Santa Monica moving forward with plan to cap 10 freeway near downtown area

Capping the freeway would create a new link between the downtown and civic center areas

By Bianca Barragan Jan 8, 2018, 1:20pm PST

The 10 Freeway between Santa Monica’s downtown and civic center areas could be linked by a freeway cap park one day.  Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

The 10 Freeway between Santa Monica’s downtown and civic center areas could be linked by a freeway cap park one day.  Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

A years-old proposal to cap the 10 freeway near its Santa Monica terminus is part of a plan that will soon be considered by the city of Santa Monica, reports the Santa Monica Lookout.

According to a report prepared for the Santa Monica City Council, the Gateway Master Plan will address planning in the area “adjacent to the I-10 Freeway that links Downtown to the Civic Center” and to Santa Monica High School, and it could include covering the freeway with decking that could create new space for a park.

“This key location should become an experience that reflects the city’s values of community, sustainability and pride of place,” the report says.

Previous reports on capping the park had explored extending the McClure Tunnel and covering the 10 freeway from Fourth Street to Ocean Avenue.

The new staff report says the Gateway Master Plan offers “a unique opportunity for strengthening connections over the freeway right of way.” It also says the cap park would be a way to offer “an enlarged green space for outdoor enjoyment” where there previously was none.

By removing the visual and physical barrier between the city’s downtown and its civic center area, the park could create a new link between the two sections of the city. The report also notes that by providing access to “peripheral parking opportunities,” the park might be able to reduce car congestion in the city’s downtown.

The process of realizing the Gateway Master Plan would be “an open process facilitated by staff, and include participation from the community, land owners and decision-makers as priorities for the area are refined.” The report indicates city staff would like to get moving on the plan in the first half of this year.

The idea to top the freeway with a park was first proposed in 1996, says the Lookout.

The Gateway Master Plan is one of seven projects that city staff recommends prioritizing, including a neighborhood plan for development in the area around Memorial Park and a similar plan for the Pico neighborhood.

https://la.curbed.com/2018/1/8/16863850/santa-monica-10-freeway-cap-park-downtown-civic-center

Hikes in Los Angeles: 8 trails with spectacular endings

From moonlight hikes to shady trails near the beach

by Bianca Barragan Jun 23, 2017, 11:00am PDT

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated with the most recent information.

The Mount Wilson Observatory | Shutterstock

The Mount Wilson Observatory | Shutterstock

Los Angeles’s wealth of outdoors activities is no secret, and now that summer is here, it’s a good time to get out of the house and enjoy that sun.

Hiking is a great, cheap way to enjoy the fresh air and fantastic weather, but for those more reluctant hikers—folks who need a little carrot to dangle in front of them as they trudge up a hill—we’ve compiled a list of Los Angeles-area hikes that all come with spectacular sights along the way or at the end: waterfalls, stunning views, unique leftovers from heydays as a filming site. So bribe friends and family by promising them a cool dip in a waterfall, or a selfie with some leftovers of a M*A*S*H episode, and hit the trails.

Since it’s summertime, be extra vigilant for rattlesnakes and pack more water than you anticipate needing. This list of hiking essentials is a good way to prepare for even the shortest of walks in the wilderness.

Now, time to hit the trail!

1. Malibu Creek State Park

Hikes in Malibu Creek State Park have Hollywood connections, as the park includes areas that were used to shoot M*A*S*H and South Pacific. There are some rusted Army Jeeps and other signs of filming here, and it seems like every hiker who passes through stops to have her picture taken with one of the rusty relics.

The hike to this point and back is under 5 miles round-trip and gains less than 200 feet of elevation, making it a pretty good trip for families with kids who can be coerced onto the trail.

Heads up: You will have to pay the $12 entrance fee to park in the lot if you want to start the hike at Crags Road; the trailheads for South Grassland Trail and Cistern Trail are both close to free parking. Hikespeak offers good directions with pictures here.

2. Echo Mountain

Want to have a picnic among some picturesque ruins? The trail to Altadena's Echo Mountain will make you work for it. Beginning at the very top of Lake Avenue and through a big, beautiful gate, the 5-mile (round-trip) trail is all steep-ish switchbacks and little shade, but it is very well-maintained. It’s also peopled enough that a solo hiker can feel secure.

The reward is a dynamic history exhibit and shaded, very spread-out picnic space left over from the resort that used to be on the site.

There are also large pieces of the dismantled Mt. Lowe Railroad that once brought resort-bound vacationers here, and an old metal echo phone; yell into it and have your words bounce off the mountains back to you. Amazing! Click over to SoCal Hiker for image-heavy directions.

3. Wildwood Canyon

Burbank’s Wildwood Canyon offers an easy-to-moderate 2-mile loop, with a peak providing sweaty explorers some amazing city views and a permanent reclining chair/memorial on which to kick back and relax until it's time to carry on.

There are picnic grounds, restrooms, and drinking water off of Wildwood Canyon Road, too, so you can compare photos and munch post-hike snacks while you sit down and cool off. Get there early, though: The park closes at sundown.

4. Eaton Canyon

Eaton Canyon's lower waterfall is looking fairly robust right now, likely thanks to snowmelt. (The upper falls are closed indefinitely.) The hike to the falls is relatively shady and relatively flat—the roughly 3-mile round-trip hike only gains about 375 feet.

Start hiking from the nature center, where there are restrooms, water, and people to talk to about the trails. This is a really nice novice hike or ideal for a day when you don't feel like being in pain later.

5. Murphy Ranch

By now, a lot of people know about Murphy Ranch—the compound built by 1930s Nazi sympathizers in Malibu’s Rustic Canyon that was eventually supposed to have enough self-contained infrastructure to provide for a small town's worth of people. But who has really gone through the trouble of seeing the place for themselves?

This generally flat hike comes in at just under 4 miles and starts only a few miles from the 405. The grounds are graffiti-covered but the structures that were built are still mostly in one piece (or in discernible pieces), and there are staircases and gates still standing, too. It was rumored last year that the buildings were being torn down, but photos show that it remains a really well-preserved site in a beautiful setting. Hikespeak provides detailed directions from the start of the trail.

6. Mount Wilson

If all of the trails above seem too tame, there's always the hike from Sierra Madre's Chantry Flats to Mt. Wilson, which is a punishing but beautiful trail about 7 miles up with a 4,200-mile gain in elevation. Lots of people do this hike as conditioning, to work up to bigger peaks.

One great reward at the end—if you're up for it by then—is the Mount Wilson Observatory's weekend tours. They start promptly at 1 p.m. and offer visitors a chance to see the 100-inch telescope. You can catch it if you start the hike early enough, a good idea anyway because the parking at Chantry Flat fills up fast.

Added bonuses for visiting the Observatory are the snack shack, which offers cold drinks and food you might buy at a local softball game (chili dogs, Fritos, etc.) and restrooms. Plus, at the parking lot right below the Observatory, some kind soul might be waiting in a car to take your tired bones home.

The lot is about 30 minutes north of La Cañada. Cars parked in the lot will need a $5 day-use Adventure Pass, available for purchase at multiple locations.

Hikers could also continue back down for an approximately 14-mile hike, if desired. Detailed directions here.

7. Solstice Canyon

Solstice Canyon is a popular hike and with good reason: The trail takes hikers past waterfalls, the ruins of a burned-out Paul R. Williams mansion called Tropical Terrace, and the remains of what was once believed to be the oldest building in Malibu.

The National Park Service maintains a great website with directions to the trailhead and a downloadable map. If you go up the Rising Sun Trail and down the Solstice Canyon Trail to the TRW Trail, as suggested by Robert Stone in his book Day Hikes Around Los Angeles, it's about 6 miles total. ModernHiker takes a slightly different route.

8. Mount Baldy

Out in the Inland Empire, Mt. Baldy Ski Lifts hosts a bi-monthly summertime series called Moonlight Hikes, which employs barbecue to get people to hike 2.5 miles and gain about 1,300 feet of elevation. They also offer tickets that include one-way or round-trip rides on the ski lift to the top, for those who can’t or don’t want to hike.

The hike itself isn't an outrageous challenge and the reward here is the amazing far-and-wide views of city lights, live music, and, of course, that barbecue.

Tickets run about $25 ($30 at the door), depending on whether or not you elect to ride the ski lifts. They can be purchased online.

https://la.curbed.com/2017/6/23/15835020/best-hikes-waterfall-malibu-easy-night

The richest neighborhoods in Los Angeles

Nope, Beverly Hills is not No. 1

by Elijah Chiland and Bianca Barragan May 30, 2017, 4:45pm PDT

For well over a century, Los Angeles has been attracting plenty of wealthy residents seeking the success-affirming ocean views and rays of California sunshine.

But when it comes to picking a neighborhood, where are the wealthy citizens of LA most likely to settle?

Photo Courtesy of Mercer Vine

Photo Courtesy of Mercer Vine

Not too surprisingly, the answer seems to be Bel Air—where developers of behemoth megamansions are on a real tear lately.

That’s according to a recent analysis by L.A. Biz, in collaboration with mapping data company Esri. The study examined the wealthiest zip codes in LA County. Here are the top 10:

  1. 90077 (Bel Air/Beverly Glen)
  2. 90274 (Palos Verdes Estates)
  3. 91108 (San Marino)
  4. 90272 (Pacific Palisades/Rustic Canyon)
  5. 91011 (La Cañada Flintridge)
  6. 90210 (Beverly Hills)
  7. 91302 (Hidden Hills/Calabasas)
  8. 91436 (Encino)
  9. 90402 (Santa Monica/Santa Monica Canyon)
  10. 90275 (Rancho Palos Verdes)

For a more detailed analysis of the wealthiest neighborhoods, check out the Higley 1000—a report that uses information from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey 2006-2010, examines census tract subdivisions, and pinpoints the nation's most affluent neighborhoods according to their mean household incomes. (Fun!)

Recent results (via The Atlantic Cities) reveal that, of the top 1,000 wealthiest neighborhoods nationwide, a total of 55 of them are in LA County. We've gone and narrowed it down even further, picking out the top 10 in LA County.

Some of the usual suspects, like Beverly Hills (also distinguished as the most unequal city in California), obviously made the cut but there are quite a few surprises (and curious absences) on the list.

The top 10 richest neighborhoods in Los Angeles County, with their mean household income:

  1. Beverly Park: $502,440
  2. The Hill Section of Manhattan Beach: $399,820
  3. Beverly Hills (the 90120 section): $395,734
  4. Hidden Hills: $383,731
  5. Rolling Hills: $373,524
  6. Bel-Air Estates: $355,007
  7. Upper Laurel Canyon: $332,037
  8. Brentwood Park: $324,289
  9. Coldwater Canyon: $323,929
  10. Brentwood Heights: $321,933

Explaining how some well-known hubs of affluence could have slipped in the rankings, the folks at Higley explain it's all those not-rich people in multi-family housing:

"A small change in boundaries, particularly if apartments, condominiums are included, can cause a neighborhood's income to plummet. The neighborhood that was number one in 2000, Holmby Hills in the Platinum Triangle had its boundaries redrawn to take in smaller homes in Westwood and hundreds of so-so condo high-rises on Wilshere [sic x100]."

Holmby Hills sunk to six-hundred-seventy-seventh place in this round of the Higley.

https://la.curbed.com/2017/5/30/15716230/la-richest-neighborhoods-wealthy-expensive-incomes

Architect Pierre Koenig’s home hits market in Brentwood for $4M

Updated Weds., May 24, 2017 at 10:46 a.m.:

The longtime personal estate of the late Modernist architect Pierre Koenig and his wife, Gloria, is on the market for the first time in 32 years.

Photo Credit: Dorothy Street home (MLS)

Photo Credit: Dorothy Street home (MLS)

The Brentwood home, which was designed by Koenig himself, has an asking price of $3.8 million.

The nearly 3,000-square-foot property has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a media room.  Koenig’s onsite studio opens onto a courtyard with a fountain, Curbed reported.

The Dorothy Street home is historically archived as “Koenig House #2” by the Los Angeles Conservancy, according to the conservancy. Koenig designed its steel framing system to be easily assembled on site. As such, it took workers only one day to build it.

Koenig is famous for the Stahl House or Case Study House No. 22 on Woods Drive as well as Case Study House No. 21 on Wonderland Park Avenue.

Photo Credit: Gloria and Pierre Koenig at their Brentwood home (Getty Images)

Photo Credit: Gloria and Pierre Koenig at their Brentwood home (Getty Images)

He lived in the Brentwood home until his death in 2004. His stepchildren, Barry and Thomas Kaufman, spent nearly three years restoring the residence, according to listing agent Matthew Altman of Douglas Elliman, who shared the listing with his brother Josh Altman. [Curbed] — Subrina Hudson

https://therealdeal.com/la/2017/05/23/architect-pierre-koenigs-home-hits-market-for-4m/?utm_source=The+Real+Deal+E-Lerts&utm_campaign=394063d74b-LA_WEEKLY_ROUNDUP_11_16_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6e806bb87a-394063d74b-389228729

Tom Hanks sells a pair of Pacific Palisades houses for $17.5M

They’re right next door to one another

by Elijah Chiland May 14, 2017, 1:40pm PDT

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Photo Credit: Google Maps

Patience has paid off for Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson. Nearly a year ago, the couple listed two Pacific Palisades homes located right next to one another for a combined $18 million. Now, Variety reports that a single buyer has purchased both properties for just over $17.5 million.

The smaller of the two homes, a 1933 Spanish-style with close to 4,000 square feet in floor area, sold for over $1 million under its $8.75 million asking price. But the other home, a 7,300-square-foot English-style mansion built in 1957 fetched over $10.1 million—well above the $9.25 million asking price.

Hanks and Wilson purchased the two properties in separate sales for a combined $13.1 million, so the couple has certainly scored a nice profit on the homes.

Oddly, the two actors own a third home right next door to the sold properties, which they appear to be hanging on to for now. It’s not their only Pacific Palisades residence either. In 2010, they paid $26 million for a 14,500-square-foot home formerly owned by producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall (both have produced multiple movies starring Hanks).

Hanks and Wilson also sold a somewhat grandmotherly residence in 2013—also in Pacific Palisades. The couple certainly seem to be fans of the neighborhood.

https://la.curbed.com/2017/5/14/15638230/tom-hanks-la-house-pacific-palisades-next-door-sold