Concejal Propone Tráilers en Lotes de la Ciudad Como Vivienda Temporal Para Personas sin Hogar

January 17, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

Grandes campamentos de personas sin hogar que viven bajo de carpas y lonas, rodeados de cajas de cartón, carros de compras rebosantes de tesoros que para otros se parecen a basura, llenan las calles que dan a la autopista Hollywood 101 a la sombra del ayuntamiento de Los Ángeles.

No es una situación exclusiva del área, estos campamentos existen en las ciudades y vecindarios de todo el condado de Los Ángeles.

Y es un problema que crece más rápido de lo que la ciudad y el condado han podido manejar.

El martes, un concejal de Los Ángeles propuso que la ciudad albergara a unas cinco docenas de personas sin hogar en tráilers (casas remolque) en un estacionamiento en el centro de la ciudad junto a un monumento histórico estatal y un importante centro turístico cultural.

La propuesta, esbozada en una moción presentada por el concejal José Huizar, exige la instalación de cinco tráilers en un estacionamiento propiedad de la ciudad en las calles de Arcadia y Alameda, al lado de la autopista de Hollywood (101).

El plan es alojar a personas que duermen en las aceras en el área alrededor del histórico Monumento Histórico de El Pueblo de Los Ángeles, hogar de la Calle Olvera, el Centro de Interpretación Tropical de América, los museos de China, Italia y de Justicia Social, y algunas de las estructuras más antiguas de la ciudad, todas ubicadas a pasos de uno de los centros de transporte más concurridos de la ciudad, Union Station.

Además de ser un hito histórico importante, El Pueblo es una importante atracción turista, atrayendo a más de dos millones de visitantes al año.

La moción de Huizar dice que los refugios podrían instalarse y operarse durante seis meses a un costo de $2 millones. El concejal dijo que el costo anual después de eso sería de alrededor de $1.4 millones para operar el sitio, y que más albergues temporales de naturaleza similar están en proceso para otras áreas de la ciudad.

“Este es el primero de su tipo. No necesariamente lo llamamos piloto, porque esperamos trabajar con otros al mismo tiempo”, dijo Huizar a Servicios CNS.

La propuesta proviene de un grupo de trabajo formado por el alcalde Eric Garcetti para intercambiar ideas sobre cómo sacar a miles de personas sin hogar de las calles. Si el Ayuntamiento lo aprueba, la iniciativa de proporcionar refugio temporal marcaria una nueva estrategia para la ciudad, que se ha enfocado principalmente en fomentar la construcción de viviendas permanentes a través de $1.2 mil millones en bonos aprobados por los votantes bajo la Medida H, aprobada en 2016.

Garcetti ha dicho que espera que la vivienda temporal se pueda colocar en otras propiedades de la ciudad en todo Los Ángeles para ayudar a atender a las aproximadamente 25,000 personas sin hogar en la ciudad.

El gerente general de El Pueblo, Chris Espinosa, es miembro del equipo operativo del alcalde. Le dijo a EGP el martes que la falta de vivienda es un problema constante en el monumento histórico, que también es el lugar de nacimiento de la ciudad.

El personal y la comisión de El Pueblo simpatizan con el problema de la falta de vivienda y están muy interesados en trabajar con la ciudad en iniciativas para mejorar su situación, dijo Espinosa, y agregó que la gran cantidad de campamentos para desamparados en Main Street, Arcadia y Spring Street ha planteado preocupaciones de seguridad en el monumento estatal.

La ciudad quiere albergar a docenas de personas sin hogar que viven en campamentos cerca de la calle Olvera en tráilers en un estacionamiento, que es propiedad de la ciudad. en frente de Union Station. / Foto por Mike Alvarez

El Pueblo dirigirá el estacionamiento donde se ubicarían los tráilers. Los ingresos generados por las tarifas de estacionamiento ayudan a cubrir los gastos operativos del monumento, que han ido en aumento a medida que aumentan los costos de seguridad y otros relacionados con la población sin hogar.

El monumento incluye a Father Serra Park, una gran zona ajardinada ubicada en la calle Los Ángeles, entre la plaza principal del monumento y los museos, y Union Station. Todos los días, un gran número de hombres y mujeres sin hogar, “algunos con enfermedades mentales y problemas con las drogas…algunos simplemente son pobres”, usan el parque como un lugar para acampar, le dijo Espinosa a EGP.

Espinosa señalo que la situación ha sido “preocupante” para los visitantes, especialmente “turistas extranjeros y niños”.

“Realmente nos asustamos cuando comenzamos a escuchar acerca de la propagación de la hepatitis en la población sin hogar”, dijo Espinosa. “Comenzamos a hacer limpiezas dos veces por semana, desinfectando el área”, dijo, y agregó que, aunque la practica ayuda a detener la propagación de la enfermedad, no hace nada para que las personas sin hogar entren a la vivienda.

En el frente de seguridad, los comerciantes y visitantes se han quejado del comportamiento agresivo de algunas personas sin hogar.

En las reuniones de la Comisión El Pueblo, los comerciantes se quejan de sus empleados y clientes informan haber sido acosados y cosas peores. Informan la actividad de las drogas en los baños públicos y la dificultad de mantener esas áreas limpias para los visitantes.

“Hace aproximadamente un año, tuve que contratar un guardia de seguridad adicional para cada turno, tres turnos y tuvimos que poner vallas especiales y comprar más cámaras de seguridad” para ayudar a lidiar con el problema, dijo Espinosa sobre el costo adicional para el propuesto operativo.

“Hace seis meses, LAPD agregó una patrulla peatonal dedicada a la zona, y eso ha sido una excelente adición”, dijo.

Según Espinosa, la Comisión El Pueblo aún no ha votado para apoyar u oponerse a la moción de Huizar, pero señalo que algunos de los comisionados han participado en las discusiones del plan.

La moción de Huizar abre la discusión pública sobre cómo funcionará el programa, no solo El Pueblo, sino en otros lugares de la ciudad, dijo. El alcalde participó personalmente, y el objetivo es mirar los sitios, que son propiedad de la ciudad, con altas concentraciones de personas sin hogar, dijo Espinosa, y señalo que la inclusión de servicios integrales para los que están temporalmente alojados en el sitio será beneficio adicional.

“Sacar a la gente de las calles y ponerlos en una vivienda cambia la dinámica y mejora las posibilidades de que se beneficien con los servicios que se ofrecen”, dijo Espinosa.

El concejal Huizar, quien ha estado a la vanguardia de muchas de las iniciativas de la ciudad para abordar el problema de las personas sin hogar, está de acuerdo en que la vivienda de apoyo permanente es fundamental.

“La vivienda de apoyo permanente es un modelo que funciona” porque los individuos “no se pierden”. Mientras tanto, necesitamos “cosas más inmediatas” a medida que se desarrollan las soluciones a largo plazo, dijo Huizar.

El sitio de El Pueblo consistiría en tres tráilers para camas, un tráiler para albergar a los trabajadores administrativos y servicios de administración de casos, y un tráiler de higiene con baños, duchas e instalaciones de lavandería. Huizar dijo que la esperanza es que la gente que se quede allí pueda ser trasladada a una vivienda permanente dentro de seis meses.

Huizar también dijo que la aprobación de la Medida H y la Medida HHH a nivel nacional que apunta a recaudar $355 millones por año para servicios para personas sin hogar a través de un aumento en el impuesto a las ventas indicaba que los votantes de Los Ángeles quieren que sus líderes tomen medidas agresivas con las personas sin hogar.

“Si hubiera una encuesta sobre esto, creo que el apoyo sería abrumador”, dijo Huizar. “El público ha estado pidiendo a nuestros funcionarios del gobierno que consideren la falta de vivienda como la crisis que es, y por eso que se aprobó la medida H, por eso pasó la Medida HHH. Y lo que oigo, también, que es la realidad, es que tenemos que hacer algo de inmediato”.

Algunos esfuerzos recientes de la ciudad para combatir el problema de las personas sin hogar han encontrado oposición, incluida una propuesta para colocar unidades de almacenamiento en Venice para que las personas sin hogar la utilicen, que se encontró con una demanda en 2016 por un grupo de propietarios locales. Huizar dijo que es probable una oposición similar al plan de El Pueblo.

“Anticipamos que habrá un retroceso NIMBY (sus siglas significan, Not In My Backyard que se traduce como ‘No En Mi Patio Trasero’)”, dice Huizar. “No sabemos en qué forma vendrá, pero esperamos que el vecindario se dé cuenta de que las personas sin hogar en sus vecindarios son sus vecinos, sus amigos, podrían ser familiares…”

La falta de vivienda en la ciudad de Los Ángeles aumentó un 20 por ciento en 2017, mientras que el condado registró un aumento del 23 por ciento, según los resultados del 2017 Greater Los Ángeles Homeless Count. En la ciudad, el número total de personas sin hogar subió a 34, 189 y el número del condado aumentó a 57, 794.

New Bike Hub Opened at Union Station

November 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A Metro bike hub opened Wednesday at Los Angeles Union Station, offering secure bike storage, rentals, repairs and classes in an effort to encourage more cyclists to use the transit system.

“This safe, secure bicycle parking center connects cyclists with one of our city’s most active transportation hubs and encourages more people to get where they’re going on two wheels,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, chair of the Metro board.

The $2.5 million, 3,000-square-foot facility next to the north breezeway of Union Station West near Alameda Street can accommodate safe and secure parking for nearly 200 bicycles under a controlled entry system and closed-circuit TV surveillance. It also offers same-day repairs, accessory sales, clinics and classes.

Metro has already opened bike hubs at the El Monte Transit Center and the Hollywood/Vine Metro Red Line Station, with additional hubs planned at the Culver City Expo Line Station, Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Blue/Green Line Station, North Hollywood Orange Line Station and the Airport Metro Connector station.

“We now have a dedicated bike shop, parking area and common meeting place for our local bicycle community here at Union Station.” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said.

The secure bike parking area will be open 24 hours a day all year and operated by BikeHub, a Metro contractor that also operates the El Monte and Hollywood/Vine facilities.

Retail and bike services, including bike rentals, clinics, bike valet and tours, will be provided by the Bike Center on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Parking at the Union Station Metro Bike Hub access will be available for registered users for $5 weekly, $12 monthly or $60 yearly.

Man Stabbed Near Union Station

March 16, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

LOS ANGELES – A man was stabbed Tuesday near Union Station and the suspect was taken into custody, police said.

The stabbing was reported around 1:10 a.m. in the 800 block of Vignes Street, said Officer Liliana Preciado of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Media Relations Division.

The victim suffered severe stab wounds and was taken to a hospital where he was in critical but stable condition, Preciado said.

The suspect, identified by police as Narrel Sharees, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, Preciado said.

Details and the motive in the stabbing weren’t immediately available.

 

FlyAway Returns to Patsaouras Bus Plaza

October 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The FlyAway airport shuttle started making stops again at the original Union Station stop in the Patsaouras Bus Plaza, after the stop was relocated to make way for renovation work.

The plaza will be reopening with some changes, according to a spokesman. Cars will no longer be allowed in the plaza area with the buses, and are restricted to a separate underground garage that can be entered on Vignes Street.

The Union Station FlyAway shuttle operates every 20 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., and hourly from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

One-way fares are $9, with free admission for up to two children ages five and younger. Union Station garage parking is $8 per day, up to a maximum stay of 30 days.

FlyAway shuttles also pick-up and drop-off LAX passengers at stops in Hollywood, Long Beach, Metro Orange Line station in the San Fernando Valley, Van Nuys, and Westwood.

Bus Riders Beware: Metro Relocating Union Station Stops During Renovations

July 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Union Station’s bus and shuttle hub will be closed for three months, starting next Monday, to undergo renovation work, which means the temporary relocation of stops for the LAX FlyAway, buses and other shuttles.

The Patsaouras Transit Plaza, which is showing wear from being used by 1,000 buses a week, is scheduled to be rebuilt from July 11 until Oct. 10, said Steve Jeffe, Metro’s deputy executive officer of general services.

The stops that normally use the transit plaza will be moved to several areas on the periphery of Union Station, at the following locations:
—west entrance of Union Station, which will have stops for BoltBus, Megabus and LAX FlyAway;
—Alameda Avenue west of Union Station, which serve as the stop for Metro Lines 40 and 442, AVTA Line 785 and OCTA Line 701;
—Cesar Chavez Avenue at Alameda Street and Vignes Street, which will serve as the stops for Metro Lines 33 owl, 40, 68, 70, 71, 78-79-378, 442, 704, 728, 733, 745 and 770, and Commuter Express Lines 431 and 534;
—Southbound Vignes Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue, which will be the stop for Dash D, Dash Lincoln Heights/Chinatown, Santa Clarita Transit Line 794;
—El Monte Busway east of Alameda Street, which includes stops for Foothill Transit Line 699 and Commerce Casino/Citadel bus; and
—Union Station interior roadway, near the rental car area, will be the stop for the USC Shuttles, Bunker Hill Shuttle, Mount St. Mary’s University Shuttle and all other shuttles.

A map of the alternate stop locations at Union Station is also available at https://media.metro.net/riding_metro/bus_overview/images/Pat_Plaza_Map.pdf  .

Gateway Cities Want ‘Much Needed’ Light Rail

February 25, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Even though there is no station in Bell Gardens currently proposed for a light rail project that would connect riders from Downtown Los Angeles to Artesia, Mayor Pro Tem Pedro Aceituno recognizes the impact access to regional transit would have for a community that has far too long been isolated from the rest of the county.

His words came last week during a legislative briefing in Paramount where elected officials from across the southeast region pushed for funding a light rail project proposed by Eco-Rapid Transit, a joint powers authority made up of twelve cities and the Bob Hope Airport Authority.

“It is going to open doors,” Aceituno noted, pointing out the economic opportunities for his constituents. “This gives folks an opportunity to apply for jobs further away,” that otherwise they could not reach, he said.
Eco-Rapid’s rail system would run from Union Station to Artesia with stops in Vernon, Huntington Park, Bell, South Gate, Downey, Paramount and Bellflower.

“The current [transit] system has for far too long avoided the southeast,” said Assembly Speaker-Elect Anthony Rendon, whose 63rd district includes many southeast cities.

“The region is desperately in need of a rail service,” Rendon urged.

The communities along the proposed rail route are some of the densest areas in the region and would benefit greatly from the rail line being built, said representatives from the area one after the other.

Edgar Cisneros, who serves as a board member for the Montebello Unified School Board and as city manager for the city of Huntington Park, told EGP even the cities without a station within its borders would benefit. MUSD has schools in the cities of Bell Gardens, Commerce, East Los Angeles, Montebello, Monterey Park and Pico Rivera.

“Many kids aren’t walking to school, they have to rely on school buses,” he said. Regional transit is a “convenient and cheap way that allow parents to ride with their children.”

The southeast has not seen any new transit projects since 1995 when the Green Line opened. After decades on the shelf, Sen. Tony Mendoza said it’s time to make the rail project a reality.

“For many, the bus is the only means of transportation and this project will help families travel to the rest of the county,” Mendoza told EGP.

The proposed rail project would run from Union Station to the city of Artesia. (Eco Rapid Transit)

The proposed rail project would run from Union Station to the city of Artesia. (Eco Rapid Transit)

A recent Metro study found the proposed project would connect 4 million residents to regional transportation and have an estimated daily ridership of up to 80,000 people – more than any current or proposed light rail line in the Los Angeles area. If built, the Eco-Rapid rail project could create thousands of jobs for a region where the unemployment rate is a high as 16 percent in some areas, supporters said.

“The project will create economic development opportunities in and around each station,” Mendoza emphasized.
Diane Dubois, Director of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and councilwoman for the city of Lakewood, however, noted that finding funding could be a problem. With a price tag of $4 billion, it will take a lot more than the $240 million the agency has secured in Measure R funds.

Extending the voter-approved Measure R half-cent sales tax and new sales taxes is key to funding the project, said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. Gov. Brown recently approved a bill allowing Metro to ask voters for a tax increase, which could generate as much as a $120 billion.

On Thursday Metro approved $18 million of Measure R funding for the pre-development and planning of the light rail line.

“This investment of resources brings us closer to ensuring that the necessary funds are available to develop and build the light rail to completion,” Mendoza said in statement.

Mass transit projects ease the number of cars on the road, reducing the amount of road maintenance required over the years, pointed out Sen. James T. Bell, who serves as chair of the California State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing. He told local elected officials to consider what the direct impact would be to each of the municipality’s general fund.

The longer Los Angeles County residents wait to address mass transit projects, the higher the cost will be, Bell said. “If we don’t act it doesn’t keep things the same, it makes it worse,” he said.

Mendoza asked the city leaders to begin educating their constituents on the need to pass a transit tax.
Using the Gold Line Extension as an example, Rendon described how the rail system helped connect eastside communities along the route to downtown.

As proposed, the southeast rail project would use the abandoned West Santa Ana Branch right-of-way. The goal is to complete the project by 2027, with subsequent links to Santa Clarita and possibly the High Speed Rail lines in Norwalk.

“This project will dramatically change mobility for an area that has waited for decades,” said Dubois.

Update: Feb. 26 11:40 a.m. included new funding approved by Metro; statement from Sen. Tony Mendoza.

Save Time On Commute to San Pedro: Ride Metro

December 17, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Metro officials announced Monday the start of express bus service that will provide more frequent and faster commutes between San Pedro and downtown Los Angeles.

The Silver Line Express, which uses the I-110 Harbor Freeway ExpressLanes, will save riders 15-20 minutes each trip, with fares costing $2.50 per trip, Metro officials said.

The service includes a 950X line that runs every 20 minutes during peak “rush hour” times, while an off-peak 910 line will run every half-hour and make more frequent stops than the peak line. On the weekends and holidays, a 950 line will run every 40 minutes.

The express service replaces the 450 line and eliminates the need to transfer at the Harbor Gateway Transit Center, Metro officials said.

“We had two popular lines – the Silver Line and the 450 – and we combined them to improve service, convenience and reach for our patrons,” Metro CEO Phil Washington said. “The new line is also taking advantage of the speed offered by another of our projects: the Harbor Freeway ExpressLanes.”

The Silver Line Express is aimed at making it easier for San Pedro residents to get to downtown Los Angeles, while also encouraging more people to visit the San Pedro area.

The Battleship Iowa Museum in San Pedro is offering free admission to Metro riders as part of a promotion lasting until Jan. 31, after which Metro customers will be able to get $2 off admission.

“With increased frequency and service now extending all the way into San Pedro, the Silver Line provides a premiere path for Angelenos to access all of the unique destinations in the South Bay and beyond that is easy, convenient and affordable,” said Metro board Chair and county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
 

Plan Ahead: Section of Gold Line to Close Nov. 20

November 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Metro will temporarily shut down Gold Line service between Union Station and the Pico/Aliso Station during the Nov. 20 weekend as part of pre-construction work for the Regional Connector Transit Project.

The preliminary closure will run from Friday, Nov. 20 at 9 p.m. until Monday, Nov. 23 at 5 a.m.

Major work on the connector transit project calls for workers to move existing Metro Gold Line tracks at 1st Street and Alameda 40 feet north in order to reconfigure the southern station entrance of the existing Little Tokyo Gold Line Station.

Work will begin Dec. 4 at p.m. and take up to three moths to complete, according to Metro.

During that time, there will be no Gold Line train service between Union Station and the Pico/Aliso Gold Line Station. The transit agency says it will operate a bus shuttle service between the two stations, giving Gold Line riders service to the Little Tokyo area and Pico/Aliso station. Riders will need to get off the Gold Line at Union Station or the Gold Line Pico/Aliso station to board the shuttle buses.

Travel delays should be expected, and travelers should adjust their travel schedules through the area, Metro advised.

Vehicle drivers should also expect lane closures and detours through the area during construction.

Once completed in late February 2016, Gold Line train service will be restored to normal operation with a modified south entrance, Metro said.

According to Metro, the “Regional Connector Transit Project completes a 1.9-mile segment between the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.” The transit agency expects the new rail line to attract 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to over 88,000 passengers when completed in 2020.

“It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.”

For more information on the project and for construction updates, visit metro.net/regionalconnector

 

Opening Reception Corazon de Los Angeles Anniversary Show Featuring Chicano Master Artist George Yepes

June 25, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

 

(Painting by George Yepes)

“Adelita” by George Yepes

Master artist to the stars, George Yepes will unveil his latest work at Corazon de Los Angeles, historic Olvera Street’s newest gallery on Saturday, June 27, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

The aptly named gallery is located in the heart of Los Angeles, at El Pueblo Historical Monument in Downtown Los Angeles, the city of L.A.’s birthplace. Corazon de Los Angeles is celebrating it’s third anniversary with new works by the world renown Chicano artist who grew up in East Los Angeles and was a significant contributor to Los Angeles’ most iconic murals and the growth of Chicano art to popularity and acclaim beyond Los Angeles.

Yepes’ paintings are in the personal art collections of Hollywood’s most cutting edge actors and filmmakers including Sean Penn, Madonna, Patricia Arquette, Nicolas Cage, Cheech Marin, Anthony Keidis of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez.

“George’s work grabs you by the lapels and makes you feel as if you’re discovering art for the first time. He’s a master painter in the best sense, the art comes through him not from him. That is rare,” Director Robert Rodriguez said.

Joining Yepes in the exhibit – which runs through July 19 – are several former students of his art academy, the Academia de Arte Yepes at Academia de Artes Yepes : Juan Solis, Maria Kane, Gene Ortega, Saul Aguilera, Ricardo Estrada and Ulie Garcia, Ben Morales – all now accomplished artists in their own right.

"Redux" by Gene Ortega

“Redux” by Gene Ortega

Meet the artists and enjoy some light refreshments, music. Free admission. Corazon LA is located at W-19A (2nd level above La Golondrina Restaurant)) on the historical Olvera Street marketplace. (634 N. Main St.) L.A.

For more information, email info@corazonla.com, call (213) 617-0227 or visit on facebook: Corazon de Los Angeles’s Corazon de Los Angeles’ Facebook page.

Maria Kane

Maria Kane

Free Concert Today at Union Station

May 29, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

In the mood for some great music? Head to Union Station this evening where East L.A. based Camalanche will perform from 4-6 p.m in the East Portal.

The Chicano-Jarocho group plays and promotes the traditional Son Jarocho in the spirit of the fandango, a celebration of music and dance.

Get a taste of the groups exciting sound then head across the street for dinner and shopping at Olvera Street or take Metro to other local hot spots for an evening of great fun without the hassle of looking for parking.

East L.A.-based Chicano-Son Jarocho group Camalanche.

East L.A.-based Chicano-Son Jarocho group Camalanche.

Continue the weekend fun Saturday by celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month with a special Metro Art Moves tour. The tour, led by artist and curator Sam Lee, starts at 10:30 a.m., at the Gold Line Chinatown Station – street level – before continuing on to tour stops The Wheels of Change of Chusien Chang in Chinatown Station, Through the Looking Glass or Traveling at the Speed ??of Light (Rail) Clement Hanami station at East LA / Civic Center.

The tour ends at noon – just in time for lunch. We suggest you go to Purgatory Pizza, opposite the Pico/Aliso station. Show your TAP card and receive 10% off your order.

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