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Los Angeles as a Model Transit City?

7:28 AM PDT on March 31, 2010

3348000771_ff2bf9c57b.jpgIs LA setting a global transit example? (Photo: hustle roses via Flickr)

Today on the Streetsblog Network, Jarrett Walker at Human Transit
talks about how the push for better transit in Los Angeles provides an
example for planners in other parts of the world, especially in newer
cities that don’t benefit from European-style density. Walker
acknowledges that LA has a long, long way to go toward building a
world-class transit system (read the post in full for all his caveats),
but argues that the power of its image in popular culture gives it a
unique influence as it moves forward:

Los Angeles has built a strong consensus about the desperate needfor transit, and this is the story that impresses foreigners. Everytelevision viewer in the world has seen images of Los Angeles and whatlife is like there. And one thing they’ve all been shown, over andover, is that this is a city for cars, a place where cars mean freedom,and your car is your most important fashion statement.  When I tellthem that the popular mayor of Los Angeles is spending major politicalcapital on a campaign to accelerate transit development in his city, tothe point of demanding a complete rethink of how the Federal governmentfunds transport projects, eyebrows shoot up. It’s one of those littlejolts that can change our notion of what’s possible, wherever we are.

More from around the network: Transportation for America
looks at how the high cost of transportation can make living in rural
areas unaffordable, even when housing costs are low. Bike Portland has
an interview with Bike Snob NYC on the occasion of his debut in polite society. And Cap’n Transit makes a comparison between buses and burgers. Trust us, it’s worth reading.

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