This week, voters in the City of Beverly Hills went to the polls to decide whether or not to rescind approvals for LVMH's Cheval Blanc hotel development on Rodeo Drive. And as votes continue to trickle in, things are not looking good for the project.
As of an update by the L.A. County Registrar on May 26, voters have narrowly favored clawing back approvals for the project, with 3,440 ballots favoring upholding project entitlements and just over 3,560 tallied in opposition. There are just 135 votes left to count, making a comeback all but impossible.
The project, as approved in late 2022, would replace a vacant Brooks Brothers store and the Paley Center for Media with a nine-story building featuring up to 115 guest rooms, as well as restaurant space and a private club. The referendum regarding the project made it onto the ballot thanks to a signature gathering campaign by Unite Here Local 11, a labor union which represents hospitality workers in the Los Angeles area.
Should the results stick, don't expect LVMH to see the Cheval Blanc come back. Reports indicate that the company will instead use the property for retail, if blocked from building the hotel.
Good news for Southern California passenger rail: Metrolink and Pacific Surfliner Service is set to resume on May 27 through San Clemente, following emergency work to stabilize a hillside that had scattered debris into the rail right-of-way.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Transportation officials are only a few weeks removed from reopening service through San Clemente after repairing a different section of crumbling coastal bluffs. With the entire stretch of right-of-way threatened by coastal erosion, officials are looking to move the rail line inland into a new rail tunnel which could cost up to $4 billion.
Here's what we're reading this week:
The ‘Sombrita’ bus shade controversy obscures an important story about women and transit "This much Twitter got right: It is underwhelming. But the study that led to La Sombrita is not. It’s a smart step toward making transit more responsive to all the people who use it. And as a woman who has waited for buses on lonely streets, I welcome that....Ultimately, the biggest mistake here wasn’t trying out a new design. It was holding a press conference that shed more heat than light." (LA Times)
A Yard Tractor, a Crane, and a Top Handler: LA’s Mission to Decarbonize Ports "Back in 2017, the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach announced plans to go zero emissions. The pledge, which built on the ports’ 2006 clean air goals, was an ambitious one, and officials estimated the cost of eliminating air pollution could reach $14 billion. Still, the plan, which involves transitioning to zero-emission terminal equipment by 2030 and zero-emission trucks by 2035, represented a critical step in the fight against climate change." (dot LA)
Women say they don’t feel safe on Los Angeles Metro trains "A 2022 survey of over 12,000 Metro passengers showed a drop in female ridership. Safety was the top concern, followed by cleanliness and homelessness." (KTLA)
Long Beach may ease parking mandates to draw new businesses into vacant storefronts "In Long Beach, when a commercial property owner wants to fill a vacancy with a new tenant that’s a different type of business than the previous occupant, additional parking spaces are sometimes required before getting a business license....That’s because the city’s municipal code lists 48 different specific potential uses in commercially zoned areas, and each use has a unique parking requirement." (LB Business Journal)
Rezoning Proposal for Avocado Heights Riles Residents and Activists "Planners assure residents that the neighborhood will remain equestrian, but some locals don’t see the point in changing anything" (Streetsblog LA)
Compton's new indoor vertical farm brings fresh produce, more jobs to city "The farm is designed to grow up to 4.5 million pounds of leafy greens annually in a single city block." (ABC 7)
Major Transit Official Compares Building Bike and Bus Lanes to Bulldozing Neighborhoods for Freeways "'How can we say we’re going to do better than our predecessors who bulldozed black and brown neighborhoods to put in the freeway system…just because what we’re trying to build is a bus lane or a bike lane?' An LA transit official said on a podcast." (Vice)