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  • Richard Risemberg
    ... -- Richard Risemberg http://www.bicyclefixation.com http://www.newcolonist.com http://www.rickrise.com [Non-text portions of this message have been
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 7, 2009
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      Begin forwarded message:

      > From: "L.A. Downtown News" <realpeople@...>
      > Date: January 7, 2009 3:27:17 PM PST
      > To: rickrise@...
      > Subject: NEWS UPDATE: Design Standards Go to Planning Commission
      > Reply-To: realpeople@...
      > Downtown Design Standards Go to Planning Commission
      > Panel Expected to Approve Rules That Would Make Area More
      > Pedestrian-Friendly
      > by Anna Scott
      > Staff Writer
      > The City Planning Commission on Thursday is expected to approve a
      > proposal that could bring wide, tree-lined sidewalks, landscaped
      > courtyards, more streetlights and other pedestrian-friendly
      > features to Downtown.
      > The Commission will vote Jan. 8 on whether to recommend that
      > the city adopt new development requirements aimed at creating a
      > walkable Downtown landscape. The plan is twofold: The Urban Design
      > Standards and Guidelines address sidewalks and buildings,
      > establishing standards for sustainable design, setbacks,
      > architectural detail and other elements, while the Downtown Street
      > Standards would update the area�s street classifications to better
      > balance car, pedestrian and bicycle traffic and other uses.
      > The guidelines would apply to new developments in an
      > approximately 2.8-square-mile area roughly bounded by the 101, 10
      > and 110 freeways to the north, south and west, and the Fashion
      > District to the east.
      > �This is the first time the city will be considering a true
      > urban design project that joins the clear importance of our
      > sidewalks to the way development is built,� said Emily Gabel-Luddy,
      > who heads the Planning Department�s Urban Design Studio, which
      > spearheaded the effort. �Downtown is the first neighborhood, or
      > collection of neighborhoods, where this is being implemented.�
      > Key to the plan are stipulations that would require most
      > Downtown developers to widen sidewalks instead of streets near
      > their projects and accommodate for landscaping.
      > Ninth District Councilwoman Jan Perry pointed to the Portland-
      > based South Group�s trio of eco-friendly high-rises in South Park,
      > surrounded by double rows of trees, planters and benches, as an
      > example of the sort of development Downtown would see more of under
      > the new rules.
      > �The sidewalks can�t just be cement slabs,� said Perry. �They
      > have to have landscaping and lighting so people aren�t afraid to
      > come out at night, much like the South Group has done.�
      > Another piece of the plan is a set of rules governing
      > buildings� street-level space. Focused on promoting pedestrian
      > traffic and avoiding blank walls and visible parking, the standards
      > demand, among other things, that ground-floor space facing the
      > sidewalk be at least 75% devoted to retail, office or other active
      > uses. The standards also dictate that buildings� primary entrances
      > open onto the sidewalk or a sidewalk-accessible public space.
      > Many of the standards, said Gabel-Luddy, are based on existing
      > requirements in other big cities, including New York, Vancouver and
      > Seattle. �All three of these cities have a very well-established
      > relationship between street design and building design,� she said.
      > �Our street standards for years have been divorced from building
      > design.�
      > The design and street standards, a joint effort between the
      > Planning Department, the Community Redevelopment Agency, the Bureau
      > of Engineering and the Department of Transportation, have been in
      > the works for nearly two years. They have received widespread
      > support from city officials and stakeholder groups, and no major
      > opposition is expected to surface at Thursday�s meeting.
      > If the Planning Commission votes in favor of adopting the plan,
      > it will continue on to the City Council. Gabel-Luddy said she
      > expects the plan to be formally adopted in March.
      > Contact Anna Scott at anna@....
      > www.downtownnews.com
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      Richard Risemberg

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