A TOD Cabinet for Collaboration

14 Dec

When it comes to transit-oriented development, Los Angeles is a city brimming with plans, ideas, and long-term vision. But, according to a report [PDF] by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute, the municipality has been lacking on the coordination and implementation fronts. Since 1993 the City has had a transit-oriented policy that was passed and adopted by the City Council and Metro’s board. But a lack of collaboration internally and inconsistent coordination with outside players has essentially left these policies “sitting on the shelf.” The report notes that some of those decades-old policies “still have merit in 2012.”

While we’ve been focused on new approaches to transit-oriented development, it seems like it’s time for the City of Los Angeles to dust off some old ideas and to begin implementing policies and strategies that have been on the books for a while. An ad-hoc committee recently produced a report [PDF] outlining the steps to create and implement a unified TOD plan for Los Angeles. One of the primary recommendations was to foster more inter-governmental collaboration, which is no small order in the bureaucratic behemoth that is the City of Los Angeles.

In response to the report, a Transit Corridors Cabinet has been created to serve as the central entity for an all-City effort to promote coordinated delivery of a comprehensive transit-oriented development strategy. In keeping with the spirit of departmental coordination, members of the Metro Board of Directors, City Planning Commission, Board of Public Works, and a Community Investment Representative will lead the Cabinet. This group will be responsible for setting goals, identifying metrics, and tracking progress within each City department to ensure that everyone is playing nice and working together to fulfill Los Angeles’ larger transit-oriented design goals.

If executed properly, this Cabinet has the potential to be a game changer for transportation planning in Los Angeles. But the success of this Cabinet will rely on the next mayor’s commitment to continue support for this fledgling cabinet. Here’s hoping that this is the first step to a more coherent (and actionable) transit-oriented design framework in Los Angeles.

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