Archives for posts with tag: Los Angeles
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.

Kimchee Cookoff

Good Food Day LA- what a fantastic event!!  While all sorts of amazing things went on throughout the city involving over 3,000 participants at 40 locations, I had the opportunity to attend the central event at Metabolic Studio near Chinatown and the cornfield-turned-park in downtown.  Along with a couple of food trucks with tasty items, there was a small vendor fair with information on urban gardens, youth programs, and volunteer opportunities throughout the city.  There was an awesome kimchee cook-off, which included chefs, farmers, food critics and even a councilmember as judges.  The winners were stoked, it was very cool to watch.  The main event ended with a great speech by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy on the importance of good food in schools and beyond, as well as food workers rights.

SO why is this important?  Why is the LA Food Policy Council (along with the mayor) even putting on an event like this?  Of course, everybody likes “good” food- in the sense that it tastes good- but when you can feel good about eating that food as well, it brings another dimension of “good” to the table that you may not have previously considered a part of the package.  Once you start to look into our food-related policies and practices, like the folks at the Council have been doing, you start to understand the wide reach that food has as well as its impact on many aspects of our lives.  Consider:  Where is your food coming from?  Are different parts of it coming from different parts of the country, or even the world?  What is it packaged in, and how were those materials processed?  Are they recyclable?  Were pesticides involved?  Should you be worried about them?  How about the people who helped, plant, grow, collect, process, pack, distribute or cook the food?  Not to mention issues related to Farmers Markets, food trucks, and problems of access to food…in short, food connects to every aspect of our lives and the lives of the people around us.  It impacts public health, urban design, poverty, government policies, sustainability, agricultural practices and so much more.

It is because of the breadth and the depth of the issue of food that its become such a hot topic across the board, and is something that everyone can relate to and should be aware of.  So the next time you have the opportunity to get involved in something food related, take a chance and see what its all about.

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.

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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!

The LA River, contained in concrete

Its sad, but true: the LA River is not the main attraction of Los Angeles.  It is not what tourists consider among their star maps and beach trips, nor is it a destination for residents on a day off.  For the most part lacking any resemblance of a “typical river”, its become a bit of a joke to the people of the city.  However, the Los Angeles River was (and arguably still is) a huge part of the natural ecosystem of the valleys so many millions now call home, the core of what drew people to the area hundreds of years ago.  Throughout history, cities have been built and thrived by rivers, and yet many could not find ours on a map.  Though much of it is currently encased in concrete, and it does not serve the same function exactly as it once did, the City of Los Angeles, along with the Army Corps of Engineers and countless non-profits and NGOs, have decided we can no longer turn our backs to this wonderful resource that contains so much potential.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »