Slow Train to Los Angeles: Book Review of 'Railtown'

Had it been written about, say, Shanghai or Dubai, Railtown would have been scarcely longer than a page. Autocracies have a knack for infrastructure development.

Smart Growth Literature Hits a Cul-du-Sac

Where is Robert Bruegemann when you need him?

A few years back, Bruegmann wrote Sprawl: A Compact History, an exaltation of low-density growth. It called for cities to double-down on all the conventions and mistakes of the previous 50 years. It was a disturbingly anachronistic, but it was provocative, and it was passionate.

It seems that these days there's still plenty of in urbanist literature, but, for better or worse, provocation is getting harder to come by.

Anaheim Reinvents the Train Station

The $188 million Anaheim Regional Transportation Intermodal Center (ARTIC), which broke ground earlier this month, is the most recent example of a fast-growing list of public facilities with big ambitions: the local transit hub that connects local and regional transit rail lines with bus service, taxies, bicycle locks and sometimes business services for travelers.  The anticipation of high-speed rail also adds some drama to the Anaheim transit center. 

California Shifts Towards Bike Sharing

Watch out, Copenhagen.

Like so many a rider at the back of the peleton, California cities have long lagged behind their European counterparts in their embrace of bicycling. But they are now clipping in and gearing with the dramatic arrival of bike sharing. With zero major bike-sharing systems currently in the state, no fewer than five California cities will be adopting pilot projects by mid-2013.  

New Light Rail Line Opens Up World of TOD Possibilities

It’s not quite the Golden Spike, but the completion of Phase I of the Los Angeles Expo Line light rail marks a momentous occasion in the history of westward rail expansion.

(Subway) Tunnels of Love: ‘Straphanger’ and ‘Human Transit’

A few weeks ago the nation’s public radio listeners let out a collective sigh of lament when the Tappet Brothers announced the discontinuation of Car Talk. Cars are so much of who we are that it’s no wonder that Car Talk was public radio’s highest rated show. It’s also no wonder that there’s no outcry for a “Public Transit Talk” – though two authors are trying to change that.  

Resurrected Parking Bill Draws Fire from APA (Updated)

Update: Yesterday the leadership of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association decided to oppose the current draft of Assembly Bill 904, which seeks to lower parking minimums in transit-oriented areas. Here is the APA's letter (.doc) to bill sponsor Nancy Skinner.  

Small Solutions: West Hollywood Devises Parking Credits Plan

When Axl Rose first stepped off the bus from Indiana, took the stage at the Whisky, and screeched out the opening lines of “Welcome to the Jungle,” he probably wasn’t thinking about parking. But he might as well have been. 

Bay Area TOD Hailed as National Model

Smart growthers tout transit-oriented development more often than any other strategy. Yet with the exception of a few few showpiece developments, TOD has yet to catch fire in practice. This year, the American Planning Association recognized one such development in the hopes that, finally, the trend will catch on. 

Book Review: Aerotropolis Promotes Planning Where Land Meets Sky

A certain beloved urban theorist once wrote about cities and the wealth of nations. With all due respect to Jane Jacobs, forget about nations. In the age of globalization, nations matter less and less. You'd think that cities would too, with the proliferation of electronic communication and the magic of the "cloud." But, argue John D. Kasarda and Greg Lindsay, one of the big reasons why cities will continue to thrive is actually up among the real clouds.