Success of L.A.'s Rail Investments Rely on First and Last Mile Connections

Alex Schmidt looks at efforts to re-'train' L.A. drivers to use the city's growing rail network. Planners are focusing on rezoning areas within a 10-minute walk from stations, but face obstacles in blending density with single-family districts.

Encouraging densification around transit stations in Los Angeles is a particularly difficult task due to the city's ubiquitous low-lying residential neighborhoods. Although residents want increased options to the automobile, and voted in overwhelming numbers to support transit investment, many homeowners aren't enthusiastic about adding taller buildings in close proximity to their single-family homes.  

"Lots of people live in L.A. because they can have a single family home lifestyle in a city," says Schmidt. "Gen Giuliano is a professor of public policy at the University of Southern California. She says some people may move to preserve that lifestyle, rather than adapt to density."

"But sprawl and long commutes drive other people to dense living. Above this restaurant in the downtown Culver City neighborhood is a stylish, mixed use apartment building. It's about a half mile from an Expo Line stop, and there's a strip of shops just outside the building's front door. This is precisely what city planners hope to create more of in L.A."

"It could take a generation or more for single family home neighborhoods to transform into something like this mixed use area. But the long view is exactly what L.A. planners are taking."

Full Story: Rail Planners Aim To Re-'Train' L.A.'s Car Culture

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