The Conflicted Culture of Los Angeles

Christopher Hawthorne reflects on the simultaneous rise of bicycle culture and anti-transit NIMBYs. Can Angelenos come together to move forward when it comes to transportation and the built environment?

Hawthorne sees events like CicLAvia (which brought 100,000 bicyclists out onto the streets of the city) and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's plans to extend the light rail and the subway as hopeful signs that L.A. is moving past its sprawling history. But there is also a growing tide of naysayers that are having a deleterious effect on those efforts.

Hawthorne writes:

"Take a recent flap over proposed town houses in Echo Park - and City Council President Eric Garcetti's reaction to it. Garcetti is knowledgeable and thoughtful on issues related to density, growth, transit and park space. But like any L.A. public official, he remains vulnerable to the prevailing political winds, which often blow strongly against the idea of a denser city. Earlier this month, his office announced that it would not support construction of the controversial eight-unit project, which would be in Garcetti's district."

Full Story: Critic's Notebook: There's a growing disconnect on a better-connected L.A.




People who live in Los Angeles are called Angelenos, not Angeleans.

Additionally, Hawthorne advocates for density, but he lives in a single family home in Eagle Rock.

Garcetti supports densification despite inadequate infrastructur

First, Eric Garcetti has been strongly supportive of offering many commercial real estate developers many discretionary actions in order to build projects in Hollywood whose height, mass, density, and/or use are not allowed by adopted zones and plans.

Second, the opposition to these many Garcetti-supported projects is based on inconsistency with the City's General Plan, which is growth neutral, as well as the woeful lack of supporting infrastructure. The community groups which have opposed these projects also pointed out that most of them, such as Columbia Square, are still car-oriented, even they try wrap themselves with a ribbon of transit.

Dick Platkin
LA planning consultant

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