Josh here. I had the opportunity to attend the mayor’s debate in Sherman Oaks. It was great to be back in my old hood–where I first moved to in LA.
Special bonus was that Robbie Mac’s served pasta. They have great pizza and I’d recommend them to any ShOaks peeps even before they catered the debate.
So some reflections on the debate. First off, these candidates are ripping up each other hard. It is really sad as we believe that talking about our town should be elevating. We here at Noodles and New Urbanism gleefully disparage poor buildings, but always with a hope that “we can do better.” The candidates demonstrated no such thing. No wonder 82% of voters are not enticed to vote.
But as far as new urbanism concerns go there were a few:
The moderator asked the candidates about their vision for Los Angeles. Greuel spoke of trimming trees and improving sidewalks. Wow! Way to reach for new plateaus! Way to cast a vision for a greater Los Angeles! That’d be like asking me “what do you want to do with your life?” and my reply “clean my apartment.” Throughout the debate Greuel mentioned tree trimming three times. In an hour debate over the vision of Los Angeles, you mention tree trimming at all? But THREE times!?
Greuel also talked about the anti gridlock zones on our streets. She made an awkward attempt to relate to the audience. “You know, you’re driving down ventura, and it’s rush hour and it’s an anti gridlock zone and there’s a car parked there?” And this point she made an attempt to literally reach out, stepping down off her stool and gesturing toward the audience. ” You have to stop and it causes traffic. We need to enforce that!” It was palpable that no one understood what she was talking about, possibly including Greuel herself.
Anti-gridlock zones do not work. (Assuming the goal is: make a better city.) Study after study has shown that anti-gridlock zones reduce business along that corridor. And over the long haul they reshape the neighborhood. Greuel’s vision for LA is a draconian vision of efficient traffic (granted on roads and sidewalks) but she is trying to get everyone to go somewhere else!
I don’t know about you but I pull up to this sign and I am not even gonna stop to figure out if I can park here. I just move on. It’s a shame because other wise the street is built well. Wide sidewalks, building built to the street, seems like a nice place.
Garcetti talked mostly about the DWP “Scandal” that he alleges Greuel has some responsibility for. Although he failed to make a case that it was 1) a scandal 2) her fault 3) something he could fix if elected.
But he threw a few comments toward the new urbanism agenda.
Garcetti is mentioned promoting neighborhoods as a way to build the city. He mentioned Tujunga Ave. A quaint little strip of a neighborhood in Studio City. It is hard to find an open apartment near here and I’ve never seen a boarded up business. Shows that these neighborhoods are good economic engines as well as adding to our overall experience of Los Angeles.
Compare this to the photo above with all the traffic rules. Where do you want to live?
Garcetti also referenced Atwater Village which is in his district and has also become a booming art / social scene.
Ultimately these neighborhoods are created by the people who live and work there. That’s what makes them special.
Who do we endorse? Well based on the debate I observed, I say…. write in Tom La Bonge!