Memo to Culver City: One of These Things Is Not Like the Other (hint…it’s the car parking)

4_27_10legadocrossing.jpgPhoto of the Legado Crossing via Curbed.

Yesterday, Curbed picked up a recent story in the Los Angeles Business Journal about planned "Transit Oriented Development" near the Venice and Robertson stop for the Expo Line that is expected to open in 2012.  They’re still in the planning phases for the developments that will occur in three of the corners around the station, so it’s too early for a "T.A.D. OR T.O.D." article, but the early information sounds good.  The developers are planning on a strong pedestrian component, mixed use, higher than normal density for the residential development and even a grocery store.  You can’t underestimate the importance of having a grocery store near a T.O.D. project to really encourage people to ditch the car.  All that being said, there is one paragraph in the L.A.B.J. article that concerns:

To entice developers to these parcels, the city will allow slightly
higher densities than current zoning. In exchange, developers will be
asked to provide or pay for one of four “community benefit” options:
additional parking, more open space, streetscape improvements, or a
shuttle service to the rail station and nearby destinations.

Jeesh, c’mon Culver City!  It sounds like these developers are trying to do the right thing, and you’re trying to get them to put in more car parking?  Let’s hope the developers stick to their vision of a walkable and bikeable urban oasis.  Even car lovers have to concede that the city’s requirement for 600 spaces at the fourth corner lot adjacent to the station ought to be enough to handle the car traffic "generated" by the light rail line.

  • The only “community benefit” parking would be of benefit would be if it were only “handicapped” parking”, and only “handicapped parking” in a “layby” and not in a off-street lot.

  • Chris

    Car parking will be necessary here unless transit service is significantly increased north and south of the station. For example, if you’d like to go north on Robertson you can wait 60 minutes for the 220, which runs daytime only. South, there isn’t any transit service at all: I suppose you could try to find out where Culver City #4 runs; it also operates every 60 minutes daytime only. Not everyone at this TOD only wants to go to Santa Monica, Venice, or downtown LA.

  • Providing an excess of parking, which will result in parking subsidies can help spur the development and potentially the use of the transit line during early years. In later years, when the transit line is well used and the development is popular, additional development can be placed adjacent to the site without added parking. The market rate for parking would then increase.

  • Eric B

    I’m super skeptical about anything above what would be considered “minimal” parking here. There will be a bikestation-like “clean mobility center,” light rail, frequent bus service, a class I bike path along Expo, and a class II bike lane along Venice. This is probably the most transit-oriented place outside of downtown and maybe Hollywood. Culver City needs to realize that too much parking here can and will draw away from these other amenities. More car traffic makes the area less ped- and bike-friendly and can therefore actually reduce “people traffic.”

    Anyone with better information than me: does Metro have any plans to change routes that originate at the “West LA Transit Hub” under the 10 freeway to come by here? It seems that relocating the hub away from freeway fumes and to a bike-friendly light rail station makes sense long term. By all means keep the bus yard under the freeway, but I’m sure people would rather wait/transfer in a nicer area only 1 mile away, not to mention that more trips could be made with fewer transfers if this TOD successfully generates trips.

  • It will take a LOT of density to keep this area from being a remote archipelago in relation to downtown CC. … at least in the near term. Venice and Robertson is simply not within walkable distance for very many people.

    Adding parking could actually be a reasonable short-term solution to boost retail and ridership. As density grows you could then redevelop parking into more housing or retail.

    I realize we don’t want to subsidize driving. But there’s a reason why downtowns add parking. It brings people there.

  • Eric B

    One of the reasons that the number 600 comes up for required commuter parking is that the original EIR for Phase 1 did not know when Phase 2 would be built. The 600 was intended to capture people driving from Santa Monica who wanted to continue going east on the light rail. Now that Phase 1B and Phase 2 will line up better chronologically (with all the delays on 1B and the completed study on 2, despite the lawsuit), that 600 number is way way too high. Downtown Culver City does a great job of parking management, with paid public parking available in garages very close to downtown. The whole area (downtown to Helms) is just out of pedestrian scale, but perfect for bikes or a short developer-paid shuttle circuit. Heck, that corridor is almost made for a streetcar (for development purposes, not necessarily based on transportation merit alone).

    As of late, Culver City isn’t on board with making the corridor bike friendly and not making the strong pedestrian linkages. The Toyota dealer between the V/R station and downtown is a little too lucrative in sales tax for them to dramatically tip the balance away from autos.

    The best strategy would be for Culver City and Los Angeles (since half the station platform is in City of LA) to team up on a parking management district and make the area more like Santa Monica for transportation. Have several convenient public garages, but make other modes a priority both on the street and for (bike) parking. The station parking should be managed collectively as part of the pool so that commuter daytime spaces can be restaurant nighttime spaces.

    Well designed garages with retail street frontage are probably a necessary evil from a development perspective, but I sure hope the City allows them to build as little parking as they’re willing to. The development needs to take full advantage of the bikestation. At the very least, auto parking is not a “community benefit.”

  • UrbanReason

    Are you kidding? there are already THREE large garages in downtown Culver City in which I can always find parking, even during the most busy hours of the day/evening!

    If Venice/Robertson is too far to walk for people in Culver City, how about riding a freaking bike? There is a big garage ON THIS BLOCK!! And it’s NEVER full! Are you telling me it’s too hard for someone to walk ONE BLOCK? Sorry, but it just seems outrageous that ANYONE would think Culver City needs MORE parking to support the expo line and I can’t help but hyperventilate and use a lot of exclamation points.

    *calming down*
    We need transit oriented projects like this, let’s stop encouraging the unhealthy alternative. C’mon people!

  • Scott

    Missing the point folks, increased parking supports the destination element while also alleviating the potential spill over into neighby residental streets which are precisely the people who are going to oppose this. Not putting significant parking these isn’t suddenly going to stop people from driving there, it’s just going to clog nearby areas.

  • Urban Reason

    @Scott:

    So the several unused stories of parking garages beginning on this block and extending 3 blocks west of here aren’t “significant” enough parking?

    Tuesday is by far the busiest weekday here with the Farmers Market on Main St. and there is ALWAYS parking in both the parking garages at Ince & Washington/Culver as well as the garage on Culver @ Cardiff and Culver @ Watseka.

    The only obvious access to a residential area from this project is via Higuera or Ince into a neighborhood that, where unmetered, is permit parking.

    I don’t think I’m missing the point, I simply don’t believe your point represents a theory that holds water in this (or many an other) instance.

  • Alice Hale

    Building parking with the idea that you can redevelop it later doesn’t work. Transit agencies find that trying to replace the parking with development has the current users of the parking screaming; future users of hte redevelopment are not represented in the process. Building structured replacement parking is the obstacle to may good potential TODS around the country.

    Build it right in the first place and trust that people who can’t imagine not having free parking everywhere aren’t really the target market for TOD anyway.

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