Suburban. Comma. Transit.

18 thoughts on “Suburban. Comma. Transit.”

  1. One can already see this similar pattern happening with the new BART extension to San Jose. Parking garages and surface lots everywhere…so people can drive to the new Berryessa stop instead of the one in Fremont. 2.3 BILLION dollars are being spent on this.

  2. In agreement. Dropping transit into a car-dependent environment only works in a “park and ride” sense. Nothing wrong with that, but recognize what you’re really accomplishing, which is giving traditional A to B commuters an option, not turning L.A. into Paris or something.

    Not that L.A. should be Paris. I think blanketing the core semi-urban area (roughly, the narrow strip from Downtown to Santa Monica above the new Expo line) with BRT, would be a better goal in the long run.

    Even that modest goal would be a monumental challenge to get to a state where someone could realistically live car-free. I lived in Koreatown in the early 2000s without a car and even though I valiantly tried to construct my life around transit, it was a real drag. I’m sure it’s improved but the physical distances are just so extreme from a human point of view.

  3. Spot on!

    This election is going to be an interesting referendum on the future of Los Angeles…

    Auto-centric collection of suburbs where “nobody walks in LA”? Or a more multimodal, polycentric city that reinvests in its old streetcar suburbs and business districts?

    Not sure if you’re aware, but there’s a number of propositions scheduled for the ballot in November that will be pivotal for the region… here’s links to read more about them if you’re interested:

    Measure M:
    http://theplan.metro.net

    Neighborhood Integrity Initiative:
    http://www.laweekly.com/news/anti-development-initiative-gains-backing-of-leonardo-dicaprio-other-hollywood-celebs-7268465)

    Build Better LA: https://ballotpedia.org/Los_Angeles,_California,_%22Build_Better_LA%22_Affordable_Housing_and_Development_Initiative_(November_2016)

    1. Build Better LA, Neighborhood Integrity, Metro ballot initiatives… These are all expressions of LA struggling to come to terms with the gap between what it thinks it is and what it’s actually becoming.

      How about we get real and just say flat out, “Enough already! Move to Denver, Houston, or Scottsdale.”

      LA isn’t as special as it thinks.

      1. LOL, I’ve certainly heard that line from the local cranks that attend neighborhood council meetings around here. Not really surprising I guess. Why build new housing for younger generations, when you can just sit back and watch your property values grow like a weed instead? The “me generation” at its finest… climb the ladder and cut off the lower rungs once you get to the top.

      2. I generally admire the orange line, and it certainly successfully attracts enough commuters to fill the buses during peak hours.
        The problem of their less-than-optimal stops highlights the problems and opportunities of integrating transit into the LA car culture. Even if the stops were in more centralized business districts, there would still need to be large amount of parking to accommodate the riders, nearly all of them, who live up in the hills, or out in the suburban developments miles from the nearest stop. So, for LA metro, it was probably cheaper to build where it was easier to provide more parking than to build parking on more expensive “downtown” land.
        Some sort of non-mass transit will always be needed to solve the first/last mile problem of poorly planned sprawling developments which are ubiquitous in Los Angeles and Orange Counties (and everywhere else in the country). For now it’s private autos. Perhaps, in the future, autonomous vehicles will fill this role, but it’s doubtful that Angelinos will part with their cars which are carefully selected to portray social status and some aspect of their individuality. It will probably come to an “out of my cold, dead hands” situation in suburban LA.
        Meanwhile, denser areas, especially downtown and surrounding “suburbs” are booming, and residents are riding transit and bicycles more, and are trying to live with fewer cars, but realizing that you still will need to drive to access far-flung destinations, especially during odd hours. Angelinos rarely chose a destination based on proximity to their homes or transit stops. New mixed-use developments, even in dense, transit-rich areas, still boast obscene numbers of parking spaces/per unit.
        Still, hardly anyone is willing to wager that Angelinos will go car-free, and traffic congestion continues to worsen, and everyone continues to complain.

  4. Spot on!

    This election is going to be an interesting referendum on the future of Los Angeles…

    Auto-centric collection of suburbs where “nobody walks in LA”? Or a more multimodal, polycentric city that reinvests in its old streetcar suburbs and business districts?

    Not sure if you’re aware, but there’s a number of propositions scheduled for the ballot in November that will be pivotal for the region… here’s links to read more about them if you’re interested:

    Measure M:
    http://theplan.metro.net

    Neighborhood Integrity Initiative:
    http://www.laweekly.com/news/anti-development-initiative-gains-backing-of-leonardo-dicaprio-other-hollywood-celebs-7268465)

    Build Better LA: https://ballotpedia.org/Los_Angeles,_California,_%22Build_Better_LA%22_Affordable_Housing_and_Development_Initiative_(November_2016)

  5. There was a plan filed to build a 300 unit apartment complex (market rate) on an empty lot two blocks from the Balboa Station. It met with intense resistance from local homeowners. The lot was segregated from the rest of the neighborhood by both Victory Boulevard and Birmingham High School, so the negative impact on local quality life would have been undetectable.

    Andreas

  6. The Orange Line carries 25,000 passengers a day. Metro is proposing an extension of the BRT through Burbank and Glendale to Pasadena beginning construction in 2020 if Measure M passes this year. The same plan calls for conversion to light rail by 2067.

    The route of the Orange Line now follows a pre existing railroad right of way which was the path of least resistance and a great reuse of the disused right of way. The same with Expo Line and Gold Line.

    The Valley had a chance to secede several years ago and the majority voted to stay. The big complaint you hear about Measure R, and one of he reasons there’s resistance to Measure M, is that Metro did not spend enough money on transportation in the Valley.

    I wish the land use around the stations were more transit oriented than they are.

  7. What a complete and utter load of crap.

    As far as the aesthetics of the bus stations, IT’S A BUS STATION. What do you want it to look like? So sorry there isn’t a flowing stream and a waterfall when you step off the bus in Van Nuys of Canoga Park. How do you cope when you’re on the freeway? I bet if you don’t see a mural every 300 feet, you want to slit your wrists. My God, you’re brave.

    Hmmm. . . why would you need a bus if you can drive? I don’t know. Tell that to the people who fill up the Red Line parking lots by 7am every week day. Lots of people park at Orange Line Stations to get to the Red Line too. I just can’t imagine anyone who would try to drive and take the bus! That’s just too crazy to be true.

    Coastal cities? Dunno if you know this but the great migration every morning is from east to west. The Valley and people from East LA are using public transit to get to their jobs downtown and on the west side. But never mind that those are the ones who need public transit the most. Let’s punish those people who need transit because you don’t like cars.

    I can’t even continue because you are so beyond ridiculous you’re not coming back from that.

    1. Perhaps you misinterpreted my snark for sincerity?

      I’m making two points here.

      First, a really good BRT system was built in spite of the endless litigation from self interested NIMBYs who can’t see beyond their own front lawns to the practical needs of the larger community.

      Second, once the BRT system was built the NIMBYs made absolutely sure nothing could be built anywhere near the stations so the much needed transit is infinitely less useful than it could have been.

      Are we on the same page now?

    1. If the BRT is being upgraded to light rail I have to ask… are the Jiffy Lubes and parking lots going to be upgraded to something more productive? If not, cut the Valley loose and let them sink or swim with their cars.

      1. Is the light rail conversion really happening, or is it still the dream of a few vocal anti-BRT activists? LRT is so expensive, and offers no advantages over the current bus system, that I question the would question the decision to convert. In fact the BRT offers smoother vehicles, and a quieter system than LRT, and even some “end-of-line” flexibility as vehicles can take to regular streets if needed.
        Advances in hybrid and electric vehicle technology could, in the future, give BRT ecological advantages that electric LRT cars currently have over fueled BRT rolling stock.

        1. The light rail folks aren’t anti-BRT. The basin of LA (the parts of the city closer to the ocean) has already seen the construction of a rail system. That subway line reached as far as North Hollywood, but any attempt at extending the train deeper in to the Valley was stopped by suburban residents. BRT was the culturally acceptable Plan B.

          Light rail is more expensive so the economic justification requires a more intensive higher value land use pattern at each of the stations. That’s what we’re seeing in many parts of LA – give or take the usual NIMBYs. BRT could be far more productive if new buildings were permitted near the stations. But I’m not holding my breath. In the end, the Valley wants to remain a suburb that just happens to have a couple million people and cars packed in to it. Shrug. “Whatever.”

          1. The Valley is denser than it at first appears. For some reason the five-story block-wide apartment buildings are often hidden.

        2. Light rail provides a considerably smoother ride than buses or automobile. Try doing something physically detail-oriented on both and you’ll see. It is noisier. I agree that the economics don’t justify a LRT in the Valley, especially since the BRT is already there.

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