Miracle Mile Residential Association Newsletter • September 2016

Miracle Mile
Residential Association

Newsletter • September 2016 • Los Angeles, California                                                                                                    

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City Installs New All-Way Stops Signs on 8th Street


This week the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) installed new all-way stop signs at the intersections of Eighth and Detroit and Eighth and Cloverdale. Another all-way stop sign has been authorized for the intersection of Ninth and Cloverdale and is awaiting installation.
These new stops signs came as a result of efforts by the MMRA and residents of those streets to reduce collisions at these intersections. “This is a testament to when the community comes together for the good of all and not a few, things are actually accomplished,” wrote Detroit Street resident and MMRA board member Montrese Chandler in an email message to Nikki Ezhari, Council District 4 Field Deputy for the Miracle Mile.
In July, MMRA President James O’Sullivan sent a letter to Councilmember David Ryu detailing the deteriorating safety conditions in the Miracle Mile created by the surge in peak-hours traffic resulting from the Rapid Transit bus lanes and subway construction on Wilshire Boulevard.
“A spate of recent accidents and gridlocked intersections during peak hours have raised things to a boiling point on Eighth Street,” the letter read. “Residents of the Miracle Mile are at their wit’s end. The complaints that have been steadily flowing into the MMRA for the past year have reached a roar. It is a only a matter of borrowed time before some pedestrian, cyclist or motorist is severely injured or killed on Eighth Street.”
O’Sullivan and MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon meet with Ryu and representatives from LADOT on August 11th and brought a dozen photographs of recent collisions to make their point. Ryu requested that LADOT cut through red tape and quickly execute the necessary studies to authorize additional all-way stop signs. On August 23rd all-way stop signs were approved for Ninth Street and Cloverdale and on September 6th all-way stops were approved for Eighth Street and Detroit and Eighth Street and Cloverdale.
“David stepped right up for the community and made it happen in record time,” O’Sullivan said in praise of Ryu.
The  MMRA will keep pushing to improve traffic safety throughout the Miracle Mile. “We’re leaning on the city to install the speed humps that have long been approved on Sierra Bonita between Eighth and Olympic,” said MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon. “The Neighborhood Traffic Management Plan that the MMRA commissioned recommended several improvements to calm traffic on Eighth Street that we want done as soon as soon as  possible, too.”
Meanwhile, the MMRA continues to urge residents to send photographs of crashes and collisions in the neighborhood to These photos are invaluable in making our case for improving traffic safety in the Miracle Mile.



Cultural Heritage Commission Recomments Miracle Mile HPOZ


Cultural Heritage Commission Recommends Miracle Mile HPOZ
 Councilmember Ryu Voices His Support for HPOZ

Miracle Mile HPOZ supporters at the meeting.
At its September 15th meeting, the Cultural Heritage Commission (CHC) certified the Miracle Mile Historic Resources Survey and recommended that the City Planning Commission approve the HPOZ boundaries and Preservation Plan.
The CHC is a mayoral-appointed commission that considers nominations of sites as City landmarks, reviews HPOZ applications, and serves as the city’s primary forum for the discussion of historic preservation policy. Recommendations of the CHC are forwarded to the City Council for final action.
This was the first of three hearings before the HPOZ goes to the full City Council for a vote, mostly likely by the end of the year. The HPOZ will be reviewed by the Central Planning Commission in mid-October and will then go before City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee in November (official dates have not yet been set for these meetings).

Click on chart to enlarge.
Julia Duncan, Planning and Land Use Deputy for Councilmember David Ryu, informed the CHC that Ryu fully supports the Miracle Mile HPOZ. Former Council District 4 representative Tom LaBonge nominated the Miracle Mile for HPOZ status in February 2015 and the nomination was unanimously supported by the full City Council.
“The Wilshire Community Plan, adopted in 2001, had a specific policy to support historic preservation goals in neighborhoods of architectural merit or significance,” said MMRA President James O’Sullivan after the meeting. “The plan called for the development of HPOZ protection of the Miracle Mile. It’s taken a while for us to achieve this goal, but I’m truly proud of what we, as a volunteer community organization, have accomplished.”
Miracle Mile residents turned out in force at the meeting to support HPOZ. Over 30 people spoke on the importance of preserving the history, charm, and scale of the community. Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy – the largest non-profit historic preservation group in the country – told the commission that his organization supports the creation of the Miracle Mile HPOZ.

MMRA President James O'Sullivan (left) and
Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce President Steve Kramer
The Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce provided their endorsement of HPOZ via a letter. Chamber President Steve Kramer wrote that the Miracle Mile “is a unique and timeless piece of not only yesterday’s history, but also of tomorrow’s promise. The character and distinction of this neighborhood is probably unmatched in the City of Los Angeles. It is not always common for business, real estate interests and homeowners to come together as they have in support of this application. All of us recognize the importance of preserving this living and thriving community.”
For additional information:
The Miracle Mile HPOZ website
Office of Historic Resources: Miracle Mile HPOZ
Department of City Planning Recommendation Report, Sept. 15, 2016: Proposed Miracle Mile HPOZ
Miracle Mile Chamber of Commerce, Sept. 15, 2016: Letter of support for the Miracle Mile HPOZ



MMRA Issues Scoping Letter on LACMA's Proposal for a New Museum


MMRA Issues Scoping Letter
on LACMA's Proposal for a New Museum

Click on image to enlarge.
LACMA has begun the official public process to secure the various approvals required to construct a controversial new museum bridging Wilshire Boulevard. A prerequisite for initiating an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on the project is the “scoping” period, where the public and other interested parties raise issues and questions to determine the scope of the EIR.
LACMA hosted a public scoping meeting on August 24, 2014. LACMA also launched a new website to promote the Peter Zumthor-designed project.
Click on image to enlarge.
“The proposed LACMA project is so unusual and highly complex – and the publicly available plans, schematics, and elevations are so scant – that it is very difficult for us to identify every possible aspect of this project that should be scoped by the Draft EIR,”  wrote MMRA James O’Sullivan in
a 19-page scoping letter that the MMRA submitted on August 25, 2014.
The MMRA’s scoping letter covers a number of potential conflicts between the proposed project and the community, including the negative impacts of spanning Wilshire Boulevard with an overpass-like structure and future expansion of the elevated museum into the residential area of the Miracle Mile. The MMRA is also troubled by a security issue raised in a recently published article by Joseph Giovannini in the Los Angeles Review of Books, which stated that a museum elevated over Wilshire could present an attractive target to terrorists.
“The MMRA will reserve formal judgment on the project until we can review the Draft EIR,” MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon was quoted in the Larchmont Chronicle. “Obviously, we are very sensitive to the idea that by spanning Wilshire the new museum would abut multi-family residences.”
For additional information:
Miracle Mile Residential Association, Aug. 25, 2016: Scoping Letter on the Proposed LACMA Project
Los Angeles County Museum of Art: Building LACMA
Los Angeles Review of Books, Aug. 22, 2016: In the Dead of Late August…Zumthor’s LACMA Folly Continues
KCRW, Aug. 24, 2016: Will LACMA’s New Building Win Over the Critics?
Larchmont Buzz, Aug. 25, 2016: LACMA Outlines Projects at Community Meeting
Larchmont Chronicle, Sept. 1, 2016: LACMA Holds Scoping Meeting on Zumthor Project


New Office Building at Wilshire and Curson


New Office Building to be Constructed
on Curson near Wilshire



Miracle Mile developer J.H. Snyder will break ground next spring on a new office building adjacent to SAG-AFTRA Square at Wilshire and Curson.

The $170-million development will create a 12-story structure featuring 250,000 square feet of office space, as well as 2,100 parking spaces in an expansion of an existing garage. The new building has been designed by Jerde Partnership.
The project was originally announced almost two years ago. After conferring with Snyder, the MMRA endorsed the development and it received city approval. The building will be constructed on the surface parking lot behind Marie Callender’s restaurant and will front on Curson Avenue.
“There’s a demand for space,” Snyder told the Beverly Press. “The SAG-AFTRA building is full. If you wanted 5,000 square feet we don’t have it. The new building will face the Tar Pits and the museum. We think the neighborhood is growing with the subway going in, and it’s a fantastic location.”
Snyder purchased the SAG-AFTRA Square complex (then known as Museum Square) in 1978. He also built the Wilshire Courtyard building across the street at 5700 Wilshire Boulevard.
“We have a great relationship with Jerry Snyder,” said James O’Sullivan, MMRA President. “ His headquarters are here and he really has a great sense of the Miracle Mile. Jerry always builds high quality buildings with plenty of parking – and his projects bring lots of business and good jobs to the Miracle Mile.”
MMRA Vice-President Ken Hixon echoed O’Sullivan’s praise for the project. “Promoting businesses, large and small, has always been a priority for the MMRA. ‘Walkability’ is a hot topic these days and having well-paying jobs within an easy walk helps to maintain the Miracle Mile as a very desirable residential area.”



Tarfest, Saturday, Sept. 24th




The Last Elevator Operator in the Miracle Mile: Ruben Pardo

The Last Elevator Operator
in the Miracle Mile:
Ruben Pardo


Click on image to view video.
Seventy-five year old Ruben Pardo is the oldest elevator manual operator in Los Angeles. For six days a week over the past 40 years, he has helped the patrons of the Desmond’s building on Wilshire Boulevard “up and down” while enlightening them with positive musings on the simple joys of life.
The Desmond’s/Wilshire Tower building (left, circa 1930) was the first Art Deco landmark tower built on the Miracle Mile. It was constructed in 1928 and was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, architect for the spectacular Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, the North Rim lodge at the Grand Canyon, and the federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.
Underwood crafted an eight-story Zigzag Moderne rectangle of offices that vaulted skyward from a wide two-story Streamline Moderne base. The lobby featured fourteen-karat gold ceiling detailing; the sidewalk display windows were trimmed in rich black and red granite. Doctors and dentists snapped up the upper floors, while downtown stores Desmond's and Silverwoods took the wings on the ground floors. The building was declared a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument in 1987.
This delightful video shows how Ruben Pardo is keeping our history alive as the last elevator operator in the Miracle Mile.



In Memoriam: Frank Wyle, Co-founder and Patron of the Craft and Folk Art Museum


In Memoriam:
Frank Wyle, Co-founder and Patron
of the Craft and Folk Art Museum



(...below the fold...)


MMRA Board Meeting
October 4, 2016
@ 7 PM

Board meetings are held at

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Miracle Mile

History Quiz

This should be an easy one. What sort of enterprise was "The Egg and the Eye" and what is located in this building today?

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

Mark Zecca, Chairperson
Miracle Mile HPOZ Committe

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Copyright © 2016 Miracle Mile Residential Association.  All rights reserved.

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


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