How We Roll, April 5: everyone wants to fix L.A.

Michael Weinstein might have diagnosed what’s wrong with L.A. But can he fix it? (LA Weekly)

The lede of this article by Hillel Aron is a jewel: the head of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation sits in his 21st story office in Hollywood complaining about the new big buildings rising nearby. The implication is clear: his tower was here first so it’s okay. New density? Not so much, says Weinstein, who suggests that the L.A. lifestyle is succumbing to planners who want L.A. to be more like New York.

The rest of this very smart and well constructed article looks at issues pertinent to transportation. Why is a the head of a healthcare nonprofit using that nonprofit to push a citywide ballot measure to slow big developments? And does he have a point that the new developments are putting the squeeze on affordable housing in some parts of the city?

Good story that isn’t afraid of the many shades of gray in urban planning issues. Read it.

Equity, saving lives and tasty pies: takeaway from meeting on Metro’s potential ballot measure (Investing in Place) 

The meeting last week included more than 80 stakeholders, as well as officials from Metro who explained the draft spending plan released in March.

Investing in Place’s takeaway: 10 percent of the funding needs to be set aside for walking and biking (i.e. active transportation) and less for highway. The group also argues that economic equity is as important as geographic equity, meaning the plan shouldn’t just sprinkle projects around L.A. County but target those who need the most help getting around.

Chris Campbell: LA Metro should focus on millennials in expanding public transit (Daily Bruin)

Chris pretty much agrees with Investing in Place: millennials, he argues, want a fast and seamless transpo system with a lot of choices, including more walking and bike lane options. Such a system, he writes, will keep the millennial generation riding Metro for years to come.

Students react to possible tax hike for Metro (Daily Trojan)

A more accurate headline would have been “two students react to possible tax hike for Metro.” Neither reaction is entirely positive, btw, with one student saying the funds should be better used for “social change.” In my book, expanding transit is social change. Then again, it has been years since I went back to school.

Sky taxis are about to become a reality (CNN)

Rendering: skyTran.

Rendering: skyTran.

For those who can’t get enough of monorails and pod cars. Looks like a system that might help people get around a small area or perhaps a So Cal shopping mall. Doesn’t look like a system that’s a substitute for high-capacity systems (such as a subway).

4 replies

  1. If building a subway is costly enough, is Metro considering to build a modern commuter rail system for the future plan, especially for a long distance route? Unlike the currently Metrolink system, the modern commuter rail can provide high capacity, more frequency services with an inexpensive construction budget compare to the subway system. By using double track, EMU trains services, and the former rail tracks, the modern commuter rail could move million of people within LA city. Light rail does not have high capacity enough to carry passengers traveling in the region. Thus, I suggest to build more modern commuter rail, such as LA-Santa Ana Branch, LA-Ontario airport line via San Gabriel Valley instead of using light rail services. I hope Metro will take a look of my proposal.

  2. It’s nice to see the LA Weekly starting to shed its very strong bias against walkable urban development. Weinstein’s probably wondering why everyone doesn’t get with the program and buy a house in the hills and start complaining that LA is already “full.” Unfortunately, not everyone makes AHF money. The lack of affordable housing in LA is absolutely a crisis, and making it harder to build will only exacerbate that crisis.

    I think the LA Weekly piece still fails to understand the life cycle of housing and what is causing housing prices to rise. Today’s new expensive housing is tomorrow’s relatively cheap housing, and rising housing demand with stagnant housing supply causes prices of existing housing to rise. We could build nothing and gentrification would happen even faster. That’ll teach those “greedy developers!” More housing = more competition for your landlord 🙂

    There is a role for subsidized units too, but anyway, it can be a little counterintuitive, and most people don’t get it.

  3. Hypocrisy is nothing new. The Bus Riders Union’s office was at the Wiltern with a lovely view of the evil Wilshire/ Western subway station directly below them.

  4. “The group also argues that economic equity is as important as geographic equity, meaning the plan shouldn’t just sprinkle projects around L.A. County but target those who need the most help getting around.”

    My point exactly. People traveling the east/west Santa Monica Bl. – Sunset Bl. traffic corridor are facing the longest and most congested commute times and miles anywhere within the Los Angeles area. Does the MTA long range plan address the problem now or in the feature? No!! Yes, the extension of the Purple Line will cross Santa Monica Bl. in Beverly Hills but as Wilshire Bl. extends east the distance between Santa Monica Bl. – Sunset Bl. becomes greater with few north/south bus lines to travel on from the corridor to the Purple line. Said distance is even greater when compared to the Expo line. And other than Sepulveda and Westwood Bl.’s there is no bus service between the corridor and the Expo Line until one reaches La Cienega. North/ South bus service is few and far between to the rail services built and being built.

    A light rail line built on the still intact old Pacific Electric right of way is the right solution. Not extensions of existing light rail lines into suburbs that number one don’t experience the gridlock as described and number two have freeways in place. The Westside was developed with the extension of the highway Two Freeway (Glendale freeway). The freeway was cancelled but the construction such as Century City and UCLA continued. It’s time the MTA addresses the problems we face as opposed to throwing scraps here and there.