The 405 Sepulveda Pass Widening: Is This Really Worth It?

Streetsblog has been plenty critical of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project which will will add a 10-mile HOV lane and widen lanes from the Santa Monica Fwy. (I-10) to the Ventura Fwy. (US-101).  The project is back in the news after the most recent round of closures created ire among drivers angry with the lack of public notice.

Highway widening projects don't cure congestion, just ask the more progressive transportation agencies in the country.

For some reason, few people ever question the “time savings” for drivers associated with freeway expansion projects by considering the amount of time lost during construction.  For this particular widening, we’ve already experienced “Carmageddon” and there are so many lane and ramp closures associated with the project that the project’s homepage at Metro.net has gone from a public relations greenwashing  to just a sad list of closures.  At least some of the more spectacular closures have fun graphics.  Go ahead, check it out.

Even with all of the public relations tools at their disposal, Metro doesn’t always get the news on these closures out.  Monday’s Which Way L.A. on KCRW focused on the lack of notice for the most recent round of closures that left many motorists unprepared for the traffic they’re going to face.

The project has caused an untold number of hours of delay already, and this isn’t even taking into account Carmageddon II (coming next summer) or the “Rampture” (planned 90 day closures of the Wilshire Blvd. 405 Freeway on- and off-ramps).  I honestly don’t know one person, and yes I do know people that drive on the I-405, that thinks this project will have any lasting impact.  But I know plenty that believe it has already impacted their commutes, but not in the way that Metro and Caltrans had hoped.

All this, for well over $1 billion.  It’s a shame that all this effort is being put in, when the number of L.A. County residents that choose to carpool has been dropping for the last two decades.