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.

3 thoughts on “Traffic.

  1. Way to go, Carter. That’s the spirit. This is exactly how the Red Line is paying off, much to the chagrin of the Daily News.

    Also, you might want to consider earting in downtown, emerging as L.A.’s culinary center. Most restaurants, especially ones owned by Patina, have shuttle service to and from the Music Center. Most shows let out in time for a nightcap and a train home.


  2. Well, I go to Disney Hall quite frequently from Sherman Oaks, and take the Red line, day or night, no big deal, yet a great time and money saver.
    For an evening downtown, park at either valley red line stop, take the subway, and just do it. Trip home is very entertaining, with all of LA represented, suits to gang-banger attire, and every gradation in between.
    Dinner in Hollywood may depend on where you wanted to eat. Along Hwd. Blvd would allow for similar Red Line options, just depart at Highland, Vine, Western, or around Childrens Hosp.
    In the valley we have it better than much of the west side because the red line exists, and the gold line will take you to Pasadena, So. Pasadena, and soon to the east side/Boyle Hts.(Serenata di Garibaldi restaurant) and ELA areas.
    Blue line to Long Beach, Green line toward the south bay, although the routing was not as well-thought out.


  3. Andrew,

    Your posts are reminding me more and more of the similarities between Toronto and LA. The highway that runs through (northern) Toronto, part of the 401 or TransCanada, is reported to be the busiest highway in North America (most vehicles per day).
    I have given up my car for this very reason. The idea of driving – or sitting – in traffic makes me cringe.
    Now, if only Toronto, too, can provide efficient (and not nasty) public transportation, but that’s a whole other can of worms.


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