Today, I encountered a traffic jam of monstrous proportions on my temporary commute from Van Nuys to Santa Monica. From Victory to Ventura, both Sepulveda and the 405 were completely jammed at 10am. It continued through the Sepulveda Pass and resumed the jamming at Montana. It took two hours to go 17 miles.
Of all the problems LA faces, it seems that traffic is the biggest preoccupation and frustration of life here. It actually prevents us from enjoying our city and taking full advantage of it. For example, I would never attend a play downtown on a Friday evening or go out to dinner in Hollywood if I had to drive from the Valley to those areas.
Traffic keeps us at work later, and makes us get up earlier to “beat the traffic”…which we never do.
Given LA’s housing shortage, it seems that city is drastically crying out for re-zoning to allow high-rise construction and higher density buildings along dedicated light rail and bus routes. We over and over, like ill people, have these discussions, but to what end? We need to live near public transport so that people can get around quickly.
Downtown development will proceed much more slowly unless the city quickly builds a subway to get the West Side and the South Bay and East LA into the center city. LA cannot call itself a world-class city when it doesn’t provide decent transportation to its 12 million citizens.