You Can’t Fix Traffic. You Are Traffic.
(Yesterday, the Los Angeles Times printed an editorial in their online opinion page by editorial writer Carla Hall. The editorial called out the City Council Candidates in CD 11 for not addressing car drivers’ concerns at a Streetsblog Forum and suggested some ways to “improve” traffic on the Westside. Since we were mentioned, we thought we would respond.)
I read your piece in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times urging the Westside City Council candidates to come up with solutions to fix traffic. You cite the difficulties of living in Brentwood and working downtown and how awful it is to sit in traffic. You don’t seem to think that transit or bicycling is a good way to relieve traffic, mostly because it wouldn’t work for you.
I have some bad news for you.
There isn’t anything that anyone can do to make your commute any better. Double-decking the 405, an idea that Governor Schwarzenegger floated a couple of times, would be a disaster. You think construction impacts from adding a measly HOV lane are bad? What do you think double-decking would be like. Think Carmageddon for a month at a time.
The Pico-Olympic Plan was so unpopular that none of the Council Members that represent an impacted area (Rosendahl, Koretz, Wesson) think its a good idea. It’s such a bad idea it might have cost Jack Weiss a job as City Attorney. Many in his City Council district turned on him after his support for turning to already difficult streets into mini-freeways. Oh, and
Study after study shows that the best ways to support business is to increase access. Taking away parking, without adding improved connections for non-car shoppers, is doing just the opposite.
I don’t think I can say anything about a proposal to add hundreds of cars to a campus that caters to disabled veterans without getting insulting.
You have children. One day they might read this website. I shouldn’t be insulting.
So let’s focus on what we agree on.
The city hasn’t done a great job helping bicyclists and car drivers co-exist. Proper facilities, enforcement and training would help. That’s what our forum was supposed to be about. There weren’t a lot of new ideas on that front. One of the biggest ideas was about creating more bike corrals, where a car parking space is turned into 8-12 bike parking spaces. A good idea of integrating bicyclists into the existing car-centric network, but not really what you’re talking about.
I also agree that Los Angeles has to work with Culver City, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica on traffic solutions. That’s not always as easy said as done. Beverly Hills is fighting the current route for the Westside Subway. Santa Monica and Beverly Hills wanted nothing to do with the Wilshire Bus Only Lanes. Things seem a little easier with Culver City, for now.
But to your specific problem, living in Brentwood and commuting via car Downtown there are really only three solutions: move, get a new job, or get over it. That commute is a result of decisions you made and are making. Thanks to a wife that makes quite a bit more than I do, we could live in Brentwood if we wanted to, but we live in Mar Vista. Why? Because the Expo Line and Bike Path are coming. Brentwood may have a legendary private school system and some of the nicest real estate in L.A., but Mar Vista will have much better bike and transit options.
It’s all part of the decisions we make. It’s the governments job to make it possible for you to live where you want and can afford and work where you want and can get a job. It’s not their job to make it as easy and smooth as possible. Your commute is part of the price you pay to live in Brentwood and work Downtown.
And if you think there are too many cars on the street, remember that you are in one of them. You’re part of the problem, not part of the solution.