CAN’T HEAR THE PEOPLE FOR THE PROFITS - At a San Bernardino County Association of Governments special meeting Wednesday night in Victorville, to which I had the honor of an invitation, a discussion of the proposed widening of the I-10 and I-15 freeways in the Inland Empire involved everything from funding, mobility, toll lanes, traffic management, development and transit opportunity. My own personal message: don’t let the Inland Empire repeat the mistakes of LA!
Closer to home, we’ve got the Casden Sepulveda project, which threatens to not only devastate a mobility-choked Westside but also shred the credibility and reputation of mass transit as an opportunity to allow the grassroots to work with local government and developers to create a partnership for a better Economy, Environment and Quality of Life.
After fighting for years, if not decades, for a billion-dollar Exposition Light Rail Line, it should be reminded that Expo advocates, Planning advocates, Transportation/Transit advocates, and Neighborhood Councilmembers do not get paid a dime for their time, sweat and energy—in fact, they often pay money and suffer the impacts on their family and physical health for their exhaustive work.
I wish we could all conclude that leaving it to the experts and Planners and political leaders to make our lives better would be a safer, smarter and happier way to proceed, but with the abuses and criminal naiveté observed in our failure to enact and enforce reasonable Planning policy and laws, the taxpaying and caring community advocates have to step up.
And step up. And step up. Again and again and again.
Well, if anyone who wants the land surrounding the critical Exposition/Sepulveda light rail station (which will likely someday intersect with a future planned north-south rail or other transit line) to be used for transit-oriented development, to be built within LA City zoning law, and to enjoy a favorable environmental impact, it’s time to trek over to the San Fernando Valley for the day.
I’ve nothing against the Valley—quite the opposite, in fact. They’ve been shortchanged on representation and the appropriation of City and County funds in the past, and aren’t always treated to well even to this day. Yet just as I wouldn’t want Valley residents to have to lose a day in the Westside for a major Valley project, right now City law and policy demands Westsiders lose a day to spend in the Valley.
A day lost from our work, from our families and from our lives.
All because LA City Planning has prioritized the profits of a well-connected Casden development team to sneak through a heretofore unvetted 6-700 unit mixed-use project on land currently zoned for industrial use (and literally adjacent to and under the I-405 freeway), and in a location that no self-respecting individual would want to live, and in a location that no child should ever have to grow up.
The Westside needs upscale residential and commercial development, densified appropriately and sustainably on its major commercial corridors, but it does not need a potential “Westside Jordan Downs Project” and a traffic-destroying obstacle that will limit and prevent regional Expo Line access.
The upcoming Planning meeting to discuss this sudden and unvetted project (supposed to be mixed use, affordable housing, transit-oriented, etc—all the usual buzzwords to make Planners drool, even they though they’ll never live there themselves) will be on Thursday, February 28th at the Valley City Hall.
The agenda is long and uncertain, so probably it’s best to devote the entire day. Let your family and/or employers know, and please do so with my regrets.
However, I assure all Westsiders and transit/planning advocates everywhere that NOT attending is by far worse a strategy—because I can assure you that all the paid consultants and contractors of the Casden developers will be there in earnest, salivating in anticipation of making quite a fiscal killing while they send those who advocate for the Westside, transportation planning, and urban planning straight to hell.
Vol 11 Issue 16
Pub: Feb 22, 2013