Palisades News Letters to the Editor: Mansionization, Temescal Bike Lane

Let’s Work Together on Rezoning

The “mansionization” discussions began around a decade ago. It started with objections to loss of privacy and sunlight when larger homes were being built next to smaller ones. “Lot line to lot line” construction had not been seen before. As the housing crisis in California has worsened in the past 10 years and more of these larger homes have replaced the Los Angeles housing stock built in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, the two sides of this debate have become more divided than ever before.

In the Palisadian-Post and Palisades News, we have seen the arguments turn personal. Even though a large number of them are local Palisadians, these realtors, architects and developers have become demonized as greedy individuals. The arguments that focused on loss of light and/or privacy have given way to people questioning why families with no children need larger houses, or distaste for an architectural style, or that construction brings noise and trucks into their neighborhoods.

As we enter this new round of discussions about rezoning requirements, I wanted to write to all my fellow residents about how everyone is entitled to an opinion.

With that said, we live in a democracy where our representatives are bound by their service to the community. This is exactly what Mike Bonin and his staff have done by attending the city planning sessions and Community Council meetings covering mansionization in the Palisades. They have heard the discord that this issue has caused and requested that the Palisades be the first area to experiment

with neighborhood rezoning. The Los Angeles Planning Commission created these rezoning alternatives, not Councilman Bonin, and they have heard plenty of push- back on the BMO [Baseline Mansionization Ordinance] regulations. As such, these regulations will not be unique to Pacific Palisades, but will be applied to other com- munities as well. My hat is off to the planning commission and Councilman Bonin for recognizing that one size does NOT fit all 4 million Los Angelenos.

These unique rezoning concepts will permit neighborhoods like the Alphabet Streets to have potentially different zoning concepts than perhaps Marquez Knolls or the El Medio area. What could be more equitable than working with your neighbors to come up with a solution? Under no circumstance do any of these options mean a return to the “lot line to lot line” construction I mentioned before, as previous guidelines have already addressed these concerns. But where we go from here is very important. Each neighborhood will be able to decide if basements, garages, front porches and decks should be included in the definition of “livable space.” There is an option to not permit two-story houses. So all extremes are considered, including keeping the new BMO, but let’s keep in mind that we are neighbors and it’s not us versus them but one for all. The name-calling needs to stop, and people need to start listening to each other.

As for the local newspapers, editorials have a responsibility to represent the facts about an issue, but all you’ve been publishing thus far has been more name-calling and drivel. Let’s all rise to the occasion and try to understand the concerns of our neighbors, what the options are, and what the current BMO restrictions mean to our property rights. Finally, I am hoping the Los Angeles City Council and the Planning Commission will continue these dialogues locally, NOT downtown, the Valley, or even in West Los Angeles. I am also hoping they adequately notify all homeowners in the Palisades about BMO and the rezoning options. I believe these initiatives will heighten local participation and permit residents of Pacific Palisades to adopt the best possible solutions for our future.

Neal Green

 

Thankful for Stockman’s Story

I really appreciate the excellent investigative article by Sarah Stockman. My wife and I hike often from this trailhead and we were puzzled by the locked gate. I am happy to say that when I drove to the trailhead yesterday (Aug. 6), the gate was unlocked and open. You made a difference!

Marvin Klein

 

Bike Lane Effectiveness Questioned

Enough of this madness of degrading our system of roads for bike lanes! The fiction is that by narrowing important streets and boulevards with bike lanes more people will go to work and shop with their bikes and thus motor-vehicle traffic and by extension gasoline consumption will be reduced.

But the obvious fact for anyone with eyes in his head is that virtually without exception every bicycle rider you see with his characteristic recreational uniform is only out for either exercise or recreation or both. None of them is going to work, running errands, or shopping! This is especially true anywhere in the vast sprawl of Los Angeles County, which is almost equivalent in size to the Netherlands, and where the average round-trip commute to work is well over 25 miles, hardly practical for bike riding.

Consequently, not only is nothing gained by narrowing or reducing the number of motorized-traffic lanes, but doing so can make them dramatically less safe. Keeping Temescal Canyon Road intact is important if for no other reason than for its importance as an emergency route in handling the massive traffic from PCH that would occur in the event of a major accident or landslide on PCH anywhere between Chautauqua and Sunset Boulevard. And let us not even talk about the absurdity of creating a network of bike lanes on Temescal when neither of the two feeder roads—PCH on the bottom and Sunset Boulevard on the top—has any bike lanes at all.

Interestingly, when I was a kid in the Palisades in the 1950s, bicycles as  recreational and as utility vehicles were commonplace for boys 8-16 years of age and for young men who couldn’t afford cars, with rows of bike racks at such places as the Palisades Playground (now called the Palisades Recreation Center) and on the grounds of Palisades Elementary School, as well as single, small racks outside some popular businesses such as  Michaelson’s Sporting Goods, the Palisades Hobby Shop, the Mayfair market, and the original, one-room Palisades Public Library on Via de la Paz. My friends and I went everywhere on our bikes.

Two of my 13-year-old friends had paper routes on their bikes for delivering the Santa Monica Evening Outlook newspaper. Sadly, those days, when children were marvelously independent of their parents, seem gone forever. (By the way, when riding our bikes we all wore street clothes. Nobody would have dreamed of wearing nearly identical, dopey-looking recreational uniforms!)

Dick Brodie (Palisades resident since 1952)

 

Check Temescal Traffic Counts

Even though I bike Temescal Canyon weekly I am opposed to a downhill lane being taken away. But I do like the idea of biking through the parklands.

Allowing just a larger bike lane won’t have an impact on solving our transportation problems. What we really need is to have some bike-friendly streets during school start and end times, during those 7:15-8:15 a.m. and 2-4 p.m. crazy peaks.

L.A. Department of Transportation’s 7 to 8 a.m. traffic count on November 6, 2007, at Temescal and Pacific Coast Highway shows 753 vehicles southbound and 961 vehicles northbound, which is greater than the 700 count that would trigger a CEQA analysis. And we all know that the current traffic volume is much higher than it was in 2007.

Also, there are March 1, 2016 traffic counts  at Temescal Canyon @ PCH and Temescal Canyon @ Bowdoin taken by Nation Data Service for Caruso Affiliates that are more relevant.

The 7 a.m. 684 vehicle traffic count that was referred to at the PPCC meeting was the southbound (downhill) vehicle count at Temescal and Sunset Boulevard on Monday, April 20, 2015. This data was collected for  LADOT and is found on Navigate LA.

This intersection does NOT represent the Temescal traffic because many vehicles driving on Temescal never pass through Sunset Boulevard.

The vehicles drive up Temescal turn onto Bowdoin and drop off their students and then turn around. Vehicles also drive on El Medio drop off their students and turn right going down Temescal to PHC.

It’s important to note that Palisades Charter High School has more than 2,900 students and they attend from more than 100 zip codes.

Also, LADOT’s requirements state that traffic counts should be done Tuesday through Thursday, and this data was collected on a Monday.

Linda Andrews, PE, Registered Civil Engineer

 

Bad Idea to Cut Temescal Lane

This is by far the dumbest thing I have read about this year. Anyone walking up Temescal would see people double parking in the summer, waiting for a space to open up; people running back and forth across the road to get to the food trucks in the morning; and Palisades High School traffic twice a day. When PCH is closed to an acci- dent, the traffic on Temescal is bumper to bumper. There is absolutely no reason in the world to take that lane away.

The PPCC seems to have brought up all the right points, according to the Palisades News article. If this person [Jessie . . .] in Bonin’s office actually walked up and down the sidewalks of Temescal, she would see how important it is to fix the damaged sidewalks so that it is safe for walkers and runners, baby strollers, etc.

People who ride bikes typically do it very early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The road is used much more heavily than the bike lane. Please continue to be vigilant about this issue. Thanks.

Susan Oakley, Past L.A. City Planning Commissioner

Palisades News welcomes all letters, which may be emailed to letters@palisadesnews.com. Please include a name, address and telephone number so we may reach you. Letters do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Palisades News.

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