Thursday, December 6, 2007

News items

Tonight (12/6), 6:30-9:00 p.m., City of Santa Monica Transportation Workshop, Civic Auditorium East Wing, 1855 Main St.

Yesterday on public radio's Marketplace, the lead item about the housing bubble mortgage freeze and another on the art bubble. Tulip bulbs, anyone?

"Food bank cupboards are going bare" in Saturday's Daily News. The local economy is tightening.

LA Land blog's "Reader mail: A rate freeze 'rewards bad behavior'" yesterday should be an Op-Ed in the paper.


WarChestSM said...

The real irony of the transportation workshop situation is that even if I wanted to go, I probably wouldn't because there is SO MUCH traffic in Santa Monica in the evening that it would make it prohibitive to get there...

Anyone else noticing how horrible traffic is lately?

I love Santa Monica but every time I bring up the west side to coworkers who don't live out here they always complain about the traffic...I'm starting to agree with them.

Anonymous said...

SM Traffic? Find out how many building permits for Apartments & condos. Do you think mixed-use will reduce traffic problems?

Anonymous said...

The way to reduce traffic is simple

(1) end all development of all kinds on the West Side. No new construction of condos, apartments, offices, retail. No new construction at all

(2) Allow developers to tear down ugly buildings on the W side and replace with newer ones of the same square footage

(3) Allow developers to do unlimited building within walking distance of the subway stations downtown. The idea is that when downtown traffice is bad people can walk to work or walk to subway and have an alternative

The above prescription would help the West Side. The problem is that the real estate developers hate it, and donate plenty of money to the politicians on the West Side.

Until West Siders get together in to a political movement to force change, we are going to get more and more screwed by traffic.

Remember, every time you see traffic, there are real estate developers getting rich creating the traffic by doing more building

Mark my words, in ten years people will be nostalgic about how good we had it back in 2007. It is only going to get worse

Anonymous said...

I know a number of lawyers and other professionals that outsmarted the traffic by buying a house within a half mile of their office on the west side - or somehow renting office space near their office

In other words, if you have an office on San Vicente, you buy a house a few blocks north of San Vicente.

If you have an office in downtown Santa Monica, you buy North of Montana.

If you live in little Holmby, get an office on Wilshire five blocks away

Can others share their stories? Do you know of other people with the power to determine their home location and office location who have outsmarted the traffic this way?

Anonymous said...

Another question -

most people are employees - they can't choose their office location

most people do not have an unlimited house budget - they can't choose to live wherever they want

but let's focus only on people who can buy a house in any neighborhood and can rent whatever office space they want

I have observed a phenomenon where an accountant that owns a big firm will make enough money to live wherever he wants, and all his employees don't make enough money to do so.

So the head guy lives in little Holmby in one of those normal mid sized homes that cost $5 million up the hill from the W hotel - and he sets up the accounting firm in one of those offices on Wilshire that he can drive 4 minutes and get to

all his employees live in the Valley and have an hour plus commute

so you have the head guy with a four minute commute and everyone else with an hour plus commute.

What i am getting at here is - is the traffic we see a function of the relative power between heads of firms and the employees ?

Cause if the employees took a vote they would vote to move the whole office to Sherman Oaks and have a very short commute for themselves -

in other words, is the fact that offices are on the west side, causing hellish commutes for people in the valley caused by the fact that the powerful people live on the west side and the employees live in the valley

I mean, the people who are the most powerful and successful can sometimes dictate a life with no traffic.

traffic impacts the weak more than the strong - at least as far as daily commute traffice

can you cite other examples of people that arranged life to avoid traffic
i think this whole phenom will impact housing values in long term

(in short term all prices will plunge but lets talk about the long term)

Anonymous said...

Oh, come on, everyone has some choice. If the people in the Valley don't want to commute that far, they can probably take another job closer to where they live (there are businesses in Sharman Oaks). Whether or not it pays just as well is different, but that's part of the choice. I chose a job in Century City so that living on the westside would be convenient. Otherwise I could have taken one downtown. And I'm very much a bottom-of-the food-chain employee. Even if your work is very specialized and has to be done in one location, you can probably find something closer than an hour away.

Plus the NIMBYism here is a bit much. Don't add any office space for jobs on the westside? Why not just have the whole city stagnate and whither. That would cut down on traffic. We just need better public transit options. Zero growth is not a solution.

Anonymous said...

Uh, Sherman Oaks. My spelling stinks.

Anonymous said...

I too think people have options here. My husband and I work in the Westside and made the decision to own a townhouse in Santa Monica, and have easy 15-20 minute commutes, vs. owning a larger SFH in the valley and having one hour+ commutes. I think if folks were willing to downsize a little bit they could probably live closer to where they work (if work is on the Westside). But many people think they need a ginormous house and so they spend 2 or more hours a day commuting to and from it. Personally I'd rather live closer to where I work and play, and not have as much crap and clutter.

Anonymous said...

yes - i agree - in europe and japan it is very common for people in the upper upper middle professional class to live in small homes.
things like murphy beds and etc make a small home comfortable

However, IS there a trend for the wealthy to move their offices so that their offices are right next to their houses or is this just something that i am seeing that others are not seeing

Anonymous said...

Work & live trend. Guest houses/ detached garages become home offices. Loft & townhomes.,
SM Incline & PCH project will make things worst.

Anonymous said...

The solution is have MORE development. Creating more housing stock in West LA will bring housing prices down and allow those lower-wage workers to afford to live near work just like their high-paid boss. People can then have shorter drives and then there are less cars are the road! Building out the subway/light rail will help even more. SMRR doesn't like development and is the primary reason for high real estate prices and congestion in Santa Monica.

Anonymous said...

With all due respect, building and development don't push prices down that much if there is plenty of pent up demand

let me point out that there has been a massive building boom on the island of manhattan - i think there are enough apartments to hold 900 thousand people and yet prices keep escalating.

I respectfully submit that developers building lots of new housing on the West Side would not result in less traffic overall

Anonymous said...

Here's another tactic. The reverse commute. I'm a management consultant and have a floating, changing, multiple client base. It ranges from Ventura, Orange County and far east LA county. I travel regulary 40-60 miles in the OPPOSITE direction of Santa Monica. Its an hour in either direction - meanwhile people from the outer reaches of LA/VENT/OC come into LA and it takes them 2 in and 2 out.