475,000
sale date: 12-27-2013

844 South Curson Ave.
duplex; 3,081 sq. ft.
3 brdm, 2 bath (both units)
lot: 7,026 sq. ft.

listing price: $1,199,000
sale price: $1,175,000
sale date: 12-10-2013


(...below the fold...)


MMRA Board Meeting
February 6, 2014
@ 7 PM

Board meetings
are held at
the Berch Lounge
Westside Jewish
Community Center

5870 Olympic Blvd.
on the first Thursday
of each month.

All are welcome.

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Miracle Mile
History Quiz

What Miracle Mile building was used for exterior shots of "the Daily Planet" during the first season of the television series Adventures of Superman? (Click on the image to find the answer.)

Miracle Mile Farmers' Market
Every Wednesday 11 AM ~ 3 PM

Wilshire Courtyard

Miracle Mile
Residential Association

James O’Sullivan, President

Alice S. Cassidy, Vice President

Joseph Steins, Treasurer

Ken Hixon, Vice President/
Director of Communications
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Copyright © 2014 Miracle Mile Residential Association.  All rights reserved.

Miracle Mile Residential Association
P.O. Box 361295
Los Angles, CA 90036-9495


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