These are exciting times for Urban Planners. Planning, Land Use and Mobility issues are hot topics in communities throughout the City. Neighborhood Councils debate the causes of traffic and the merits of more vs. less parking and the impact of density on their lives and on the walkability and ridability and livability of their streets. Urban Planners are the new rock star!
Through it all, New Urbanist and Smart Growth proponents pour Kool-Aid for the converts while Shoupistas proudly carry "The High Cost of Free Parking" under their arm as they engage in the great debate over parking, parking revenue and community revitalization.
Through it all, the Metro touts its development as a catalyst for rebirth, regeneration, revival, all the result of the connectivity and activity that is generated when people get out of the single occupant vehicle and frequent transit hubs that subsequently attract businesses that cater to the large numbers of pedestrians, all of whom have quotidian needs that represent a huge economic opportunity.
Examples of this vibrant street life surrounding busy transit hubs abound around the world. Budapest, Munich, London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, New York, Tokyo, Chicago, San Francisco and...
How about Van Nuys?
It's got the numbers. The Orange Line is busy beyond projections and expectations. Van Nuys Boulevard is a heavy transit route. If there is a connection between mass transit and transit hubs and loads of human activity and economic development and mixed use development...surely after the last couple of years, Van Nuys would show some impact!
There's definitely evidence of mixed use...
Domestic Automobiles vs. Imported Automobiles!
New Automobiles vs. Used Automobiles!
Large scale used car dealers vs. Smaller used car dealers!
Auto repairs, Auto accessories...
Seat Covers in English and in Spanish!
Healthy Competition! Good for the Consumer!
Healthy Competition! Good for the Departed!
Healthy Competition! Good for the Incarcerated!
Healthy Competition! Pedestrians against traffic, unsupported by crosswalks...good for the heart rate!
A business on the rise next to a business on the decline...
A business that caters to Winners next to a business that caters to Losers...
Porno and Lingerie at one end of the street, Liquor and Food at the other...
Parking for those who are about to enter into a lease, both short term and permanent.
A vibrant street life supported by a law office and complemented by the hustle bustle inside the State's fortress.
Prime Real Estate lovingly fortified and put to use by the DWP as...another fortress, complete with security perimeter!
More abundant Prime Real Estate, used to store excess Car Dealer inventory! Go Metro!
A big ass parking lot with loads of free parking for the public and a place for bikes to go when they die.
Rustic accommodations for the worker and the more luxurious accommodations for the tourist! "Van Nuys is the place to go!"
Orange Line Buses in such quantity that they tailgate, Rapids and Locals offering North/South connectivity...
Loads of pedestrian activity, all of it motivated by a desire to find the same thing, an escape route, a way out, because, ultimately, for all of the investment and all of the activity and all of the mass transit...there's little reason to be here...unless, of course, you want to buy a car, rent a car, park a car, accessorize a car, tune a car, get bail, get legal representation, get drunk, get hot-and-bothered or just get buried.
Seriously, if the Transit Oriented Development concept is to be put to the test, how about right here, in the center of the Valley, just south of the Civic Center, complete with its Federal, State, County and City facilities. This should be a showcase for development, a place for our City's economic development department to show their stuff, a place for the Metro to turn their "we're good for the neighborhood" powerpoint presentation into a "Wow! This is a great neighborhood!" demonstration.