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DTLA United: A Council District 14


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An introductory report surveying the current landscape of Downtown as it is now part of Council District 14

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DTLA United: A Council District 14

  1. 1. 1 First Quarter Report Council District 14 Dear Friends: Downtown Los Angeles (DTLA) is a uniquely dynamic, exciting and thriving area of the City and I am honored to represent Downtown as a Los Angeles City Councilmember. It is amazing to think that just two decades ago, DTLA was in a steady state of decline. Buildings were vacant. Jobs were leaving the urban center. Very few people called DTLA home and the future vitality of our City center was in serious doubt. Today, DTLA’s outlook as a viable, vibrant and growing community has improved dramatically. The Downtown News recently referred to DTLA as a “boomtown.” This apt description would have been unthinkable 20 years ago and is due to the tireless work of residents, developers, investors, business groups, civic leaders and concerned citizens. These early DTLA boosters sowed the seeds of growth, and today, despite the lingering effects of a national recession, those efforts are bearing fruit. Today, DTLA is not only the center hub of our City’s hospitality, entertainment and cultural activities, it is also home to some of the most interesting, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods in the country. DTLA simultaneously supports tens of thousands of residents, hundreds of thousands of daily workers and millions of annual tourists. While the DTLA improvements in recent years are profound, there is still much work to be done. As Councilmember for the 14th Council District, I have represented about 40 percent of Downtown since my 2005 election. The 2012 redistricting changed this. Now, all of DTLA, with the exception of the L.A. Live campus, is within Council District 14. The responsibility of representing the near-entirety of DTLA is a great responsibility, but one I take seriously. I believe a united DTLA is a stronger DTLA. Cohesive communities and consistency in representation improves prospects for continued growth, better connects our neighborhoods, and allows more thoughtful planning now and in the future.
  2. 2. 2 First Quarter Report Council District 14 As we outline in this report, my priorities for DTLA build off of three main tenets: 1. Improving Downtown’s Livability and Planning Its Future 2. Supporting Economic Development and Tourism 3. Connecting Downtown’s Neighborhoods As Downtown’s Councilmember, I am committed to working alongside DTLA residents, business members, civic organizations and citywide leaders to build on the foundation of incredible progress we have already experienced. I look forward to helping put plans, policies, programs and partnerships in place to ensure Downtown’s future as a world-class urban core. As I reflect on my first months representing all of DTLA, I thought it important and useful for us all to survey the current landscape, acknowledge the work that has already been done and set a clear path and vision for what we want to achieve in the future. This report covers my office’s three DTLA platform tenets. I hope it serves as a blueprint that can be used as we collaborate to ensure that Downtown Los Angeles grows stronger, more vibrant and is poised for a bright and prosperous future. Sincerely, José Huizar Councilmember, 14th District Photo by Carla Paola 2
  3. 3. First Quarter Report Council District 14 TABLE OF CONTENTS Livability and Planning for the Future Parklets 4 Spring St. Park 4 Arts District Park 5 Pershing Square Improvements 5 Grand Park Opening 5 City Hall Park Opening 6 Planning Grants & Policies 6 Changes in Funding Structures 6 For Parks Permanent Supportive Housing 6 Operation Healthy Streets 7 Homelessness Funding 7 New Schools 8 Smart Development 8 Economic Development & Tourism Bringing Back Broadway 9 Substantial Economic Investment on Broadway 10 Hotels and Tourism 10 Recruiting Business Downtown 11 Business Tax Holiday Extension 11 Supporting Film Incentives 11 New Helipad Guidelines 11 Freight Transportation 12 Supporting the Fashion Industry 12 Connecting Downtown Neighborhoods More Bikeable Downtown 13 More Walkable Downtown 14 Neighborhood Identification 14 Honoring Community Leaders 14 Downtown Streetcar 14 Regional Connector 15 Union Station Master Plan 15 6th St. Bridge Redesign Competition 16 7th St. Bridge Accessibility Project 16 3
  4. 4. 21 First Quarter Report Council District 14 I. Livability and Planning for the Future The rapid growth of the DTLA deserves clean and safe residential population in neighborhoods with parks, Downtown during the last public spaces, schools and decade is impressive and on the services. We also need to address rise with the area expected to blight, as well as actively soon hit the 50,000 residents support compassionate solutions mark. That’s a 158 percent to homelessness. As Downtown increase from 1999 according to grows, services and amenities data from the Downtown Center need to keep pace. Our streets Business Improvement District. need to be safe day and night, and we need to provide While a steady increase in the residents and businesses with “Like any other number of people calling support services, amenities and community, DTLA Downtown home is great news, improvements that keep them in deserves clean and safe Councilmember Huizar believes Downtown well into the future. that improving livability is key neighborhoods with to keeping them here so our To this end, Councilmember parks, public spaces, residential boom is not short- Huizar has implemented a schools and services.” lived. number of programs and efforts and supported others already in -Councilmember Jose Huizar Downtown needs progressive, place in order to support forward-thinking development livability and smart planning for and smart plans to achieve this Downtown’s future. goal. Like any other community, Parklets Councilmember Huizar is one of the City Council’s biggest proponents of the Living Streets model, promoting greater pedestrian use throughout Council District 14 in order to create more dynamic and interconnected neighborhoods. In DTLA, land is scarce, but the need for open space is great. Utilizing already public areas – such as parking spaces or red zones – to create mini-areas of refuge can provide creative and cost-effective solutions. Our office worked with the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council, UCLA and City departments on launching the City’s first pilot parklets in Downtown. You’ll soon see two parklets on Spring Street in DTLA. Parklets are often called outdoor living rooms or mini-plazas and have been fully embraced in other cities like San Francisco and New York City. In an ever-bustling area like DTLA, parklets will offer an opportunity to reclaim urban space for better livability. As part of the pilot project, two additional parklets are being constructed in El Sereno and Highland Park in CD 14, with plans to eventually bring parklets to neighborhoods throughout the City. Spring Street Park Spring Street Park is well on its way. Through the advocacy and hard work of the local community, along with the assistance of Councilmember Jan Perry, this nearly one-acre park was purchased in 2009 and broke ground in August 2012. Spring Street Park was initiated by the DTLA community for the DTLA 4
  5. 5. 2 First Quarter Report Council District 14 community. Councilmember Huizar is committed to ensuring that the community continues to be the focus. CD 14 staff has met with park stakeholders to ensure the features of the park reflect the needs of the community. Recognizing that local demographics have shifted since the park’s inception, CD14 has worked with the Department of Recreation and Parks to add playground equipment for Downtown families to enjoy. The Spring Street Park is scheduled to be completed by summer 2013. Arts District Park & LaKretz Innovative Campus Councilmember Huizar recently identified funds for construction of the Arts District Park at the LaKretz Innovation Campus. The entire campus will house the L.A. Clean Tech Incubator, an innovative DWP clean energy project, and a half-acre park in the current parking lot at 5th & Hewitt. This important economic development project will help local, start-up green tech industries, provide a state-of-the-art clean energy lab for DWP, and provide much needed open-space for Arts District residents. Public outreach and design workshops for the park will begin in early 2013. Pershing Square Improvements In the few months that Pershing Square has been part of CD14, Councilmember Huizar’s office responded to the need to address on-going security and maintenance issues at the park, as well as the underground garage. While the park now includes year-long programming and a weekly farmers’ market, Pershing Square struggled with a large encampment, which heightened sanitation and public safety concerns. Councilmember Huizar met with community stakeholders and created a Pershing Square Task Force comprised of LAPD, Department of Recreation and Parks, the City’s General Service Division and the City Attorney’s Office. Through this collaborative work we have seen some positive results. There is less disruptive and illegal activity, fewer drug and vagrancy issues, more police and public safety patrols and a cleaner, safer urban park for people to enjoy. However, there is more work to be done. The Councilmember is working with stakeholders on a multi- pronged plan for Pershing Square that will provide long-term solutions to improve and maintain this important open space in DTLA, as well as improve usability of its underground public parking facility. Councilmember Huizar recently negotiated a $700,000 improvement fund for a re-envisioning process and other improvements for Pershing Square as part of the Farmers Field community benefits package. Even if Farmers Field is not built, the Councilmember is committed to finding the necessary funds to create a future envisioning plan worthy of a historic park in the heart of a much-improved Downtown. Grand Park Opens The newly unveiled Grand Park, run by L.A. County and the Music Center, is a four-block-long park that stretches from Grand Avenue and The Music Center on the west to City Hall on the east. It opened with great fanfare on October 6th after nearly a decade of planning and $56 million in funding. As the Downtown Council representative, Councilmember 5
  6. 6. 3 First Quarter Report Council District 14 Huizar now serves on the Grand Avenue Joint Powers Authority and is represented by his staff on the Grand Avenue Advisory Board. Council District 14 is committed to being a collaborative partner with the Donec Music Center, which oversees Grand Park. We look forward to working, with your input, to ensure that this interdum open space is as functional, enjoyable and welcoming for DTLA as it possibly can be. City Hall Park Opens The grounds around City Hall have been beautifully rehabilitated following the deterioration that occurred as a result of the Occupy L.A. events. CD14 pressed for the removal of the concrete barriers and consistent park hours so that City Hall Park could be fully enjoyed by those visiting City Hall Park and the newly opened Grand Park. Pellentesque: Planning Grants & Policies The Southern California Association of Governments recently awarded the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with a planning visioning grant, the first award of its kind to a neighborhood council. The Department of Recreation and Parks is managing a Proposition 84 funded Downtown Open Space Planning Grant, which was awarded to the former CRA. These two grant opportunities will provide the Downtown Community the chance to develop a cohesive vision and plan for realizing even more innovative ways to create parks and open spaces in DTLA. Changes in Fund Structures to Realize More Parks in DTLA Our office has begun discussions with Recreation and Parks and the Department of City Planning about revising the City’s Quimby ordinances. The goal is to update decades-old impediments in the Municipal Code that limit the effective deployment of these funds, which are collected from developers to help create parks and open spaces near their projects. The system needs an overhaul in order to ensure funds collected more directly serve the residents they are collected to benefit. Permanent Supportive Housing In Skid Row As we work to improve Downtown’s livability, it is also important that we directly address the issues that affect some of our neediest and most Consectetuer: vulnerable Downtown residents. In most cases, providing full-time medical and mental health staff to our chronically homeless population would cost less than the dollars we spend on incarceration and emergency services for these individuals. Councilmember Huizar supports permanent supportive housing, but also thinks we need more services available citywide, not just in the concentrated area around Skid Row. This is why the Councilmember supports The Skid Row Housing Trust and projects like the New The Skid Row Housing Trust’s new permanent supportive housing project on Main St. opened this fall. 6
  7. 7. 421 First Quarter Report Council District 14 Genesis and the Downtown Women’s Center. Our office has been working closely with them to ensure plans that have been in the pipeline for some time are completed and that they will be open soon. Operation Healthy Streets Operation Healthy Streets is a collaboration among various city entities and departments to clean up the Skid Row area and protect public health. Councilmember Huizar pushed for this effort when litigation put street cleaning on hold and the health and safety of Skid Row’s residents was in jeopardy. The Councilmember supports continued cleanings of the Skid Row area and his office will continue to fight for resources to allow spot cleanings and comprehensive clean-ups – all in conjunction with efforts to direct homeless individuals into available shelters and services. LA Department of Public Works employees during Operation Healthy Streets on Skid Row Encouraged by CD14, the City has deployed trash receptacles in Skid Row where previously there were none. Our staff is fully engaged in the Operation Healthy Streets Task Force and is working with various city departments, as well as community groups, on ensuring that we continue to focus on improving the cleanliness of Skid Row. Supporting Other DTLA Cleanups CD 14 staff has also worked with Sanitation, Street Services and LAPD to conduct cleanups on Spring Street near El Pueblo (Olvera Street), in coordination with the office of County Supervisor Gloria Molina and other County departments. Homelessness Funding Homelessness is one of the biggest issues that DTLA faces. In order to work toward effective solutions, it is imperative that our community receives the adequate resources we need. Research shows that homelessness rates are most influenced by poverty, lack of affordable housing and overcrowding. However, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development does not consider these factors when determining homelessness funding for the Downtown community. HUD utilizes two outdated formulas that were created for community development grants in the 1970s. In a time of limited resources, we must ensure that future funding be directed in the most effective way possible and distributed in a manner that has the greatest impact. Councilmember Huizar garnered City Council support on a resolution seeking a change to the McKinney-Vento formula that determines federal homelessness dollars. Los Angeles does not get its fair share of these scarce funds and as the Downtown city representative for Skid Row, Councilmember Huizar is committed to advocating for homeless-funding reform. 7
  8. 8. 5 First Quarter Report Council District 14 New Schools As the former President of the LAUSD School Board, Councilmember Huizar understands that an important key to keeping young urban families in the city’s core is to ensure that they have high-quality educational options for their children. Without a quality elementary school in the Downtown area, many young families face the difficult decision of leaving our community in search of better schools for their kids. Our office has been working closely with a group of South Park parents dedicated to bringing a public charter school to the Downtown area. Councilmember Huizar fully supports these efforts and is committed to pushing for their petition approval Metro Charter at LAUSD. If all goes as planned, we could see a school serving kindergarten and Elementary hopes to 1st grade students open in Downtown by fall 2013. open in fall of 2013 Smart Development While Downtown’s economy is on the upswing again, we want to make sure we support smart development that makes good, long-term sense for Downtown. We are at a critical juncture in building the housing we need for a sustainable Downtown community. Currently, smaller units appealing to single individuals dominate the local market. As housing is developed in the coming years, we need to work with developers to build more family-size units, with family recreation space, so Downtown residents can find ample housing options to suit them through all the phases of their lives. Our office is working with the Planning Department on developing the new Downtown Zoning Code, the first phase of the City’s Comprehensive Zoning Code Revision. Downtown is also a focal point of community planning through funding negotiated as part of the Farmer’s Field community benefits package should that proposal come to fruition. “My goal for Downtown development and revitalization is to take the blueprint we’ve used through our Bringing Back Broadway initiative and apply that successful formula to other areas of Downtown” - Councilmember Jose Huizar 8
  9. 9. 21 First Quarter Report Council District 14 II. Supporting Economic Development & Tourism Councilmember Huizar is no part of CD 14 efforts in stranger to the economic issues Downtown have focused on facing DTLA and has worked helping business owners and through the Bringing Back developers wade through the Broadway initiative and other City’s bureaucratic red tape. efforts to support DTLA investment, helping bring Irrespective of challenges, DTLA hundreds of jobs that offer new continues to be a center for major and creative services to investment and exciting Downtown. developments. And “DTLA is home to billion- Councilmember Huizar is dollar industries- we need While we have investors who dedicated to bringing the same believe in Downtown, some city to protect and build on that effort and focus that has led to policies and procedures are the success of the Bringing Back investment to ensure that simply not business-friendly. In Broadway initiative to other it remains here.” these first few months, a large areas of Downtown. - Councilmember Jose Huizar Bringing Back Broadway Broadway is the birthplace of Los Angeles’ world-renowned entertainment industry. It is home to 12 historic theaters and movie palaces, with an array of historic buildings dating back to the early part of the 20th century. For years, historic Broadway was the “hole in the donut” with revitalization happening all around it, while it continued to decline. When Councilmember Huizar kicked off the Bringing Back Broadway initiative in 2008, there was more than one million square feet of vacant commercial space in the upper floors and an 18-20 percent vacancy rate on the ground floor. In the fourth year of a 10-year plan, Bringing Back Broadway has made great progress. The Broadway Entertainment Community Design Overlay is in place to guide development in the historic district. The Broadway Streetscape Master Plan is completed. The environmental document was circulated earlier this year and the implementation ordinance is expected to go to commission soon. The plan will reduced lanes of traffic to vastly increase sidewalks, improving the pedestrian experience for the 25 million people walk who walk on Broadway annually. Through a Commercial Reuse Initiative, we are crafting policies for re-activating the underutilized Rendering of proposed streetscaping for Broadway commercial space in Broadway’s upper floors. In the coming months, we will be releasing $800,000 for a Facade Lighting Program for Broadway buildings, which will help make the street safer, more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly at night. 9
  10. 10. 2 First Quarter Report Council District 14 A Sign District for Broadway will encourage the restoration and re-creation of historic signs, blade signs and painted wall signs. Additionally, after years of discussion and planning, the Downtown LA Streetcar will connect Downtown’s neighborhood destinations with historic Broadway as it serves as the spine of the proposed route. (details on page 14) Substantial Economic Investment on Broadway The kind of business activity occurring now on Broadway would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Some highlights include: • Ace Hotel under construction in the United Artist Theatre Building • Renovation of Clifton’s Cafeteria, including addition of a full-service restaurant & lounge • Umamicatessen at 9th & Broadway • L.A. Brewing Company at 8th & Broadway • Ari Taymor’s “Alma” opened on Broadway this summer • Fashion designer Tarina Tarantino world headquarters coming to Broadway • Ross Dress for Less first national retailer to come to Broadway in decades • Guisados and Royal Claytons have signed leases in Broadway Spring Arcade • Figaro Bistro coming to the historic Schaber Cafeteria building • Rocket Dog activating upper floors of building at 9th & Broadway • Plans underway for the renovation of numerous historic Broadway theaters Unique retailers are announcing plans on Broadway all the time and a number of buildings have recently been purchased for redevelopment as creative office uses, which Councilmember Huizar thinks is a strong market for Broadway. Broadway is open for business, and the transformation of the street is evident more and more each day. Hotels and Tourism Los Angeles is at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to hotels. The area around the Convention Center needs 5,000 peak-night hotel rooms in order for us to be competitive with other major cities to attract conventions and tourism. Thanks to several new hotel projects Downtown, we’re getting closer, but we have a long way to go to reach that goal. We need to do more to incentivize hotels in Downtown- both in terms of new construction and the adaptive reuse of buildings that can be converted into hotels- like the Ace Hotel, which is coming to Broadway. Los Angeles welcomes more than 12,000 tourists a year, which is a big driver for the region’s economy. Supporting tourism takes the whole City focusing on Councilmember Huizar touring construction at the the fact that a better Downtown makes a better Los Ace Hotel on Broadway Angeles, and that’s what Councilmember Huizar intends to make happen. 10
  11. 11. 3 First Quarter Report Council District 14 Recruiting Businesses Downtown A number of major corporations have staked a claim in Downtown in recent years. Price Waterhouse Cooper recently announced a 15-year lease renewal with Brookfield, just days before Brookfield’s Fig at 7th City Target opened. These are the fruits of labor that came before Councilmember Huizar began to serve a majority of Downtown as councilmember. Our office is committed to building on these early successes. Our goal is to support existing businesses as we assist entrepreneurs and developers in bringing new business, jobs and services throughout Downtown. Business Tax Holiday Extension Benefits Downtown The City Council recently approved extending a program that provides a three-year exemption on the gross receipts tax for new businesses. Councilmember Huizar voted in favor of the extension, which over the previous three years that it has been in place has assisted thousands of businesses to open up in the City, with 1,159 entrepreneurs taking advantage of the incentive in Downtown alone. The City Council recently approved extending a program that provides a three-year exemption on the gross receipts tax for new businesses. Support Film Incentives Los Angeles is the epicenter of the film industry, and Downtown has long been a favorite filming location, bringing in millions of dollars of revenue to the City. Councilmember Huizar has called for policy revisions to an archaic code that limits hours for moving film cranes in Downtown, which severely impacts production schedules and budgets. He fully supports incentives for the film industry and is working with Film L.A. to keep our primary industry here at home while also respecting Downtown’s growing community of residents and businesses in order to strike a balance among all the competing interests. Film crew cranes wait for their cue in DTLA New Helipad Guidelines Would Dramatically Change Skyline While standards, technology and best practices in engineering, fire-life safety and design have modernized significantly over the past half-century, the City’s helipad/heliport flat-rooftop requirements for high-rises in place since the 1960s has not evolved. Of the 1,700 high-rises in the State of California, approximately 745 are located in Los Angeles. In other world-class cities, the most exciting and iconic buildings – such as the Chrysler Center, the Sears Tower, the Empire State Building and the Coit Tower – share a common aesthetic, existing not simply as rectangular boxes built to soaring heights, but instead as monumental symbols of their cities, visions representative of progress, creativity and community. 11
  12. 12. 4 First Quarter Report Council District 14 For decades, the worlds visionary architects have lamented that the City of Los Angeles’ codes inhibit ability to create high rises befitting Los Angeles’ style and importance on the world architecture scale. While an iconic skyline is something Councilmember Huizar wants to see Downtown, the first consideration must be for fire life safety and the protection of our citizens and firefighters. In consideration of new advancements in technology of constructing and providing fire life safety in new high-rise today, Councilmember Huizar has called on the Los Angeles Fire Department to reexamine its policy for helipads while maintaining the utmost modern fire-life safety standards. As we develop our skyline even further with increasing development Downtown, it can be with iconic, world-class architecture, instead of all flat roofs. Freight Transportation In 2012, $3.8 million in Metro funding was secured to improve Alameda Street in DTLA, which is a key corridor for freight transportation that is vitally important to our local manufacturing and retail economies. With the funding, Alameda will be repaired and repaved, with the long-term improvement goal of removing the decades-old and unused rail line embedded in the pavement. Fashion for the Future of Downtown Downtown is the epicenter for the Los Angeles fashion industry. Like entertainment, fashion is an important part of our City’s economy. About 40 percent of all Los Angeles County fashion wholesalers are located right here in the Downtown Fashion District, which produces $4 billion in business revenue annually, and supports more than 50,000 jobs. Thousands of students attend classes at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, and other fashion design schools located in the district, which helps ensure the creative talent that drives the fashion industry is L.A. based. Councilmember Huizar has worked closely with Mayor Villaraigosa, Fashion District leadership and numerous manufacturers in helping foster a partnership between the Fashion District and the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board to promote the Fashion District and the “Made in L.A.” brand throughout the world. “Designed and Made in Los Angeles is more than a logo, it’s a testament to DTLA’s growing influence in the fashion industry worldwide. “ - Councilmember Jose Huizar Winning design that will be the official hang-tag for made in L.A. clothes 12
  13. 13. 21 First Quarter Report Council District 14 III. Connecting Downtown Neighborhoods DTLA is a regional and regional transportation transportation hub and the planning that affects DTLA destination for hundreds of and the entire Southern thousands of workers and California region. Looking visitors every day. Since the forward, the Councilmember passage of Measure R, supports transportation investment in transportation solutions for DTLA’s “With an emphasis on multi- solutions has grown. As a neighborhoods, including Metro board member and a investments in our streets so modal transportation options, member of the City Council’s they better serve pedestrians DTLA is poised to have the Transportation Committee, and multi-modal options like most forward-thinking public Councilmember Huizar has bicycles, and not just cars. transportation system in the been engaged in essential local City” A More Bikeable Downtown Adopted in 2010, the Los Angeles Bicycle Plan will create a 1,684 mile bikeway system. Many of the crucial connections will come into and through Downtown Los Angeles. The first DTLA bike lane was installed on Spring Street in November 2011. Since then, the Department of Transportation has created bike lanes on Main St., Los Angeles St., 1st St., Grand Ave., and Olive St., with more expected in coming months. As Vice-Chair of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee, Councilmember Huizar has worked closely with the Departments of Planning and Transportation to adopt the Bike Plan. That work continues with the goal to implement additional bike lanes and bike paths as soon as possible. Year 1 of the Bike Plan will add bike lanes on 2nd St., 7th St., and Cesar Chavez Ave. through El Pueblo (Olvera Street) and Chinatown. Many of these connections will complete bike lanes that currently run through Boyle Heights and Westlake, integrating DTLA into a inter- connected bikeway system. In an effort to promote a bike-sharing program similar to those in other big cities throughout the world, Councilmember Huizar introduced a motion instructing City Departments to work with Bike Nation, a national non-profit company that will add bike-sharing kiosks throughout DTLA. Bike Nation to debut bike-sharing kiosks in DTLA soon 13
  14. 14. 2 First Quarter Report Council District 14 More Walkable Downtown: Complete Streets Working Group In 2011, the Downtown Neighborhood Council created a Complete Streets Working Group to engage with City’s Bicycle Master Plan implementation and generate ideas for initiatives to promote holistic, multi- modal, "complete" streets in DTLA. Our office had already been working with Shared Spaces and local community partners on parklet prototypes for York and Huntington Boulevards. Before long, DLANC’s Working Group had brought together a talented group of planners, architects and designers, who volunteered their labor to create parklet designs. Beyond the pilot parklets, which will greatly affect the pedestrian experience on Spring St., the Department of Transportation will soon begin a series of pedestrian improvements on Main St., including curb extensions at several intersections, as well as installing new bicycle lanes. Councilmember Huizar’s office is engaged with Neighborhood Councils, BIDs, and City Departments to explore ideas to support the increasing number of pedestrians and bicyclists sharing the streets of DTLA. Neighborhood Identification With the Bringing Back Broadway initiative, Councilmember Huizar has focused on a number of efforts to emphasize the historic character of this important corridor. Similarly, throughout DTLA, Councilmember Huizar is proud to support a number of community place-making efforts, such as the Arts District and Little Tokyo Streetlight Medallion programs, which help identify these two distinct communities. Honoring Ray Bradbury and Frances Hashimoto Councilmember Huizar has supported community efforts to dedicate a square and plaza in honor of two amazing Angelenos with special connections to Downtown, namely: Ray Bradbury Square next to the Central Library and Frances K. Hashimoto Plaza in Little Tokyo. Councimember Huizar is pleased to honor the memory of these two great individuals and their contributions to the cultural, civic, and business life of DTLA. Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar One of the transportation challenges in DTLA is the lack of a last-mile solution. People can get Downtown in a number of ways, but once they arrive, getting around DTLA remains difficult. Councilmember Huizar has partnered with business and community leaders and organizations, Metro, and the City of Los Angeles to implement a plan to bring the beloved streetcar back to DTLA. The plan is for a modern, fixed-rail streetcar system to link with regional transit and use Broadway, 11th, Figueroa, 7th and Hill streets to serve the Civic Center, Broadway and the Historic Core, the Fashion District, South Park, L.A. Live, the Proposed Streetcar route along Hill St. by Pershing Square 14
  15. 15. 3 First Quarter Report Council District 14 Convention Center, the Financial District, 7th Street Restaurant Row, the Jewelry District and Grand Avenue. The streetcar would run seven-days a week, approximately 18 hours a day. Much like other cities that have invested in modern streetcar systems, the Downtown L.A. Streetcar will have a transformational effect on DTLA and its continued revitalization. It will link our neighborhoods and make Downtown more pedestrian-friendly. An AECOM study projects that the streetcar will generate $1.1 billion in development, create more than 9,000 jobs, more than $24.5 million in annual tourism spending, and create additional revenue for the city. Councilmember Huizar is honored to champion the streetcar, which along with City departments, Metro and the non-profit Streetcar Inc., is a true example of a public-private partnership with significant benefits for the community. After several years of dedicated planning and robust community input, a route has been selected and the environmental studies are getting underway. Registered voters in DTLA recently voted in favor of the streetcar in a special mail-only streetcar election. Their support provides half of the $125-million in capital needed for streetcar construction through a not-to- exceed $85 million bond, which includes $62.5-million in streetcar capital for construction, bond issuance costs, two years of capitalized interest, and other related costs. With voters 73% in support, these important local funds will now be leveraged to secure federal funding for the remainder of construction costs. If all goes well, we hope to be under construction by 2014, and riding the Downtown Los Angeles Streetcar by 2016. Regional Connector The Regional Connector is arguably one of the most important transit projects in the City. It will allow someone to ride from Pasadena to Long Beach, or Boyle Heights to the Westside without ever getting off the train. That is huge progress for Downtown and the entire Los Angeles region. Metro has been planning for this project for years and CD 14 has been involved every step of the way. All three Regional Connector stations (2nd and Hope, 2nd and Broadway, and 1st and Central) are within the new boundaries of CD 14. As the project moves forward, Councilmember Huizar will continue to advocate for a successful project that is built respectful of community needs and desires. Regional Connector marked by the blue and yellow dotted lines Union Station Master Plan This plan is another exciting project with the potential to increase public transportation in Los Angeles, as well as connect different parts of DTLA in a significant way. As the Downtown Councilmember and a Metro Board Director, Councilmember Huizar and his staff are 15
  16. 16. 4 First Quarter Report Council District 14 actively involved in the Master Plan, which includes internal design elements as well as development on adjacent properties. Councilmember Huizar wants to ensure that the Union Station Master Plan is designed to maximize the iconic station’s transportation potential, as well as better connect and compliment the iconic station and its properties to the surrounding areas, such as El Pueblo, Little Tokyo, the Arts District, and Chinatown. 6th Street Bridge – A Destination and a Community Connector Through the 6th Street Viaduct replacement design competition, Angelenos got a look at three amazing designs to replace the 6th Street Bridge, which spans the Los Angeles River between DTLA’s Arts District and Boyle Heights. In April, the Mayor and Councilmember Huizar announced an international design competition for the redesign and replacement of the 80-year-old 6th Street Bridge and appointed a citizens’ advisory panel. HTNC garnered support from a citizens’ panel, as well as the Bureau of Engineering with its winning Winning 6th St. Bridge design by HNTB design. Councilmember Huizar believes the design honors the history of the original iconic bridge while looking solidly toward the future. This $401 million project will provide an opportunity to reconnect the communities of DTLA and Boyle Heights while also making the bridge a destination point with arts and cultural programming around the bridge. With one percent of the budget for the bridge replacement project mandated to be spent on art, Councilmember Huizar has introduced a motion to establish an Arts Advisory Committee of stakeholders on both sides of the river to work with the Department of Cultural Affairs and make recommendations on art and cultural programming on and around the bridge. 7th Street Bridge – A Vision for Public Access Councilmember Huizar recently introduced a motion to develop public-private coordination with the LA River Revitalization Corporation to further develop a visionary concept for bridge enhancements that would make publicly accessible the lower deck of the early-20th Century 7th Street bridge. A new roadway was added to the bridge in 1927, built over the original 1910 bridge to bypass trains that were previously at grade level. The redesign plan, which is the brainchild of LA River supporter and architect Arthur Golding, calls for looking at ways to develop the original bridge space as a public gathering area. Councilmember Huizar thinks this is an idea worth looking at, particularly with the added focus on the new 6th Street Bridge as a destination point. 16
  17. 17. First Quarter Report Council District 14 Final words from Councilmember Jose Huizar As we look to the future of Downtown, as its success depends on good policies, solid investment, and the ability to link and connect Downtown’s distinct neighborhoods, it’s ultimately about serving the people who live, work and play Downtown. Fortunately, Downtown has an amazing and talented array of residents, property owners, businesses and boosters who love DTLA, want to make it better and know how to create opportunities while collaborating with others. As we move past our first few months representing a majority of Downtown, you have my commitment that my office, the CD 14 Downtown team and I stand with you to help realize Downtown’s next stage of success and long-term prosperity. From the large-scale projects throughout Downtown, to the ongoing vibrant and flourishing residential, restaurant, and entertainment districts, it’s a dynamic and important time to represent Downtown. I look forward to partnering with you in the coming years as we work together on a better future for Downtown. Please contact our Downtown team if you have specific questions, or call our City Hall office at (213) 473- 7014. Council District 14 Downtown Contacts Councilmember Jose Huizar, Councilmember.huizar@lacity.org Paul Habib, Chief of Staff, paul.habib@lacity.org Sara Hernandez, Downtown Area Director, sara.hernandez@lacity.org Miguel Vargas, Downtown Field Deputy, miguel.vargas@lacity.org Tanner Blackman, Planning Director, tanner.blackman@lacity.org Jessica Wethington McLean, Executive Director of Bringing Back Broadway, Director of Downtown Economic Development, jessica.wethingtonmclean@lacity.org Martin Schlageter, Policy Director, martin.schlageter@lacity.org Rick Coca, Communications Director, rick.coca@lacity.org 17