Dangerous L.A. Apartments That Could Collapse in an Earthquake Are Being Fixed Quickly


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.

A worker installs steel columns at an apartment building in Mid-City in an undated photo. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

A worker installs steel columns at an apartment building in Mid-City in an undated photo. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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 the city.

Only the Eastside lags substantially behind the rest of the city, with 17% of apartment buildings’ retrofit completed. But there are relatively few soft-story apartments there — fewer than 180.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

A graph shows the percentage of soft-story apartments retrofitted in Los Angeles by region as of Oct. 31, 2019. (Credit: Jon Schleuss / Los Angeles Times)

A graph shows the percentage of soft-story apartments retrofitted in Los Angeles by region as of Oct. 31, 2019. (Credit: Jon Schleuss / Los Angeles Times)

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