August 11, 2016

Los Angeles: Final Stop for the Millennial Trains Project

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Los Angeles: Final Stop for the Millennial Trains Project

In Los Angeles, government is struggling with two interconnected issues: Adequately provide homes and services for a growing number of its residents, and leveraging investments in public transit in order to address worsening traffic congestion. Enterprise Community Partners and Abt Associates assisted the city in creating and implementing a Transit-Oriented Consolidated Plan (ConPlan) which integrates and maximizes transit, community, economic and housing development investments. The ConPlan is innovative in its approach in twinning transit and housing resources. It also serves as a great model for other cities struggling with these same issues - it’s the first in the nation to adopt a coordinated, place-based approach with a focus on equitable transit-oriented development.

Doubling up by 2030

Measure R investments will double the size of Los Angeles County’s rail and bus rapid transit system by 2030, representing one of the largest transit expansion currently underway in our country. To ensure that all residents will have an opportunity to benefit from this massive investment, the Los Angeles Housing Department commissioned a report to identify key neighborhoods where proactive preservation of affordable homes is needed prior to the completion of new transit stations. The four priority areas – Hollywood, Red/Purple Line, North of I-10, Expo Line – are west of Downtown and represent the greatest need and opportunity for preservation of affordable and vulnerable housing through 2017.

Follow RachelReillyC and @MakeRoomUSA on Twitter and Instagram for more information on my day in Los Angeles. I went to the Hollywood preservation priority area to speak with residents at Vendome Palms and rode the Expo Line out to Santa Monica.   

A Home + Public Transit = Opportunity

Nothing struck me as much as the visual prevalence of Los Angeles’ homelessness crisis. Admittedly, it’s been a while, so I thought maybe I had just remembered it differently. But the truth is that the number of tents, makeshift encampments and vehicles occupied by homeless people grew by 85% from 2013 to 2015. Most of the people I spoke with attributed it to the economy – low wages, lay-offs, and subsequent depression and addiction – and rising rents.

While I was there I spoke with Wallace and Angelo, both of whom were homeless prior to moving to Vendome Palms. In 2006, A Community of Friends received a loan from Enterprise Community Loan Fund to purchase a dilapidated, vacant building and transform it into a refuge for Los Angeles’ homeless population. When the project was announced, some neighbors argued that the building should instead be demolished and used as a parking lot. Today Vendome Palms is successfully rehabilitating formerly homeless Angelinos, and its location along Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake provides residents a connection to the city through multiple modes of public transit.


7 New Expo Line Stations. Now Open.

In May, Phase 2 of the Expo Line extension was completed. So far, both weekend and weekday ridership on the line is up, and apparently, it’s changed at least one life. In keeping with celebrity promotions of new fixed rail public transit, Shelia Kuehl exclaims in this video, “We’ve been waiting 50 years for this day. A train to from downtown to the ocean, and back.” The extension runs 6.6 miles from Culver City to Santa Monica, and new mixed-use projects like Ivy Station will soon begin popping up along the line.

Check out this new tool that will help California developers make smarter development decisions by building near transit, promoting access to bike share, right-sizing parking, and more!

Thanks for Following Along!

Thanks for traveling along with me on my Millennial Trains Project journey to explore the connections between housing and transit and lift up the stories of people being impacted by changing communities nationwide. I will be compiling the stories I gathered in each city – including those from Wallace and Angelo – and providing recommendations for how cities can promote equity and housing based on our research and pilot programs. That wrap up will be posted here on Housing Horizons, so stay tuned!

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