With Caveats, High Speed Rail, And Its Stations, Chug Ahead In California

Conceptual rendering of the Fresno to Bakersfield route (CA High Speed Rail)

Conceptual rendering of the Fresno to Bakersfield route (CA High Speed Rail)

Despite ongoing delays, lawsuits, and government holdups, it appears that California’s High Speed Rail (HSR) plans (and their associated stations) are ready to move ahead. Last week the United States Department of Transportation issued a “Record of Decision” for HSR’s initial 114-mile section from Fresno to Bakersfield.

Continue reading after the jump.

Victory in Round 3 for Los Angeles’ MyFigueroa Streetscape Project

A recent compromise among stakeholders means that the project can now move forward. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

A recent compromise among stakeholders means that the project can now move forward. (Courtesy MyFigueroa)

After four years of stops and starts, MyFigueroa, the $20 million proposal to transform Los Angeles’ Figueroa Corridor from a regional throughway to a bike- and pedestrian-friendly destination, appears to be moving ahead. Overseen by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) with design assistance from Melendrez, Troller Mayer Associates, and Gehl Architects, MyFigueroa will add separated cycle tracks or buffered bike lanes, bike racks, and improved transit shelters, lighting, and landscaping to 4.5 miles of streets between LA Live and Exposition Park.

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On View> No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station

(Courtesy Getty Research Institute)

(Courtesy Getty Research Institute)

No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station
Los Angeles Public Library, Central Library
630 West 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA
Through August 10

Known as the “Last of the Great Railway Stations,” Los Angeles Union Station receives due recognition with the exhibition entitled No Further West: The Story of Los Angeles Union Station. Organized by the Getty Research Institute, the exhibition will span from the station’s construction in 1939, when its construction became an incidental platform for racial issues of the era, to today, when it serves 60,000 commuter passengers daily. Photographs, architectural drawings, and other archival items will all relay the story of the station’s journey from a basic transportation hub to an important centerpiece of Southern California architecture. The Los Angeles Public Library—an iconic cultural centerpiece itself—hosts the exhibition until August 10.

Finally, Los Angeles moving ahead with rail connection to LAX

Staff rendering of proposed 96th street station (METRO)

Staff rendering of proposed 96th street station (METRO)

At long last, it appears Los Angeles is getting its train to the airport. Last week, the board of LA County’s transit agency, METRO, agreed to proceed with a $200-million light-rail station, part of the new Crenshaw Line, connecting to a proposed people mover that will usher passengers to their terminals. The new station would be located about a mile and a half east of LAX’s central terminal area, and about a half mile north of the Crenshaw Line’s Aviation/ Century Stop,  at 96th Street and Aviation Boulevard.

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Proponents Lose Battle to Build Park Across Los Angeles River

The old Figueroa-Riverside bridge will be demolished as a new vehicular bridge is built upstream. (waltarrrrr / Flickr)

The old Figueroa-Riverside bridge will be demolished as a new vehicular bridge is built upstream. (waltarrrrr / Flickr)

A proposal to turn the old Riverside-Figueroa Bridge into a High Line–style park appears to be dead after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order to demolition crews. Introduced by RAC Design Build and EnrichLA last fall, the Figueroa Landbridge would have preserved part of the 1939 bridge for use by pedestrians and cyclists while the replacement span for vehicular traffic was built upstream. Read More

ArtPlace Announces 2014 Placemaking Grant Recipients

 

Pearl Street Bock Party in Philadelphia in 2013. (Courtesy Tim Lee)

Pearl Street Block Party in Philadelphia in 2013. (Courtesy Tim Lee)

ArtPlace America, a non-profit comprised of national and local foundations that provides placemaking grants, has awarded its latest round cash—nearly $15 million to implement projects in 79 communities around the country. This year, 31 percent of grants will go toward projects in rural communities, essentially doubling the amount allocated for similar projects last year.

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Open Streets Events Rolling Out Across the Country This Summer

Summer Streets 2011 (New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr)

Summer Streets 2011 (New York City Department of Transportation/Flickr)

The Open Streets movement is a wildly popular tool in the Tactical Urbanist‘s arsenal. The concept is simple: shut down city streets to automobile traffic for a day so pedestrians and cyclists can fully utilize our most plentiful public spaces. Cities from New York to Los Angeles now celebrate their open spaces with programs that are about to kick off for the summer season. Here’s a roundup of some of the top programs around the country.

View upcoming open streets events after the jump.

New York City Traffic Safety Laws Signed by Mayor De Blasio Seek To Strengthen Vision Zero Plan

Mayor de Blasio signing the legislation on Monday. (New York City Mayor's Office)

Mayor de Blasio signing the legislation on Monday. (New York City Mayor’s Office)

In his ongoing effort to eliminate traffic fatalities through Vision Zero, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has signed 11 new traffic safety bills. According to Streetsblog, the bills “suspend the licenses of dangerous taxi drivers, require the installation of 20 mph Slow Zones, and make it a misdemeanor to strike a pedestrian or cyclist with the right of way, among other changes.”

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No more clowning around, team proposes a circus for architects

(The Spectacle Syndicate)

(The Spectacle Syndicate)

Circuses have been a historic gathering place in cities and towns across America. Crowds of people are attracted to the towering tent, local music, and fragrant carnival food. A group of five architects tap into this pop appeal with their project, Circus for Construction, which won a competition in May,2014 held by Storefront for Art & Architecture. Their plan retrofits a semi-truck to transform into a pop-up venue and experimental gallery space for architecture and art.

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Twin Cities celebrate first inter-city rail connection in decades

Minneapolis Metro Transit Trains at Target Field Station. (Mark Danielson / Flickr)

Minneapolis Metro Transit Trains at Target Field Station. (Mark Danielson / Flickr)

For a metro area as widely praised for its alternative transportation options as Minnesota’s Twin Cities, it’s surprising Minneapolis and St. Paul are only now celebrating a new light rail connection between their downtowns. Read More

NYC Transportation Head Outlines Priorities For Building Infrastructure & Public Space

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg announcing a Vision Zero "Slow Zone" in Brooklyn. (DOT / Flickr)

DOT Commissioner Trottenberg announcing a Vision Zero “Slow Zone” in Brooklyn. (Courtesy NYCDOT)

At a recent transportation forum hosted by the New York Building Congress, New York City Transportation Commissioner, Polly Trottenberg, laid-out her agenda for the city’s streets. She said implementing Mayor de Blasio’s Vision Zero plan to reduce traffic fatalities remains the department’s first priority, but made clear that, under her leadership, the NYCDOT will be doing more than safety upgrades.

Trottenberg praised her predecessor, Janette Sadik-Khan, for “cracking some eggs” and fighting for bike lanes, bikeshare, Select Bus Service, and pedestrian plazas when it was not politically popular to do so. She explained that Sadik-Khan’s commitment to these types of programs—and the Bloomberg administration’s ability to realize them—makes her job that much easier. The challenge now is keeping up with the demand for new public space.

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Motor City’s first buffered bike lanes planned for Midtown

Detroit's 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City's first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Detroit’s 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet that may include the Motor City’s first buffered bike lanes. (Curbed Detroit)

Given the severity and number of challenges facing Detroit, streetscape improvements might not seem like a very high priority. But in the Motor City’s Midtown, one of the city’s relatively resurgent neighborhoods, a local planning non-profit is betting that encouraging more bicyclists and pedestrians will be a boon for the area. As a result, Detroit may soon get its first buffered bike lanes. Between Temple Street and Warren Avenue, Midtown’s 2nd Avenue is the target of a substantial road diet, as first reported by ModeShiftRead More

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