To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Should Mariachi Plaza Become a Medical Office Complex?


By Bianca Barragan, January 21, 2015


[A rendering of the proposed project]

Metro has a slew of new developments planned around Gold Line stations in Boyle Heights and the neighborhood's potentially looking at five new mixed-use projects that will bring retail, office space, and affordable housing in the near future. But the community's fighting back against one of those projects: a huge medical office complex that will rise at the Mariachi Plaza station and dramatically transform the local landmark plaza, as well as the entire block. The announcement of the project came as a surprise (and not the good kind) to local residents, and their push-back has delayed a final decision on the complex. Now it looks like community opposition just might force Metro to completely change their plans for the site: "Generally there has not been much support for Mariachi Plaza. We might start over from scratch," a Metro rep tells KPCC.

Aside from taking Boyle Heights by surprise, the project is also rubbing neighbors the wrong way with its proposed eight-story medical office building and a six-level parking garage, plus a three-floor building with street-level retail would take out a small row of shops immediately north of the plaza's iconic gazebo. Altogether, it's hit on neighborhood fears about gentrification; the owners of the small businesses who would lose their old spaces to the new project worry about being able to afford the rents in the new building. And unlike other potential projects along the light rail line, this one doesn't have any housing, a much-needed commodity in one of the city's most crowded neighborhoods.
Metro's going to be reviewing all the community feedback on the project next month.

· Is MTA having second thoughts on Boyle Heights development? [SCPR]
· Mapping Metro's Gold Line Development Boom in Boyle Heights [Curbed LA]
· Will Boyle Heights Be LA's Gentrification Hot Spot of 2015? [Curbed LA]


Introducing Our Free E-Book on 'The Future of Transportation'

A dozen of CityLab's favorite stories from the 2014 series on how Americans will travel tomorrow.


By Eric Jaffe, January 22, 2015

The Best of CityLab's The Future of Transportation
Whether you miss last year's Future of Transportation series or just plain missed it (for shame!), you're in luck. We've compiled a dozen of our favorite pieces into an e-book now available for download. And thanks to the continued support of the Rockefeller Foundation, it's available for free.

Our selections include three feature stories from the commuting section of the series (including my thrillingly tame adventure in Google's driverless car), three on sustainability (including Nate Berg's not-so-tame adventure in a Tesla), and three on design (including Brian Libby's look at why Portland is building a bridge that bans cars—a reader favorite). We round out the book with three of the best columns from the series on transportation policy.

While it was impossible to choose every great piece, these pieces reflect both the geographic and multimodal reach of the series, taking readers across the country on roads, rails, and runways. Once again we thank the Rockefeller Foundation for helping us make it available to you—again, for free. (Did we mention it's free?) And you can always revisit your own favorites from the series, as originally published, here.

Enjoy the trip.


This PDF is viewable on iPad and Kindle.
To view this PDF on your iPad, simply open in your browser or iBooks.
To view this PDF on your Kindle, please consult the user’s guide for your specific Kindle model. For 2nd Generation devices, you can send PDF documents directly to your device via your Send-to-Kindle address, or you can drag and drop PDF files from your computer to your device via USB.

Private high-speed rail has eminent domain powers in Texas. Here's why


By Nicholas Sakelaris, January 21, 2015

JR Central
Plans for high-speed rail from Dallas to Houston will be on display at public meetings across Texas.

Texas Central Railway's privately funded bullet train will need to buy private land as it makes its way from Dallas to Houston. For landowners in the path of the tracks, the first-of-its-kind project will have eminent domain powers as a last resort.

The $10 billion project would use Japanese N700 Shinkansen trains capable of going more than 200 mph. More than 60 trains a day could be making the 90-minute trip between Dallas to Houston by 2021.

The majority of the route will follow existing utility lines or freight tracks. But the tracks will also cross private land. Click on the photos above to see the routes being considered as part of the federal environmental feasibility study.

 When asked about its eminent domain powers Monday, the company updated its website to clarify its stance and provided an emailed statement.

TCR cites the Texas Landowners Bill of Rights, which says "Your property can only be taken by a governmental entity or private entity authorized by law to do so."

TCR, a Texas-based company with offices in Dallas, Houston and Washington D.C., qualifies as both a railroad company and an interurban electric railway company, giving the company certain rights and powers, including eminent domain, the company posted to its website.

The ability of a railroad to use eminent domain is "well established and understood in Texas law," officials from TCR responded via email.

Officials said eminent domain would be used as a last resort after voluntary options have been exhausted, TCR posted on its website.

"The project is committed to respecting and honoring the private property rights of our fellow Texans," TCR posted to its site. "This reflects our personal values and simply makes good business sense. As such, the project is committed to negotiating and settling with landowners fairly and transparently and in a way that seeks 'win-win' solutions."