Earlier this week the LA City Council—at the request of Councilmember Jose Huizar—voted unanimously to overturn a decision by city planners to stop faux-Tuscan developer Geoff Palmer from building a pedestrian skybridge at his new development at Temple and the 110 on the edge of Downtown LA. Urbanists, architects, and other decent people argue that decision is crazy, considering that skybridges keep already-dead areas (like this one) dead, and that Palmer specifically said he wanted to keep residents from having to interact with the neighborhood's homeless population, which doesn't benefit anyone. LA Times columnist Steve Lopez took Palmer and the City Council that enables him to task in a very biting column and we've rounded up the best zingers for your pleasure:
On Palmer's architecture: "I'm not an architect, but I'm told the style is faux Italianate, which I believe translates as 'tacky.' Geoff Palmer has several of these Death Star monstrosities on the west side of downtown. They're all essentially the same, occupying entire blocks and remarkably devoid of the slightest hint of authenticity … This one is called the Da Vinci, an unabashed insult to Leonardo."
On Palmer: "Palmer's company argued, however, that future tenants needed the bridge to protect them the threat posed by transients. Can you think of a better candidate for citizen of the year?"
On Huizar: "In this case, Councilman Jose Huizar — a past recipient of campaign donations from Palmer — helped lead the charge to give Palmer exactly what he wanted, claiming this wasn't really about any homeless issue. Huizar argued that this project is on the periphery of the downtown rebirth, so pedestrian-oriented street-level interaction was not a valid concern. It's that kind of thinking that has given us a hundred years of bad planning in L.A."
On perpetuating bad planning in LA: "You don't plan for what's there now. You plan for 10, 50 and 100 years down the line, and in the process, you help design and contribute to the full organic potential of the neighborhood."
And on the Council: But for all that, the bridge is not my main beef here. My main beef is that a developer can repeat the same abomination over and over with help, rather than interference, from City Hall. And that's not just true of downtown; it's a citywide problem.
And again: "We've got a housing shortage, and denser development must be part of the city's future. But that's no reason for City Hall to keep rubber-stamping buildings so banal that developer and architect alike should be arrested for indecency. L.A. Live already fills the downtown quota for grossly impersonal design, and we don't also need a growing constellation of eyesores to define the northwestern gateway to the historic core."
· High-density housing doesn't have to lack a grand design [LAT]
· Fauxtalian Fortress Could Gets Its Unfriendly Skybridge Back [Curbed LA]