Transit Oriented Communities Newsletter
Winter 2023
Hello Metro TOC Stakeholders,

We hope you had a strong and healthy start to 2023!

The TOC group is pleased to share its first newsletter of the new year which includes several milestones and key accomplishments that rounded out 2022!
TOC Features
Metro Board Approves Transit Oriented Communities Economic Development Program and Investment Fund to Help Small Businesses

In December 2022, the Metro Board of Directors approved the Transit Oriented Communities Economic Development Program and $5 million for the implementation of the Transit Oriented Communities Economic Development Investment Fund. The goal of the program is to help activate station areas, support the vitality of small businesses and commercial corridors near transit and facilitate safe access to the transit system.

The fund, which is intended to attract additional public and private investment, will provide small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations with technical assistance and access to capital through fixed asset loans, real estate acquisition loans, commercial façade and tenant improvement loans, and short-term and long-term working capital loans. The two-year pilot program will target businesses within a half-mile radius of the recently completed K-Line and the Little Tokyo community along the soon-to-be-completed Regional Connector Project in downtown Los Angeles. For more information, click here.

First Last Mile
Metro Hosts Transit to Parks Summit

On November 14th and 15th Metro hosted a two-day Transit to Parks (Summit), along with the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation, at the Earvin "Magic" Johnson Recreation Area in the Willowbrook community of South Los Angeles. The Summit was designed to generate momentum for transit to parks initiatives around the region through facilitated networking, project workshopping, and partnership opportunities. Guests attended from a variety of geographic regions and disciplines, received insight from experts on how to improve transit service to parks and open spaces, and collaborated on transit to parks project concepts.

In addition to opening remarks from Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins and Metro Board Director Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, the Summit featured presentations and panel discussions on equity-focus planning, funding opportunities, grant writing best practices, transit service planning, cost estimating, and interactive group activities for attendees to workshop project ideas. The Summit culminated with the presentation of feasible transit solution concepts for communities with much-needed transit access to a park. Proposals included projects for the Baldwin Hills Parklands, the San Gabriel River, Whittier Park, Griffith Park, and Santa Monica Beaches and Mountains. The Transit to Parks Summit successfully demonstrated how collaboration between various stakeholders can spur momentum for innovative transit to park solutions, benefitting riders across the county.
Joint Development
Metro Housing Lab Selects Its First "Senior Fellow"

Launched in 2022, the Metro Housing Lab is a proving ground for housing innovations that will deliver units faster, cheaper, and more equitably with pilot projects in the design, finance, and construction disciplines of housing production.

Since the launch, staff has prepared a workplan and framework for more activities in 2023, which include:

  • Exploring partnerships with LA City and LA County to build interim housing on Metro sites.
  • Identifying potential sites for interim housing development using modular construction techniques.
  • Developing a draft Community Land Trust (CLT) strategy that will include recommendations for organizing specific CLTs and contributing funding to CLT acquisitions.
  • Small and large convenings to build alliances across public agencies and private stakeholders.

In February, Rachel Allen AIA, FARA will join the Housing Lab as its first Senior Fellow.  Ms. Allen is an acclaimed local architect with decades of design and policy experience. In 2002 she received the Mercedes T. Bass Rome Prize in architecture, a yearlong fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She completed Goldman Sachs' 10K Small Businesses Program, was Mayor Garcetti’s Appointee to the HPOZ Board of historic NELA neighborhood Lincoln Heights, and is currently a member of the ULI-LA Homelessness Initiative Council. Ms. Allen has lectured widely and taught architecture at Cal Poly Pomona, the Mountain School of Art, PCC, SCI-Arc, UCLA, UC Riverside, USC, and Woodbury University. In 2003, Ms. Allen founded the award-winning firm now known as RADAR. As a native Californian, born and raised in San Francisco and a 25-year resident of Los Angeles, I have long felt a personal investment in solving the affordable housing crisis in this my beloved home state, Ms. Allen notes. Her commitment and creativity shows both in her firm’s focus on multi-family housing near downtown and in leading friends and neighbors in the formation of the “Los Angeles Housing Research Group to study opportunities, challenges and precedents for forming Housing Cooperatives in Los Angeles.

At the Housing Lab, Ms. Allen will explore the potential for newer construction methods through Metro's Joint Development program such as modular and pre-fabricated housing to deliver housing quickly and efficiently as well as interim shelter solutions through relationship building and industry convenings. My dear hope is to be of the greatest possible service in this critical and challenging urban topic, Allen said, and I have long admired Metro’s willingness and approach to these complex problems.
TOC "Tidbits"
  • Metro and A Community of Friends celebrate start of construction of Lorena Plaza affordable housing complex in Boyle Heights: In November 2022, Metro and A Community of Friends, a nonprofit specializing in developing supportive housing, broke ground on construction of a new affordable housing development called Lorena Plaza in Boyle Heights. Once completed in 2024, the project will include 49 affordable housing units and 7,500 square feet of commercial space. Half of the units will be set-aside for low-income veterans. For more information on the project, please see Metro’s blog The Source here for more information.
  • 7th Street/Metro Center Station: 7th Street/Metro Center Station is the heart of the Metro Rail system and the busiest and oldest subway station within our system. The Systemwide Design group is leading an effort to improve the safety, security, usability, and comfort of the station through an integrated design project that will include updates to architecture, operational equipment, and the overall station environment. Design features needing updates include floor and ceiling finishes, lighting, security equipment, and customer information/communication equipment. With the upcoming opening of the Regional Connector and the approaching LA 2028 Summer Olympic/Paralympic Games, this update is necessary to create a world-class transit experience at this important and busy transfer station. Starting in early 2023, the project will conduct a background review of the station and develop preliminary engineering designs for the upgrades.
Agency-wide News
What We Are Reading
L.A. Metro Transit Oriented Communities
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