Planner Rojas Exits Metro

TTLA pal James Rojas concludes his tenure at Metro this week, where he served as a transportation planner.Read more about Rojas and all his various projects here.Rojas sent out a note announcing his departure -- and updating folks on what else he's up to. With his permission, we've cut-and-paste the majority of the note below:
"After 12
years at Metro I am finally moving on. For some of you this is a
surprise but to others it's about time I left. Throughout Los Angeles
County I have left my mark on the physical landscape while managing
Metro's TEA (urban design) program. This humble program helps
communities enhance the transportation experience. Not every city in LA
County will get a rail or bus line; nevertheless residents deserve an
enhanced transportation experience.  As part of this program I have
driven thousands of miles visiting sites throughout LA County.  With
very little funding, I have help improved the quality of the built
environment.  Although these projects are small interventions,  when
you walk, bike, Metro or drive by the Larchmont Village Medians, the
City of San Fernando's Cesar Chavez Transit Plaza, West Hollywood's Santa Monica Boulevard, Eco's Village permeable sidewalk, Palmdale's Sierra Highway bikeway, and many other small interventions think about the difference these projects have made for the residents that use them. "I
am leaving Metro with in-depth transportation and land use knowledge,
but more importantly with an enlightened understanding of civic life in
Los Angeles from my various campaigns and projects I have worked on outside of Metro. [break...]  "Through these various activities I have worked with some of the city's leading grassroots organization
and visionaries who are changing the region's transportation, open
space, cultural planning, art, and much more. The past decade has been
an exciting time to be in LA and watch it change!  "On the
pedestrian issues I was fortunate to work with Deborah Murphy and
Gloria Ohland and others to raise the pedestrian issues. From kicking
off LA Walks, supporting Safe Routs to School legislation, and the
various walk audits I conducted all over Los Angeles County people are finally thinking about pedestrians. "10 years ago when we saw the end of the Red Line subway project, people like Darrel Clark,  Roger Christiansen, Bart Reed, Dana Gabbard, Tony Loui, and many others help move projects light rail projects
forward like the Expo Line and Eastside Gold Line extension.  Working
with Denny Zane a few years ago on the Subway to Sea project may
actually happened.  Today light rail enjoys much support in the region.
"I helped found the Latino Urban Forum 11 years ago to support
the growing Latino interest in urban planning and advocacy.  As a
community "brain trust" of professional planners, architects and
community dedicated in improving the health and sustainability of
low-income communities we worked on many great projects, organized bike
tours, Nativity tours and even the LA to TJ tour.  We helped create the
Evergreen Cemetery Jogging Path, which has become national model for
promoting physical activities in low-income communities.  Worked with
the Chinatown Alliance to create the Cornfields State Park on a 40-acre
site initially slated to become warehouses, and supported the Baldwin
Hills Park and a park at Taylor Yards.  I worked with Kathy Perez to
host the first Latino New Urbanism Conference. [break...]"I will continue my civic role
in LA through the Latino Urban Forum and the various boards I support,
as well as my creative energies through G727 art gallery.  In addition
I will help community groups and cities help visualize their future so
they can develop successful policies and projects.  My latest project
is to create urban planning high school in East Los Angeles
in fall that uses some of the innovative planning methods I have
developed to engage, excite, and empower the students in understanding
there built environment. "My last installation at Metro will be a visionary model of our Los Angeles County Transportation
[These installations continue with Rojas' Place It workshops -- visit the website and view the photo at the top of this post.-- Ed.] This interactive model will help the public visualize these projects
and understand the new connections to the ocean, LAX, downtown and
others areas via new transportation corridors.  This model will be on display from Thursday, July 17, 2010 to July 25, 2010 in the Metro lobby plaza level. "My next major art installation will be for the California Design Biennial at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. The exhibition opens July 18, 2010 through November 7, 2010."
Photo credit: Building cities at one of planner James Rojas' "Place It" workshops. Photo copyright and courtesy James Rojas.

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