Transit Oriented Development in Los Angeles a Tricky Issue

A debate is simmering in Los Angeles between transit planners, developers, urban planners, and community activists about the future of transit-oriented development.

In the coming decades, much of Los Angeles' growth is going to be around transit stations. Places such as Culver City are already planning for the coming Expo Light Rail Line that will connect downtown Los Angeles with downtown Santa Monica; and new developments are either being planned or are already open in the blocks surrounding Los Angeles' existing subway.

The jewel of the Transit Oriented Development planners in Los Angeles is the W Development located above the Red Line Subway stop at Wilshire and Vine. The expensive and glitzy development has been a favorite of planning groups for combining the promise of upper-class, luxury living with a transit station and open space. The station itself has earned some rave reviews for its appearance and functionality.

But the Development, and both the city and MTA's Transit Oriented Development program has also come under fire for not following a design that better connects the community with the transit station. A lack of bike parking, intersections that haven't seen any improvements surrounding the station, and, in the case of the W, a rope line for a private club basically blocking people from leaving the Subway and entering the public plaza; have all been complaints from activists and community members surrounding the T.O.D.'s.

As L.A. moves into a more transit-future, the fate of these projects and their ability to get more people embracing a transit-oriented lifestyle will determing whether or not Los Angeles ever lives up to its previous billing as the "City of Tomorrow."

Thanks to Damien Newton

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