The new issue of The Planning Report has a Q-and-A with departing L.A. planning director Mark Winogrond, a discussion with planning commissioners Jane Usher and Robin Hughes, and urban critic Sam Hall Kaplan answering a challenge from developer Richard Meruelo to help design the Taylor Yards project beside the Los Angeles River in Glassell Park.
Woven throughout the various developments options are lushly landscaped pathways, so-called “green fingers,” that link Glassell Park to the anticipated inviting L.A. River, at present the subject of a major $3 million study. Also proposed is assorted traffic calming devices, encouraging pedestrian, bike and bus use.
Subsequent reviews with concerned local representatives prompted the addition of an aquatics center featuring a 25-meter pool, and a family health care clinic.
Actually, the planning effort was relatively easy. Harder has been the promotion of the plan, due to the pernicious politics and petty parochialism that tends to plague such undertakings in a fractious Los Angeles.
Shading the discussions in the community and City Hall has been the unfortunate residue of last year’s mayoral race, created in large part by an article in the L.A Times that correctly identified Meruelo as Villaraigosa’s major supporter and friend, and incorrectly had him coming ”in out of the dark” and swooping down to snap up the parcel for a quick profit.
Kaplan then mouthpieces for Meruelo and says that Hahn's political advisors hand-fed the story to "undiscerning Times reporters in search of an exclusive scoop...in the waning days of the campaign." Hmm, maybe. Evidence? By the way, Josh Stephens is the new editor of TPR.