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Streetcar Panels #2 & #3

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, May 22, 2008, at 12:48PM
Watching Steve Brye's Slides Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Watching Steve Brye's shots of historic L.A. streetcars.

Panel two of the Los Angeles Streetcar Workshop was a short one, focused on the history of L.A.'s trolley system and an update on the work that's been done on bringing the streetcar back.

Panel three, titled "Ok, but What About...?" brought Downtown leaders to the podium to ask questions of the panelists from the morning opener.

Panel 2

I have to confess that I missed a good bit of panel #2. I stepped out to use the bathroom, got caught in a couple conversations in the lobby, and returned to find things just about to wrap up.

I caught enough to say that Steve Byre of Metro put together a very cool slideshow of photos showing trolleys in Downtown during the early to mid 1900s.

Panel 3

Carol Schatz, Central City Association: How can property owners fit another assessment on top of all the other ones that they're already paying?

Ken Johnsen: Private sector needs to decide that this streetcar makes business sense. "It's a bottom line investment."

Michael Powell: We had to make that case without background. Now you've got Portland and Seattle to make your case.

Hales: The sales job needs to be done by the property owners' peers.

Diego Cardosa, Metro: How can the transit agency and its regional planning fit into this process?

Boothe: The model of developing the suburbs has left us with inefficient transit operators that are left chasing growth. Choices people made on where to live have left them with no options. We can't continue to try and work around that.

Emily Gabel Ludy, Planning Department's Urban Design Studio: As we look at streetscape standards, how does the streetcar fit? Should lines be closer together (same street) or spread (different streets)?

Smith: The added benefit with a couplet and the flexibility of the streetcar is that you have the ability to use it in different places on the street.

Hales: It's not just about streetscape, but taming the cars.

Bernstein: It's about scenario planning, not just rules.

Ludy: Can you give your top example of where the streetcar resulted in the creation of open space?

Jamison Square in Portland and South Lake Union Park in Seattle.

Powell: The Pearl District is said to have no kids, but the water feature in Jamison Square is always full of kids.

Russell Brown, HDBID & DLANC: Many people don't think of Downtown as a place of neighborhoods, even though it has many. How does the streetcar integrate neighborhoods, but also keep their identity? How can open space be created in a built environment?

Powell: The streetcar has knit neighborhoods together and allowed them to develop.

Bernstein: You will lower your parking requirements, and that saved space that would have gone to cars becomes potential for open space.

Jay Kim, LADOT: How can traffic engineers help in this process?

Hales: Engineers want to solve problems. What needs to happen is a reframing of the goal to be about accommodating people.

Johnsen: Understand that this isn't light rail. Don't try to apply light rail standards.

Lunch time, just a half hour late.


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