Miracle Mile Warns the City: ‘Update the Wilshire Community Plan or There’ll Be No Subway to the Sea’!

GUEST WORDS--The Miracle Mile Residential Association has taken a position to oppose the Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan (TNP) for several reasons.

First, we have grave concerns about the proposed up-zoning – whether the TNP’s Environmental Impact Report ultimately settles on the lighter or greater intensity model (or some combination of the two), our already extremely dense neighborhoods do not have the infrastructure to sustain such high goals for growth. Second, we believe this plan represents a piecemeal approach to the long overdue update of the Wilshire Community Plan. 

The Wilshire Community Plan has already passed critical milestones stipulated in the Framework Element that should have triggered an update in 2010. The Framework Element, which responds to State and Federal mandates to plan for the future, requires the City to initiate a study to consider whether additional growth should be accommodated when 75% of the forecast of any one or more category – population, housing, and employment – is attained within a community plan area. The 2010 Census shows that the Wilshire Community plan exceeded 75% of projected population, housing and jobs levels. (Current estimates in the American Community Survey 2010-2014 are even higher than the 2010 Census.) 

The Wilshire Community Plan falls completely within council districts controlled by Councilmembers Ryu, Koretz and Wesson. They need to lead the charge stopping the stand alone Purple Line TNP and move forward immediately with a full update of the Wilshire Community Plan.  

It should be noted that the Wilshire Community Plan has the following to say about housing, population, jobs and just how they correlate with adequate infrastructure:

The quality of life and stability of neighborhoods throughout the Wilshire Community Plan Area critically depend on the adequate provision of infrastructure resources (e.g., transportation, police, fire, water, sewerage, parks, etc.) commensurate with the needs of the population. If population growth occurs faster than projected, and without needed infrastructure improvements to keep pace with that growth, the quality of life within the Wilshire Community would be adversely affected.

There is another reason why Councilmembers Ryu, Koretz and Wesson need to push to update the entire plan and it has to do with the goals set for the entire community by the current plan.

The Wilshire Community Plan states that its goals, objectives, policies, and programs were created to meet the existing and future needs of the community through the year 2010. We are eight years past that date and much has changed since the plan was adopted in 2001. 

It is time to look at the entire community plan area with its multitude of single and multi-family neighborhoods, community and regional centers in order to examine which of the stated needs were met and which were not. Before a piecemeal TNP plan is enacted Councilmembers Koretz, Ryu, and Wesson need to address these question about the Wilshire Community Plan as a whole: 

  • Did the City achieve the goal of providing a safe, secure, and high quality residential environment for all economic, age, and ethnic segments of the Wilshire community?
  • Do your constituents have adequate recreation and park facilities to meet their needs?
  • Do your constituents have sufficient open space to serve their recreational, environmental, health and safety needs?
  • Did the City protect environmental and aesthetic resources in our neighborhoods?
  • Do your constituents have adequate schools and libraries to serve their needs?
  • Did the City put policies in place that were able to discourage non-residential traffic flow on residential local streets? (How do you think your constituents would answer that question?)
  • Did the City plan for a well-maintained, safe and efficient street network? (How would your constituents rank our streets?)
  • Did the City preserve and restore cultural resources, neighborhoods and landmarks which have historical and/or cultural significance?
  • Did the City provide the community with adequate police facilities and services to protect residents from criminal activity and reduce the incidence of crime? (How would your constituents answer that question?)
  • Did the City provide comprehensive fire and EMS services in order to protect the residents?

In many instances, Councilmembers, the answer to these questions is a resounding no. The needs of the entire Wilshire Community have gone wanting. The City has been obsessed with approving project after project, both residential and commercial, while ignoring the quality of life that once made Los Angeles the envy of the country.

Now we are told we need to build more and more and create much denser neighborhoods for the people who are supposed to come some day in the future. But we are asking you: at who’s expense do we do that?

What the City should be doing is taking a close look at what has happened to our neighborhoods and figure out how to provide the infrastructure required to keep all of us safe and secure.  

When the temperature soars or the wind picks up we do not feel secure that the power will stay on. How many water main breaks have been reported to your offices in the last several months? Have you or your staff experienced vehicle damage due to gutted roads? We have. Property crimes have not been reduced in our neighborhoods, despite the best efforts of our overworked police officers. We are being forced to organize neighborhood watches, hire security services, and install lights and cameras to protect ourselves – but absent a sufficiently staffed police department we will never be safe. Despite heroic efforts by members of the Los Angeles Fire Department their emergency response times do not meet national standards and that puts all of our lives at risk.

The bottom line is that things are not better and our needs are not being met.

You must oppose this piecemeal TNP approach to updating the Wilshire Community plan and remind your fellow elected officials that they are responsible for providing and maintaining public safety.

Lots of special interest groups with lots of money are lining up to push for this piecemeal TNP plan. Their desire for more and more density is a blatant attempt to pad their bottom line by cramming in as many high-rent luxury units as they can – while rent-stabilized units are demolished, affordable housing disappears, and homelessness grows by leaps and bounds. It is corporate gluttony. They cannot be allowed to wreck our neighborhoods for their personal profit.

Fortunately we have tools at our disposal to stop them. The City itself has policies in place to protect neighborhoods from this sort of reckless up-zoning. So, Councilmembers, the ball is in your court. Do the right thing and craft a motion today to pull the Purple Line TNP as a stand-alone project and call for an immediate and full update of the Wilshire Community plan.  

(Jim O’Sullivan is the president of the Miracle Mile Residential Association and a contributor to CityWatch.)