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Thread: Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in LA?

  1. #1
         
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    Pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods in LA?

    For the most of my life, I've lived in the suburbs of LA. But next year, I am finally going to move up to the city, the actual city of Los Angeles. For this reason, I've been doing much apartment/community shopping. During this same time, I've been also reading Suburban Nation. Reading this book has fully persuaded me to look for a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood with easy access to public transit and where there are mixed-use buildings and affording housing.

    For those of you familiar with LA-- are there such places in LA? Or is this city still very much hopeless?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    I am not aware of any specific areas in LA that have been redeveloped or gentrified near transit, but I'm sure there are neighborhoods out there. Since LoDo (the historic warehousing and railyard district) in Denver has been redeveloped, most cities have experienced adaptive reuse of old brick warehouse buildings into ground level retail and office space with residential development above ground level. Best thing to do is to ask around and walk some potential neighborhoods.

    At this junction, I would plug a Segway as a means of short distance (1 to 4 miles) to the nearest transit station. The LA transit system allows the boarding of Segways and your range of mobility is greatly increased and your transportation costs would be cut significantly.

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    Cyburbian thestip's avatar
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    My cousin just moved to Hermosa Beach (not in the city of LA but close) and it is very pedestrian friendly. I was very surprised when I went out to visit him. I was expecting a sprawling mess as the LA area is always portrayed, so needless to say I was very surprised. It has very good bus coverage, nice walkable business districts, plenty of parkland and of course the beach. It's also close to the Redondo Beach stop on the Green Line. Rental Prices are what I have seen to be average for the LA area, although if you are going to rent, find roomates. Housing prices though are astronomical. Most of the beach cities are like Hermosa. I was to Santa Monica, Venice, and Redondo and they were all pedestrian friendly. Hermosa seemed to have the best night life and a younger crowd in general.

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    There are many neighborhoods in the Mid Wilshire area, the beach towns (mentioned above), Pasadena, West Hollywood (pretty bohemian), and, if you can afford it, I really, really like Santa Monica.

    I would recommend Edit: oops: http://www.newcolonist.com/ One of the Editors lives in LA without a car, and his musings on LA's pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods are interesting.

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    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    I haven't been to LA in years but the city itself is actually quite dense. From what i hear the neighborhoods along the Red Line and the Gold Line are the places to be . . . and the Metro Rapid route that goes to Santa Monica.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Haven't they started building that "Playa Vista" development on the old Hughes airfield? Its supposed to be pedestrian-friendly, new urbanist and all that. It looked nice in the renderings I saw. I think its supposed to include some "affordable" rentals as well. In fact, isn't it described in the "Suburban Nation" book? My copy is at home. I'll have to look that one up later.

    Why yes, I am killing time on cyburbia at work. I'm doing...research.

  8. #8
    Anyone have any photos of The Grove? I went there last year and was impresed by the urban design treatments, although it is clearly a potemkin village. Kind of Rouse-y in look and feel. Still, better then the usual crap LA likes to throw up. I'm looking forward to spending more time there this summer, armed with my camera this time.

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    fascinating!

    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    Haven't they started building that "Playa Vista" development on the old Hughes airfield? Its supposed to be pedestrian-friendly, new urbanist and all that. It looked nice in the renderings I saw. I think its supposed to include some "affordable" rentals as well. In fact, isn't it described in the "Suburban Nation" book? My copy is at home. I'll have to look that one up later.

    Why yes, I am killing time on cyburbia at work. I'm doing...research.
    After reading boilderplater's comments, I just spent over an hour reading EVERYTHING that's on www.playavista.com. This weekend, I will drive there and thoroughly check it out. (It's a shame that I don't have a digital camera yet: I would definitely take pictures and post them online.)

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chihwunk
    After reading boilderplater's comments, I just spent over an hour reading EVERYTHING that's on www.playavista.com. This weekend, I will drive there and thoroughly check it out. (It's a shame that I don't have a digital camera yet: I would definitely take pictures and post them online.)
    You can still go old school and order the CD with your prints so you can bring us the Playa!

  11. #11
    Cyburbian boilerplater's avatar
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    Make your visit to Playa Vista yet? Do you need to be a Play-uh to live at the Playa? From what was shown on the website, you need mucho plata to live at the Playa. Of course, home prices in LA are out of control, as they are in all major CA cities.

    It will be interesting to see how this develops. A lot of these New Urbanist developments have their original design ideals compromised as other developers come in with their own ideas of what the market will support.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    They now have disposable digital cameras too.

    The history of LA is public-transit based. It was developed in very large tracts because that was the only cost-effective way to bring adequate infrastructure for water, et al, to the desert. Even before the car became king there, it was a sprawling community. However, historically, communities around the transit stops were walkable. So, I am sure that the comments others have already made about where to look is very on-target.

  13. #13
         
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    Playa Vista: My First Impression

    Quote Originally posted by boilerplater
    Make your visit to Playa Vista yet? Do you need to be a Play-uh to live at the Playa? From what was shown on the website, you need mucho plata to live at the Playa. Of course, home prices in LA are out of control, as they are in all major CA cities.
    Yes, I finally made a visit to Playa Vista this weekend! The neighborhood is still in the very very beginning stage of development, which will continue for the next 10 or so years, according to the Visitor Center people. Perhaps it's because it's still in the early phase of development, but the Vista still felt too much like a suburb (the architecture of the condos and attached homes of the Vista can easily be found in the new homes of the LA suburbs).

    There are virtually no mixed-use buildings except for a couple of loft condominium buildings currently being built with retail space on the ground level. As of now, within the residential area, one cannot find a single coffee house. And one still would not be able to do anything without driving. Even if the mixed-use lofts that I mentioned earlier do open up, I don't think they will offer enough retail space to meet the daily needs of the residents. Residents will still have to drive out of the neighborhood and on the several-laned wide streets to get to grocery stores, book stores, banks, etc.

    I also didn't see any form of mass transit in the area. When I asked the Vistor Center people about it, they said they are still working with MTA and other local transits, and there is no information available yet about what kind of mass transit will be offered to the residents. I am sure this will change as the development of the entire Playa Vista progresses.

    The prices of the homes are, as expected, very high. But on top of these, there are mello roos, the 1.2% property-tax, and $300+ (some over $400) association fees.

    In short, this Vista would a little disappointing to someone looking for a truly new urbanist neighbodhood (or is this something that only exists in theory?). But it would be a perfect place for someone who already lives in the suburb and wants the similar style of life (with a mild addition of the urban feel) without the 1.5-hr commute to the city (instead, about 30 minutes).

    My first impression of the communtiy is a little mixed. However, what I saw this weekend is not even 1/3 of the entire developmet of Playa Vista. I still agree that there is a lot of potential in this community, and it is truly an exciting place. I am eager to see what the other phases of development will bring. For sure, I will be following the development closely.
    Last edited by chihwunk; 30 May 2004 at 4:34 AM.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by chihwunk
    My first impression of the communtiy is a little mixed. However, what I saw this weekend is not even 1/3 of the entire developmet of Playa Vista. I still agree that there is a lot of potential in this community, and it is truly an exciting place. I am eager to see what the other phases of development will bring. For sure, I will be following the development closely.
    Potential, yes. Developers naturally have to build the commercial component last. Until you have a population large enough to frequent shops you won't find any tenants. People certainly aren't going to come from outside of the community to shop in a mostly vacant construction zone. I guess you'll have to stick around to let us know how the commercial/office component turns out.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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    Cyburbian nerudite's avatar
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    Hmmmm... how did I miss this thread? Maybe I was on vacation! As a Los Angelena, I would probably want to pipe in, but I think you got some good advice here already. I would second BKM's Santa Monica recommendation... if you can afford it. If you don't mind a little gang activity, parts of Venice and the other little beach burgs are a little less pricy.

    If I moved back to LA, I would probably locate in the Silver Lake area, which is my favourite. Great walking trails, older and unique architecture, funky little places to hang out, and a really interesting mix of people. You can find out a little about the area at www.silverlake.org. This is not a new urbanist neighbourhood, but rather an established neighbourhood. Just one that I happen to like a lot.

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    Quote Originally posted by nerudite
    If I moved back to LA, I would probably locate in the Silver Lake area, which is my favourite. Great walking trails, older and unique architecture, funky little places to hang out, and a really interesting mix of people. You can find out a little about the area at www.silverlake.org. This is not a new urbanist neighbourhood, but rather an established neighbourhood. Just one that I happen to like a lot.
    I'll second the comments about SilverLake (and adjacent Echo Park which is a bit more affortable) Parts of Loz Feliz are also similar in feel and easy access to Griffith park is a plus. I am new to the LA area and just moved to the Silver Lake/ Echo Park area. I love it hear. Very funky neighboorhood with great eclectic architechture and lots of hidden staircases throughout the hills. Not very walking friendly though. Well at least not where I live - on the steepest street in CA! For a great walking friendly neighboorhood though I would vote for Santa Monica. Still need a car for commute to another neighborhood but not necessarily for day to day activites.

    Good Luck.

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    Quote Originally posted by amyh31
    I'll second the comments about SilverLake (and adjacent Echo Park which is a bit more affortable) Parts of Loz Feliz are also similar in feel and easy access to Griffith park is a plus. I am new to the LA area and just moved to the Silver Lake/ Echo Park area. I love it hear. Very funky neighboorhood with great eclectic architechture and lots of hidden staircases throughout the hills. Not very walking friendly though. Well at least not where I live - on the steepest street in CA! For a great walking friendly neighboorhood though I would vote for Santa Monica. Still need a car for commute to another neighborhood but not necessarily for day to day activites.

    Good Luck.
    Ah, but them hills will make you fit. No need to pay for a gym and slog stupidly on Stairmasters when a walk to the corner grocery store is a cardiac experience.

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