How We Roll, Thursday, July 30

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Do multi-story carparks at railway stations make sense? (Crikey)

The Expo Line extension’s parking situation (LA Magazine)

The first article burps forth from Melbourne, the Australian city that shares some sprawling characteristics with L.A. (putting aside issues of scale). The local transit agency, with the highly original name of ‘Metro,’ wants to build parking garages at rail stations to encourage more people to ride and make some money. Critics say ‘meh,’ arguing that impact on ridership would be marginal, garages are difficult to integrate into neighborhoods and encouraging more people to drive to stations is counterproductive.

A planning conundrum: Are parking garages at transit stations the solution or the problem? Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

A planning conundrum: Are parking garages at transit stations the solution or the problem? Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

The second article — which is very short — simply says that some Metro riders are freaked out by the prospect that the parking lot at the Culver City Station could eventually be replaced by a transit-oriented development (putting aside the fact that development proposals in Culver City can move at the pace of a constipated glacier (see: empty lot across from Trader Joe’s in DTCC).

For those keeping score at home, three of the seven Expo 2 stations will have parking (Expo/Sepulveda, Expo/Bundy and 17th Street/Santa Monica College) combining for about 580 spaces. All six stations on the Gold Line Foothill Extension — in a more suburban environment — will have parking, totaling more than 1,500 spaces. Three of eight stations under construction on the Crenshaw/LAX Line will have parking (Expo/Crenshaw, Fairview Heights and Downtown Inglewood).

There will be no parking at stations for the Purple Line Extension or the Regional Connector. I can personally guarantee at least one reporter will have a TOTAL COW about this when the projects open, although the proper time to have delivered said cow would have been when the Metro Board considered the projects’ environmental studies.

$1.14-billion later, expanded 405 freeway a hodgepodge of design (L.A. Times)

Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne says the upside of the Sepulveda Pass Improvements project is the expanded public participation. The downside: in his view, a very uneven approach to design with a very uneven appearance along the 10-mile corridor. A sampling:

The concrete is then dyed in a thoroughly unpersuasive attempt to look like rock or match the color of the hill it is holding up. This technique is something like the comb-over of freeway design.

The new sound walls are mostly a beige-colored concrete block. Sometimes these various walls are topped by chain-link fencing, sometimes by iron railings and sometimes by barbed wire.

Senate clears highway bill averting a funding shutdown (Washington Post) 

Another yawner about transportation funding, albeit actually important. In one sentence: Congress kicks can down road again on adopting long-term funding bill for desperate transit agencies, Metro included. To quote Miranda Priestly, that’s all.

L.A. Mayor mum on financial pledge for 2024 Olympics (L.A. Times) 

With Boston out, should L.A. make another Olympic bid? (KPCC AirTalk) 

The news Monday that USOC was dumping Boston as its American bid city inspired a wave of stories about the potential that one of the other U.S. candidate cities — L.A., San Francisco or Washington — could take Boston’s place in the international competition.

The obvious public policy question to be settled is whether L.A. would be on the hook for any cost overruns. The other question is whether any American city has a real chance against other cities vying for the 2024 Games — a list that looks to includes Paris, Rome, Hamburg and Budapest.

I’ll put aside those questions and instead comment briefly on another important question: will L.A. have the infrastructure to handle the 2024 Summer Games? I think it’s a plus that the five rail projects under construction are all forecast to be open by then (Expo 2, Gold Line Foothill Extension, Crenshaw/LAX Line, Purple Line Extension to La Cienega and Regional Connector). In addition, LAX officials have said their new people mover that will connect passenger terminals to the Crenshaw/LAX Line could be open by 2023.

Those project plus the 87 miles of rail lines already in service reach many of the potential venues for the competitions. That’s good. Perhaps the only open question is whether the Purple Line Extension to Westwood could/should/would be accelerated — the current opening date under Measure R is 2036. It’s a significant question as UCLA would be among the venues.

Another question, at least in my view: where is the central gathering place for these Games? I think L.A. has some good public spots, I’m not sure it has THE spot. L.A. Live, Pershing Square, Grand Park, Expo Park….none feel like the one spot that everyone identifies with the region. That, like all things, could certainly change.

Could L.A. beat out the likes of Budapest for the Summer Games? Photo by Moyan Brenn, via Flickr creative commons.

Could L.A. beat out the likes of Budapest for the Summer Games? Photo by Moyan Brenn, via Flickr creative commons.

As Americans figure out the roundabout, it spreads across the U.S. (New York Times) 

The digitized-gray-lady may consider speaking to my domestic partner, who can turn any roundabout into a hair-raising experience. There are about 5,000 across America these days and the feds are pushing for more of them, pointing to increased safety. The article’s kicker inspired me to consider LMAO:

Community and driver objections are beside the point, said Peter Doctors, a traffic engineer and designer of an early roundabout in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“Just because people have drivers’ licenses does not make them traffic engineers,” he said. “Even if people are confused about how to use them, they’re still working.”

Hey kids, there’s Big Ben and Parliament….

10 replies

  1. I know I’ll be trolled by the same few people who comment on almost every single news post here at the Source, but parking must be included at this time. Those who insist otherwise are ignorant and naive to suggest that what little there is of Metro Rail in a huge county like LA is both convenient and within a half-mile of the 10 million people who live in the county. The rail lines are neither convenient nor are they really conducive for first mile or last mile trips at this time in the county. Perhaps many years down the road that may change but wishing it was so doesn’t make it so. Those wishing that senior citizens learn how to use a motorcycle and scooter is ignoring folks like my mom who is disabled. I wish Steve did more to stop the trolls but I had my say and will leave it at that with no rebuttal.

    • Hi Vic;

      Thanks for commenting and expressing your opinion while getting to the point. Don’t fret what others say!

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • A different perspective is that if you acknowledge that there are 10 million people living in LA County, that the population is likely to increase more, that we have serious land space issues that are being wasted on parking lots, and that we have first mile/last mile problems, then what we need to be doing is not reactionary by building more parking lots near transit stations that takes up so much space but being proactive to start rebuilding LA to a future reality that LA County will have 15, perhaps even 20 million people living here.

      LA is at a crossroads here. Developers and Metro themselves cannot continue to live under the rock like LA of today and tomorrow is going to be the same like LA of the 1950s and 1960s, under an automobile centric suburban sprawl mindset where we had only 4 million living here back then. And the places what used to be known as suburbs back in the 1950s and 1960s themselves have transformed into areas of high density lifestyle. For example, Santa Monica and Culver City was once used to be known as a suburb, now it’s a bustling place where Millennials prefer to both live, work, and shop all in a small localized area.

      To build and give away free parking at the Culver City Metro station when Culver City is currently being taken over by urban Millennials who shun car ownership is like investing in a typewriter company when Steve Jobs introduced the Macintosh. These people

      Everyone acknowledges that the rail lines cannot serve everywhere or that buses go to every single doorstop to every person’s home. It’s unrealistic to expect that to be the case. If that is the case, then the alternative view is that instead of building a system where people have to drive to the station and park there which only add up to wasted space, we should rather demolish the existing parking lots that only wastes space at the expense of taxpayers and instead, start build high density residential buildings and commercial structures right at the train stations themselves to solve first mile/last mile problems.

      Metro can really solve two problems with one stone here. Instead of bringing car drivers into the station and parking there for free which inevitably is a burden to taxpayers and Metro’s budget, Metro can already have customers living and working few feet away from the stations themselves which solves first mile/last mile problems and increases revenue to Metro.

      Recently, the Metro Board approved Garcetti’s plan to incorporate at least 35% of low income housing projects near Metro stations. For someone who is elderly and disabled, on Medicare, receiving only Social Security and making ends meet, it would be a lot better for that person to not live way out in the suburbs, struggle to get in a car, and have to be forced to drive miles to the nearest train station to get around, but rather, live in a high rise condo which was built right near a train station, in which 35% of the units are allocated for low income housing, which is just few feet away from the train station.

      • This all sounds fine and dandy except there is no way for the MTA and local cities to replace the existing housing not within walking distance of a rail line or bus line. Why would I sell my paid off condo in order to go into debt again just so I could be next to a rail station and in reality isolated from much of greater Los Angeles which I can travel to in a reasonable amount of time?

      • fine7760,

        “in reality isolated from much of greater Los Angeles which I can travel to in a reasonable amount of time?”

        That’s you talking today when you can still drive a car and still can go where ever you want to go.

        Imagine yourself however, when you’re 80-90 years old, too old to drive and you’re stuck out in the suburb with no means to get around or no one to help you. You’d wish you were living in a high rise condo when all it takes is an elevator trip down to the mixed use mini-mall and shopping center on the bottom floors of the condo to do your grocery shopping and if you have the need to go somewhere, the train station is just few feet away from you.

  2. Traffic Circles/ confusing and dangerous.

    Start in Westwood now and contiue east to meet the westbound construction. Not a new concept except to the MTA.

  3. “learn how to use a motorcycle and scooter is ignoring folks like my mom who is disabled”

    In the spirit of the Special Olympics and hoping for 2024 LA Olympics (therefore also the Paralympics) these photo might be of an inspiration to all those with disabilities that they can accomplish anything that able bodied people can:

    http://i.imgur.com/rhQbvor.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/IQNv9b8.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/DgGQ2S1.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/nN8kR1r.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/90578iu.jpg
    http://i.imgur.com/WSKWblC.jpg

  4. I don’t mind roundabouts, you get used to it and I think they’re cool. There’s some here in LA too, like the Windward Circle near Venice Beach and the Los Alamitos Circle near Long Beach (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Alamitos_Circle).

    Wasn’t there another one planned for Cinco Puntos in Boyle Heights?
    http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2014/01/city-says-boyle-heights-traffic-roundabout-is-moving-in-the-right-direction/
    http://la.curbed.com/archives/2014/01/notorious_east_la_intersection_getting_las_first_roundabout.php

    We could use a lot more roundabouts here in LA, especially in many of our confusing diagonal intersection streets like where Wilshire Blvd. meets with the North and South Santa Monica Blvds and the awful San Vicente / Wilshire and San Vicente / Burton Way intersections.

    Richmond, VA is also investing heavily in converting their roads to roundabouts:
    http://www.richmondgov.com/PublicWorks/Roundabouts.aspx