Donald Shoup interview, part one (Streetsblog L.A.)
A really interesting interview with UCLA’s soon-to-be retiring parking expert. The most interesting stuff, I think, involves downtown Los Angeles and something I’ve never understood — the ridiculous amount of space taken up by parking lots offering relatively cheap parking compared to other big cities. Shoup’s explanation:
I think many of the small parking lots in downtown aren’t developed for the same reason that these historic office buildings hadn’t been converted to housing – because of the parking requirements.
Most of the downtowns that people want to visit – like in San Francisco, New York, Vancouver, Seattle or Chicago – don’t have any off-street parking requirements. If L.A. follows these cities, our downtown will begin to look less like Phoenix, Houston, or Detroit, which do require off-street parking in their downtowns.
I think that’s why – in cities that don’t have off-street parking requirements like New York and Seattle – parking lots and small parking garages are just asking to be redeveloped, if the land values are high.
In Downtown L.A. you can’t do it. It’s very hard to redevelop a parking lot or a parking garage because the first thing the city planner is going to say: “where’s the required parking?”
The parking lots are often small so you can’t get a good building and the required parking on the same site. So the small surface lots that pockmark the city are pretty much frozen in place until we remove the parking requirements. [snip]
Downtown L.A. has more parking spaces per square mile than any other city on earth, yet many people think it’s not enough. But if we, or when we, remove the off-street parking requirements downtown, I think you’ll see a building boom that will make the current one look small.
There’s a lot more I could have excerpted, but please click over to Streetsblog to read. The quote that makes my heart sink involved Disney Hall having so much parking that many patrons may visit but never set foot outside the building. Sigh. Of course it doesn’t help that Disney Hall sits in a relatively quiet corner of downtown mostly occupied by the Civic Center and government buildings. The proposed Grand Avenue development never got built although it’s officially still alive.
On the transit front, DTLA already has a high level of bus service. I was in Grand Park yesterday watching one Metro bus after another roll by — even when Metro was running a holiday schedule. As for rail service, I think more people will travel to DTLA as the Purple Line Extension (the first section to Wilshire/La Cienega is scheduled to open in 2023) is built to the west and after the Regional Connector makes it easier for Blue, Expo and Gold Line riders to reach and travel through DTLA.
Part of the Connector project will be a new station at 2nd and Hope that will connect to Grand Avenue via a new elevated plaza and elevators. That should make it pretty easy to reach Disney Hall and other nearby attractions (such as the Broad Museum) via the subway or light rail. The Connector, like the subway project, is under construction and scheduled to open in 2020.
A good look at the Taylor Yard Transit Village, which will include a new Metro Rapid Bus stop and may include a pedestrian bridge across the adjacent L.A. River to connect to the river’s bike path which one day should connect better to DTLA. As the article notes, the new apartment buildings are being built as a partnership between Metro and the developer McCormack Baron Salazar (click to see more pics of the project).
The OT payments to a few workers look pretty high, according to a new audit by the city although no fraud was found. Read beyond the audit department’s news release and there is this pertinent detail mentioned by the LAT: some OT may have been the result of relatively few workers pressured to quickly install new bike lanes.
I thought Pasadena was in the middle of nowhere (Zocalo Public Square)
The latest in Zocalo’s ongoing series of Metro rider profiles. Macella takes the Gold Line to PCC — and so can you. Use the Allen Station. PCC runs a shuttle between the station and campus. Or you can walk (10 minutes) or ride your bike (five minutes).
To fly and die (NYT)
Good column and read-while-on-transit on the dumb activity known as BASE jumping. Two jumpers were recently killed after leaping into the Yosemite Valley and trying to fly through a notch in the rock.
Is BASE jumping the same as others who risked their lives when taking flight — such as Wright Brothers and Neil Armstrong?
No, the flaw was not in the system, but in the cultural celebration of sport-assisted suicide. I love Potter’s spirit, but not his actions. The kind of cliff-diving that Potter did is considered the riskiest sport in the world. But to call it a sport is charitable. It’s death-courting. Odds are with death.
Dean Potter thought he was flying. He was just falling. And last Saturday, he fell to his death, his final act a cautionary tale as old as the one that the ancient Greeks told about Icarus.
•In re Memorial Day, please see this photo gallery by the New York Times headlined “When Every Day is Memorial Day.” The photo of the lipstick on the grave of a soldier killed in Iraq is devastating.
Not to stray off-topic, but it’s also a reminder why we try to publish the transportation headlines on a frequent basis: while it’s great that government tells taxpayers what’s going on, we also don’t believe you should get all your news and views about government from government.
•Memorial Day addendum:
Categories: Transportation News