A few years ago a so called “starchitect” proposed a dramatic, drastic plan for LACMA — knock down everything and start new. The scheme was ultimately defeated with help from preservationists who were determined to save LACMA’s original buildings. Now a new threat has emerged, but this one could have the backing to succeed.
The Wall Street Journal reports that architect Peter Zumthor wants to tear down most of the existing campus and “literally turn LACMA inside out by replacing half of its angular mid–to–late–20th century buildings with a series of curvaceous modern glass structures.”
Exact details of the plan will be revealed at an exhibit at LACMA in June, but the report says four buildings would meet the wrecking ball. The Japanese Pavilion and the old May Company building would reportedly be saved, presumably along with the two newest structures — the Broad and Resnick pavilions. Those two uninspired buildings by another “starchitect,” Renzo Piano, are the ones that should go, by the way.
So that leaves the three original buildings and the Art of the Americas building. I have no problem tearing down the latter building. I have written in the past how it needs to go away, along with its wall along Wilshire, so the original plaza can be restored to its former beauty.
But it would be a crime to demolish the three original buildings. They are mid-century classics and should be the centerpiece of any LACMA project, not reduced to rubble.
Zumthor has been working with influential LACMA director Michael Govan for four years on this plan. Govan seems determined to leave his mark on LACMA, which is why he will be pressing hard on this. Hopefully preservationists will be even more determined and press even harder to save these buildings from ruin.
I think it is great that a bicycling wave is hitting Los Angeles; after all, our weather is perfect for year-round cycling as a way of commuting. The city has responded by installing miles and miles of bike lanes. However, it is not doing it correctly — bikes and cars must be separated.
It is no secret that our streets are built for maximum speed in getting cars around (notwithstanding the traffic lights, which still are not synced correctly). They are not built for slower moving bicycles. The city recognizes this, so it is painting bike lanes, usually a dedicated lane between the right lane for cars and parked cars.
But this is not good enough. In March a rider was killed on a bike lane on Vine St. when a driver opened her door after parking without looking to make sure the coast was clear. The rider was “doored,” as it is called.
In several locations (I have seen one on 7th St near MacArthur Park), the right lane turns into a “right turn only lane,” so the bicycle lane has to shift and ends up between the left and right lanes. It is only a matter of time before a bicycle rider is squeezed between cars.
No, bicycle lanes must be completely separate. On a recent visit to New York, I saw bicycle lanes done correctly.
As you can see, bicycles are separated from cars (parked and moving) by a curb. In some places, bicycles even have their own traffic signals so they can make turns without any interference.
This method is undoubtedly safer, but it requires the removal of traffic lanes. It is doable in New York because most people do not rely on cars to get around. It is more difficult in Los Angeles; any lane removal would have a drastic effect on traffic on that street.
One possible option is the sidewalk. Many streets in Los Angeles have generous sidewalks that are rarely used. It would be simple to gouge out half the sidewalk and install a protected bike lane. Pedestrian traffic would see very little effect.
This of course is not feasible in areas with heavy foot traffic; here, other methods would have to be deployed. But it could work in vast swathes of the city. If we really want to reduce automobile traffic and get more people on bicycles, truly safe bicycle lanes must be constructed.
The following is a guest post. The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of I Love Los Angeles, But…
What do a priest, a Billy goat and bear repellent have in common?
They are all potential home security solutions – at least according to the flowchart, ‘What Kind of Protection Do I Need?’ The infographic mixes humor with pop culture to offer a comical take on home security.
The design works like a decision tree, where the user begins at one of four corners – City, Suburbs, Country and Backcountry – and meanders his or her way through a serious of questions. During the journey, you will stumble across a number of interesting references to popular movies, TV shows and reality TV characters.
The chart, created by the HomeSecuritySystems.com team, was inspired by another popular flowchart – ‘Should I Text Him?’ – which was a popular share on social media sites last year. The goal of this infographic is to offer an interactive experience that is not only fun and highly sharable, but also informational.
While the infographic clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously, it does speak to the importance of home security systems – regardless of whether you live in a Beverly Hills mansion or West Hollywood apartment. In fact, nobody knows this better than Angelenos, who witnessed the ‘Bling Ring’ burglarize the homes of several celebrities from October 2008 through August 2009. Paris Hilton was the group’s most generous victim, as the teenage bandits were able to pilfer several million dollars’ worth of property from her Hollywood Hills mansion over the course of several burglaries.
With that in mind, it’s a good time to evaluate your home security situation. Are your most prized possessions adequately secured? Make sure to check out ‘What Type of Protection Do I Need?’ and follow your path to protection.
Created by HomeSecuritySystems.com.
So I was out of town when, with the flick of a switch a couple of weeks ago, Mayor Villaraigosa allegedly synced every traffic light in our fair city. My first reaction was “I’ll believe it when I seen it.” Well, I’ve seen it. I’ve been driving around for a week now, and the only thing I can deduce is that no one in Los Angeles actually knows what the word “sync” means because things are as bad as they ever were.
I headed to my favorite out-of-sync spot — Sixth and Western. I was expecting to sail through the area. Instead, just as always, I sat at the red light on Sixth, heading East, watching the green light shining at the following street, Oxford. And just as my light turned green, the light on Oxford turned red. This is where I bail out and make a left turn because when the light at Oxford turns green, the light at the next street, Serrano, turns red. This is “in sync” to someone?
I had similar issues on La Brea, where I sat at every red light, just as I did before the outgoing mayor flicked his little switch. Here, it was clear that the geniuses in the Los Angeles transportation department really don’t understand how to make traffic flow. I was sitting at a red light at La Brea and Third, heading North. My light turned green, but the light at Second remained red. When it finally did turn green (when I was halfway there), traffic was already backed up. The light at Second needs to turn green first, to get things moving to accommodate the cars coming from behind. This is simple stuff. I cannot fathom why the city can’t figure this out.
As hard as this is to believe, the city fathers have been working on this syncing project since the 1984 Olympics. That’s nearly 30 years, folks! And they still can’t get it right.
I Love Los Angeles, But… sometimes you just have to shake your head in amazement.
It is a sad day in the Los Angeles sports world — Lakers owner Jerry Buss has died. Buss died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he was being treated for cancer. He was 80 years old.
Buss bought the Lakers, along with the Kings, The Forum and other real estate for $67.5 million back in 1979. The Lakers alone are now valued at $1 billion. The Lakers won 10 NBA championships during his time as owner. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.
Buss was born in Salt Lake City and raised in Wyoming. He moved to Los Angeles in 1955 to attend graduated school at USC and never left. He was a fixture in the city for the past half century, at one point even buying the famous Pickfair Mansion in Beverly Hills from the estate of Mary Pickford. When he bought the Lakers, he said his goal was to make the Lakers synonymous with Los Angeles. He certainly succeeded, overtaking the Dodgers as the city’s number one sports franchise.
Jerry Buss brought “Showtime” to the Lakers and the league, to which Kobe Bryant paid tribute over the weekend at the NBA All-Star game.
“The brand of basketball he implemented in Showtime carried the league when you think about the rivalry that placed between the Lakers and (Boston) Celtics and what that did for the global outreach of the game,” he said. “It reached me in Italy, and I was only 6 years old.”
The Buss family said in a statement:
“We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community…
“It was our father’s often stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”
Jerry Buss had already turned operation of the Lakers over to his children, but he will surely be missed at Staples Center and in Los Angeles.
When I first moved to Los Angeles I was waiting on a corner to cross the street when the light turned green, but the crosswalk signal did not. I waited, figured it was a delayed walk signal. Much to my chagrin the light turned red and I never got the go-ahead to cross. Then I looked down at the light post and saw the walk button. “Do I have to press this?” Apparently I did.
There were walk buttons when I was growing up in New York but they didn’t do anything; the walk signs changed on their own. Eventually all of the walk buttons went away. The same thing should happen here.
There really is no reason to have walk buttons — the walk signs should change when the lights change. I’m sure it would be simple to do. In addition to just being common sense, it would save money in the long run because crews would not have to respond when walk buttons break, which so often happens.
I know there are not always people crossing the streets in our car-dominated city, but I don’t think it would hurt any if the walk signs kept changing. It’s a minor thing, but it just bugs me.
I don’t venture into the Valley very often; I mean, what’s there to see? But I did go on Friday to pay my respects to Henry’s Tacos, which is set to close on December 31.
Henry’s and its Googie sign has been in business for 51 years at the corner of Moorpark St. and Tujunga Ave in Studio City. It is a local landmark. But when owner Janis Hood applied to the city to make it an official landmark, she says the landlord got angry. Designating it a Historical Cultural Monument would limit what he could do with his land.
Hood claims the landlord raised her rent by 50% and refused to renew her lease last December, instead insisting on going month-to-month. Now she says she’s just tired of the battle, writing on the restaurant’s Facebook page:
I am very sorry to have to announce to everyone that it looks like Henry’s will be closing for good on December 31. As some of you know, Henry’s is just too much for me as a single, childless woman approaching 60 with no family within 1,700 miles. I have had several prospective buyers committed to continuing the tradition, but all have been turned down by the landlord. The current prospective buyers have agreed to all the landlord’s terms, but he has ceased communicating with them. Therefore, I have given my notice and it has been accepted by the landlord… Needless to say I am heartsick that after 51 years, Henry’s may end for no good reason.
If you’re not a fan of the signage, Henry’s really is nothing to look at. But it represents the California lifestyle of drive-in restaurants and food stands that helped the city grow. Sadly, they have become a thing of the past, their large lots more useful and lucrative as strip malls and mixed-use housing to developers.
But Henry’s is not going down quietly. There is an online petition to save it, and celebrities who grew up going to Henry’s are joining in the fight. So are the commoners — when I was there, there were a couple of dozen people lined up to buy some tacos. Let’s hope they are not the last Henry’s tacos they will ever eat.
The boulder at the center of LACMA’s “Levitated Mass” was billed as the largest thing transported since, like, medieval times or whatever they said. At 340-tons it is indestructible. Unless it rains a little, of course.
Would-be visitors to the big giant LACMA rock Monday morning were met with this sign:
Now, I understand concrete can sometimes get slippery when wet. But that is easy to combat by putting a rough texture on it or putting some other stuff on it (what do you want from me?; I’m not a mason). I mean, sidewalks all over the world are concrete and they remain open when it rains.
I Love Los Angeles, But… sometimes the decisions made in this city just make me laugh.
Megabus and its insanely low fares are back in Los Angeles. Now you will be able to get to Las Vegas or San Francisco for just one dollar.
Fares really do start at $1, and go up as the departure date nears. The earlier you book, the lower the price is.
The buses feature free wi-fi, which could take your mind off of the fact that your trip from Union Station to Vegas could take up to six hours and the journey to San Francisco could take around eight hours. But hey, the price is certainly right.
Megabus has been wildly successful in other parts of the country, especially in the Northeast where bus travel between such cities as Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. is common. At a buck per trip, it has a really good chance of catching on here.
When you are booking one of those $9 Spirit Airlines flights from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, you can’t pick your seat unless you want to pay an additional $5. I refuse to do this for moral reasons (read, cheap), so I take my chances.
On a recent flight I didn’t get my preferred aisle seat, and I found myself crammed in next to the window. Except for the fact that my knees were jammed into the back of the seat in front of me, it was a fascinating flight because I got to see the Los Angeles from up above. I’ve got to get the window seat more often!
Here are a few photos:
Miracle Mile in the middle: