Events This Week!

March 16, 2009 § Leave a comment

A shout-out to some important events this week – including important hearings TODAY for the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP.) Just click the links or read below for more info on the CASP and March for Water:

Monday 3pm & 6pm – Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan meetings more below
Tuesday 7pm – Joe & Damien’s Internet Class
Saturday 8am – Tour de Sewer Bike Ride on the Rio Hondo
Sunday 10am – March for Water more below

A shot of river-cat artist Leo Limon at the conlfuence of the L.A. River and the Arroyo Seco - a site located in (and hopefully to be transformed by) the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (photo pilfered from the Nature Trumps blog)

River-cat artist Leo Limon at the historic conlfuence of the L.A. River and the Arroyo Seco - a site located in (and hopefully to be transformed by) the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (photo pilfered from the Nature Trumps blog)

Creek Freaks, bicyclists, and livable cities advocates should plan to attend one of today’s two meetings on the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan – called the CASP. The meetings are today – Monday March 16th at 3pm and 6pm at Goodwill in Lincoln Heights. (It’s the same meeting repeated twice.)

The CASP is a new L.A. City Specific Plan being written by the Department of City Planning, to be approved later by the City Council. A specific plan is a smaller subset of the city’s general plan and includes stuff like zoning (what kinds of private buildings and uses can go where) and street designations (what kinds of public spaces can go where – including bike lanes, sidewalks, car capacity), among many things. The CASP is attempting to plan the future of the area from Chinatown to Lincoln Heights into a neighborhood that embraces the river, instead of turns its back on it.

Creek Freak has mentioned the CASP a few times, but we haven’t gotten around to giving you, our readers, a full report about it… maybe after today’s hearings I can get to this. My quick take is that it’s an important step in the right direction in terms of urban form – bicycle and pedestrian friendly streets, transit-oriented development, etc. – which is very important for sustainability, and something that I believe in strongly. Urban form is what plans are good at influencing, and the CASP is excellent (maybe even pushy!) in designating great things like pedestrian paseos, bike lanes, and road diets where in the past the city would have designated lots more space for cars, cars, and even more cars.

Where earlier versions of the CASP seem to fall a little short (of Creek Freak’s high standards) is actual river revitalization. It’s not clear to me how a city specific plan can actually do this and not get tangled up in lawsuits. There are laws against “takings” – ie: in today’s Los Angeles, it’s nearly impossible just take a privately-owned factory zoned as a factory and re-zone it as a public park, because that would cause a private owner to lose value. Industrial areas along the river can become parks, but it’s going to take community activism and political will (as opposed to civil servants coming up with a new specific plan.)

Come to the CASP meetings TODAY. I’ll be at the 3pm meeting.

Lastly, here’s an inspirational video for us to watch to get inspired for this Sunday’s March for Water – which starts at 10am at the Cornfield – aka Los Angeles State Historic Park, adjacent to the Metro Gold Line Chinatown Station. The clip is an excerpt from the movie FLOW – For Love Of Water.

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