December 11, 2010 Meeting Summary

December 11, 2010

Preparation

E-mail and some phone reminders

Acknowledgments

Susan brought cupcakes.

Attendees

7 members

Meeting

Agenda Items:

The meeting began about 11:22 am

  • Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line station change in southern access plans
    • Since at least 2004 there has been a plan to build another pedestrian bridge from the Gold Line station south across the freeway to to somewhere on the northern edge of where OSH is. This was supposed to provide better access to pedestrians and bus riders coming from Colorado Blvd.
    • The bridge originally was estimated to cost a couple million dollars and was going to use leftover funds from building the Gold Line (which had come in under budget).  Then as the cost estimates skyrocketed to $6.5 million, federal and other funding was added.
    • Up to now about $1.3 million has been spent on documentation, including environmental study, and designing the bridge.
    • But last Spring after the project was submitted to Caltrans for its approval, Caltrans responded that it was necessary for the plan to accommodate the potential for a future widening of the freeway.   It could do that two ways:
      • 1. Build the bridge extra wide so it would not interfere with any future freeway expansion.  But this would require incur the large expense of buying much more land from where OSH is located in addition to redesigning the bridge.
      • 2. Build as designed but make an agreement with Caltrans that if the freeway is ever widened the city would have to demolish and reconstruct the bridge.
    • When the plan was submitted to the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority), which runs the Gold Line, it responded that the city would have to agree to pay for any future maintenance of the bridge.
    • While no officials have admitted that the original plan was a waste of money, these new stumbling blocks have led to reconsideration and a new recommendation from City Staff.
    • The recommendation of City Staff to be presented to the City Council at its meeting on December 13 is to forget about the bridge and instead spend a small fraction of the money it would have cost to improve the sidewalk experience between Colorado and the Gold Line Station.  Described as a "pedestrian access corridor", this would include widening the sidewalks, pedestrian street lighting, and improved landscaping.   Here are the conceptual drawings.  (One might note that none of the traffic signals or freeway signs are included on these drawings, including the current "motorcycles ok" head banger sign.)
    • The staff document estimates these improvements will cost about $1 million, including design and acquisition of rights of way from the OSH property owner.  Coordination and approval from Caltrans is likely to take a lot of time and effort.
    • There is also this interesting sentence in the staff report: "If the City wishes to proceed with the bridge construction in the future, it is possible that the opportunity may arise to partner with the owner of the OSH property to construct a joint development with a pedestrian bridge, resulting in minimum impacts to Caltrans and MTA right of way."    This is yet another comment that has been made recently by city insiders that indicate they have reason to believe the owner of the property OSH is on is thinking to replace OSH with some kind of big development.  Presumably the owner has made inquiries of city staff about the possibilities.
  • Burglaries up in Pasadena
    • There have been a couple of recent notices from Pasadena Police about increasing burglaries, particularly car burglaries.  (Note, however, that crimemapping.com only shows one crime in our neighborhood in the past month.  A residential burglary is reported in the 3200 block of East Orange Grove on November 13.  Do not know which side of the street it was on.  There are several crimes reported in the nearby shopping areas.)
    • For car burglaries, Pasadena Police say that in over 80% of the cases people left attractive items in plain view, including GPS systems, phones, computers, purses, and wallets.
    • Pasadena PD seems to think the increase in car burglaries is the regular seasonal trend, because the numbers are still less then last year at the same time.
    • Pasadena PD reminds to
      • Keep valuables out of sight, both in your car and from exterior windows of your home.
      • If you have an alarm system, use it.
      • Close and lock doors and windows.  At home, lock your doors even when you are home.
      • Do things to make your home seem occupied when you aren't there. Lights on controllers, radio on a talk station, barking dog or yelling in response to door bell or knock.  Don't leave a newspaper out all day; ask a neighbor to pick it up for you if you leave before it is delivered. If you'll gone more then the day, put mail and newspapers on hold or have a neighbor collect them.  Don't leave garbage cans out extra long; ask a neighbor to move them for you.  Another strategy is to have a neighbor sometimes park in your driveway while you're gone.
      • Don't advertise the nice stuff you've bought.  Don't leave cardboard boxes out; cut them up and put them in your recycle bin.
      • Pasadena Police has also said recently that when you are home and somebody rings or knocks on your door but you don't want to answer it that you should yell or make some kind of indicator that somebody is home just in case they are casing it to break in.
      • Keep an eye on strangers on your street and report anything suspicious to the Pasadena police non emergency number at 626-744-4241.   If you have a phone with a directory you should put this number into it.  If you see a burglary in progress call 911.
    • A Pasadena Police report from December 3 indicates someone was watching a stranger, saw him go into a neighbor's car, and called police.  After being caught the suspect admitted to about 30 car burglaries in the past year.
  • Illegal curb painters
    • During the past month a company not licensed or permitted by the city was conducting a curb painting campaign in Lower Hastings.  At the meeting residents told us the same flyer was recently distributed in our neighborhood on Estado St.
    • The city says that anyone currently soliciting to paint your curb is doing so illegally.  The city has not issued any permits.
    • " Previously permits for curb painting (and any future permits) placed (and will place) conditions on the painting such as every curb address must be painted and meet certain standards. The company could ask for a donation of $10 or whatever you would like to pay – but payment was not required. Any permitted company would have a flyer with the City of Pasadena approval on the flyer and a City of Pasadena contact name and number."
  • Con solicitors
    • Again recently there are reports of young men supposedly raising money for a team or club trip or some other nice for them thing who when questioned closely don't have story that hangs together.  They often indicate they need just a bit more sales/donations to meet their goal. Time is always short.  Often selling magazines or something like that, but they can arrange for you can donate them to some charity if you don't want them. Some are very well spoken. A few are not so good at it and get agitated when you decline or ask questions.  Typically they will say something like that they live around the corner, go to a nearby school, or otherwise make it sound like they are a local kid. They may offer to do work for you instead of your buying something. They'll freely give a name.  Sometimes they'll even give an address, sometimes one that does not even exist.  Often they've gotten the name of a neighbor in a friendly exchange when they were at their door and will say they bought / gave them something or said you were nice or some other story which may or may not be true. But the more questions you ask, the more they'll make stuff up on the fly.  They all should have a permit from the city, but unfortunately now-a-days even if they flash something you can't tell whether it is legit.
    • There are also always concerns that such people may be casing the neighborhood for burglaries in addition to essentially collecting donations to make them go away.  If such a person is going around and you suspect they are not legit, carefully note their description and call the police non-emergency number at 626-744-4241.  At least they can ascertain who they really are in case it later turns out there has been trouble in the neighborhood.
    • Of course, sometimes a neighbor kid really will be raising money for their team or club or whatever.  But then either you should know them, or their story should hold up to detailed questioning and they should be willing to give you a phone number for you to call if you want to donate/buy after you've checked out their story about who they are, where they live, and what they are raising money for.
  • A Noise Within Hard Hat Sundays
    • "A Noise Within" is the name of the live theater company which is building a theater using part of the historic Stuart Pharmaceutical Building east of the south-east corner of Foothill at Sierra Madre Villa.  The theater and its support facilities is now under construction.
    • They are inviting the public to come and see "firsthand the construction progress and hearing directly from the Artistic Directors and members of the Board about the theatre."
    • "This is a casual 'open house' style event with refreshments and a brief opportunity to hear about the construction progress and future theatre layout as well as ask any questions about A Noise Within. We encourage everyone to RSVP. Event recurrs monthly on the second Sunday of the month."
    • The next two open houses are
      • Sunday December 12, 4 - 5 pm
      • Sunday January 9, 4 - 5 pm
    • Park in the Gold Line station parking garage.
    • RSVP via e-mail to [email protected] or call 818-265-7959
    • Obviously they are hoping you'll become a patron and donor, but you can go see what's happening regardless.
  • anything else attendees wish to discuss
    • Antiques store where strip club was
      • Heard that the antiques store trying to go in on south side of Foothill across from Ralphs was having a lot of problems getting necessary city permit.
    • Preview of new building codes
      • Anyone who takes an active role in the design and construction of projects is encouraged to attend a preview of California’s new building codes during a public meeting hosted by the Pasadena Planning Department.
      • Wednesday December 15 at 6 pm at the Permit Center, 175 N. Garfield Ave.
      • This free event is sponsored by the Building and Safety Division of the Planning Department.
      • On January 1, 2011 several new state building codes take effect in the city: the 2010 California Green Building Standards Code, the 2010 California Residential Code, and the 2010 California Building Code.
      • "An overview of the changes and their potential impact on construction projects will be presented." "The new Green Building Standards Code applies to all new buildings and additions and remodels to existing buildings, thereby affecting most of the building projects that the city will review." "It is important that people in the building trades understand how these new codes will affect how their projects are reviewed by city staff."
      • "Reservations are encouraged; call Susan Sulzbach at (626) 744-6892 or email [email protected]"
    • Public art plan meeting
      • Thursday January 6, 2011 at 6 pm.  Central Library, Donald R. Wright Auditorium, 285 E. Walnut St.
      • Discussing the Public Art Master Plan. "This is your chance to share your thoughts about what types of experiences public art should provide in neighborhoods, commercial districts and other areas of the City. If you are an artist, you can learn about how to submit for a new temporary Public Art Program that will place artworks in each Council District."
      • "Meetings are intended to educate and seek input from the community regarding the new vision for Pasadena public art."  "The Request for Proposals (RFP) will be distributed at each meeting and is available online at http://www.cityofpasadena.net/arts/."

Next meeting is January 8, 2011, 11:15 am, at Hastings Branch Library

Adjourned about 12:20 pm?

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