Hi! Just a quick note - we're sorry to inform you that the #Walktober Walk In Movie Night originally scheduled for tonight (10/22) at Day One has been canceled/postponed due to illness. We'll reschedule, and look forward to seeing you next time!
One of the outcomes of this past May's Pasadena Pedestrian Safety Workshop facilitated by CA Walks, the Pasadena City Council declared October to be Pedestrian Safety Month on Monday 9/28. Representative of PasCSC, as well as Walking Pasadena, Stop 4 Aidan, Day One, and the Downtown Pasadena Neighborhood Association, and other groups attended the meeting to receive the official proclamation and underscore the need to focus on pedestrian safety in the City. Indeed, with 7 pedestrian fatalities over the past 5 years alone, we can do better.
Along these lines group members have also come together to host a series of of free community events for Pasadena's first "Walktober" (October is National Walking Month). Join us in exploring the city on two feet and learning more about how we as a community can make Pasadena even better for walking!
Schedule of Events
Mon 10/5 (6:30-8pm) - PasCSC Public Meeting
Thu 10/8 (5-7pm) - #Walktoberfest: Pasadena Passages Walk
Thu 10/22 (7pm) - Walk-In Movie Night
(UPDATED 10/22, 12:30 PM - This event is postponed until further notice. Sorry for the inconvenience!)
Sun 10/25 (9am) - Colorado Blvd. Walk
On the heels of the City Council's formal adoption of a new 20-year General Plan and Mobility Element, Pasadena City Planners have released a set recommended changes to the City's Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) standards (existing TOD regulations can be downloaded here). The proposed changes are in part a response to a perceived lack of on-site parking at TOD developments in East Pasadena, which have resulted in increased use of on-street parking, according to some residents.
Outlined in the table below, City staff is recommending that the proposed parking requirement for development around the Allen and Sierra Madre Gold Line stations in Pasadena be increased to reduce further impacts to street parking. Specifically, staff has requested that on-site parking for residential units greater than 650 sq/ft be increased from 1.5-1.75 spaces per unit to 1.75-2.0 spaces per unit, and non-residential construction not be subject to previously mandated 10-25% reductions in parking from the existing code. This increase in parking requirements would directly impact all future residential and commercial development around the two East Pasadena stations, the City's two most suburban light rail stations located in the middle of the 210 freeway.
For Pasadena's other four Gold Line stations - Lake, Memorial Park, Del Mar and Filmore - planning staff has taken a different approach, recommending a slight decrease in the parking requirement for small residential units of less than 650 square feet (from 1-1.25 spaces per unit to 1 space per unit), and no change from the existing standard for all other residential and commercial development (see table below).
The other major change being proposed is to double the radius of Pasadena's TOD zones, centered around the City's 6 Gold Line stations, from 1/2 mile to 1 mile.
Why does any of this matter? TOD standards including parking minimums, maximums, and/or requirements play a major role in the cost of residential and non-residential development, average Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT), walkability, architectural design, automobile use and more. Recognizing these impacts, communities across the country are imposing lower parking maximums and in some cases even removing parking minimums in walkable, transit-friendly neighborhoods to reduce the cost of housing for those who are open to a car-lite lifestyle (e.g., students, seniors, transit users), mitigate the impact of further development on air quality and automobile congestion, allow more diversity in architectural design, and encourage the use of active and public transportation. The most progressive cities are even prohibiting new parking altogether in some areas (e.g., Pearl District in the City of Portland) where the focus is on creating housing centered around transportation alternatives.
In a nutshell, these communities are recognizing that if they continue to require all development to be predicated by the use of one form of transportation, they will further institutionalize the the status quo and limit housing diversity.
With average on-site parking spaces ranging from $40,000-$60,000 per space up front, the direct cost of strict mandates such as those currently proposed by the City also are noteworthy, especially in a region with some of the highest housing costs in the nation. Indeed, current parking requirements easily run into the millions for an average mixed use project, even before upkeep and maintenance are factored in. These higher costs are inevitably passed on to buyers and renters in the form of higher mortgage and rental fees.
Over two decades ago Pasadena was on the cutting-edge of parking policy, working with UCLA parking guru Professor Donald Shoup to install pay-as-you-park meters in the City's historic downtown AND critically earmark revenue generated from the meters back into the District. The then contentious change is widely lauded as having galvanized the neighborhood's transformation from an eyesore into a regional shopping and entertainment destination. It has also become a model adopted by cities across the country.
Downtown Pasadena already has a lot of the elements needed to support less on-site housing. Metro buses run with 10 minute headways on Colorado Blvd. The Metro Gold Line will have service to Azusa, as well as connections to Expo line trains to Santa Monica, in early 2016. Pasadena is slated to be in the second wave of communities in LA County to launch a bike share program, which will be focused in downtown and around transit hubs. Car- and ride-sharing services are growing in popularity locally and across the region, especially among young professionals. In short, local transportation alternatives will soon be more plentiful than ever before, providing the City a golden opportunity to utilize progressive parking policy to attract new residents who embrace more active, public-oriented lifestyles.
Earlier this year the City re-affirmed its leadership in the transportation realm by becoming the first in California to officially phase out the use of the outdated Level-of-Service (LOS) transportation metric, and adopt a more balanced tool that measures impacts on a broad range of road users, including pedestrians, people on bikes and transit users. The significance of this step cannot be understated. Yet the question remains whether it was the first of many steps towards a more sustainable, people-oriented future, or just an isolated leap forward. With many residents fearing the impact of future development on auto congestion, perhaps city officials and leaders should pick up a copy of the High Cost of Free Parking and ask themselves, what would Donald do?
After a month off, join us Monday September 14th for our monthly PasCSC meeting!
This month a special speaker will join us, Pasadena Transportation Director Fred Dock. Our agenda will also include the following:
As always, our meetings are open to everyone in the community with a passion for safer streets and sustainability. We hope you can make it!
What: PasCSC General Meeting
Where: PBWS Architects, 234 E Colorado Blvd Suite 700, Pasadena, California 91101
When: Monday September 14 (6:30-8pm)
ACTION ALERT: Pasadena City Council to Consider Final General Plan and Mobility Element - Monday 8/17
After over 8 years of work on the part of City staff, Commissioners, community stakeholders and elected officials, the City of Pasadena is on the verge of adopting a final General Plan, Land Use Element and Mobility Element. The blueprint for the City's development over the next two decades, the new General Plan will influence the scale, siting, and level of future development in the City, as well as the transportation options available to residents.
Of particular interest to PasCSC is the timing of the approval. Why? Passing the General plan is required for staff to start a “Nexus Study” to amend the City's “Traffic Reduction and Transportation Improvement Fees” (TRTIFs), which developers are required to pay when they pull building permits to construct new buildings. Those fees are supposed to be spent to mitigate the “traffic” or transportation impacts of new development. Currently the Transportation Improvement Fees cannot be spent on bike or pedestrian projects. They can only be spent on auto and transit improvements.
In order to address this issue, the City's Department of Transportation has to:
The timing of this process is critical because the developers behind several major projects, including the Parsons/Lincoln Properties project (the largest project ever in Pasadena), will be pulling building permits soon. And when they do, millions in impact fees will be collected.
PasCSC encourages all residents to help expedite this process by attending the 8/17 Pasadena City Council meeting and providing public comment and/or contacting the City Clerk, Mayor and your Council Representative and letting them know YOU support more livable, people-friendly streets in Pasadena. Emails should be sent to the City Clerk, City Manager, Mayor and your Council Member by 4pm Monday 8/17. PasCSC's official comment letter can be viewed below.