It takes a village

first_imgWITH the population of greater Los Angeles expected to surge by 6.3 million – to 23 million – by 2030, no one seriously disputes the need for growth and development in the region. And with the real estate already taken, no one seriously doubts that the direction of development will have to be toward housing more people per acre, on average. Which is why it only makes sense that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been working on a “transit village” vision for L.A.’s future. To make the most of L.A.’s current transit options – and to minimize future traffic congestion – the city is going to need greater population density along mass-transit routes. But just because “transit villages” are the right idea is no guarantee that they’ll be done well. This vision could be a dream or a nightmare for Los Angeles, and the difference depends on how it’s set in motion. So far, the mayor’s planning has been mostly behind closed doors. City officials have been determining which areas would be designated for rezoning and have been looking into the possibility of raising the height limits and reducing parking-space requirements for new construction. Now, with the outlines of their plan drawn up, it’s time to take the matter directly to the public. Neighborhood councils and other community groups need to be brought into the process, and public input must be sought, so as to make sure that L.A. isn’t built up by literally or figuratively running roughshod over the city’s neighborhoods. Moreover, transit villages need to be but one part of a broader, comprehensive and enforced city plan – something Los Angeles has lacked for decades. Careful attention must be paid to jobs, to schools, to whether mass-transit usage predictions are realistic, and to ensuring that safety and design standards are met. It may take transit villages to prepare for L.A.’s future, but it will also take much more than that. For L.A. to live up to its potential, it will take careful planning and an engaged, involved public. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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