The Architecture of Transportation - Join the Discussion With Roland Wiley, AIA

Last Updated: May 12, 2011

"The Architecture of Transportation" Design Symposium
Friday, June 24 (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall

Please CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

On June 24th, as part of the annual AIA|LA Design Conference at Dwell on Design, we are coordinating a series of candid discussions about how to design transportation systems that will support and strengthen healthier, more functional and more livable neighborhoods.

In an effort to inspire advance dialogue, Will Wright reached out to several of the participating speakers to hear their thoughts.

Here is an in-depth response from Roland Wiley, AIA from RAW International.

From a regulatory framework, what needs to change so that we can facilitate a transportation system that supports healthier, more functional and more livable neighborhoods?

Transit station area safety, security, and access standards need to cover a minimum ¼ mile radius. Pedestrian accessibility and safety improvements must be implemented on the streets leading to the transit stations in order to increase the perception of safety and walkability for potential transit users.

How can we maximize our investment in the next round of transportation improvements?

We can maximize our investment in the next round of transit improvements by insuring that the proposed alignments and station locations for new systems offer the very best connectivity and convenience for transit users. For example, the Crenshaw Line as planned features a northern terminus at the Exposition Line and a southern Terminus at LAX. It is imperative that the design of the transit user's experience transferring from the Crenshaw Line to the Expo Line is seamless, safe, and convenient. Likewise, at the LAX station, the design of the transfer system from the Crenshaw Line to the Airport transit system (people mover, tram, etc.) must be seamless and convenient to insure maximum use by business travellers and commuters.

Vision is also a key component in maximizing our transit investments. In many of the historically underutilized urban communities, transit investments could have a profound transformative impact in the economic development of the station area. The planners of the alignment and station locations should be careful not to be "short sighted" in realizing the development potential of station areas.

From a global perspective, how far behind/ how far ahead is California?

From a national perspective, California is at the leading edge of transportation improvements. I believe that California will be a global leader in transportation improvements in the next decade, with the proposed high speed rail, light rail/heavy rail projects, and proposed highway improvements. From a global perspective, California can be the beneficiary of lessons learned in some of the more transit advanced countries like China and Japan.

What do you most enjoy right now, when it comes to our current transportation system? What's working well? What's the 'baby' you don't want to throw out with the murky bathwater?

I think the greatest asset of our current transportation system is its potential. Our local system has the potential to develop into a well-connected network that reaches from Thousand Oaks to the Inland Empire. However, a connected network that vast will require a number of transit lines that offer comparable travel times to that of a personal vehicle.

In order to get people out of their cars to use public transit, we must be able to offer safe and convenient travel options. It is important that the people of Los Angeles continue to support Metro's Long Range Transportation Plan, and it is important that Metro continues to search for conventional and unconventional funding sources to sustain the program.

What is your vision for the year 2050? Share a glimpse of a day-in-your life as it relates to your personal mobility.

A Day in My Life in the Year 2050:

a. I wake up in the morning to a beautiful sunrise, use my waterless urinal, and take a high pressure steam shower.

b. My wife and I are to meet some friends in San Francisco for the day.

c. My sons check in on us via a virtual imaging device. We also use a scanning devise to check all of our vital health functions (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.)

d. We take a self-guided Public Transport Vehicle (PTV) to Leimert Park from our home. By entering the address of our destination, the driverless vehicle is able to navigate flawlessly from our house to a quaint coffee shop in Leimert Park. The PTV drops us off in front of the coffee shop and heads off for another fare. Utilizing the self-guided PTV is like a utility, and we are billed by miles traveled. This self-guided PTV technology has developed into a highly successful alternative to the conventional personal car and driver. There are now dedicated lanes on most major streets which allow these vehicles to travel throughout the city without experiencing traffic tie-ups due to human error. After a healthy breakfast with coffee, my wife and I walk to the nearby Leimert Park subway station. We use our transit pass to gain access to the platform. Our friends in San Francisco are coordinated to our current location via the GPS device on our phone. We take the Crenshaw Line to the Expo Line to Union Station. We catch the 9:30am High Speed Train to San Francisco. During the comfortable train ride to San Francisco, we take in the beautiful scenery of the California landscape. It also gives us the opportunity to share our experience with our grandchildren through our virtual communication device.

e. We arrive in San Francisco in time for a late lunch with our friends. We take the subway from the train station to a quaint restaurant in Chinatown. After a wonderful meal, we get another public transit vehicle to look at a few architectural gems around the city. The PTV drops us off at a nearby subway station, and we take the subway back to the High Speed Train Station. We say good-bye to our friends and head back to Los Angeles.

f. I take a nap on the train ride back while my wife talks on the phone (some things never change). Our son checks in on us to make sure we are OK. The PTV drops us off at home at around 8:00pm, in time to see the LAKERS game.

Today was a good day.

Describe one of your more memorable mobility experiences, i.e., a specific bike-ride, walk, train ride, urban hike, road-trip, plain-trip or sea-faring adventure that still resonates even after all these years. What made it special? How can we create equitable opportunities for others to enjoy these types of experiences?

Memorable Mobility Experience:

One of my more memorable transit experiences was my very first subway ride. On my first trip to New York City, I arrived at JFK Airport and took the "train from the plane". Although the connection from the airport to the New York Subway system was a bit disconnected, I was impressed by the fact that I could make it all the way to Brooklyn from the airport without the need for a taxi or a bus. The subway ride for me was a gymnastic balancing act between hanging onto my suitcase and hanging onto the pole to support myself. The train driver announced each transit stop, but you had to be a seasoned New Yorker to translate the garbled words coming out of the PA system, which were a mix of a thick New York accent and a poor speaker system.

The transition from the subway station below to the portal at street level was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. I will never forget the wave of New York urban energy that swept over me the moment I landed at the top of the stairs with my suitcase on the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn. The sidewalks were alive with activity, as it was a hot summer afternoon and everybody was out on the streets. Coming from Indiana, I had never seen so many people walking on the streets, so many walk- up mom and pops stores, so many cars jockeying their way through the congested streets. There were even musicians with steel drums playing on the sidewalk, which created a melodic backdrop to the kinetic energy of the streets. If it weren't for my suitcase, I could have walked those streets for hours!!

In hindsight this environment would be described today as a transit oriented district. It featured the following components: a. Transit Station
b. Density - 4 to 6 story multi-family housing units.
c. Mixed use - retail at the ground floor
d. Eyes on the Street - Residential uses above the ground floor provide for 24 hour surveillance.
e. Great Streets - sidewalks wide enough to accommodate people and activities or amenities.

Join the Discussion, Share Your Perspective

You're encouraged to share your own perspective with AIA|LA. Answer the following six questions: (or feel free to add your own)

  1. From a regulatory framework, what needs to change so that we can facilitate a transportation system that supports healthier, more functional and more livable neighborhoods?

  2. How can we maximize our investment in the next round of transportation improvements?

  3. From a global perspective, how far behind/ how far ahead is California?

  4. What do you most enjoy right now, when it comes to our current transportation system? What's working well? What's the 'baby' you don't want to throw out with the murky bathwater?

  5. What is your vision for the year 2050? Share a glimpse of a day-in-your life as it relates to your personal mobility.

  6. Describe one of your more memorable mobility experiences, i.e., a specific bike-ride, walk, train ride, urban hike, road-trip, plain-trip or sea-faring adventure that still resonates even after all these years. What made it special? How can we create equitable opportunities for others to enjoy these types of experiences?

The author of the most compelling response will receive a complimentary pass to the "Architecture of Transportation" Design Symposium.

Share your perspective by writing Will Wright at will@aialosangeles.org with "The Architecture of Transportation" in the subject line.

"The Architecture of Transportation" Design Symposium
Friday, June 24 (9:00 AM - 5:00 PM)
Los Angeles Convention Center, West Hall

Please CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

Last updated: 11-Dec-2012 09:03 AM
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