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Street Smart: Street Cars and Cities in the 21st Century

12:29 PM PDT on May 2, 2008

oin the national nonprofit Reconnecting
America and the Seaside Institute, the American Public Transportation
Association, the national Community Streetcar Coalition, the City of
Los Angeles, and other sponsors for:
 

A WORKSHOP ABOUT STREETCARS based on the award-winning book STREET
SMART: STREETCARS AND CITIES IN THE 21
st CENTURY

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2008, 8:00 a.m.-4
p.m.

Orpheum Theatre, 842 S. Broadway, Los
Angeles, CA 90014
 

WHY STREETCARS? WHY NOW? AND
WHY IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

The tremendous success of the Portland Streetcar has stimulated interest
in streetcars across the U.S. because it proved a powerful magnet for
economic development, stimulating $3.5 billion investment in two new
walkable downtown neighborhoods. The brand new Seattle streetcar is
having similar success in South Lake Union, as have streetcars in other
cities ranging from Tampa to tiny Kenosha, WI. In Southern California
streetcar projects have been proposed in downtown L.A., Pasadena, Culver
City/Beverly Hills, Long Beach, San Pedro (an extension of the existing
historic trolley), Warner Center, Anaheim, Santa Ana and Irvine.

These projects could transform the urban centers they service by:

    • Linking  disparate places into someplace, and proving a boon for pedestrians and streetlife, galleries, clubs, restaurants and shops;
    • Helping to market walkable, higher density residential and mixed-use neighborhoods and a “green lifestyle”;
    • Connecting destinations to regional rail and bus and creating neighborhoods that make it possible to live without a car;
    • Helping achieve public goals like affordability and high-quality public space.

If communities across Southern California
are afraid of density, these streetcar neighborhoods could serve as
models of sustainability where walkability, mixed-use and proximity
to transit help reduce transportation expenditures, greenhouse gas emissions
and dependency on foreign oil. Southern California once had the largest
electric trolley system in the country, with 6,000 trains running on
144 routes extending into four counties.
 

We are staging a streetcar workshop
at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on May 22,

2008, where streetcar advocates, residents, and property and business
owners will talk with national streetcar experts about:

    • How streetcars compare to other modes of transportation;
    • How streetcars can make development more profitable by allowing for more density and less parking;
    • What streetcars have done for residents and property and business owners in cities ranging from Portland to Tampa to Kenosha;
    • How streetcars can leverage the value of urban real estate, and help market higher-density development and a “green” lifestyle;
    • How streetcars shape development and reduce driving and greenhouse gas emissions;
    • How communities can profit from zoning for density, intensity and intimacy near the streetcar line, and use the money to help achieve public goals including affordability and parks;
    • Political and funding strategies that get robust streetcar systems built;
    • Funding options including the federal Small Starts program and state and local funding programs.

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