Archives for posts with tag: LA
Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, image courtesy of Metropolitan Transit Authority and metro.net

Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, image courtesy of Metropolitan Transportation Authority and metro.net

Here’s the thing: international airports, especially those on the scale of LAX, need better access to public transportation.  Our city does house the nation’s 3rd busiest airport, after all.  While buses serve that purpose to an extent, a connection to our ever-growing light rail system would be an extremely convenient and traffic-reducing solution.  Think of all those people who won’t be on the 405 anymore if they can get to LAX via train!

Naturally, the powers-that-be had thought of this, and were already addressing the issue:  Metro (LA’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority) has been holding open meetings since 2010, and LAWA was making plans of their own.  This is all well and good, but today the two entities announced they would be collaborating as the plans moved forward.  This might seem like an obvious step to most, but in a city where bureaucracy sometimes rules over practicality, this is a huge leap in the project actually being executed, and executed well.

Funded by partially Measure-R, this extension between the Green Line and the Expo Line will become the Crenshaw Corridor, which will connect to a new LAX People Mover, presumably dropping off individuals at each terminal.  As is the case with projects of this scale, us Angelenos won’t be able to ride the line to LAX until 2020, but in the scheme of things that is actually a pretty quick turnaround.

Beyond the direct transportation benefits this new addition will give, its sure to improve real estate and business opportunities along its path as well.  So start investing along the Crenshaw Corridor!  That is, as soon as they decide which of the four plans to go with.

This has the potential to create some new and interesting opportunities along a new path in LA.  Plus, if LAX travelers and locals alike could take a ride that plugs them directly into the Metro transit network, this extension could have rippling benefits to other transit-oriented and transit-adjacent developments along other lines as well.  Lets hope they have the sense to put in some developer incentives, bike paths, and park and ride lots, and we should be good to go.

Advertisements

A friend of mine is currently in graphic design school, and he was recently assigned a project designing materials to fix a problem he saw in Los Angeles.  His first thought was public transportation, and therefore he immediately came to me, as his token urban planning friend, to bounce some ideas around.  He had lots of great concepts about what needed to be fixed, but there was a catch- everything we discussed that seemed feasible in the foreseeable future is either already in effect, or is in the city’s upcoming plans.  In frustration, he ended up settling on a completely different project (one relating to job creation, actually), and I was left to ponder the most troubling result of our conversation:  the people in Los Angeles have no idea whats going on with public transportation.

This lack of knowledge of the buses, trains, and light rail systems that criss-cross our city shouldn’t be surprising.  In a city where most are commuting in 5-seaters all alone, often from one side of the metropolis to the other, it probably doesn’t cross the mind of most Angelenos to even consider another option.  For those of us who grew up in the suburbs, having a driver’s license (or cool older friends with one) was considered the only way to get anywhere.  While Los Angeles in certainly not known for its transit in the past, and is still given the evil eye for the destruction of the Red Cars, its a city that is currently focusing heavily on revamping the system- and many of the residents have no idea.

I’m not trying to point fingers here- but I do want to make a difference.  So before I get all preachy, and shout about riding buses I know nothing about, I’m starting to ride them.  I’ve been taking the subway to downtown, the buses around once I get there, and the train to go inland.  There are so many different bus and rail systems with Metro that it can be confusing at first, but like any other system, it just takes some getting used to.  Check out Metro’s Trip Planner, Mobile Resources, and all the timetables and maps you’d ever want.

Image

Besides what already exists and everyone should be checking out, Metro has many interesting new projects in the works, including but not limited to:

For all kinds of transportation news, I highly recommend one of my new favorite article collections, The Metro Library’s Blog, and of course its fun to see what LA is thinking for the future with the 2009 Long Rage Transportation Plan.

Happy Travels!

I recently accidentally came across an excellent public space in downtown LA while chaperoning a trip to the Fed.  Between Hope and Grand, and Olympic and 9th, there is an amazing little pocket of green that accomplishes so much in the single block it shares with FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising).  Just across from the Fed, and within a mile of LA Live and the Staples Center, Grand Hope Park manages to combine a myriad of uses and types of spaces into a place where anyone could feel welcome.  This may not seem like an amazing feat, but think about it for a minute:  how many parks and public spaces have you been to that you didn’t want to linger at?  Maybe it wasn’t designed or programmed for your uses, or it didn’t feel safe- both major issues with public spaces, especially in a city where the “eyes on the street” aren’t always easy to come by.  This park was obviously occupied by students, but it had children, elderly, office workers, and more- the question is, what separates this park from so many others?

Grand Hope Park Water Feature

According to the Cultural Landscape Foundation, it is 2.5 acres, was completed in 1993, and was designed by the famed Lawrence Halprin.  According to yours truly, there are a few reasons why this space functions so well. Read the rest of this entry »

Trash: the big topic for many Angelenos over the past couple of weeks.  For most of us, waste is something we don’t think about much, and can’t wait to get rid of; while we try to recycle as much as possible, and use reusable containers and the like, we still generate a tremendous amount of trash.  When we’re done with a wrapper or a soda cup, we generally can’t wait for it to be out of our sight.  However, if you’re working in the waste industry, you don’t have that luxury.  In Los Angeles, trash is currently handled in two major ways: residential waste it picked up by the city, and private waste haulers take care of commercial and large apartment buildings.  For the latter group, trash pick up is a regular cost to incur, but because they can chose the private handlers themselves, there is an argument that the environmental and safety standards these handlers are held to are lacking.  In fact, two young waste workers were recently killed due to the hazardous materials and lack of proper equipment at their place of work.  While many people, especially owners of apartment buildings, are happy with the current system and the level of flexibility it allows them, there are others who believe the environmental and safety impacts are too great to ignore.

A plan was put before the LA Board of Public Works, changing the current free-market system of private waste hauling to a franchise system, either exclusive or non-exclusive.  This means that the system would be highly regulated and companies would have to be approved by the city.  The Bureau of Sanitation put forth a set of recommendations based on their data, which was approved unanimously by the Board- the next step was a hearing on what to accept for the city.

The hearing took place on Monday, February 13th, and I was lucky enough to be informed about it ahead of time, and was in attendance.   Read the rest of this entry »

an·ge·le·no/ˌanjəˈlēnō

 A native or inhabitant of Los Angeles, CA (Merriam-Webster)
_
I talk about the future of the urban environment- very often and usually to people who couldn’t care less.  At least, to people who don’t think about it nearly as much as I do. Living in LA again, I find myself constantly coming across aspects of the city that I’d like to change. From the transportation system to the housing situation, public schools to urban design…its a great city, but there is a lot to be done here. Sometimes, when I try to explain why suburbs trap teenagers, or why its OK to have stores without giant parking lots, I get a positive reaction. My grandmother, for instance, really gets it. But most of the time, I get the “typical LA” reaction:
_
Don’t bother trying to “save” our city. It is what it is. We all drive cars and live nowhere near our jobs. We prefer big box stores and making fun of tourists.
_

Ok, so thats a sweeping generalization. BUT it is the kind of reaction I get all the time. In fact, I had a conversation last weekend with someone who told me to give up on promoting transportation awareness in our city all together, and that I should find a career that actually can make a difference. She said that LA is on the road to destruction, and we should just let it fall. Ouch. She’s entitled to her opinion, but she just so indicative of the Apathetic Angeleno that I seem to be meeting all the time since I moved back.

I don’t have a solution for this. I think at this point in my (non)career, I’m more prone to asking question and causing problems than solving anything, especially since I’m still on the hunt for a job. But instead of backing down from these kinda of people, I’m taking it upon myself to lead the charge for change. Before we can change our physical infrastructure, we need to change our mindset. If Apathetic Angelenos are running wild, perfectly happy with mediocrity, then I’ll be here to give them a piece of my mind.

Ap·a·thet·ic  An·ge·le·no/ˌapəˈTHetik ˌanjəˈlēnō

A native or inhabitant of Los Angeles, CA who shows no feeling, interest, or concern for the future of the city or its inhabitants.

If I had a picture of one, I’d make a new meme right now.