Thursday, September 10, 2015

Party like it's 1976

It's perhaps pointless to comment on Los Angeles' transportation planning policies. For the last 50 years, they have been "anti-car" and otherwise mostly brain dead.  Even the NY Times' breathless coverage ("A Los Angeles Plan to Reshape the Streetscape Sets Off Fears of Gridlock") includes some head-scratching over the latest plan to divert auto-lanes to bicycle-lanes. Going all out for transit in the hope that diminished (potholed) roads would shift auto users to transit has been a nothing but an expensive failure. So double-down.

LA is not Amsterdam. We are less flat, much bigger, often much hotter and we own many more autos. Trading an auto commute for a bike ride will be on the smallest of scales.

In 1976 (!), then-Governor Jerry Brown (the more things change ....) and his Secretary of Transportation had a similar brainstorm and took a lane from the Santa Monica Freeway for exclusive carpool use. The increased gridlock and outrage were hard and fast. The blunder was quickly apparent and the project was reversed in days. Since then, carpool lanes have been added (at great cost) rather than subtracted from existing lanes. But LA Mayor Garcetti the Council are now groping their way back to 1976.