An earthquake safety revolution is spreading along the streets and back alleys of Los Angeles, as steel frames and strong walls appear inside the first-story parking garages of thousands of apartment buildings.The construction is designed to fix one of the most dangerous earthquake risks: Wood apartment buildings collapsing because the skinny poles propping up parking at the ground level are not strong enough to withstand the shaking. Now, 27% of Los Angeles’ 11,400 dangerous wood-frame apartments are retrofitted to better resist earthquakes. Retrofit progress has been steady across the city, a Times analysis of city records shows. Among the regions with the most “soft-story” buildings, 29% of the apartments on the Westside and in the San Fernando Valley are retrofitted, and 26% have been completed in central L.A., which includes Hollywood, Mid-City and Koreatown. The Westside, Valley and central L.A. regions are home to more than 80% of the soft-story buildings in … [Read more...] about Dangerous L.A. apartments that could collapse in an earthquake are being fixed quickly
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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Friday, Nov. 22, and I’m writing from Los Angeles. Newsletter Get our Essential California newsletter In 2016, Los Angeles launched a program to find and fix “soft-story” apartment buildings — those perched above parking spaces with little support and at risk of collapse in a major earthquake. These apartments, which feature flimsy first floors that often serve as parking spaces, became popular after World War II as the city grew. But this type of structure has shown itself to be extremely vulnerable in the face of a violent quake: Such buildings collapsed in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and the 1994 Northridge earthquake, including one apartment building where 16 people died. (Still confused about what the term “soft-story” building means? Here’s an interactive graphic.) Advertisement Two of my colleagues — earthquake expert and master of disaster Ron … [Read more...] about Newsletter: The L.A. earthquake safety revolution
The large panel of wood that hovered in the air above a De Haro Street construction site last Friday was something never seen before in the city. It’s formed from seven layers of black spruce grown in Quebec, 24 feet long and 8 feet wide, each layer glued one-to-the-next and then pressed together like a panini. A crane slowly lowered it into place atop thick wooden columns and beams — the first of hundreds of panels that will be an integral part of the structural frame of a four-story, 60-foot-high commercial building. “Basically, it’s a very sophisticated Lincoln Logs set,” said John Fisher, project manager for SKS Partners, 1 De Haro’s developer. “That’s how we explained it to our investors.” Touted by boosters as an eco-friendly alternative to concrete and steel, with a tactile warmth that theoretically makes for a more nurturing workplace, large buildings of structural timber have developed a cult following in other regions. … [Read more...] about Timber! SF’s next architectural trend could be eco-friendly buildings made of wood
Tesla unveiled its long-awaited pickup on Thursday, a futuristic "Cybertruck" at a Sci-Fi-style event with gimmicks and a cheering crowd. Not everything went to plan. During an elaborate demonstration of the strength of the car's new unbreakable glass, CEO Elon Musk asked one of the people onstage to try to break its windows. They shattered. "Maybe that was a little too hard," he said, punctuating his reaction with an expletive. It was an awkward, off-script moment in an already over-the-top spectacle of machismo, strength and bold disruption, aimed at generating hype for a product that seemed like a real-life manifestation of something in the vein of a Batmobile. The new truck marks the electric automaker's initial foray into a lucrative market dominated by America's best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-series truck. It's a bold push for the Silicon Valley firm and its CEO, who are hoping the to mobilize the same consumers that flock to heavy-duty, 4x4 work vehicles around a futuristic … [Read more...] about America loves pickup trucks. Can Elon Musk win drivers over with a Tesla ‘Cybertruck’?
It’s Chippewa Valley Farm-City Day, and hundreds of schoolchildren are swarming the grounds of Denmark Dairy, which stretches for nearly a mile along County Road B in Dunn County, in western Wisconsin. They are laughing and chattering to one another and petting young calves. The dairy, one of the largest in the region, sustains a herd of twenty-four hundred cows on more than four thousand acres, each milked by machine three times a day. Some of that milk finds its way up the road to the Swiss Miss plant, in Menomonie, which makes more than fifty million boxes of hot-cocoa powder every year, among other sugary delights. Each kid receives a small container of Swiss Miss vanilla pudding while making the rounds. Dennis Kragness, who is seventy, has been farming here since 1973, expanding in hard times that have bankrupted other families. In the past fifteen years, nearly half of the state’s dairy farms have shut their doors. Farm bankruptcies in Wisconsin last year were higher … [Read more...] about How Trump’s Presidency Looks from Rural Wisconsin