Tag Archives: construction

The Elevator Gap

They’re finally fixing the elevator problem!

Sort of.

Elevator under construction

The parking structure near work has elevators at two corners. One set connects every floor, but the other starts at a second floor landing that connects to a flight of steps. That’s not a huge problem for offices, but the structure is also shared with two hotels and an airport shuttle service.

More than once I’ve seen people dragging luggage down the steps, or looking around in confusion trying to figure out how to get to the airport shuttle. On several occasions I’ve pointed out that if you go all the way to the other side of the structure you can take the elevator all the way down. Fortunately, the disabled parking spaces are on the ground floor, but still…

Anyway, one of the office buildings has been under conversion to a hotel over the last year, and they’re almost done. Rooms are furnished, signs are up, a parking turnaround has been built, landscaping is going in…and now they’re going after the elevator.

…But look back up there at the photo. The top of the new column is anchored to the third floor, meaning this elevator only goes up to the second. So if you’ve parked on the fifth floor, you need to take an elevator down to the second, get out, walk around the corner, and take another elevator down to the first.

This seems really inefficient for travelers, but then I suppose it’s more efficient for construction. Maybe it would have been hideously intrusive to extend the existing shafts down another floor. And maybe it wouldn’t have been safe to add an essentially-freestanding seven-floor elevator column.

On a final note: Here’s what that spot looked like last summer.

Blanket of yellow flowers

There are a lot of jacaranda trees in the area, lining the walkways through the business and hotel parks and lining the sidewalks along the street. There are also a lot of these trees, which look so similar that I assumed they were more jacarandas until the first spring I was here, when they bloomed bright yellow instead of light purple. From what I can tell, they’re Tipuana trees, also known as Pride of Bolivia trees, and despite the similarities, they aren’t closely related.

The flowers act the same, though, dropping in thick blankets as spring turns to summer.

Just…somewhere else. Not here.

California Drought Sim, Water Use, and Preserving Open Space

Researchers simulated a 70-year mega-drought and came up with ways that California could survive without the economy collapsing, emptying out the state, or even abandoning agriculture. We’d have to change the way we store and distribute water, recycle more wastewater, do groundwater replenishment, prioritize different (and less thirsty) crops, and of course cut down on our water use. It would hurt, and smaller, rural towns would be worse hit than cities (which is already happening — there are places out in Tulare county, for instance, where wells are drying up and homes no longer have running water). But the simulation suggests it could be done — and it’s a good idea to plan for this, just in case, rather than relying on the drought to end in a year or two. Geologic evidence suggests that decades-long droughts used to be the norm, and of course who knows what “normal” is going to be over the next century.

Another article details how Southern Californians have been changing water use this summer: letting lawns die, using more reclaimed water, draining fountains and converting commercial landscaping. The average Los Angeles resident has cut back to 89 gallons per day.

I can’t say I’ve seen much change in my area since I started noticing the occasional lawn replaced with native plants back at the start of the year. Maybe a few more native gardens or scraggly lawns, but not a sea change. Katie does a lot more walking, though, and she’s noticed that a lot of houses just have dirt. Apartments mostly still have lawns, but at least that’s more people per square foot of grass. Unfortunately nobody wants to wash the smears of dog poop off of the sidewalk.

Swimming Pool Under Construction.Meanwhile, the office building to hotel conversion next door to my workplace has embarked on what they’re replacing that giant lawn with: a swimming pool. A sign out front proclaims an early 2015 opening. Someone’s optimistic about water for next year.

On a related note, the Irvine Company is planning to donate what’s left of the Irvine Ranch to the county as open space. Good!

I’ve lamented the loss of both open space and local farmland over the past twenty years or so as more and more of Orange County has been paved over with houses and shopping malls. Since moving to the South Bay, I’ve seen the potential endgame. “Open space” out here consists of the occasional empty block that’s been set aside, or a hillside that’s too steep to build on conveniently. Palos Verdes has a bit more, but it’s filling in. At least the Portuguese Bend area is likely to stay clear, since the ground isn’t stable enough to build on.

After the Crunch: Rubble and…Ewoks?

Since I work near the Century/Aviation intersection where Metro is planning to build a light rail station, I’ve been watching the demolition of the old bridge with some interest. The northern rise is pretty much obliterated now. The southern section is down to a single wall.

bridgewall

Here’s what it looked like three weeks ago, for comparison.

bridge-tunnel

Let’s take another look at that graffiti at the top of the wall:

bridge-graffitti

Not only do we have “Endor,” and “Death” (spelled funny) in a lettering style reminiscent of the Indiana Jones logo…I swear someone wrote “Ewok” off to the right. Or at least “EW[head]K,” which amounts to the same thing.

Aftermath: Century Crunch

I was looking forward to checking out the aftermath of last weekend’s “Century Crunch” bridge demolition (see the before photo), but for various reasons I didn’t get a chance to really look at it until Thursday, when I finally felt up to walking down to the corner at lunch.

Century Blvd - railroad bridge remains

The most interesting part is the rise to the south of Century Blvd, where the remnants of the bridge come up to about 15 feet from the street. It’s fenced off, but of course when you’re walking by, the thin canvas they use doesn’t completely block your view. I was able to get my camera lens between two pieces of canvas to get the image here. It’s interesting that the ramp is hollow. I’m not sure what the normal design is, but I’d always thought that ramps like this were filled in with dirt, and that’s the impression I’d gotten from various projects I’ve seen in progress. Perhaps railroad bridges are different than freeway bridges? Or perhaps they emptied it out when they tore out the span?

It makes it look like the entrance to a tunnel, sloping down into the earth.
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Slated for Destruction

Century/Aviation Railroad Bridge

Next weekend, construction crews will tear out this old railroad bridge across Century Blvd near LAX to make way for a Metro station on the future Crenshaw Line. They’ve dubbed the road closure the Century Crunch. As of Thursday, they were already breaking down the parts of the bridge that don’t cross the street.

I actually drive under this bridge every day on my way to work — that’ll be a change. It’ll be interesting to watch progress on the Metro station as well. It’s been a while, but when I first started at this job, I had a much longer commute, and I would drive part way to the end of the Green Line and take the train to the nearest stop, Aviation Station, which will become the transfer point between the Green and Crenshaw Lines.

Torrance Medical Building

Another soon-to-be-demolished structure. This old medical building in Torrance has a lot more character than the bridge, but it’s being replaced by something less exciting, IMO: parking for the currently-expanding Del Amo Fashion Center. As if the mall isn’t big enough already. Sure, parts of it needed renovation, but the parts that needed it the most haven’t been touched by the current project.