Manager of the Local Climate Change Initiative Juan Matute addressed California State Assembly Members about options to finance public improvements. Matute recently wrote a policy brief on the evolution of policy options used to fund or finance local infrastructure improvements in California. A key finding was that though financing needs for infill settings in established communities were more complicated, fewer practical financing options existed in these areas. On Wednesday, August 28th, the California Assembly's Select Committee on Community and Neighborhood Development held a hearing to explore challenges to funding and financing infrastructure improvements in established communities, especially in light of the dissolution of redevelopment in California two years ago. Matute and UCLA Urban Planning alumnus and City of San Diego Planning Director Bill Fulton gave official testimony about the challenges to infrastructure finance in established communities, where many statewide funding mechanisms are less applicable or more difficult to use. At the hearing, the Assembly Members and witnesses discussed options to institute a more limited form of tax increment financing applicable to infill areas and high quality transit areas, a topic currently under consideration in Senate President Darrell Steinberg's SB 1.
In February 2013, City of Los Angeles unveiled its first pair of parklets. Six months forward, UCLA Luskin and affiliated researchers have found the parklets bring an improved quality of life to residents and visitors along the Spring Street corridor. In an evaluation (PDF) completed as a part of the “Reclaiming the Right of Way” project, researchers at UCLA Luskin’s Complete Streets Initiative and the research collaborative Parklet Studies monitored various elements one would find in a thriving urban street setting — including pedestrian and bike traffic, use of public space, and patronage of local businesses — to gauge how the neighborhood has changed since the parklets were installed. Parklets are small public spaces created in urban areas from the conversion of parking spots, alleyways and other underutilized spaces for cars into places for people. Los Angeles joins New York, San Francisco and Vancouver, B.C., in the ranks of cities that have encouraged parklets as innovative solutions to increase access to open space and provide residents opportunities for recreation in their neighborhoods. Two of the four Los Angeles pilot parklet installations, which are located at the ends of a block of Spring Street in Downtown’s Historic Core, offer local residents a place to sit and [...]
Complete Streets Initiative Announces the Opening of Parklets; Manual for Living Streets Wins National Award
On February 7, two "parklets," or micro urban parks, were officially opened in downtown Los Angeles in a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony on Spring Street; the Lewis Center's Complete Streets Initiative played a central role in creating these new public spaces. "This parklet is the first in the nation focused on active recreation," said Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Associate Dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, who was a lead Lewis Center researcher on the project and who spoke at the ceremony. The parklet features bike equipment and a foosball table along with seating and vegetation. The two parklets on Spring Street were designed by the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council with support from Councilmember Jose Huizar and the L.A. Department of Transportation. The Complete Streets Initiative worked with these partners throughout the project phases and supported construction with a grant from the Rosaline & Arthur Gilbert Foundation. The local parklet movement is guided by the parklet toolkit (PDF) authored by Loukaitou-Sideris, UCLA Complete Streets Initiative Manager Madeline Brozen, and UCLA Luskin Center Deputy Director Colleen Callahan. "It is a very exciting day for Los Angeles and UCLA. We are seeing our research put into action by helping the city implement this [...]
A new report from the National Research Council examines major policies that could save energy and reduce emissions from the U.S. transportation sector over the next 20 to 50 years. It will take more than tougher fuel economy standards for U.S. transportation to significantly cut its oil use over the next half century. It will likely require a combination of measures that foster consumer and supplier interest in vehicle fuel economy, alternative fuels, and a more efficient transportation system, says a new report from the National Research Council. Public interest in reducing the cost of securing the nation's energy supplies, curbing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs), and improving transportation operations could motivate such varied actions. "It is not simply a matter of choosing a single best policy," said Emil Frankel, director of transportation policy, Bipartisan Policy Center, Washington, D.C., and chair of the committee that wrote the report. "Decisions about whether and how to reduce transportation's use of oil will require officials to consider a range of options." The U.S. transportation sector accounts for more than two-thirds of the nation's oil use and about 25 percent of its carbon dioxide emissions. Federal regulations over the past [...]