How to Promote TOD When There's no Room for Infill

Many new light rail lines have been built in western cities in the hopes of attracting new development to greenfields. Los Angeles' Expo Line, however, is threaded through a heavily built-up area, thus complicating dreams of TOD.
July 28, 2012, 11am PDT | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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"Built on a former trolley right-of-way, the Expo Line connects downtown Los Angeles with the Westside via rail for the first time in decades. Whereas Los Angeles' old Pacific Electric Railway had been built in virgin territory in order to spur new development, the Expo Line is but a filament, woven into built-up neighborhoods. Expo-adjacent neighborhoods are no streetcar suburbs, however. Now that the Westside once again has the "T," efforts to figure out the "OD" have only just begun,", writes Josh Stephens.

"However, South Los Angeles offers few easy places to put any new development, much less 6,000 units. Simply put, vaunted TOD's like Oakland's Fruitvale Station or Walnut Creek's Contra Costa Centre have are difficult to insert into the urban fabric of South Los Angeles. [Abigail] Thorne-Lyman [with Reconnecting America] equated Expo with San Francisco's 3rd Street line, a streetcar-style line that runs through the low-income area of Bayview-Hunters Point."

"Mindful of community opposition to rampant development, planners have devised incentives to promote what they consider beneficial, neighborhood-serving uses-and to gently nudge-out nuisance uses. [Faisal] Roble, [senior city planner] said, for instance, that a development that includes a health clinic or that installs extra greenery will get certain perks, such as allowances for increased density."

Thanks to Josh Stephens

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Published on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 in California Planning & Development Report
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