Category Archives: smart growth

Ideas for Downtown LA: Make Union Station a Destination (Not Just a Transfer Point)

Los Angeles Union Station has been getting busier and busier over the years as multiple train lines and bus routes have converged here

It was officially announced last month that the Los Angeles County transportation agency, Metro, was purchasing the beautiful but underutilized Union Station from a private owner. Even though it is underutilized (ridership could be higher) and has so much more potential (more varied uses on site), Union Station is still the undisputed hub of transit on the entire West Coast (west of Chicago to be exact).

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Half of Livingstone Condos Sold in Pasadena

Urban living at The Livingstone in Downtown Pasadena

The Livingstone, with its brand new condos for sale and central location, is one of my favorite mixed-use residential developments in Downtown Pasadena. The building has many unique attributes that make it stand out as a jewel including its location and preserved historic features. (More details below)

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Ideas for Pasadena: Close Back Entrances to Increase Foot Traffic on South Lake Avenue

Anthropologie does not have a back entrance facing the Shoppers Lane parking lot and should be the model for other stores on South Lake Avenue to help direct much needed pedestrian activity onto the street instead of allowing the back entrances to siphon away the pedestrian energy from South Lake Avenue

This is an updated post to the one from last week where I recommended that in order to help funnel much needed pedestrian energy onto South Lake Avenue itself, the back entrances for many of the stores that face the Shoppers Lane parking lot should be closed to the general public and reserved only for employees or possibly loading large merchandise from stores like Pacific Sales.

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Video: Moving Beyond the Automobile: Transit-Oriented Development (Applied to Pasadena)

This is a great short video that I saw on Streetsblog LA (only about 3 minutes long) about the benefits of building transit-oriented developments (or “T.O.D.’s” for short). As you watch it, please keep in mind how these principles of urban planning–to reduce the dependency on automobile use–could be applied to a city like Pasadena, which is already connected to the Metro Gold Line (but many stations are currently underutilized like Fillmore and Lake Ave stations).

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A Noise Within Hard Hat Construction Tour in East Pasadena

A Noise Within is building out a brand new theater space next to the the Stuart Apartments and Sierra Madre Villa Gold Line station

This past Sunday, patrons of the arts gathered for a hard hat tour at the construction site of the soon-to-be new headquarters of A Noise Within theater company (they are relocating from Glendale). A nice big fat check for $50,000 from Wells Fargo also sat against an easel with a rendering of the completed theater, which will seat 300 in the audience. The check reminded everyone who attended that fundraising was still in session.

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Gold Line Metro Stations Get New TV Monitors

All Gold Line stations, including Memorial Park pictured here, are getting new display monitors that give transit riders up-to-date information on train schedules and times

For those who ride the Gold Line (like transit riders in Pasadena en route to Downtown LA), you may have noticed recently that Metro has been upgrading all the light-rail stations with television monitors and scrolling marquees that will display train schedules so riders won’t be left in the dark anymore when it comes to the “next train arrival time.”

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Pasadena Civic Center Improvement Project Begins

Work has begun on a new improvement project in the Pasaden Civic Center that will be especially beneficial to pedestrians

A very exciting improvement project (planned awhile ago) has finally begun around the Pasadena Civic Center. The project deemed “Civic Center-Midtown District Public Improvements Project” will upgrade the aesthetics and infrastructure of the area around Pasadena City Hall helping to integrate the Civic Center into the rest of the community with stronger visual and aesthetic connections that especially benefit pedestrians.

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Futuristic Undulating Bike Shelter a Glimpse into Pasadena’s Master Bike Plan?

This bike shelter design was proposed for the Metro Gold Line right-of-way near the Memorial Park station in Old Pasadena (Photo: Peter Tolkin Architecture)

After posting about Long Beach’s wonderful bike lanes that will be fully separated from traffic (so jealous!) and also me lamenting about Pasadena’s current dearth of bike friendly routes (some commenters agreed with me in that post), Angela Uriu from Peter Tolkin Architecture (yes, the same firm that designed the “living vines” office building in South Pasadena) sent me some nice renderings of a once-proposed bike shelter in Old Pasadena near the Memorial Park Gold Line station.

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Ideas for Pasadena: What Can Pasadena Learn from Long Beach’s New Bike Plan?

A rendering of what the fully separated and protected bike lanes will look like with planters added in Long Beach (Photo:

I just had to post this when I learned of Long Beach’s new major bike plan that was reported on the LA Times, Long Beach Post, and Curbed LA yesterday. I was pleasantly surprised just how far Long Beach is taking their bike infrastructure and felt that we could emulate that kind of commitment to safety and sustainability here in Pasadena.

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South Pasadena Fair Oaks Corridor Improvement Project Begins

Fair Oaks Ave in Downtown South Pasadena will be getting a much needed make-over as construction begins on the Fair Oaks Corridor Improvement Project

I have been saying for years that Pasadena needs to give Fair Oaks Ave an extreme pedestrian-cyclist make-over along the street from at least the South Pasadena border (by the Raymond Restaurant) to Old Pasadena. The need for this make-over seems obvious when you consider: 1) Fair Oaks Ave looks like a mini-highway as you drive or, god forbid, walk down it, and 2) that the Huntington Hospital (a huge employer) adds a substantial presence to the built environment in Downtown Pasadena, but is tenuously connected at best to the area for pedestrians and cyclists, diluting if not completely negating its potential positive effects on the urban environment. In other words, the synergy is lost.

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