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Modeling Los Angeles' Transit Future

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, June 18, 2010, at 11:54AM
Metro Transit Model Eric Richardson [Flickr]

James Rojas and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa discuss Rojas' model of planned transit projects in Los Angeles.

James Rojas' interactive models are a familiar sight to many Downtowners. Built from blocks, legos and other odds and ends, the cityscapes are intended to be shaped by those who interact with them.

On Thursday, a Rojas model of proposed and under construction transit projects for Los Angeles was on display as Metro celebrated "Dump the Pump Day" with a press conference at Union Station's East Portal.

Past Rojas modeling efforts Downtown have included large-scale versions of the L.A. River and the re-imagining of the central city itself.

"I've been making them since I was a kid," Rojas explained. "They just became more and more advanced."

"The city's about visual language. We need to communicate that with the public how they can understand it. Most people can't read a map, but they can look at a model and understand it that way."

This particular model will be Rojas' last as a planner at Metro. He is about to move on from the transit agency, where he has worked for the last dozen years.

Don't expect him to be any less involved, however. Rojas is co-chair for railLA, a joint-effort between the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Planning Association (APA) that promotes the concept of high-speed rail. Next Tuesday evening, the group hosts a workshop at The Exchange (114 W. 5th; 7 - 8:30pm) where attendees will be invited to design their own rail systems.


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