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

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

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

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


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
  • 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.


Street Smart: Streetcars and Cities in the 21st Century Workshop

(The following post was written by Ron Milam, longtime transportation advocate, co-founder of the LACBC, Eco-Villager and self-employed consultant. Read more about Ron at his website.  Also, our friend Darrell Clarke has more images from the conference at LA Visions.) Imagine streetcars returning to Los Angeles. Picture a modern, quiet streetcar going down Broadway in […]

Streetcar Workshops Come to Los Angeles Next Week

Many of the Workshops at Next Week’s Conference Were Based on the Book Street Smart One week from today, the Seaside Institute will be holding am all-day workshop on streetcars at the Orpheum Theatre.  With the news last winter that the city is thinking of putting a trolley back on Broadway, this workshop could provide […]

Downtown Streetcar Project Opens Website, Seeks Feedback

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Reminder: Streetcar Workshop Coming Tomorrow

A Streetcar Breezes Through a Downtown Plaza in Portland Street Smart, The Seaside Institute’s all-day conference on streetcars, and how Los Angeles could benefit by bringing a streetcar system back to our streets, is scheduled for tomorrow. I was planning on writing a long post about the conference today, but since I wrote a small […]