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Old 05-22-2012, 11:02 AM
 
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From my understanding on the history of the city of Los Angeles the city planners planned much of LA and was strong on the streetcar suburb model.

Like much of south central was very strong on the streetcar suburb model.Much of Los Angeles city planners model was that one was going to live in house and walk to the street car line and take that to the down town area or any where in the city.

The street car line would be full of stores, businesses and retail along the street car line.

What happen to the street car ? Much of the street car got ripped up and other areas in the city that was to have the street car never got implemented.

This is why Los Angeles a such a strange urban feel to it but so different than the suburbs that we know of today.

Also much of LA was on retail ,manurfacturing , the war effort, car manurfacturing and shipping in contrast to New York city into business and finance.

Many poor blacks moved into LA doing the 20's , 30's and 40's for work and many of the city planners planned many of the community so called street car suburb that got ripped up and never got implemented.

This is why much of LA is on grid system , very short blocks , sidewalk at the street and building at the street , store-fronts and in some areas very tight parking or parking at the back or the side of the building ,building close to one other , little to no green space ,the bullpark of parking garage all in contrast of most suburbs of post ww2.

Why did the street car got ripped up and other areas in the city that was to have the street car never got implemented? Well thank GM and Ford !!!
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Just about every US city ripped out most if not all of its streetcar system. LA is not unique in that regard.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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I already started a thread on this in the General U.S. Forum and also posted a link to Scott Bottles' Los Angeles and the Automobile: The Making of the Modern City. I also posted a link to Martin Wachs' study, "Autos, Transit, and the Sprawl of Los Angeles: the 1920s."

Bottles makes the following observations:

Quote:
Streetcars usually promoted growth only along the immediate vicinity of their tracks leaving large stretches of land vacant.
Streetcars are not the super-duper urbanizing force people think they are. They actually encouraged economic and residential dispersal.

Quote:
New York, Boston and Philadelphia had built up over the previous two hundred years extensive urban cores, which even today continue to exert a strong influence over the transporation patterns of the surrounding areas. Other cities such as Houston, Los Angeles and Phoenix emerged after the invention of the streetcar, automobile and truck. Because these innovations encouraged residential and economic dispersal, the city centers of these later cities today appear less developed.
Duh.

Quote:
Los Angeles led the national trend toward decentralization despite the fact that it did not evolve into a major metropolitan area until after 1900. Founded in 1781, Los Angeles remained an isolated town until the 1880s when the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railroad linked it with the rest of the country. From that point forward the greater Los Angeles region grew rapidly. By 1910, the city boasted impressive streetcar and interurban systems that allowed much of the population to move into suburban developments outside of the downtown area. Los Angeles therefore never developed as a true walking city.
That pretty much explains why Los Angeles has such a "strange urban feel."
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:37 AM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BajanYankee View Post
Streetcars are not the super-duper urbanizing force people think they are. They actually encouraged economic and residential dispersal.
I've been trying to argue that as well.

Not as much as cars, but if you build a giant very extensive network of streetcars for a city with a small population you'll get pre-automobile sprawl with a weak core.

Though if you look at images of Los Angeles' downtown pre-1950s it looks surprisingly similar to San Francisco. Wilshire Blvd (close to downtown) was a desireable area with big apartment buildings pre-1950s, with some movie stars as residents.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
I've been trying to argue that as well.

Not as much as cars, but if you build a giant very extensive network of streetcars for a city with a small population you'll get pre-automobile sprawl with a weak core.

Though if you look at images of Los Angeles' downtown pre-1950s it looks surprisingly similar to San Francisco. Wilshire Blvd (close to downtown) was a desireable area with big apartment buildings pre-1950s, with some movie stars as residents.
The streetcar was idea that some one can live in house than live in crowded London England or Paris.

The streetcar may or may not support mix use along the street car line.But the idea of the streetcar was the idea you can walk or take transit than drive.

City like New York, Boston or Chicago suffer from overcrowded streets and very high density and much of the suburbs are worse than LA do to they embrace the suburb model.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Not as much as cars, but if you build a giant very extensive network of streetcars for a city with a small population you'll get pre-automobile sprawl with a weak core.
I agree with this. I think transit gets over-hyped in discussions about building walkable communities. When people start talking about building a walkable city, the first two things you usually hear are "Density!" and "Transit!" There's little thought about how that density should be distributed. And there's little thought about whether transit will ultimately achieve the desired end.

IMHO, you have to build neighborhoods the same way they did back in the 18th and 19th Centuries to get a true "walkable" environment. You start with your downtown core and build up around it. That's the only way you get the multi-dimensional walkability you see in Back Bay, Boston or Dupont Circle in DC. TOD is fine, but it seems to lead to very patchy and linear development (i.e., Ballston, Virginia). The only problem with building the "old" way is that it takes decades and decades to create that type of walkable environment. And in the words of Sweet Brown, "Ain't nobody got time for that!" TOD, imo, is sort of a "microwave" urbanity if that makes any sense. You can't replicate something in 10 or 20 years that took other cities two centuries to develop.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:02 PM
 
8,280 posts, read 13,224,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweat209 View Post
From my understanding on the history of the city of Los Angeles the city planners planned much of LA and was strong on the streetcar suburb model.
Your understanding is incorrect. Los Angeles' streetcar suburbs were not planned by city planners. They were planned by real estate development companies and streetcar companies. They were privately owned and developed, and generally only later annexed into the city of Los Angeles or incorporated as their own cities.

Quote:
Like much of south central was very strong on the streetcar suburb model.Much of Los Angeles city planners model was that one was going to live in house and walk to the street car line and take that to the down town area or any where in the city.

The street car line would be full of stores, businesses and retail along the street car line.

What happen to the street car ? Much of the street car got ripped up and other areas in the city that was to have the street car never got implemented.
What happened to it? Competition appeared in the form of government-funded hard-surfaced roads, which allowed private automobiles to progress from novelties into practical vehicles. They also allowed developers to build new developments into the spaces in between streetcar lines that had previously been relatively undeveloped.

In the case of Los Angeles, downtown LA was built densely enough that the local Los Angeles streetcar network was profitable even after the neighborhood was built out. Suburban lines were operated at break-even or at a loss in order to encourage real estate sales and electricity customers along those lines--but often the density of those developments was too low to sustain business even once the neighborhoods were built out. This was not due to incorrect zoning--there were no zoning codes!


Quote:
This is why Los Angeles a such a strange urban feel to it but so different than the suburbs that we know of today.

Also much of LA was on retail ,manurfacturing , the war effort, car manurfacturing and shipping in contrast to New York city into business and finance.

Many poor blacks moved into LA doing the 20's , 30's and 40's for work and many of the city planners planned many of the community so called street car suburb that got ripped up and never got implemented.
City planners didn't own the streetcar line then either. Pacific Electric, the interurban line, was sold to Southern Pacific. Los Angeles Railway, the streetcar line, was sold to National City Lines and eventually converted to buses--then it was sold to the city of Los Angeles, when the last handful of streetcar lines were taken out of service.

Quote:
This is why much of LA is on grid system , very short blocks , sidewalk at the street and building at the street , store-fronts and in some areas very tight parking or parking at the back or the side of the building ,building close to one other , little to no green space ,the bullpark of parking garage all in contrast of most suburbs of post ww2.

Why did the street car got ripped up and other areas in the city that was to have the street car never got implemented? Well thank GM and Ford !!!
They were the beneficiaries, and part of the behind-the-scenes influence that destroyed the private streetcar company, but much of the change was due to government-supported street paving projects.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Western Massachusetts
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
What happened to it? Competition appeared in the form of government-funded hard-surfaced roads, which allowed private automobiles to progress from novelties into practical vehicles. They also allowed developers to build new developments into the spaces in between streetcar lines that had previously been relatively undeveloped.
Government funded freeways were a big competitor but even without freeways private vehicles would be a big competitor to streetcars especially if the layout was decentralized. The roads were there before automobiles became the norm; maybe some were unpaved but it's unlikely any city wouldn't have paved its roads. No developed city today has unpaved roads nor should it.
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:03 PM
 
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I never understood why US has fetish to not owning city Bus or streercars like in Canada.

I guess south central was planned by real estate development companies or streetcar companies with city planners having no control and was planned streetcar suburb in contrast in the North east US or like in Canada
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Old 05-22-2012, 04:24 PM
 
Location: Pasadena, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweat209 View Post
I never understood why US has fetish to not owning city Bus or streercars like in Canada.

I guess south central was planned by real estate development companies or streetcar companies with city planners having no control and was planned streetcar suburb in contrast in the North east US or like in Canada
What are you referring to as "South Central"? Historic South Central is right up around DTLA, north of say, Vernon. That area is very old and probably predates much of the streetcar development, similar to areas directly west of DTLA.

Far south LA has some areas that look more "planned" such as Morningside Park and Westmont, even Watts in places, but for the most part its straight grid all the way through South LA.
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