Santa Monica Traffic, Is It Really So Bad? (Part 1)

If you were to summarize the biggest complaint of Santa Monicans and many Westsiders in one word, that word would probably have to be traffic. With no other subject but auto-traffic congestion do I encounter so much heated rhetoric, nor as many entirely contradictory messages about what’s causing it and what to do about it. So I thought it would be helpful to address some of the most common things I hear but which I feel are misunderstandings of how traffic really works.

Santa Monica From Above
Photo: Gary Kavanagh

First of all, I feel the extent that traffic is overwhelming the city is frequently exaggerated. Cries that the whole city is gridlocked generally really mean a few key areas and intersections at peak times are gridlocked. From the vantage point of riding a bike and having to negotiate space with hurling boxes of metal, my biggest complaint in Santa Monica is how much speeding there is; both when riding for work, as well other times and trips.

The traffic congestion cannot be quite so bad as the soul crushing force trapping people in their homes, as is often described, and be so open that people routinely drive above the speed limit at the same time. Try driving a car the posted limit of 25mph on Broadway Ave. for any length of time, and see how long before you get people riding your bumper, honking or attempting to illegally pass.

Our Santa Monica column is made possible due to the support of Bike Center. The nation's largest bike parking center. Click on the image to learn more about their services and events.

There are some serious traffic jams in Santa Monica, but if we are going to address that matter, we need to understand root causes and the good that is associated with traffic congestion.

Yes, the good.

Traveling to various places in the country in recent years, I have encountered a number of small cities and towns that essentially solved their traffic congestion problem, but in part by utterly killing their downtowns and Main Streets, or bringing them to the brink of collapse. Michigan City Indiana is an example of such a place, where large one-way streets pump cars through the small downtown without delay, but it felt like more store fronts were closed than occupied by any business.

The Atlantic Cities recently published a story about the strong correlation between GDP growth and traffic congestion, which seemed to contradict one of the prevailing lines of thought that calculates all traffic delays as productivity losses against our economy. Now this correlation could easily be pulled out of context to suggest if we simply add more cars to a city’s grid it will be good for the economy. That would be an oversimplification and is not the case.

What’s important is the flow of goods and services, regardless of transportation mode. It just so happens a strong economy in the U.S. is often accompanied by a lot of congested cars. After reading this, and another recent study from Oregon with a slightly different take, the conclusion I’ve drawn is that solving traffic congestion by killing traffic congestion alone can lead to a weakening of the local economy. However a reduction in driving which corresponds with a mode shift, more people on foot, bikes and transit, allows for driving reductions and congestion relief which does not negatively impact economic activity.

Santa Monica From Above
Photo: Gary Kavanagh

When it comes to the intersection of talking traffic congestion and parking policy, many people, and many local commentators, can be found making entirely incompatible, contradictory statements. Take for example Bill Bauer, and his weekly column for the Santa Monica Daily Press. He’ll accuses the city of trying to “chase away business” with parking rates in his most recent column, but a few weeks before that he complained about how too much business causes delays. Donald Shoup, parking economist extraordinaire, often refers to free parking as a “fertility drug for cars.” Paradoxically many of the same Santa Monica voices complaining the loudest about there being too much car traffic are frequently the same people who want more free parking.

The often misunderstood relationships between parking availability, pricing, and policy, and of traffic congestion, is a classic example of people wanting to eat their cake and have it too. If we are going to form any kind of coherent public consensus about traffic mitigation and policy, it’s essential to debunk fantastical thinking with no basis in reality. Traffic congestion can get to be an emotional topic, and I can sympathize with the frustration inherent to feeling stuck in traffic delays. But we aren’t going to get to any solutions purely from emotionally driven frustrations. We’ve got to step back, zoom out a little, and grasp what’s really going on.

In part two I’ll visit some more common fallacies about Santa Monica traffic, many of which are applicable to traffic debates in any city.

  • Irwinc

    Looking forward to part 2!

    I live just outside Santa Monica and pass in and out of the city daily on my way to work. The one thing that Gary noted and I agree 100% is that vehicle congestion is really not that bad in Santa Monica – especially on the east-west arterial roads leading to West LA. Because there are so many such roads, I don’t think we are close to the maximum road capacity for single occupant vehicles in this travel direction. Cars routinely drive above speed limit even during the thick of rush hour. However, I think we may be closer (but still not near the max) to capacity on north-south travel directions as there are really only 3 reasonable streets that one can take from Venice or Mar Vista into Santa Monica (Lincoln, 20th, Centinela).

    Another thing I would say is that Santa Monica gets it right mostly in its road design but would it really kill them to give their nice Big Blue Bus some exclusive lanes on some of the most difficult stretches of rush hour bottleneck?

  • Irwinc

    I should clarify for people not familiar with Santa Monica. There are only 3 major N-S roads leading to Santa Monica from the south:

    1. Lincoln (access to Downtown SM)
    2. Walgove-23rd-20th (access to Midtown SM)
    3. Centinela-Bundy (access to Uptown SM)

    There are many smaller side streets you can take but the road design in Santa Monica tends to funnel you into these 3 main roads.

    Compare to the east-west direction where you have 8 or 9 major streets.

  • Anonymous

    Agree with Irwinc. I think people combine their thinking of bad traffic in Santa Monica with bad traffic in West LA trying to get across the 405. That is where the actual bad traffic is on the east/west roads from what I’ve seen, but that is outside of Santa Monica.

  • Yes, North/South is much more contained throughout Santa Monica, and we can thank the freeway for that, because not every street gets a bridge across the trench.

  • Juan Matute

    Good post Gary.

    Regarding traffic congestion – it’s all in the experience of the beholder. 

    Go to Dodger Stadium on opening day and you might think it’s crowded: every seat is filled.  Go on an off-day or late last season and you might not think it’s crowded. Is the solution to build more seats in Dodger Stadium so that everyone who wants to go to opening day can go?  Or is the solution to spread ticket sales out over the season so that so many more people get to go and no one has to pay off the debt for stadium expansion.

    The Dodgers, like many other sporting organizations, have figured out a way to deal with the scarcity of seats: selling advanced tickets.  This way, fans showing up know there will be a seat for them.  They might even be willing to pay a scalper a market price to get into that seat.

    The situation is different with roads.  There are no advanced sales.  There’s no market pricing.  The only feedback we get that a specific road segment is “sold out” at a certain period of time is the hassle of traffic congestion.  Traffic congestion causes some people to say: “hey, I’m going to wait a bit to leave” or “wow, I think I’ll try taking my bike.”  Traffic congestion also causes some people to say “Woah! There are too many people here!  What can I do to stop people from coming here?”  The first group of people reduce overcrowding: following the Dodgers analogy, they go to games later in the season (time-shift) or decide to go to an Angels game instead (mode-shift).  The latter group basically says: “We have enough Dodgers fans already, thank you.  Have you considered the San Diego Padres?” (exclusion).  Of course people might be less happy as Padres fans, and eventually the Padres will have to deal with overcrowding.

    Santa Monica’s debate in response to peak traffic congestion has been about shifting versus exclusion.  I feel very lucky to live in a city that is taking intelligent, measured steps towards the former. I see the former as the only sustainable solution; exclusion just moves the problem.

  • Sam

    One thing that I have recently pointed out to a number of people is that every driver contributes to the “traffic problem.” Every time someone at a light waiting to turn left behind one or two other cars makes a left turn well after their light goes red creates “traffic” for the other direction waiting.  Every person who enters an intersection, even when they see that traffic is stopped on the other side and they will block the opposing direction, adds to the “traffic” problem.  There is a certain level of personal responsibility that all drivers need to take.  Too often today people forget common courtesy in their rush to get somewhere.  This is a major factor in the “traffic problem,” in my opinion.

  • zstern

    Agree that traffic locally in Santa Monica is not that bad. 

    However, traffic on the 10 freeway coming west in to SM in the morning and going east out of SM in the afternoon is very bad.  I doubt the Expo line extension will alleviate any of that traffic but it will at least allow transit users like myself another option.

    The way I see it (and Juan lays it out quite nicely below), is that the only way to reduce that traffic is to decrease the number of trips (not add capacity) either through mode switching or exclusion.  Because of the obvious economic downsides of exclusion noted by Juan below, mode switching seems to be the best option.  However, I don’t think that building light rail is enough.  I think that in addition to building the multi-modal infrastructure (bike infrastructure, bus only lanes, etc.) we have to make driving less attractive.  And by less attractive I mean quit subsidizing driving and parking to the extent we do and start making the decision to pick up the keys in the morning “harder” financially.

    For example: I rent a one bedroom in SM that has one parking space.  I live in it with my girlfriend. She uses the parking spot.  I am however eligible to get a preferential street parking permit (for a measly $25 bucks – I think) for a second car.  Why on earth does SM allow people in a 1-bdrm to get a preferential spot if they already have a spot?!  Policies like this make driving and vehicle ownership way too cheap (and thus attractive).

    I think going forward you will see SM itself become even more livable car-free with the expo line, increased bike lanes, and hopefully a bike share system but I unfortunately don’t see any end in sight or even improvement in sight for traffic getting in and out of SM.

  • Excellent analogy! I would add that the Dodgers have gone a step further in the quest to spread out ticket sales and implemented a solution that should sound familiar: demand-based pricing. It will cost you an extra $2 a ticket to go to Friday or Saturday games vs. other days of the week. You also have to buy a multi-game (at least 10) ticket package to get into games that are anticipated to have the highest demand, like opening day and certain promotional giveaway nights.

    Now if only they could apply the same market-based principles to their parking lot, instead of bowing to pressure from blowhard LA Times columnists and lowering the price by $5 (thus weakening the incentive to share a ride, take the Union Station shuttle, bike, etc.)

  • Juan Matute

    Niall, I haven’t been to Dodger Stadium in years.  I saw the Dodgers play the Cubs last month at Wrigley – and I was impressed that the Cubs have five pricing levels based on the day of the week and popularity of the visiting team. 

    260 acres of parking!  For comparison, USC’s main campus is 226 acres.

  • Anonymous

    260 acres of parking! 

    The entire Grachtengordel of Amsterdam is 489 acres (198 ha)!!

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1349/

  • SM resident

    Does the author or any of the commenters actually LIVE in Santa Monica and try to deal with getting into the city in the a.m. or getting out at night??  Who are you writers and posters, anyway??  I am a resident and it took me 1 1/2 hours to go East 6 miles out of SM on a recent Thursday night.  I never went more than 7 mph.   If you are going to write a blog about SM traffic, please do better research… 

  • You want to know who we are? I’m happy to introduce ourselves.

    – Gary is a car-free urbanist who gave up his car a few years ago. He and I first met at Street Summit in 2010. We bonded over our mutual support of Shoupistic parking policy. Gary has a deep command of the factors predicting and explaining travel behavior in and around the Westside as well as regionally. In other words, Gary knows his stuff.

    – Juan, my husband, holds an MA and an MBA in urban planning. He is an expert on the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation uses in local municipalities. He is also an expert on transit planning and highly knowledgeable on the topic of EVs.

    – For several years, I was a transportation demand management professional. I developed and marketed programs to encourage the use of alternative transportation based on current knowledge of travel behavior for a wide swath of the LA population.

    Yes, we do see the traffic getting into and out of Santa Monica every weekday. One of the factors for this is our area’s jobs/housing imbalance.  This has been documented and studied by the Westside COG. This study is from 2008: http://www.scag.ca.gov/Housing/pdfs/trends/WestsideWorkforceHousingStudy_PPT.pdf I can’t pull the n umber of new housing units added to the area since 2008 but I’m sure somebody else can, and I’m sure the number is not 94K, which is the number this study concludes is the number of units our area needs to add in order to tilt the balance to even. So one of the reasons is took so long for you to go six miles to the east is because you were one of thousands of motorists trying to do the same thing. The difference is, it sounds like you were completing a discretionary trip. Many of the folks you were on the road with were just trying to get home to their families.

  • Small typo correction: It’s “Broadway” that is one block south of Santa Monica Blvd, not “Broadway Ave.” (or “Broadway St.” as Google Maps asserts). :-)

  • Yes anonymous SM resident, I live in Santa Monica (and work here), and have done so for the past 6 years. Prior to living here I visited frequently while attending college near LAX. I drove within and into and out of Santa Monica for a few years, but the past couple years I’ve spent getting around without a car after I sold the one I previously owned. Occasionally I use car rental or taxis when bus or bike doesn’t work for my needs.

    I think it’s worth pointing out here that your claimed speed of 7mph in congestion is about 5 mph lower than the a typical speed of 12 mph on casual cruiser bicycle, and yet so many completely dismiss outright bicycling as a legitimate transportation solution. Most errands and trips are made in less than 5 miles and in some cases getting there by bike would be just as fast or faster than driving and circling around for parking.

    I do a lot of extensive reading on traffic issues, changing trends in attitudes toward driving. As well as trends in energy production and commodity markets that make driving possible and which will shape the economics of driving in the decades ahead. Reading books like “Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)” by Tom Vanderbilt, on the psychology and sociology of driving, is the kind of thing I do for enjoyment.

    The traffic in Santa Monica sucks on particular streets in particular directions, at particular times. I am not attempting to deny this, however much of the rhetoric around traffic makes it sound like traffic is universally horrible in Santa Monica, and it frankly is not. I see more people exceeding speed limits in my regular commuting by bike within the city than I do stuck constrained in congestion. There are also aspects of traffic congestion that are also beneficial to the city that are rarely acknowledged when the subject comes up, such as the fact it is an indicator of people wanting to live work and play here more than other places, allowing our economy to prosper at a time when many municipalities in America are going broke and jobs are being sucked out like a vacuum.

    If you do not think my ideas have merit, I would like to know what you believe we ought to be doing?

    Columnists whining about traffic without viable solutions or any understanding of how it works are a dime a dozen in Santa Monica and can be found in every local paper. I’m interested in exploring other sides of the coin, as well as trying to get to root causes and address common misconceptions. I’ll have more to add later this week in Part 2.

  • Irwinc

    That’s an exaggeration but a perfect illustration of the fake traffic ‘problem’ Gary pointed out in the 3rd paragraph. If it really took you 1.5 hours to go 6 miles, the question is why are you still driving? You could have walked there faster. Clearly, this is not the case on a normal day-to-day basis or otherwise you would not even think of leaving your house in a car.

    I commute in and out of Santa Monica everyday for 7 miles each way, either by driving or taking the Big Blue Bus. It takes me on average 25 minutes to complete my trip in my car or about 50 minutes by bus. If that commute regularly took 90 minutes, I can assure you I would be commuting by skateboard.

  • Anonymous

    I recently moved to SM from Boston and would offer the following observations:
    1. Traffic engineering on the west coast is much better than the east coast. I know you’re generally not fans of cars, but as a civil engineer, I’m pretty impressed.
    2. SM traffic and parking concerns are overblown. I’ve never had to park more than a block or two away from my destination. N-S traffic on Lincoln always seems to move fine.
    3. The 10 is terrible, especially going W in the AM and E in the PM. But again Caltrans has done a pretty good job getting everything they can out of it.
    4. The E-W streets like Wilshire are fine in SM, but the 405 is poison that destroys any street it touches. Sometimes it really does take you an hour to go 6 miles in West LA. (In my defense, that 6 miles was part of a 300 mile trip, so it was not bikeable.)
    5. As a consequence of 4, it would be great if the Westside Subway extension went all the way to SM, or at least to Bundy.
    6. If LA in general is going to keep growing, we need to keep improving transit. Widening freeways or building new ones is a political non-starter, not to mention bad for the environment. Subways and light rail would be best, but in the immediate future we could have bus lanes on many of the wide streets.

  • Hi NorthendMatt,
    Welcome to Santa Monica! I like what you have to say. There’s one thing I want to add…The 10 freeway, imho, could move more cars if there was the political will to implement congestion pricing. (We are moving to do this further east and south in the County, which I think is encouraging!)  Six years before I was born, in 1976, there was a carpool lane on the 10 for five months. It didn’t last very long for many reasons, the most memorable being that solo motorists didn’t like seeing that the carpool lane was “emptier”. Here’s an archived story from the LA Times in 1987 on the topic: http://articles.latimes.com/1987-02-08/local/me-1267_1_car-pool-experiment.I don’t know if I’d call the project a total disaster as the columnist does, but I think it helped planners understand that the model of constructing just 1 carpool lane in each direction is only a half-solution. A lot of scholars, including Brian Taylor, Don Shoup and Bob Cevero (Berkeley), have opined on what an efficient network of HOV lanes would look like. I know they have tried modeling what the max number of cars that could move through a freeway if we could price the use of the limited-access highways… and well, it’s a heck of a lot higher than what we see presently.Any plannerds/geeks who want to read more, try this article from Access magazine published by UCTC: http://www.uctc.net/access/27/Access%2027%20-%2002%20-%20What%20We’ve%20Learned.pdf I can’t find something more recent – the archive is incomplete – but for anyone who feels like not doing work, check it out.

  • Luckyxclover

    I’ve lived here 32 years and looking back 5, 10, 15 years- I see an impressive amount of traffic. Most posters must be single, healthy people WITHOUT children who can afford to explore alternative modes of transportation. I compare the Santa Monica of today to an obese person of small stature….continuously gaining weight… too much weight in fact for their body to continue to thrive within healthy limits. With the immense amount of new businesses growing roots in our city, obviously there will be a staggering amount of incoming and outgoing traffic during work/school hours. Why are we pretending there isnt crazy traffic here? Perhaps we just wouldn’t want to sway any of our money spending brethren to not visit SM? I guess we could convince people the sky is actually purple… with the right amount of media blitz brainwashing. Foolish me, I guess I didn’t sit for five light rotations on Cloverfield and Santa Monica Blvd today. Hopefully no one was in a real emergency to reach the nearby hospital. Sorry but there is a ridiculous amount of “road construction” going on… lane closures…buses being cut down the center to add another bus onto it. There are too many people going in and out and no amount of research or degrees can tell me otherwise.

  • Luckyxclover

    I agree. They definitely must not be long time residents of SM. I guess if you don’t know any better, you’d think it was normal or acceptable. This is supposed to be a sleepy beach city with a urban vibe. It’s now downtown la by the sea.

  • Luckyxclover

    It’s also very frustrating that the other posters keep referring to walking or skateboard (I’m an adult woman not a kid), bicycling, etc but forget some of us have children (plural) or disabilities. Driving is inevitable in those cases. Again, people choose not to look at the fact: the traffic is a raging nightmare and instead, finger wag in disapproval to the people who beg for help. Hmm.

  • Irwinc

    Being a long time resident doesn’t make you an expert in transportation. Your snide comment about people’s age and choice of transportation mode also shows your contempt, as if driving is not also a form of “alternative” mode of transport. Who decided that old people driving 2.5 miles to the grocery store is the “default” mode and everyone else is casted into the dreaded “alternative”? People like you constantly complain about ‘traffic’ but yet all those hundred of thousands of people still managed to get to their jobs and get home just the same in Santa Monica. My 25 minutes 7 mile commute in and out of Santa Monica everyday is not imaginary. It’s not freeway speed driving but also not armageddon level congestion. Who is really trying to convince people the sky is purple?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Sirinya, thanks for the welcome! And thanks for the background on the carpool lane on the 10… now I won’t be wondering why it doesn’t have one, as I stare forlornly out the window of the Big Blue Bus. (Or, in my darker moments, dream about going out there with some homemade signs and white thermoplastic at 3am and taking traffic regulation into my own hands.)

    As for the congestion pricing, I think it’s pretty cool that Metro is putting it in on the 110 and the 10 east of downtown. It seems like LA is more willing to try different things, which is very refreshing! It is really a very exciting time to be working in transportation in LA :)

    One other thought that popped up as I read the comments here… everyone thinks that the level of traffic and parking congestion in their city is terrible. Residents of downtown Boston would burst out laughing at the idea that parking is difficult in SM. Has anyone in SM ever spent an hour shoveling snow and ice out of a parking spot six blocks from their apartment? On the other hand, when I moved to LA, everyone I knew in Boston asked how anyone in LA could tolerate the traffic!

    So parking is worse in Boston and traffic is worse in LA. Yet people in Boston will still tell you traffic there is terrible, and that any new development will make things intolerable. It’s all about frame of reference, and what you consider normal. If we had congestion pricing and accurately-priced parking, before long that would be the new normal. But the trick is getting there…

  • Zstern

    Luckyx – I think it is important to clarify what we are talking about when we say “traffic”. When I say traffic in SM is not that bad, I am referring to local traffic within the city limits.

    “traffic” in and out of SM is quite bad, especially on the 10 freeway and on side streets as you get to the 405.

    Which are you referring to?

  • Luckyxclover

    Irwinc: are you suggesting there is traffic or there isn’t traffic? I was confused by your 25 minute 7 mile commute and the statement of it not being armeggedon traffic. True, there are varying degrees of traffic in Santa Monica…some more tolerable then others but traffic there certainly is. I write this as I sit on the backed up end of traffic on 20th and Broadway where they’re doing some road/light work. I can assure you I wasn’t having contempt for anything. Just laughing at the thought of myself on a skateboard with 5 inch heels riding to work. I would love to hear your examples of the free flowing city you speak of, please do tell. Not trying to sound big by explaining I’ve lived in the city for 32 years, merely explaining what I’ve seen change and I can assure you it’s changed. This little city was never set up to be the huge metropolitan area it’s become. There are now too many business here and instead of limiting how many people the city can safely handle, we pack building upon building…no spot left uninhabited. The majority of the people who work in these businesses can’t even afford to live in the city which is why the traffic gets hectic at rush hour then comes back again for the weekend beach visit. So complain I do and I’m unapologetic. I came first and watched the city become the obese leg shaking trying to support the girth place it is now. Trust me, SM is no dolt, they do everything for the almighty dollar. If you lived here (you made reference to a commute in and out daily), you’d know about all the rules and regulations they have set for the people who live here yet they (the city) can go ahead and do whatever they desire. Disagree? Make valid points.

  • Luckyxclover

    Zstern: I’m referring to both the traffic within SM and getting in and out of SM. I live and work in the city, my kids go to school and various activities in the city so I have a bit of driving to do. I definitely hit traffic daily with the exception of holidays. The weekend traffic is a bit different, not as bad and effects the west end of the city more so. I’m glad you don’t hit traffic….please give me your hidden secrets.

  • @86f5594be0b4fbfbc376529a65909dc0:disqus You complain about articulated buses, but doesn’t that just mean that more people can be riding the bus, and not driving their cars? I would think that someone who complains about being stuck in their car would want to see public transportation and other modes of transport be actually viable alternatives to driving.

    And lest you wonder, I do live in Santa Monica and I have a small child. One of the great things about Santa Monica is that most neighborhoods give you the opportunity to get around without a car. I can go to the grocery store without driving to pick up a few things. I can take my daughter to the park or the library without having to get into my car. 

  • Luckyxclover

    Evan G: more than one kid here, one being physically disabled. Not everyone can get around in a bus or bike or walking although of course… I think that’s great for those who CAN! Who said otherwise? Fact is: there is traffic due to too much being piled into a small area. No one has to qualify why they have to drive in say, Torrance or Moorepark. Why is the problem is SM and why do people downplay it?

  • Luckyxclover,

    While on a trip out of town recently catching the bus from the Eastside of Portland Oregon to the Amtrak station downtown I watched a man in a wheel chair get on the bus followed right afterward by a blind man navigating with voice feedback transit directions on an iPhone. When I hear people say, “but what about the disabled”, they have to drive, it is a tired excuse reflective of a privileged point of view that is detached from who transit often serves. It usually indicates a person hasn’t taken a bus much in their life. For many disabled folks without the ability to drive or the means to afford a driver, expensive taxis or paratransit service, the public bus systems are their lifeline, it is everything to them, it is their freedom.

    I do sympathize with the having kids issue, because our built environment has been made too hostile for kids to feel safe biking on their own or for many parents to bike with kids on board. And bus fares add up quickly and are cumbersome with kids.

    However that does not have to be the case. There are places in the world where bicycling with multiple kids and even other cargo is quite common for short trips, but the conditions for cycling are much safer. The only thing that prevents us from having safe cycling accessible to all is lack of political will, the cost of bicycle facilities like bikes lanes and protected cycle-tracks are a tiny fraction of all the other transportation infrastructure and service we provide.

    Women are also often disadvantaged by often being the one obligated to make lots of trip chaining errands and that is it’s own unique dilemma not easily solved. But it is certaintly not impossible, the story of this woman from Portland with 6 kids and no car is evidence it can be done, though clearly not a situation that will work for all.

    http://bikeportland.org/2012/06/28/with-six-kids-and-no-car-this-mom-does-it-all-by-bike-73731

    I am aware there are challenges to making this work for all people, but it is a false argument to say well I don’t take the bus or I don’t bike so I get no benefit from better biking or bus service. If more people who can become willing to ride bikes or take the bus, it removes competition for limited parking spaces and finite road-space.

    We will not solve the traffic problems we do have, which are primarily limited to certain area or directions at certain times, with a focus on just trying to improve convenience for drivers, in fact focusing on things other than driving may in fact be much better for the driver. And if we under value the significant public real-estate provided for cars, it encourages wasteful use of it and encourages congestion.

    Traffic congestion tie ups are a non-linear problem. By that I mean that removing a small number of cars from the equation has a disproportiante benifit. For example on a freeway stuck moving 5-10 mph, removing 5% of the cars can as much as double traffic speeds to 25-30 mph, a 200% gain in traffic flow. So it doesn’t require radically significant mode shifts to benefit everyone, including those who continue to drive.

  • Anonymous

    3 streets?  I regularly travel from Westchester to SM and take none of those 3 streets.  Certainly there are viable other options.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Bill Rosendahl, Unplugged in Del Rey

|
Photo:UWEC Last night, Westside Councilman Bill Rosendahl held a forum for residents of Del Rey to discuss their traffic concerns with officials with Caltrans and LADOT.  At first, I wondered why it was called a "traffic" and not "transportation" forum, but I soon learned why as the only question that wasn’t about moving cars or […]