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

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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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