On November 5-7, 2013, the U.S. High Speed Rail Association conference comes to Los Angeles, bringing updates on advanced land travel. In many cases, other nations are outpacing the U.S., but the $4.5 billion Transbay “Grand Central Station of the West,” currently under construction in San Francisco, will do much to get California up to speed.
Enlightened architects and developers have long understood that transportation is the key to economic development. So the conference will also offer presentations on how transit stations – when designed to include the needs of communities – can improve affordable housing, jobs and land values. A panel moderated by Jack Skelley, of JSPR, features Jonathan Watts, principal of Cuningham Group Architecture; Michael Dieden, president of Creative Housing Associates, and Gaurav Srivastava, Associate Principal, AECOM. “TOD Transformations: From Stations to Corridors” is Wednesday, Nov. 6, 3-4 p.m., and the entire conference runs through Thursday at MTA Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza, next to Union Station in Downtown L.A.
This concept of transit districts is quickly gaining traction in urban-planning circles. It dominated ULI Los Angeles' recent, very successful ToLA transit summit (Form magazine was a media sponsor), where Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced his Great Boulevards initiative. And it is was the recent focus of L.A. Business Council's 2013 Livable Communities Report, authored by Paul Habibi of UCLA Ziman Center for Real Estate.