Hope everyone had a nice holiday weekend. And back to the grind we go as 2015 enters its stretch run….
ICYMI 2: The three-month closure of the Gold Line’s Little Tokyo Station begins Friday night to accommodate construction fo the Regional Connector. More about the project and shuttle buses here.
Current HWR movie endorsements: ‘Spotlight’ and ‘Creed.’ Rocky I through Rocky IV had flashier opponents, but the new movie is terrifically entertaining even if you haven’t digested the previous six Rocky movies multiple times (as yours truly has done). BTW, the new ArcLight in Santa Monica is open and is steps from the downtown Santa Monica Station of the Expo Line, which is scheduled to open next year.
Art of Transit:
Here’s a graph with some telling numbers from the new study, published recently in the Journal of the American Planning Assn.:
We estimate that there were 18.6 million parking spaces in LA County in 2010, which includes 5.5 million
residential off-street, 9.6 million nonresidential off-street, and 3.6 million on-street spaces. There are approximately 200 square miles of parking infrastructure of one type or another covering 14% of the incorporated land area of the county, 1.4 times larger than the 140 square miles devoted to streets and freeways. This means that there are 3.3 spaces for each of the 5.6 million vehicles in the county (California Department of Motor Vehicles, 2010).
Check out the above link, where you can find some nifty maps and graphics that go along with the study.
If memory serves, there have been some similar estimates over the years when it comes to showing how much land is devoted to parking in L.A. The study also suggests that as parking availability grew, so did traffic. Why?In a lot of areas people could safely assume there would be a free or cheap parking space available at their destination, leading to
I think this study goes a couple steps further by estimating the number of spaces and suggesting how this information can be used by policymakers and residents.
The study authors suggest that given the number of parking spaces available, it would be helpful for cities to perhaps reduce the amount of parking required of any new development. They also say that may not be enough. There’s so much parking available that even new parking rules may not do much. Perhaps, the study says, cities could also make it easier to convert existing parking (i.e. home parking garages) to other uses, such as housing.
Of course, I’m pretty sure that for every person who says there’s too much parking in our region, I could find someone saying there’s not enough. I’m not inclined to outright dismiss the ‘not enoughs’ as there are certainly parts of town where parking is tough. Overall though, I think the study hits the target — look around and there’s an awful lot of space devoted to parking and a lot of it is under-used a lot of the time.
We’ve written before about the effect of too many parking lots in places such as DTLA — acres of concrete may keep the parking cheap, but certainly doesn’t add much to the experience of being in a downtown, which is supposed to be a dense cluster of buildings. Remember, density is good for transit, as it means that more people live and/or work near transit.
As for transit, this is a tougher issue: if parking encourages more people to drive, then the implication is that an over-parked region hurts transit. There’s probably something to that. On the other hand, I’d argue that frequent, fast, accessible and reliable transit will attract a healthy ridership.
Your thoughts on parking in our region? Too much? Too little? The right amount?
Gabe Klein’s advice for Los Angeles (Streetsblog LA)
Good interviews with the futurist Gabe Klein. He thinks self-driving cars are coming in a big way. And he foresees fleets of them being shared by people, who can summon a self-driving car from a carshare/rideshare service when they need to get somewhere — instead of everyone owning their own car.
Key excerpt from LAT:
How do you get enough people to change their habits?
By increasing the cost and inconvenience of owning and operating a car. You can raise parking fees and reduce or eliminate street and off-street parking. You can charge higher vehicle registration fees and higher sales taxes for cars. Copenhagen, for example, has a 180% tax on new vehicle sales, and there is a proposal to ban cars from downtown Oslo. Laws also could be passed to limit the number of cars people can own.
Those measures must be combined with expanded transit systems and more compact development that brings homes, workplaces, shopping areas and recreational opportunities closer together. We have the potential to reinvent the way cities feel. Then they will become more viable as cities.
I think we safely put that in the ‘easier said than done’ category. I also wonder exactly how many L.A. Council meetings Mr. Klein has attended 🙂
From the Streetsblog post:
Here’s the question we typically end with. If you had a magic wand that would grant one wish – that would change cities in one way – what would it be?
I would like to go back to the 1950s and not get rid of the streetcars. If I could do that, the culture, the world that we live in would be completely different, if we’d reinvested in our streetcar system and ground transit – and not gotten rid of it – and not driven freeways through our cities.
Maybe that’s two wishes, but I feel like it’s part of the same problem. So, if we didn’t kill the streetcars and didn’t do the whole urban renewal, then I think we would be a very different society – in lots of ways.
Speaking of, here’s a pic from the Metro Library’s great Flickr stream showing the old Main Street Station in DTLA:
The project involves adding a second track for Metrolink, Amtrak and Union Pacific freight trains to use for 6.4 miles between Van Nuys Airport and Chatsworth. The tracks pass residential areas that include about 700 homes, according to the LAT.
The residents are asking for a full environmental study of the project, which some say would put tracks too close to homes. Metro had initially sought to avoid a full-blown study, saying that there had not been any negative response from the community:
Metro officials say the project will improve safety, reduce air pollution and speed the movement of freight and passengers by reducing the need to hold trains at one end to let another train pass on the single track. [snip]
The residents “do have a good reason to be angry,” said Paul Gonzales, a Metro spokesman. “That is why Phillip Washington put the project on hold. We have to start again from scratch, and that is what we are doing.”
As the article notes, there are considerable stretches of the Metrolink system (as well as Amtrak) in Southern California in which there is only a single track to be shared by passenger and freight trains. That’s one reason that train travel in our region is on the slow side; that said, it’s a tough situation as there are a lot of homes near train tracks, as the high-speed rail project is also finding.
A slim majority of voters said ‘no thanks’ on Sunday, meaning the race boils down to Los Angeles, Budapest, Rome and Paris. Please see our 2024 Summer Olympics edition of HWR for more about the L.A. bid, transit and transpo.
Nov. 25: How to talk about traffic with your family, transit chief resigns in Phoenix amid allegations of inflated travel expenses.
Nov. 24: California has work to do as world environmental leader, shifting money from trains to water
Nov. 23: Will the LAX people mover be up and running by 2023?
Nov. 20: how to address all the short trips county residents, more reaction to Reason Foundation’s traffic plan.
Nov. 19: the Reason Foundation’s $714-billion plan to fix traffic in Southern California.
Categories: Transportation Headlines