When you shop, you may visit a mall, or go to your town’s main street. At the mall, you probably cruise past rows and rows of empty parking, the spaces filled only one day a year. Maybe you head downtown, but can only find vacant storefronts. And where things are bustling, you can’t find convenient parking near the stores you want to visit. All three of these scenarios represent a “parking problem” that has a negative impact on other community goals. At the mall, overbuilt parking consumes land and wastes money. Downtown, storefronts may sit empty because new businesses that would like to move in can’t meet high parking requirements – and too little parking makes good businesses less viable.
A study recently prepared for Caltrans (Travel Characteristics of Transit-Oriented Development in California 1 ) assesses the travel patterns of persons who live, work, shop, and recreate near suburban and infill rail transit stations throughout California. The study found that those who live in transit-oriented developments (TODs) have higher levels of transit use than persons in surrounding areas. The Gold Line, which began revenue operations in 2003 and has been accompanied by a boom in TOD, had not opened in time to be included in that study. This research extends that research to the Gold Line corridor. It examines travel behavior in station areas surrounding the light-rail transit line, which connects Los Angeles to Pasadena, and explores development and management issues along this new rail line.