June 26, 2012

Better Bike Routes

The bike cooperative over at Caltech is petitioning the city of Pasadena to dedicate bike lanes to a couple of east/west routes, namely Cordova Ave, Union St. and Green St., all west of Lake.  They seem to especially fear the current conditions on Cordova.  I have to disagree as I've seen many more speeders and reckless drivers on Union, despite the fact that it has significantly less traffic than Colorado.

All in all, I think what they are proposing benefits all of Pasadena.  Los Angeles has taken great strides the last couple of years in promoting biking and street-sharing.  With the success of Ciclavia and the creation of bike lanes in downtown, among many other initiatives, they are promoting alternative forms of transportation and cross-promoting that with the existing mass transit system.  It's time for Pasadena to also get serious with this issue as well.  Let's get the ball rolling on calling Pasadena a "bike-friendly city"

June 21, 2012

Culver City or Bust

The Culver City terminus for the Expo Line officially opened today.  Who would have thought until recently that we could get from Pasadena to the Westside without use of car or even bus.  Next stop, Santa Monica!

Coming Not Soon Enough: Trattoria Neapolis

I'm not sure what's yummier, the delicious interior of this restaurant or what's going to come out of the gigantic wood oven at the center of the restaurant.  From what I hear, the drinks/wine list is going to be top-notch.  Soft opening begins July 10.  Score one for the South Lake area!

June 17, 2012

Hollywood Development Fracas - We Can Learn From This

There's a fight brewing between developers and residents in Hollywood over the community plan that would allow for new buildings and increased density, creating a framework to house thousands of future residents.  Sure, Hollywood is not Pasadena.  District to city, apples to oranges, right?  But take a closer look at the two and you can see that we might learn a lot from what Hollywood is going through right now and what happens in the next couple of years.  It's only a matter of time when a standoff between developers and residents here in Pasadena could reach a boiling point if this city maintains its status quo course with regards to city planning.

I'm not a fan of high-rises.  I'm also not a fan of urban density.  But we can be smart about how we plan potential growth.  I look around at condo and apartment developments for the last five or so years in the Old Pasadena and South Lake areas and I actually like what I see.  And I think there are many houses in areas north of the 210 that are ripe for remodels.  What Highland Park is going through right now I can see happening in the northern part of Pasadena.  But let's hear what residents of Pasadena has to say about the subject of development now, or if not right now then soon.  Don't wait until it's too late.

We have a lot of problems that need attention right now before we can go through the motions to justify future large-scale development.  That goes without saying.  But it's not something that can be put on the back-burner indefinitely.  One wild card: the recent sale of the huge Parsons campus at the northwest corner of Old Pasadena and the potential for more housing (apartments or condos) and thousands of square feet of additional retail (it looks like Parsons will still be a tenant so it will still provide significant commercial space).  This future development could change everything.  Factor in the possible extension of the 710 freeway right next to it and now you're opening up a whole different set of positive and negative implications for not just Pasadena but also the surrounding area and the San Gabriel Valley as a whole.

So, let's see how the Hollywood situation plays out.  I believe we can learn from it.

June 12, 2012

Over Budget and Overdue

$35 million.  That's the amount OVER budget so far to date on the Rose Bowl renovation.  From the very beginning there was no argument that major renovations and expansion was needed on the vaunted stadium and multi-purpose venue.  And, there was a general consensus that the work would be good for the stadium, future events and for the city of Pasadena.  Now, it's gonna cost us.  According to the LA Times, the funding from the bond issue to cover the renovation had already come in $12 million less than expected.  Well, that gap and then some is starting to haunt us.
"The challenges that we have in renovating our historic stadium are significant,” Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn said. “We’re going to be working with our partners and the (Rose Bowl Operating Co.) board of directors and City Council to determine how best to proceed from here.”  -Rose Bowl CEO and General Manager Darryl Dunn to The Pasadena Star
Originally, this project was suppose to wrap up at the end of this year or the beginning of 2013.  Now it looks like things won't be done until 2014.  Really?  How did the cost overruns and delays get to this stage?  Several sources tag the bulk of the budget increases on electrical systems, asbestos remediation and structural difficulties.  Really?  I'm not an architect or engineer, but weren't these serious considerations during the inspection, discovery and bidding process?  I mean, it was no secret that this stadium is old, very old.  Even though records on the Rose Bowl construction (and subsequent fixes, reno's, etc.) were spotty, missing or downright inaccurate there is no excuse for not taking those issues into consideration.  The time is now to put the heat on both city officials and contractors.  Where is the accountability?  Don't stick it to the taxpayers.

Funny how the status report on the Rose Bowl renovation website hasn't been updated for several months.  C'mon, guys!  Be upfront with us!

To the Motherf****r Who...

I love copies, pics, snippets of notes or other items neighbors, landlords, tenants, store owners leave for each other.  Reminds me of some of my old neighbors and neighborhoods I used to live in.  Before I bought my condo in Pasadena I lived in an apartment in South Pasadena on Grevelia, and did we have our share of funny, weird and scary things that went on.  I was pretty lucky to have some great neighbors and I had a great landlord.  But over the years I've heard many horror stories and although I hate to say it most I found amusing.  If you have a funny copy of one please send one over to me.  (above photo courtesy of Curbed)

June 11, 2012

Tough Flea Market Lesson

My friend, Julie, and I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market Sunday and came away with mixed success.  I was able to score a cool rustic bottle carrier (with bottles) from a French antiques dealer that I'll be using as a dining table centerpiece.  But, I'm kicking myself in the ass for a missed opportunity.  There was an awesome mid-century painting of a woman that I caught my eye and after looking it over for a few minutes I told myself I'd think about it.  I strolled around for five minutes then went back to the dealer.  I found the painting but as I picked it up the woman next to me kindly told me, "oh, I'm sorry I just bought that."  I said, "oh, ok", but my head was saying "CRAP!"  This is typical of flea markets, sometimes an item will languish and other times an item will go in an instant.  If it's something you really love and the price is right, don't wait.  Lesson learned for me.

June 7, 2012

Make Music Pasadena

Whoever came up with Make Music Pasadena several years I just wanna kiss.  An event like this only adds to the artistic and cultural offerings Pasadena has and it puts the city on the map as a music-scene destination despite our lack of decent live-act venues.  The sheer scale of this event - over 100 acts, a multitude of stages spread out over the downtown area from Old Town to South Lake, and FREE admission - is really something Pasadena can be proud of and based on what I saw last year, it's very well-organized.  And I truly believe that in a couple of years Make Music Pasadena will be one of the elite musical events in Southern California, like the Sunset Junction Street Fair in Silver Lake...oh, yeah, they cancelled that last year and their organization is in bankruptcy...HA!

Pension Reform: Does Pasadena Need One?

San Jose and San Diego voters approved measures this past election Tuesday, cutting pensions costs and reducing benefits pretty much across the board for each city's employees. Major pension reforms should have occurred long ago, but now push has come to shove and the voters are speaking. But I'm curious to find out what Pasadena's pension obligations compare to not the larger cities, like San Diego and San Jose, but Santa Monica, Long Beach, Anaheim, Irvine, Santa Barbara. Maybe even against the smaller tech cities near the Bay Area cities such as Cupertino, Palo Alto and the like. Sure, it's going to be a long, drawn out fight with unions and reform-advocates now taking the battle to court. I'm not saying we should blindly go about screaming "reform, reform!". But let's look at where our cities stand.

June 5, 2012

Pasadena...Tech Hub??

A Forbes online article yesterday profiled the tech scene in LA.  Yes, Pasadena has Idealab, but we need to do so much more to increase the tech presence here.  With venerable institutions such as JPL and Caltech and a highly educated workforce, along with an established business district we have a rough foundation to establish a "Silicon Foothill" (I know, that sounds horrible, but I'm open for suggestions).  City council needs to do more to initiate programs to make Pasadena more inviting to tech companies.  Aside from a physical beach and the weather, Santa Monica and Pasadena are often compared to each other in terms of livability, amenities, infrastructure, etc.  But there's no reason why they should get all the tech money.

Cleaning the Parkway

The 110 Freeway, aka Arroyo Seco Parkway, from Pasadena to downtown has all the makings of being a beautiful freeway.  Besides it's historical significance, it's topography and geography makes it unique among the Southern California freeways with its twists and turns (a nightmare when it rains because Angelenos don't know how to drive in wet conditions!), the greenery for most of the distance on both sides and the way it hugs the arroyo.  But so much more can be done to pretty it up.  I won't start with the graffiti in certain sections (I'll save that for later), but let's do start with the trash.  My God, let's finally get rid of all that crap especially on the southbound side.  Plastic bags caught on branches, roadway debris that's accumulated for years, and what about that straightaway in the Highland Park section?  You know, where that chain link fence runs down the side and the homeless have called home on the other side of the fence.  Tires, containers, litter, traffic cones, downed signs and even a downed streetlamp that's been resting by the side for over a year.  It pretty much stays shitty all the way to the downtown four-level interchange.  I drive from Pasadena to downtown almost everyday, and I'm disgusted almost everyday with all that trash.  Caltrans, can you hear me?

June 3, 2012


Welcome to the PasadenaVille blog, where all things Pasadena (California, that is...) is talked about.  I will be posting anything and everything regarding this most livable of cities and a place I'm so proud to call home.  But I also hope that you, the reader, will contribute as well because it's all about the people, the Pasadenans, who make this town so great.