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Reminder: Streetcar Workshop Coming Tomorrow

11:20 AM PDT on May 21, 2008

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 story last week, just about every transportation related blog has written a larger story on the workshop. If you want to read more, about the workings of the conference, check out the great stories at MetroRider, Atwater Village News or Blogdowntown.The conference will be based upon the a book Street Smart written by Gloria Ohland, who doubles as the conference organizer. Ohland visited Streetsblog last week and outlined her vision for streetcars in Los Angeles. Her comments provide a more vivid picture of what streetcars could do for Los Angeles.

I believe that streetcars are the next step in the evolution of this city from an auto-oriented city to a transit-oriented city - it's the connection between transit and THE PEOPLE (the peds and bikes)!

I'm organizing the streetcar workshop and have been spending a lot of time in downtown LA recently and I'm convinced it's at the tipping point of becoming a real urban neighborhood! The streetcar could be the catalyst! The whole region is so freakin' afraid of density but I see an urban spine up the subway corridor of dense, walkable, mixed use, mixed-income communities - from downtown to Koreatown to Hollywood to North Hollywood. These neighborhoods could provide real models for "green living" - with reduced VMT and GHG emissions. Density means increased energy efficiency - for buildings and for transportation.

Streetcars are particularly interesting because they're not really about transportation - they're about focusing development and investment along a particular alignment so that you have a walkable, mixed use, high-density neighborhood. It's about bringing the development (and pedestrians and riders) to transit, not the other way around. I think the whole transportation paradigm is changing.

We're getting back to the idea of land use as a transportation solution . . . Like in the old days.

The conference begins tomorrow morning at 7:30 A.M. at the Los Angeles Theater. Registration is $75.

Photo: Urbanista_1/Flickr 

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