Welcome to the Little Tokyo Blog

We've set up this space where members of the Little Tokyo community could share information, thoughts, ideas, and opinions about the Little Tokyo neighborhood, it's people, politics, culture/history, businesses, and events.

11/24/2009

Transportation Updates from LTCC Meeting

Today's LTCC meeting saw a number of presentations and announcements regarding transportation developments in Little Tokyo:

PARKING

As one of the final parking "zones" to undergo meter rate changes, Little Tokyo will soon see changes to parking duration, rates, and hours of operation.

LADOT initially planned to both increase the meter rates as well as limit parking duration to one hour increments.

Al Mahdavi, from the Bureau of Parking Operations and Facilities at LADOT, announced that the department had received a few--but not enough--petitions from residents to increase the parking meter increments from one hour to two hours. LTCC voted to draft a letter to LADOT to request parking meter duration be two hours, which LADOT will accept instead of the petition process. The letter will also request that LADOT look into "high tech" parking meters along 3rd street--but don't expect them any time soon, because Mahdavi reported that these meters were currently not part of the limited LADOT budget.

CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROJECT

The California High Speed Rail project is a proposed new line that will use high speed trains to connect several regions of California.

As the high-speed rail project continues to investigate impact on Little Tokyo, Project Manager Dave Thompson gave a presentation on the LA to Anaheim section of the project.

This segment of the high-speed rail project connects Anaheim with LA Union Station. The proposed approach into Union Station had the potential to impact 1st street businesses and organizations, including the Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple. The new approach pushes the alignment east, mostly parallel to the river.

You can read more about the high-speed rail project at their website:
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

The environmental document, which will discuss impacts to the community, is set to be released to the public in Spring 2010, with public hearings in the Spring and Summer of 2010. Construction is projected to begin in 2012.

METRO REGIONAL CONNECTOR

LTCC has voted to support a "3rd Build Alternative":

MOTION

The LTCC Board of Directors supports the further exploration of the concept of the 3rd Build Alternative as presented by the Metro Planners.

MTA presented this alternative at today's LTCC meeting. This option, while still "conceptual," includes a fully underground route that starts at the 7th and Flower St station, continues up Flower, east under 2nd Street, with an underground station potentially at the Office Depot. MTA anticipates that this fully underground option would eliminate concerns over impact on Nishi as well as the Nikkei development.

You can read more about the Regional Connector here.

11/18/2009

John A. Perez visits J-town

California State Assemblymember John A. Perez visited Little Tokyo at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center a few weeks ago. Introduced by Assemblymember Warren Furutani and welcomed by Bill Watanabe of Little Tokyo Service Center, Assemblymember Perez spoke to a crowd of roughly 75 community members about the state of the state budget, about a recent $11 billion water bill, and answered questions from the Little Tokyo audience. Having never heard him speak before, I found his words and analysis very impressive and heartfelt.

With seniors from Little Tokyo Residents Association

With children from Aratani After School Program at Casa Heiwa

(Photos by Mike Murase)

11/12/2009

Nihonmachi: The Place to Be on Sunday


The Little Tokyo Koban’s Autumn fundraiser is a must-see for everyone in the Japanese and Japanese-American community.

Date: 11/15/09 @ 2:00 pm
Aratani Japan America Theater
244 S. San Pedro Street
Little Tokyo

“Nihonmachi: The Place to Be” is a musical performance by the Grateful Crane Ensemble that depicts the history of Japantowns in North America, and is one family's story.

Whether these communities are called “J-Town,” “Little Tokyo,” “Japantown”, or “Nihonmachi,” the history is the same: Issei Nihonjin immigrate to the US, settle down, and get jobs or start businesses. Then,
December 7, 1941 occurs and their lives are disrupted; as the result of EO9066 and are sent to “camp”. Upon their release, they return to rebuild their lives and their families.

“Nihonmachi” is the story of a third-generation manju maker who decides to close his 99 year-old store, opened by his grandfather. After coming to that decision, the spirit of his deceased grandfather comes to show him the Nihonmachi of the old days. Songs made popular by Japan’s revered Misora Hibari will be performed, as well as of the various periods in America (war time, 60's, and the 70's).

The story is loosely based on the family of Seiichi Kito, who opened Fugetsu-do Confectionery in 1903 in Little Tokyo. The 106-year-old shop is presently owned and operated by grandson, Brian, who is the Koban’s current President.

11/02/2009

MEETING UPDATE: A 5th Option?

The follow memo was circulated to Little Tokyo Community Council members from Chris Aihara, Co-Chair of the Transit Issues Subcommittee:
There will be a meeting of the Transit Issues subcommittee on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 4 pm at JACCC to discuss the Downtown Regional Connector that is being proposed by MTA to come through Little Tokyo at 1st and Alameda, at street level, and/or the option to have the at-grade train come down Temple Street, at grade, and cross Alameda at Temple, at grade, will be discussed.
This discussion will be based on the recent motion passed by the Council to have Metro explore a fifth option build for the regional connector.