The future of Los Angeles transportation aesthetics continues to intrigue the minds of urban designers. Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne takes a look at Metro’s efforts to develop a design template for all of its transit stations. Known as a “kit of parts”, this new template would bring uniform designs for station portals, ticketing machines, street furniture and turnstiles. While the kit of parts will undoubtedly save Metro funds in the long run by keeping materials and maintenance methods consistent, the effort is more geared towards giving the Metro system a recognizable global brand that is in tune with transportation systems in other cities. However, Hawthorne fears that the kit of parts as currently conceived is too sterile and would take years to fully implement. Our September 2012 issue of Moving Southern California discussed this concept.
Hawthorne also turned his attention toward the ongoing discourse of public space in Los Angeles. In recent years, new architectural marvels and open spaces have lifted the city’s global profile. However, with more people using public transportation and thus making last-mile connections by foot, there is still plenty to do to make the experience inviting. According to Hawthorne, such efforts should also extend to connecting Los Angeles with its neglected river and adding park space even as demand for improvable property increases. Meanwhile, the same newspaper’s editorial board gave glowing remarks on an effort to convert the former Harbor Subdivision into a bike trail that would connect to the Los Angeles River.