Sometimes, we can take for granted how far Los Angeles has come in the past half decade when we look ahead at all the many things that have to happen before this becomes a truly Livable City. But when I was reading the promotional materials for tomorrow's Community Visioning Festival for Metro's Union Station access study, I couldn't help but remember the first ever "Los Angeles" story to appear on Streetsblog.
On August 22, 2007, while I was literally finishing my last day of work at the Tri-State Transportation Campaign in mid-town Manhattan, Streetsblog published a piece by Aaron Donovan discussing a handful of West Coast transit hubs he visited during his honeymoon. In a couple of paragraphs, he lamented the sign on Alameda Street in front of Union Station prohibiting a pedestrian crossing. The comments section exploded. The idea of creating easier pedestrian access to the station was too ridiculous for some Angelenos.
Of course, now Metro is doing just that for both Union Station and the nearby future Regional Connector Station at First and Central. And doing it in a way that is fun and interesting.
Hoping to draw energy from the Dia De Los Muertos festival in El Pueblo, across the street and up the hill from Union Station, Metro is holding its Community Visioning Festival from 11 am to 2 pm tomorrow. The Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition is hosting a bicycle tour of the area. There will also be walking tours.
After the tour, or instead of for those just there for the party, there will be maps for people to chart their routes, questionnaires to gauge cyclists reactions and even pages with crayons and stickers to design the "perfect street." It's not quite a James Rojas interactive modeling project, but he's busy this weekend.
Streetsblog has long held that a little out-of-the-box community participation leads to more creative ideas, be it Rojas' projects, the innovative outreach done by Long Beach's Studio 111 and City Fabrick, and the Pop Up Greenway on Michigan Avenue in Santa Monica. Tagging on to the giant Dia De Los Muerto and giving participants a fun way to provide feedback and ideas ranks up there as an innovative way to reach people where they are. Let's hope it leads to a great design and project.
The Union Station and 1st/Central Station Linkages Study is tasked with improving historical and cultural connections in downtown Los Angeles by enhancing pedestrian and bicycle travel options through and between communities. At the center of the study is access to Los Angeles Union Station, a regional transportation hub for numerous rail, bus and shuttle services, and the future Regional Connector station at 1st/Central.