One of the centerpieces of Villaraigosa's legacy as mayor has been the elucidation and implemention of his vision for transforming Los Angeles "from the 'car capital of the world' to a transit-rich metropolis," with development focused on creating "elegant density" around transit. Now that the mechanism for funding the expansion of the region's transit network is in place (albeit at a slower pace than he had hoped for), Villaraigosa is pointing the city's bureaucratic apparatus in the direction of spurring transit-oriented planning and development.
"In an Executive Directive last week, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called on the City’s General Managers to create the Los Angeles Transit Corridors Cabinet (TCC), a central entity to ensure all City departments and agencies coordinate, collaborate, and communicate their efforts to bring about a more transit-oriented Los Angeles," says Newton.
The move comes not a moment too soon for a city that has historically built transit first, and only thought about how to leverage those investments for development afterwards. At least one transit advocacy group is cheering the Mayor's efforts.
“Move L.A. applauds Mayor Villaraigosa’s initiative in creating the TOD Corridors Cabinet and charging it with ensuring a heightened collaboration among city departments and its communities take full advantage of the opportunities created by LA Metro’s investments in our county’s transit system," writes Denny Zane, the Executive Director of Move L.A. "The Cabinet will help everyone get on the same page about TOD, which offers LA County real potential for building livable, equitable, affordable, walkable, bikeable, healthy, green neighborhoods.”
"While the announcement produced a collective yawn in the media," notes Newton, "if the cabinet works together and with communities to create an implement visions for better streets and the process is continued by Villaraigosa’s replacement in 2013, this could mark a major turning point in the city’s planning history. With the current and coming transit boom, better planning is needed for buildings that work in and for the community and streets that better serve all users."