Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Planning Commission to review Echo Park apartment development [updated]

Rendering of 1750 Glendale | Courtesy Three6ixty

ECHO PARK — A 70-unit apartment building that would bring live-work housing to Glendale Boulevard is scheduled to be reviewed by the city Planning Commission on Thursday, May 12.

Canadian developer Aragon Properties is requesting city permission to exceed certain density and height  limits that apply to the site at the northwest corner of  Glendale Boulevard and Aaron Street, which is now occupied by an auto repair shop and some vacant lots.  Planning Department staff have recommended approving Aragon’s requests.

As The Eastsider reported last October, the five-story building  would include eight apartments for very-low income tenants as well as  townhome-style units on the top floor. The project would include off-street parking for 90 motor vehicles and 80 bikes.

A representative for the project said it would be the first to bring live-work units to this stretch of Glendale Boulevard, with eight live-work units proposed for the ground floor at the front of the building.

Aragon has also proposed building a 214-unit apartment complex on Sunset Boulevard in the east end of Echo Park. That project has met with neighborhood opposition.

On Glendale Boulevard, Aragon’s 70-unit apartment complex would join a growing number of residential projects that have been proposed or have been built. A block north near the 2 Freeway exit, SL70, a development of 70, for-sale townhomes, is in the final stages of construction.

Update on May 12: The Planning Commission unanimously approved granting the developer’s requests.

Screenshot 2015-12-10 at 3.10.51 PM

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  1. Would the city please get the traffic flow under control for that stretch of Glendale Blvd.? More density will only make it worse. Free lights all the way to Alvarado. Morning commute is a nightmare and there are few options for routes……

    • Sure, if your only goal is to move cars through the neighborhood.

      But what about creating a valuable, accessible, livable environment for people and commerce? I believe they call it a “neighborhood” in other cities.

      Turning this street into doormat for regional commuters certainly hasn’t fixed traffic… if anything, it’s much worse due to induced demand.

      Bring back metered on-street parking, build wider sidewalks, stripe some bike lanes, plant more trees, etc. Infrastructure should support economic growth, not stifle it.

      • Corner soul. what about all the other needs of society and the city and individuals. You constantly spout that one size fits all, and that’s just ignorant. That are many more needs for people than your one size fits all.

        Glendale Boulevard is a state highway and major thoroughfare. Screw that up, and you screw up an entire region, not just the one street. But of course, that is your goal.

        Your plan would have everyone never go more than maybe a mile from home because they have to ride a bicycle to go anywhere, just like back in the horse and buggy days. Millions of people in LA have voted against your ideas every single day when they dive to work and elsewhere — they WANT to drive,nit bicycle. The bicycle lanes have been in pace for about 15 years now — and nearly no one uses them, because they don;t want to.

        But then, the bicycle push isn’t really about bicycles or cars, it is about justifying the otherwise unjustifiable drastic overdevelopment like this project, by arguing that traffic impact is of no matter since everyone will ride a bicycle, so never mind CEQA. And to hell with the consequences of your plan on the other end when, of course,people don’t ride bicycles because it is ridiculous to think that is reasonable for the distances involved.

        You’re just a shill for developers and overdevelopment.

        • nonsense, kindly direct me to the location of this bike path you speak of? This section of town is undoubtedly among the most dangerous place to ride, which prohibits me from riding to work every day. (non-coincidentally also among the ugliest…) Still, I take the bus, but would much rather bike if proper infrastructure was in place. I honestly don’t know anyone who would rather drive to work instead of walk or ride (IF IT WAS SAFE / FEASIBLE)

          Angelenos aren’t voting everyday to bury their feet in the concrete of auto dependency, in fact quite the opposite! Most have no reasonable alternative to the car and are forced to drive due to the separation of land uses removing work / commerce from residences and life. Traffic is routinely considered the most detrimental part of living in Los Angeles, but people like you are too busy trying to lessen the burden of congestion instead of embrace a solution. You’re the hippie yelling at soldiers for war (the product) when you should be yelling at the Generals (the cause)

          Not everyone that encourages density is a shill for developers, we just want a more pleasant, safer and enjoyable neighborhood. Again, the difference between Echo Park ave and this hellhole that is Glendale Blvd

          • How are you going to mitigate the fact the the 2 ends here and for many commuters it is the only viable route across the 5, LA River and down to Sunset , the 101 or Alvarado?

          • There are bicycle lanes on LOTS of the streets around here. Too bad the big bike enthusiast apparently is blind and can’t see them. In fact, the first bike lane in the city was in about 15 years ago on Sunset Boulevard here. But nearly no one uses them.

            But still, you don’t need a line of paint on a street to ride your bicycle and be safe.

            As for driver’s having no alternative – you have your head in the sand. This city and this entire region has transit to everywhere – its called the bus. Trains do not and are not supposed to get you to everywhere, they are simply to get you to a region where you then take the bus. Or, just take the bus in the first place, you might even avoid a transfer that way, and they are far more flexible to get around in the event of something like trains suffer, a train in front breaks down so the entire line is shut down.

            Your comments are merely specious.

        • It’s already screwed. The current street design ignores all the other needs of society. And for what? Car travel is either bumper-to-bumper, or moving at dangerous highway speeds. Foot traffic and street parking to support local commerce is virtually non-existent. And the public realm resembles a third world country.

          I’m actually surprised anyone wants to build here. I guess it just speaks to the crushing demand for housing in this city.

          BTW, adding bike lanes was the least of my concerns… I was basically just spitballing some low hanging fruit ideas that’d bring more value to the neighborhood, rather than sucking it out like a straw.

        • welp, it passed planning commission! Sorry JW, time to move to Arizona or some other suburban hell.

          in regards to your comments…

          A) of course there are bike “lanes” on Sunset, but as this project is located on Glendale and that is the street you were concerned with, I was referring to bike lanes on Glendale / Alvarado which there are none. And those “lanes” on Sunset are hardly effective in providing any sort of assurance in safety. These sharrows, as you said are merely lines painted on the ground, where 150 lbs bikers are sometimes within inches of 3000 lbs of metal. It’s terrifying, surprise surprise, nobody is on them.

          B) I guess you have poor reading comprehension as well, because you missed when I stated that I take the bus every day (due to lack of bike infrastructure on Alvarado / Glendale) I’m well aware of the bus network and I am a huge advocate for mass transit. If the bus was such a viable system here, we’d see more than 10% of commuters using it (obviously, I’d love to see more people on the bus for a myriad of reasons) The issue is entirely with scheduling, when it doesn’t matter how extensive the bus network is, the timing and reliability are not satisfactory for the overwhelming majority of commuters in Los Angeles who are FORCED to drive.

          Your comments are merely ill-thought, much like your understanding of urban planning.

          • Mikey, this ISNT urban planning. Its urban chaos. Do you actually live in the area or do you work for this company?

      • I’m all for that, except this is a particularly bad place for it. Side streets that dead end in the hills, more car centric density development, Dodger games, no where to walk to for : groceries, restaurants etc. Already gridlocked with traffic. Shall I go on?

        Yes, in the morning and evening traffic needs to move from the end of the 2 down to Alvarado/Sunset/101 as swiftly as possible. rest of the day other configurations can be in place.

        • The city could try an incremental approach by bringing back street parking, with a rush hour restriction (kinda like the Arroyo Parkway street segment in Pasadena, once you exit the 110.)

          • IMO it’s more an issue of signal timing than parking along that stretch. All the lights for the small side streets create a big backup and as they are all dead ends it might be a better solution to green light Glendale Blvd. all the way to Alvarado. Residents around the reservoir have been successful in creating turn restrictions to prevent their neighborhood from being cut through to Silverlake Blvd. and other than going over the hill to Lakeshore there aren’t any viable options for getting below Sunset, 101 etc.

        • In reference to your comment above, the addition of proposed developments would add ~100 people in roughly 0.8 acres, you could develop each square acre on both sides of the road from Sunset to Ewing and still only add about 3,000 residents (who may or may not be driving between 7-9 AM) with the exception of the Y intersection, every other intersection is rated above average in terms of LOS, on a corridor that moves ~40,000 cars per day. The road has the capacity to serve more cars, even though it would destroy the street life and pedestrian activity.

          See page 40

          In reference to this particular comment, it doesn’t seem like you live in Echo Park if you think this area isn’t walkable, lacks grocery stores, lacks restaurants. It’s one of the most walkable areas in the city, even though this particular corridor is dreadful.

      • Also, how far away does one have to live to be considered a “regional commuter”? Highland Park?

  2. its so shitty that we will let a foreign company with absolute zero interest in the city/ neighborhood to come in and do this architectural atrocity.

    additionally what is this area going to be like for traffic during dodgers games and standard morning/ evening rush hour? its already a lost cause.


    • Hmmm, I think if they are spending millions of dollar on this project, they have a lot more interest in the city/neighborhood than you. Also, just because a company is based in another country doesn’t mean that they don’t have a local presence – come on, you should be smarter than that!

      • VOR, the only “interest” this company has is to destroy a beautiful neighborhood and make a lot of money doing so. How can you be so naive? Or maybe you work for this company?

  3. There are few areas in Los Angeles as hideous as the stretch of Alvarado / Glendale blvd north of sunset. It’s a desolate plain of asphalt and neglected store fronts. There shouldn’t be a stitch of exposed parking lot until Ewing.

    As hideous as this project is (mostly due to a color palette that belongs in Miami) anything is a vast improvement over the current state of that area. I welcome the project with open arms and I live on Alvarado.

    Traffic aside, it’s remarkable to witness the stark difference between Alvarado / Glendale and Echo Park Ave, just a stones throw from each other. Both are commercial corridors, but only one is designed at the pedestrian scale, while the other beckons for nightmarish traffic and all the associated problems of autocentric planning.

    • Would you not more so welcome a project half as tall and half as many units and cars? That’s the consideration, not all or nothing.

      Mind you, they want even more than the high zoning and density allowed there, they are going well more than the maximum. But the maximum is a haphazard thing thrown in, it too is too much there.

      And only a pittance of the units are for people of lower income.

      We don’t have any shortage of housing in this city for the affluent; the only shortage of housing is for those of lower income. The vacancy rate is just about where it has been for many decades, there is no sudden “housing shortage” in the past decade or so, as the new crop of politicians since then, all of whom are completely sold out to developers money, would have you believe.

      The problem is that we have a situation that has been allowed to be created in which 70% of people in LA are renters, only 30% of the housing will ever be for sale to potential owner-occupants, and only a little of that at any particular time. So all those seeking to buy to move into have few units to bid on. So, the prices skyrocket, and of course, few can manage to buy. As buy prices go up, rent prices follow.

      Our high prices are NOT due to a shortage of housing in this city. The high prices are due to far too much of the housing controlled by too few owners, resulting in very little of the housing for sale to owner occupants. You cannot build your way out of that problem, that is not even possible. Only policies to thwart so much of the housing stock from being taken off the owner-occupant market can solve that problem.

      • We have the lowest vacancy rate ever recorded for the area (regardless of luxury status), we have the largest population in the city’s history and we haven’t built adequate housing since the mid 1970’s. There’s a housing shortage at every level.

        The cost of development is such because supply is so low. Why would a developer risk building luxury, without a guarantee of healthy lease rates, when the city so desperately needs more affordable housing, where certainly they’d be 100% leased…


        Another worthwhile study…


        • Mike, neither of those stories backs up what you said. In fact, the only one of them with numbers backs up what I said — those numbers are in the vicinity they have been for many decades. And neither story calls them the lowest vacancy rate ever recorded — you’re making that up!

          In fact, the one that does provide numbers sure makes them incredibly dubious, with wild swings in vacancy rates every couple-few months! That at least makes the collection and compilation of those numbers incredibly suspect – but still, the results they show are similar to what the vacancy rate has been for many decades, in fact nearly identical to the rates when rent control was established back in 1978 in reaction to the passage of Prop 13 giving a windfall to landlords but nothing to tenants. In fact, when rent control was adopted back then, it included a provision that it would cease to be in effect if the vacancy rate were to rise to 5%;at the time, it was in the vicinity of 3%, or maybe it was slightly less — just like the numbers in that story.

          So, housing construction has kept up, although sure, we could use some more, but not anything of the drastic, neighborhood destroying density that politicians 100% sold out to developers and construction unions (look at their campaign contribution lists!) are bringing in. This hysteria the politicians have pumped up over a sudden and drastic shortage of housing is just plain fake, they are just manipulating you.

    • Hideous? Mudhole? Slimy? My home this is!!!!

  4. IheartEchoPark

    Be happy there is investment going on Echo Park. Building anything in LA ain’t cheap.. so any developer will only build something where they can make a return on their investment. Replacing a parking lot and auto shop with residences is only an improvement. No one is going to build a 2 storey apartment complex or single family homes on those lots. Instead in a few years new residents will fill that space.. they will likely shop at Blue collar, pick up groceries at Lassens, Grab something from Ms. Donuts..

    • Yeah, but it’s still very car centric with no plans to address the horrendous traffic issues during morning/evening commute, Dodgers games etc.

      • IheartEchoPark

        There will be additional traffic no question. But it isn’t like all 70+ residents will be coming and going at the same time, or that 70 apartments will create a steady stream of traffic all day long.. As a builder would you build something with less parking than the # of units. If you did you’d receive complaints that the surrounding neighborhood would be impacted by those residents parking there. So given that the project is being build on a major thoroughfare. How non-car centric can it feasibly be?

  5. All I can see of all this congestion, crowding and insanity, is the rise of the zombified glassy eyed Waze crowd getting stuck cruising blindly around my poor little part of the hood, trying to find that elusive miracle uncrowded route from downtown to that magic on ramp back to Santa Clarita. Every evening lately, herds of em..almost comical, when a poor bugger is faced with the insurmountable Baxter!
    If I wasn’t so annoyed , I’d be amused..or maybe even sympathetic. I’ve been in EP since ’85, not terribly pleased with the way it’s headed, to be honest. Oh well.

  6. What lame brains okayed this project? It way too big for one of the densest populated areas in the city. This is truly insanity. Folks move to Echo Park because its a nice place to live and when they get here, all they want to do is destroy it.

    • In what universe is replacing a desolate empty lot + blighted auto shop with modern habitable living space that would provide area improvements (fixing sidewalks, planting trees, picking up the trash and shit there now) considered “destruction”

      What do you know creating a livable city?

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