June 23, 2010
The Huffington Post blog/publication has added an important beat to its roster of local coverage. Transportation writer Joel Epstein is now covering issues related to Transportation Oriented Development (TOD): compact real estate projects at or near transportation hubs (light rail, subway, bus lines) that encourage walkability, discourage driving, help to improve the balance of jobs to housing, and help preserve energy and resources. All you have to do is look at that ghastly BP gusher to see the value in TODs. Epstein’s columns – which also cover Los Angeles’ expanding rail system – appear regularly in the much-read Huffington Post.
Says Epstein on why he chose this topic: “California is changing thanks to natural population growth, resources challenges, congestion and new thinking about the kind of lives Californians want to live. In the future we will see even more TODs built around sensible transportation options.”
Very sensibly on display were the transportation options offered at the June 4 TOD Summit in Hollywood, created by ULI Los Angeles. Epstein covered the event from all angles. This includes the growth of TODs outside of Los Angeles: “Many of the most exciting projects are ones the conference sponsors are building in Asia, the Middle East and elsewhere rather than in the United States and more pointedly, Los Angeles.”
Epstein also serves as consultant for the business, labor, environmental and civic coalition Move LA.
April 9, 2010
The catalytic power of Transit Oriented Developments (TODs) is well-known: Hollywood’s snowballing economic development, for example, includes diverse densities surrounding well-designed transit hubs. But not all TODs were created equal. So ULI Los Angeles (a district council of Urban Land Institute) launched a series of TOD Technical Assistance Panels (TAPs) to re-strategize under-performing transportation centers to help them achieve full potential. The first of these workshops – led by volunteer urban-design professionals – recently presented its findings at the Slauson Avenue Blue Line station.
One key proposal may rankle those who support TODs purely to get people out of cars: The ULI TAP urges more parking… particularly, a new parking structure connecting to the boarding platform.
“Adding parking is not ‘good’ from a typical green perspective, but it will increase ridership,” said Jonathan Watts, Slauson TAP chair and principal with Cuningham Group Architecture . Indeed, many successful TODs – from Long Beach’s Blue Line stations to the large Metrolink hubs – include strong “park and ride” components.
The media has taken notice. Articles on the TOD recommendations include Urban Land Institute’s Ground Floor blog, Planetizen, L.A. Curbed, and L.A. Streets blog. Lots of heated comments on the topic – especially whether it’s smart to include parking at TODs – in all these online publications.
ULI Los Angeles will present final recommendations on this on three other TOD workshops as part of June 4, TOD Summit in Hollywood.