Miracle Mile Spotlight: Olympia Medical Center Rehabilitation Services

From the August 2015 MMRA Newsletter:

Miracle Mile Spotlight:

Olympia Medical Center

Rehabilitation Services

The definition of rehabilitation is to restore to good health or useful life. But the definition is far simpler than its execution. A person recovering from a stroke, joint replacement, or other illnesses or surgeries may need a variety of therapies: inpatient, outpatient, physical, occupational, and speech.

It is Avi Amit’s job to see that people get the help they need to get back to the business of daily life. Avi manages the rehabilitation services for Olympia Medical Center at its newly remodeled location on the fourth floor at 5901 West Olympic Boulevard. This well-equipped facility, which offers dramatic views to the south, is where Avi and his team of therapists demonstrate their positive and compassionate attitudes for their work. It is obvious that they are deeply invested in achieving the best possible outcomes for their patients.

“It’s about an individualized plan for all our clients,” said Avi. “It all depends on the condition of the patient. We want to bring them back to as close to the same level as they were before. Making them as independent and mobile as possible is our goal. We need to get you back even if there are certain restrictions. We can’t ignore that you’ve had surgery or a serious injury, and different people need different amounts of time to recover.”

This is where the variety of services they provide comes into play. An orthopedic procedure calls for physical therapy to restore a sense of balance and range of motion; a stroke or neurological incident might require speech therapy; some patients need to relearn functional activities like bathing, dressing themselves, or preparing a meal; and others will need a combination of all of these tools. This comprehensive approach requires a highly skilled team. The open design of the clinic allows easy interface between all of the specialists, yet provides privacy when needed for speech or certain physical therapies.

Monica Becerra, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Avi Amit.

“We cater to older patients from here in the neighborhood,” Avi explains. “But we would like to promote our orthopedic and recreational sports injury program. That’s why we have this new facility and why we’ve added more exercise equipment. I’ll be honest with you, we have Cedars-Sinai nearby with all of their programs and there is a temptation to go to a bigger hospital because you assume they have better service – but once a patient comes here, they always come back to our clinic. And that’s what we want to be: the neighborhood outpatient rehabilitation clinic.”

Their location and free parking is very attractive to residents of the Miracle Mile. For patients living within a ten mile radius they provide free transportation to-and-from the clinic – a valuable service for patients with conditions that prevent them from driving.

“I go to events in the community,” Avi said. “I want everyone to know that we are here for the community. Whatever we can do, however we can help, we will do it.”

The philosophy of Avi Amit and the staff at the Olympia Medical Center Rehabilitation Center can also be easily defined: They really care.

Olympia Medical Center Rehabilitation Services
5901 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 407
Office: 323-932-5086

Avi Amit, manager: 323-932-5086

Website

[The MMRA newsletter does not solicit or accept advertisements. Our support of local businesses and institutions is a matter of principle – for which we receive no financial compensation or consideration of any kind.]

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Inconvenient Truths at LACMA: Sweeping Debt, Dealmaking, and Dubious Design under the Red Carpet

Inconvenient Truths at LACMA:
Sweeping Debt, Dealmaking, and Dubious
Design under the Red Carpet

by Joseph Giovannini

 “…from the very beginning the ambitious project has been personality driven, based much more on Govan’s determination, enthusiasm, and charisma than on a compelling and original design or trustable financial facts.”
– 
Joseph Giovannini

The third, and final, installment of Joseph Giovannini’s brilliant dismantling of the architectural follies at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, reveals a publicly-owned institution gone fiscally amuck. LACMA, in Giovannini’s view, has become a private fief subsidized by hundreds of millions in taxpayer money – $425 million is the latest infusion – without a shred of accountability.

LACMA’s present campaign to build Peter Zumthor’s zig-zag museum, bridging Wilshire Boulevard, Giovannini explains, is not just poor aesthetics, it is an unforgivable squandering of the Museum’s only substantial endowment: its real estate holdings. Going forward with the Swiss architect’s estimated billion dollar building means that LACMA, which already gave away a building of equal size – the May Company, now being converted into the privately-held Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences museum – will also shed the two-acre lot it owns on Wilshire Boulevard, at Spaulding. The lot, used today for parking, was intended by LAMCA’s board to be commercially developed, thus ensuring a steady revenue stream for the cash-poor, but land-rich, Museum.

Giovannini concludes with a stark warning: LACMA director Michael Govan’s love affair with Zumthor’s “conceptually flawed” design could put the institution in a financial tailspin. “Think of the mastodons sipping at the tar pits. LACMA now risks the same fate,” he writes. Giovannini has been leading a lone crusade to alert the city to the perils of LACMA’s present ambitions. We should heed his sobering account. – Greg Goldin

Top photo: John Fladd

Joseph Giovannini biography

Joseph Giovannini essays on LACMA:
 
Los Angeles Review of Books, 19 July 2015: Inconvenient Truths at LACMA: Sweeping Debt, Dealmaking, and Dubious Design under the Red Carpet

Los Angeles Review of Books, 19 April 2015: Peter Zumthor at LACMA: A Preacher in the Wrong Church

Los Angeles Review of Books, 20 July 2014: A U-Turn on Wilshire: Why Frank Gehry Should Design LACMA

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The Billboard Wars ~ A Conversation with Dennis Hathaway

Now Playing on the MMRA Channel on YouTube:


Click on image to view video.

The Billboard Wars
A Conversation with Dennis Hathaway

Regulating billboards has been a perennial battle in Los Angeles. It is described as a “David and Goliath” struggle for good reason: the political and legal resources of the billboard industry often place the residents of L.A. on the losing side. Now that members of the City Council are touting a new plan to allow digital billboards all over town the stakes are higher than ever.

Dennis Hathaway, President of the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight, has been fighting the good fight for nearly a decade. In this two part video conversation, Hathaway candidly discusses the battleground and what it will take to achieve effective regulation of the billboards.

Hathaway is equal parts affable and persistent. He has employed his skills as a former Iowa newspaper reporter to dissect and illuminate the sweetheart relationship between City Hall and the billboard industry. Hathaway and his volunteer organization have been an invaluable ally and resource to neighborhood organizations fighting billboards and sign districts, including the MMRA.

For additional information:

Los Angeles Daily News, 28 June 2015: New Digital Billboard Laws Set for Consideration in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Times, 3 Dec. 2008 [Steve Lopez profile of Dennis Hathaway]: Pushing Back on Billboard Blight

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Subway Construction Update ~ August 2015

 

Click on image to enlarge.

Subway Construction Update ~ August 2015:

•Metro proposes converting Cloverdale and Ridgeley to one-way
streets north of Wilshire to create additional on-street parking

•MMRA protests Metro buses using 8th Street

At the Purple Line Extension Community Meeting on July 16, Metro introduced a proposal to make Cloverdale and Ridgeley one-way streets between Wilshire Boulevard and 6th Street in order to create additional parking. Metro is required to mitigate the loss of on-street parking spaces at the subway construction sites at Wilshire and La Brea. Converting Cloverdale and Ridgeley into northbound one-way streets would allow for diagonal parking that would add 15 new parking spaces on Cloverdale and 9 new parking spaces on Ridgeley. Both streets would remain two-way up to the parking lots of the commercial and retail establishments on the north side of Wilshire Boulevard – and both streets would retain their Preferential Parking District status [see graphics below].

Cloverdale Replacement Parking Plan.

Click on image to enlarge.

The eastern end of the Miracle Mile is enduring a severe parking shortage. Many of the historic apartment buildings north of Wilshire have very little or no off-street parking. Subway construction has shuttered the public parking lot on Detroit (north of Wilshire) and the former Bank of America parking lot. A large infill apartment complex is under construction on the former parking lot behind the Desmonds Building and a similar project is scheduled for the parking lot behind the Dominguez-Wilshire Building. The lack of parking – private and public – is having an impact on small businesses and restaurants, as well as residents.

The MMRA supports the proposed replacement parking plan. MMRA representatives Alice Cassidy, James O’Sullivan, and Ken Hixon met with Metro’s Construction Relations team on August 2 to review the plan. “Twenty-four new parking spaces won’t cure all of our parking problems,” said O’Sullivan, “but it will help the people living on those two streets.”

Ridgeley Replacement Parking Plan.

Click on image to enlarge. 

Metro’s plan must be approved by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and garner the approval of two-thirds of the property owners before it could be implemented. Metro will conduct block meetings to brief residents once the plan has received the necessary approvals.

It irked Hixon that renters had no vote in the matter. “The MMRA represents property owners and renters – I don’t like it when renters are treated as second class citizens,” he said. “I would encourage the tenants on Ridgeley and Cloverdale to put pressure on their landlords to approve this plan.”


MMRA Protests Metro Buses Using 8th Street

On the evenings of July 29, July 30, and briefly on August 4, Metro allowed eastbound buses from Wilshire Boulevard to use 8th Street due to unexpected lane closures caused by advanced utility relocation work at Wilshire and Fairfax. This violated an understanding between the MMRA and Metro Purple Line Extension officials that 8th Street would not be utilized as a detour for subway construction in the Miracle Mile.

Eighth Street is a narrow collector street running through a densely populated area with single family homes bordering it on the south and multi-family buildings on the north. It creates a significant noise disturbance to have the 720 bus lumbering along 8th Street at 1 o’clock in the morning. The MMRA is adamant that if Wilshire Boulevard traffic must be diverted – for whatever cause – it must be detoured to either Olympic Boulevard and/or 6th Street. These routes are suitable for buses, 8th Street is not.

In a letter to Metro, MMRA President James O’Sullivan wrote: “… it has taken [Metro] a lot of time and energy to forge a productive working relationship with the MMRA, but this relationship will quickly unravel if Metro dispatch allows buses to detour onto 8th Street.”

In a reply from Metro received on August 12, Kasey Shuda, Purple Line Extension Construction Relations manager, reaffirmed Metro’s commitment to work with the MMRA and offered assurances that dispatchers have been instructed not to allow bus drivers to utilize 8th Street in the future.

If you see a Metro bus using 8th Street please make note of the date and time and immediately contact the MMRA via email: info@MiracleMileLA.com.

For additional information:

Metro: Purple Line Extension, Section 1 Construction Community Meeting, July 16, 2015 – PowerPoint Presentation

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HPOZ Update • August 2015:

 HPOZ UPDATE ~ August 2015:

•Draft of Miracle Mile Historic Resources Survey report
submitted for review

•New video: Miracle Mile HPOZ – Frequently Asked Questions

•Over $8,000 in contributions to HPOZ Fund to date

•HPOZ community meeting scheduled for Sept. 19th

Click on map to enlarge.

“The proposed Miracle Mile HPOZ is a highly intact residential district with distinct visual character.”

Architectural Resources Group [ARG] has submitted the preliminary draft of the Miracle Mile Historic Resources Survey Report to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee for review. The final version of the report will be augmented with historic and current photos and other relevant information.

ARG is in the process of compiling individual DPR forms for each property. “DPR” is an acronym for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. A DPR form is a standardized state form for documenting historic resources. It includes basic information – address and a property description – and a photograph of every property within a historic district. These DPR forms will be included in the final report.

The draft report reveals that nearly 8o% of properties within the proposed HPOZ boundaries qualify as either contributors or altered contributors [see map above]. The report lists the status of every property by address within the survey area. “We are very pleased to have such a high percentage of contributing properties and to know that so much of our historic neighborhood is intact,” said Mark Zecca, Chairperson of the HPOZ committee. “It adds to our motivation to get our HPOZ adopted before McMansions or high-density apartment projects reduce our numbers.”

Click on map to enlarge.

“After the most intense period of the Miracle Mile HPOZ’s
development from 1922 to 1930, construction was slow but steady, 
seeing a drop during World War II and a postwar spike until eventually leveling off in the early 1950s.”

ARG did advise the committee that the contributing/non-contributing status of a few properties may change upon careful review of the DPR forms, but they anticipate only a slight change to the final tally. Detailed definitions of “contributor,” “altered contributor,” and “non-contributing” properties can be found in the draft report – along with a fascinating history of the Miracle Mile.

Since the draft report was issued two four-plexes at 716 and 720 South Orange Grove Avenue were identified as part of the properties assembled by Metro on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard between Odgen Drive and Orange Grove that will be demolished to make way for the construction of the Wilshire/Fairfax Purple Line subway station. These two properties will be removed from the HPOZ in the final report and maps.

ARG will submit the final report to the Los Angeles City Department of Planning’s Office of Historic Resources in September. ARG was retained by the MMRA to prepare all of the documentation required for HPOZ adoption and to serve as a consultant to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee.

For additional information:

Architectural Resources Group: Miracle Mile HPOZ Historic Resources Survey Report – DRAFT

Miracle Mile HPOZ Website

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Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition Tackles Homelessness

Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition

Tackles Chronic Homelessness

[Click on image to enlarge]

Anyone out after midnight will notice the homeless people sleeping in doorways and on bus stop benches along Wilshire Boulevard – as well as in other nooks and crannies of the Miracle Mile. The 2015 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count identified over 1,000 homeless individuals in the Midtown region of Los Angeles – most of them unsheltered [see map above].

A new group has formed to address chronic homelessness in the area: the Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition. Led by Scott Epstein, Chair of the Mid City West Community Council, the group includes representatives from government agencies, neighborhood and business groups, and social service providers. Its goal is to decrease the number of people living on the streets by assessing their needs and connecting them with existing housing resources.

The coalition is supporting the implementation of the county-wide Coordinated Entry System, which matches chronically homeless individuals with permanent supportive housing. Studies have shown that a Housing First approach is the most effective way to help people experiencing homelessness. It also saves taxpayers money through reduced law enforcement and emergency health costs.

Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks, including direct outreach to our homeless neighbors and fundraising. To learn more or volunteer visit:

The Midtown Los Angeles Homeless Coalition

Facebook page

For additional information:

Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority: Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count

United Way of Greater Los Angeles: About the Coordinated Entry System

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Reforming the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance ~ A Conversation with Shelley Wagers

The MMRA Channel on YouTube:

[Click on image to view video]

Reforming the
Baseline Mansionization Ordinance

A Conversation with Shelley Wagers

The rapid spread of mansionization has overwhelmed neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles. The Baseline Mansionization Ordinance [BMO] enacted in 2008 was supposed to stop McMansions, but the loop-hole riddled legislation has proven to be completely ineffective.

The Miracle Mile is currently in the process of creating an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone [HPOZ]. The principle purpose of the HPOZ is to preserve the historic character and scale of our neighborhood, but the failure of the BMO to thwart super-sized homes also played a critical role in deciding to pursue the iron-clad protections afforded by an HPOZ: it the only guaranteed way of stopping mansionization in the Miracle Mile.

Although the MMRA believes that an HPOZ is the best solution for the Miracle Mile, we fully support reforming the BMO for the benefit of the City at large. One of the leaders spearheading the effort to to fix the BMO is Shelley Wagers, a long-time community activist and resident of the Beverly Grove – a neighborhood that was ground zero for mansionization.

In this interview Shelley provides a history of the original BMO; why it hasn’t worked; and what is being done now to repair the ordinance. She also talks about the long and bitter struggle to create the Beverly Grove Reduced Floor Area Overlay Zone. Shelley is a keenly intelligent and articulate person. She has a knack for making complex issues understandable – she is also very good company.

Click to view video…

For additional information:

City of Los Angeles: Baseline Mansionization Ordinance – 2008

City of Los Angeles: Koretz BMO Amendment Motion – 2014

CityWatchLA: A Fact Check on L.A. Mansionization

Sign the petition to stop mansionization at:

NoMoreMcMansionsInLosAngeles.org

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Man Dies in Officer-Involved-Shooting

Man Dies in Officer-Involved-Shooting
Near 8th Street and Sycamore Avenue

Edwin Folven; Park La Brea News/Beverly Press

LAPD Holds Community Meeting to Discuss Incident

Miracle Mile Residents Concerned by Increase in Crime

A man shot after a violent struggle with two Wilshire Division officers died July 1oth at Cedars Sinai Hospital. The unidentified man was fatally wounded the previous morning after LAPD officers responded to calls that a man was smashing storefront windows with his skateboard near the intersection of Wilshire and La Brea.

According to a LAPD press release: On July 9, 2015, around 8:40 a.m., Wilshire Area patrol officers responded to a “Vandalism” radio call in the area of 8th Street and La Brea Avenue. 

The officers responding to the radio call observed a man matching the description given in the details of the radio call who was reported to be breaking storefront windows with a skateboard. The suspect fled the scene on a skateboard. The officers caught up with the suspect at the 800 block of Sycamore Avenue, after the suspect jumped off or fell off his skateboard. 

The officers approached the suspect and gave him verbal commands to submit to the arrest, the suspect refused to comply.  A violent physical altercation ensued as the officers attempted to subdue the suspect using a variety of physical force. The officer used a Taser in direct contact mode in an effort to subdue the suspect but the Taser had no apparent effect. 

The violent struggle continued and the suspect at some point was able to gain control of the Taser and use it, injuring one of the officers in the leg. The tased officer alerted the partner officer who drew their weapon resulting in an officer involved shooting. 

The LAPD held a meeting at the Ebell Club on July 14th to brief the community on the shooting and to provide residents with an opportunity to address the incident – as well as any other public safety issue. Wilshire Division Captain Howard Leslie and West Bureau Deputy Chief Beatrice Girmala took questions from the gathering of approximately 7o people, which included representatives from Sycamore Square, La Brea-Hancock, and the Miracle Mile.

Leslie and Girmala were prevented by department protocol from delving into the specific details of the incident pending the completion of the official investigations. They did go to great lengths to explain how the investigations are conducted and offered assurances that they would be comprehensive and objective.

LAPD’s Force Investigation Division and the Office of the Inspector General are conducting independent investigations into the incident. The results of these investigations will be reviewed by the Chief of Police and the Police Commission to determine compliance with the use-of-force policy.

Although a few people were frustrated by the lack of new details on the shooting, the overall tone of the meeting was civil and evidenced a mutual respect between the community and the police department.

Several questions were raised regarding the number of homeless individuals in the area, particularly those obviously suffering from mental illness. Deputy Chief Girmala said that the department was deploying teams consisting of an officer in civilian clothing and a mental health clinician to help the mentally ill access available services, including housing and treatment. She emphasized that homelessness is a complex problem that cannot be solved by law enforcement alone [see article below].

Five MMRA board members attended the meeting, including Vice President Alice Cassidy who raised concerns about the number car burglaries along Detroit Street. Tensions have been high in the eastern end of the Miracle Mile since a violent robbery occurred in the former Bank of America parking lot last April.

MMRA Vice President Ken Hixon also addressed the increase of crime along the La Brea corridor in his remarks. He said that Miracle Mile residents were pleased by the success of the restaurants and businesses that have revitalized the intersection of 8th Street and La Brea and that the safety of employees and patrons would be enhanced by a greater police presence.

Captain Leslie said that he had deployed foot patrols around the Grove and 3rd and La Brea and that he intends to expand these foot patrols south along La Brea – but he is somewhat constrained by budget and manpower issues.

For additional information:

Park La Brea News/Beverly Press, 9 July 2015: Police Shoot Suspect During Altercation with Officers on Sycamore Avenue

Los Angeles Times, 10 July 2015: Man Shot by LAPD During Mid-Wilshire Altercation Dies

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Miracle Mile HPOZ Update ~ July 2015

HPOZ UPDATE ~ July 2015:
Historic Resources Survey
Fieldwork Completed

 

[Click on image to view video of survey team at work]

Katie Horak, Senior Associate with Architectural Resources Group [ARG], reports that the fieldwork part of the Historic Resources Survey has been completed. The survey documented every property within the boundaries of the Miracle Mile HPOZ [see map].

Horak explained to the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee that ARG is now “cleaning up the data” and writing the Survey Report. A draft of the report will be submitted to the Committee for review by the end of July.

ARG is in the process of preparing individual DPR forms for each property and hopes to have the draft DPRs ready for the Committee’s inspection by mid-August.

“DPR” is an acronym for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. A DPR form is a standardized state form for documenting historic resources. It includes basic information – address and a property description – and a photograph of every property within a historic district.

Horak said that ARG is on track to submit the final report to the Los Angeles City Office of Historic Resources by September.

The Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee has been holding a series of “block meetings” to educate residents about the process and benefits of HPOZ. The Committee’s goal is to visit every block within the HPOZ boundaries. The Committee is also planning a community-wide meeting in the Fall.

If you would like to host an informal meeting for your neighbors to discuss HPOZ please contact Mark Zecca, Chair of the Miracle Mile HPOZ Committee: mark.zecca@MiracleMileLA.com.

For more information visit:

Miracle Mile HPOZ Website

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Q & A: An interview with Mindy Lake and Michael Cortez, members of Metro’s Construction Relations Team

Q & A:

On the Front Lines of

Subway Construction in the Miracle Mile

An interview with Mindy Lake and Michael Cortez,

members of Metro’s Construction Relations Team

After almost two years of advanced utility relocation (and a couple more to go at Wilshire and Fairfax), the main event will begin soon at La Brea and Wilshire as preparations are made for underground subway construction. The Purple Line extension from Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard is a massive and complex endeavor. The multi-billion dollar, nine-year construction project through one of the most densely populated urban corridors in the country is fraught with potential impacts on nearby residents and businesses. It is the job of Mindy Lake [below right] and Michael Cortez [below left] to serve as a liaison between Metro and the community and help ensure that the mitigations implemented during the subway work go as well as possible.

 

Lake and Cortez talk about their jobs, the proper way to make a complaint about subway construction, and Metro’s Eat-Shop-Play program to support local business during the building process. They were interviewed June 8, 2015. The interview has been edited for length.

Q: What exactly are your jobs?

Lake: My official title is Senior Construction Relations Officer, Section One, West Segment. Which, in plain English, means I handle construction-related issues for the Purple Line Extension for the area west of Hauser Boulevard to La Cienega Boulevard, which includes the Fairfax station and the La Cienega station.

Cortez: And I’m the Senior Construction Relations Office for the East Segment. I cover everything east of Hauser to Western, which includes the La Brea station, the Crenshaw staging yard, and the tie-in to the station at Wilshire and Western.

Q: Mindy, what are your qualifications for this job?

Lake: Over 25 years of community activity and activism stemming back to the mid-1980s in this neighborhood, particularly west of Fairfax: from organizing the first Neighborhood Watch to being a founding member of Mid City West Community Council. I was also the co-chair of the Wilshire Division’s Community-Police Advisory Board for four years. I was born in the neighborhood and went to schools here. I’m basically a dyed-in-the wool community person. I took this job because I thought I had the qualifications to understand the needs of this community – and I thought I could be helpful to Metro with this transformative construction project.

Q: Michael, what are your qualifications?

Cortez: I have over 11 years experience working in the public sector. I worked many years for the Community Redevelopment Agency in the Hollywood and Central region. Prior to that I worked for two elected officials. I was born and raised in Canoga Park. I was president of my neighborhood council and engaged in community activism in the Valley. I believe in the importance of community engagement in the planning process all the way through to the construction of a project.

Q: Now that that a principal contractor –a design-builder in Metro jargon – has been engaged, how do you two specifically fit into the construction process?

Lake: We liaison with all of the entities connected to subway construction. We work with Metro’s project management; we work with community relations; we work with the community; we work with the design-builder and the sub-contractors still working on utility relocations. Our job is to keep an eye on what’s going on so that we can deliver that information to the community – and be available when there are issues or complaints. We try to stay out in front of everything so that we can anticipate if something might create a problem for the community.

Q: It seems that one of the problems Metro sometimes had keeping the noise disturbances under control during nighttime utility relocation work was the large number of sub-contractors involved. Each contractor had to be educated on proper noise mitigation methods. Will it be easier for you to control this problem now that you are dealing with only one main contractor for the actual subway construction?

Lake: Absolutely. I think the challenge with the utility relocation sub-contractors was that what we asked of them was so much more than they were accustomed to providing. It required us to really stay on top it. We had a heightened degree of mitigation measures we were implementing. It was a learning curve for them and a trust issue for us. We had to work very closely with them to make sure the understood the community they were working in.

Q: Speaking of which, how do you find this community to work in?

Cortez: I would say I’ve been able to work well with the community. I’ve started to build relationships with various organizations. I go the community council meetings. I meet with folks individually. I want people to have a face they know during the construction process. Here in the La Brea area I’ve been introducing myself to all the businesses. I am available to them and try to keep them informed. Like Mindy, I respond to anyone who contacts me by phone or email in 24-hours or less.

Q: Let’s talk about complaints. If residents or businesses are having issues with dust, noise, construction traffic, or any other subway related problems, what is the proper way to get Metro’s attention?

Lake: We have are hotline phone number, 213-922-6934, which can translate into an immediate, real-time response if its an urgent construction related matter. Or we can be reached by email. [See below.]

Q: What determines urgency and prompts a real-time response?

Lake: My definition of urgent, for example, would be if you were experiencing an extraordinarily loud construction disturbance at night or your driveway was blocked by a truck during construction. You would call the project hotline; go through the menu options; indicate that it is urgent; a live operator will come on the line; you tell them where you are located and what the issue is; they would call or text me or Michael; and we would respond right then and there.

Q: And then you or Michael would contact someone at the construction site to find out what’s going on?

Lake: Yes. Or, in my case, I live in the Miracle Mile, right here in the construction zone, so, often I’ll just go to the site to investigate the problem.

Q: That was a big mistake, wasn’t it? Moving into the Miracle Mile when you took this assignment? You didn’t put much distance between yourself and your job.

Lake: (Laughing.) It speaks on some level to either my insanity or my commitment to this project. I think it’s the only fair way, that when I say to someone that I know what you’re going through, that I can be perfectly honest.

Cortez: When there is a complaint or problem, we sit down with the contractor and discuss the situation – and remind them to continue to implement our mitigation efforts.

Q: So, simply put, the best way to complain is to call the project hotline: 213-922-6934.

Lake: It’s been a very effective method. The response time is excellent. Michael and I are on top of it. We also cover for each other if one of us is indisposed.

Q: The Miracle Mile Residential Association has a keen interest in supporting small businesses and restaurants. Obviously, the enterprises located closest to the staging sites at La Brea and Fairfax are going to be economically impacted by subway construction. Metro has created a marketing program called Eat Shop Play to promote these businesses to help counteract any damage to their bottom line. What sort of response have you been getting from Miracle Mile business owners?

Lake: Once they wrap their heads around the idea of what we’re doing – and understand that this is something we’re providing to them at no cost – they are quite engaged. They have to grasp the potential construction impacts; right now they’re not really feeling it. So, we’re trying to be pro-active and educate them. Once we get through that process, they are very interested in participating. We’ve had very positive responses.

Q: Have you gotten many Miracle Mile businesses to participate in the program?

Cortez: Yes, so far almost 50 businesses in the La Brea, Fairfax, and La Cienega areas.

Q: I know you promote the Eat Shop Play program online, but will you promote it in other media outlets – like local newspapers?

Lake: Yes, we’ve also bought pole banners for Wilshire Boulevard. We’ll also advertise on billboards and bus shelters. Our official launch for the program is July 1st. That is why we want to reach out to all of our community partners. We want to get word out.


Metro Purple Line Extension
Construction Relations

24-hour telephone: 213-922-6934

Mindy Lake (west segment; Hauser Blvd. to La Cienega Blvd.):
LakeM@metro.net

Michael Cortez (east segment; Hauser Blvd. to Western Ave.):
cortezmic@metro.net

Metro Purple Line Extension links:

http://www.metro.net/projects/westside/
Twitter: @purplelineext
Facebook: facebook.com/purplelineext

 

“Sleepless in the Miracle Mile” Update:

The MMRA collected nearly 800 signatures in our petition campaign to stop nighttime subway construction in the Miracle Mile. Although we have not yet succeeded in stopping all nighttime work (which we continue to oppose) our well-publicized campaign did motivate Metro to limit or rearrange nighttime construction to minimize complaints.

Now that a prime subway contractor has been engaged – Skanska, Traylor and Shea (STS) – officers of the MMRA are meeting regularly with representatives of Metro, STS, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, and the Los Angeles Police Commission (which issues permits for nighttime construction).

The MMRA is adamant that the community have a direct voice in how subway construction in general is conducted in the Miracle Mile, including: the selection of haul routes; sound mitigation at the staging yards; loss of public parking; and protecting our small business and restaurants.

The residents of the Miracle Mile welcome the Purple Line subway extension. The MMRA will work closely with all parties involved to help manage the impacts on our community – while continuing our efforts to stop the noise disturbances of nighttime work.

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