Steve Scauzillo's World

If you read his recent editorial, you'd get the idea he favors increased housing density and a shift to more pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use, transit-oriented, environmentally sustainable developments.

It's weird that way. He supports politicians that don't support his vision of a future for the San Gabriel Valley, then bemoans the failure of most Valley cities to realize his vision.

He's just a rich prick. The

He's just a rich prick.

The stuff he figures is good for the somewhat wealthier residents of the Foothills are, in his mind, not appropriate for the less wealthy, less (or not at all) white residents in the flats.

I bet he'd get a bug up his ass if Wal-Mart tried to move in next door to him or develop a store in ye olde towne Monrovia.

Hey, Steve-o, do you know how rough life is down in Rosemead? Some people have to drive f'n six miles to get to a Trader Joe's. It ain't right.

I'm not sure how he'd respond

I'm not sure how he'd respond to a Wal-Mart in Temple City. And he actually supported La Piazza, back when La Piazza was supposed to be a mixed-use development. He claims to live near that corner (Rosemead and Las Tunas), though I don't know for a fact that he does.

Of course, a Wal-Mart in Old Town would destroy Old Town.

Well, at least he's consistent on that point

I remember Julie Wang was against La Piazza. I was OK with it. TCNA was against it.

My general feeling about mixed use is that it seems too focused on shopping + housing, but leaves work out of the mix. They all seem to want condos above a shopping mall.

Why not focus more on jobs? Develop so it's reasonable to live near work.

Something people don't recogize about Old Pasadena was that it also had offices. I worked at two places in Old Pasadena, which is really a lot if you think about it. And these weren't retail jobs. They were both IT jobs. Both companies had fairly diverse ranges of salaries, too.

I did not live in the mall, but it was within walking distance of one place I lived. (I ended up driving to the second job.)

So, during the day, all the workers sometimes ate at the restaurants in the mall. We used the parking structures during the week.

On weekends, shoppers parked in the structures, and ate at the restaurants.

Also, there are a few large organizations adjacent to Old Pas. There's Kaiser's offices, Parsons, the city government, and the industrial area south of the shopping mall.

When I look at these newer developments, I don't see as many jobs. They're just efforts to make shopping destinations.

As Scauzillo points out, shopping destinations get crowded when they're successful. Then the chains move in, and it gets even more crowded. Then the early adopters flee to another shopping destination. So these outdoor-street-front malls with residents end up competing with each other.

If you have offices or even light industrial near the shopping, you can have a permanent customer base for the mom and pop restaurants.

One way to do this is to put the shopping near the work - but often the office parks are isolated. So you end up with one viable restaurant serving the entire area (and workers get sick of it and go elsewhere). I was working in Culver City, in an office/industrial area with a lot of media workers, but only one restaurant.

Another way is to find ways to insert offices into retail areas. The office workers in Old Pas didn't spend that much money, but even 50 workers spending 10 a day adds up to $500 a day. That's not too bad - and there's also corporate spending on catering and other services.

Old style planning used to be

Old style planning used to be that you segregated land uses, which is how you wound up with industrial parks separated from retail separated from residential. The state of the profession moved past that when they figured out this was a recipe for traffic gridlock.

A couple of years ago, I made a statement to a group of students that "The era of the big box store is over." I know it's not literally over today, but it's on the way out. As congestion increases and mobility decreases, forward-looking cities are going to either find a way to adapt (mixed-use and transit-oriented developments) or choke on their own exhaust fumes.

Traffic Sucks

Seriously. For a while, I was going to Mission Super Hardware instead of Home Depot because the trek to HD was so painful. Then I found the HD in El Monte, but even that one is a reach on weekends. So the default hardware is now HD in Pico Rivera.

In fact, what I do is make shopping lists, and then go in the evening if possible.

I think that the idea of mixing residential and shopping is nice, it just reeks of some kind of New Urbanist nostalgia. It ends up making projects like the Americana in Glendale.

That's not a community. It's more like a shopping destination with housing on top.

The Americana lacks everything a regular community would need. There's no grocery store. There's no hardware store. A bank would be nice. So would a post office. The library is nearby though.

Also, where does anyone living there work? Probably not in the mall, where the wages probably hover near minimum wage.

A real urbanist community could exist there, but it doesn't.

In fact, now that I think of it, you could make a real one by putting housing on top of the mall across from City Hall. It has a grocery store, a post office, some cheap stores.

The whole street between Walnut Grove and Rosemead could be downtown Rosemead.

Monterey Park

I think Monterey Park, from Atlantic Times Square south, is going to turn into this sort of "New Urbanist nostalgia" corridor. I don't head that way very often, but the last few times I drove down Atlantic, I was surprised by the number of multi-story apartments that have popped up behind the multi-story retail and service businesses. That's very different from what you see in San Gabriel, where they've put in the high density commercial, but there's no new residential developments to be found. It's also different from Rosemead, where I also have not seen any new residential developments coming in there. It's just knock-downs and McMansions, which does not seem very sustainable to me.