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First Meeting of Red Car Board

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, June 06, 2005, at 11:23PM

The first meeting of the reinvigorated LA Red Car Advisory Board was tonight. I was asked to participate as a residential / student voice, so I'll try to keep people up to date on the issues that could affect those stakeholder groups as the process goes along.

This Board will be interacting with the IBI Group, the consultants doing the CRA's feasibility study. They were there tonight, and there were a couple interesting things I pulled out to share.

The timeline of the study is June to November. In that range they'll be looking at design standards (how the line would be built) in June and July, and possible alignments in July and August. Identifying possible funding sources will pretty much happen throughout. The important thing with design standards is figuring out a "context sensitive design framework." Basically each time you look at a trolley line you have to take into account the unique challenges of that particular situation and design something to work there. Downtown LA poses a lot of interesting issues.

There's a lot of talk about how the trolley line in Portland has raised property values, but a point that was stressed was that a trolley likely won't succeed if it's built as just an economic driver or just as transit. It has to contain elements of both. The change since 2001, when this project first got looked at, is residents: Downtown now has a lot more people living here than it did a few years ago. I think for a line to be successful it would have to engage those who live here as its base ridership. Cultural attractions and tourism are nice, but the everyday people are going to make or break this thing. There are a lot of smart and important people getting engaged on this issue and it seems to really have a bit of traction underneath it right now. I'm fascinated to hear continued debate and proposed solutions.

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Downtown Streetcar

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