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Solving traffic crisis in LA

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Obviously, LA is too wide spread to ever have an effective mass transist system. So, I was wondering, could we simply shift the number of lanes depending on the traffic? For the 405, there's 4 or 5 lanes going each way. However, its always one end that's congested while the other one has much less traffic. Couldn't they simply shift the number of lanes so that the busier side, ex. north, would get 6 lanes open while the other side, ex. south,  would get 4. And, at the end of the day when traffic flow reverses, shift the lanes so that the south side would now get 6 lanes and the north get 4. I remember up in Canada, they did something like that. Or, what about what London did to tackle their traffic problems? How effective has that been, and would it work in LA? I think they've made the roads into downtown London toll roads, and the fees would depend on the time. If you went in at peak traffic hours, the fee would be higher than other times.
post #2 of 24
they do that on the golden gate bridge. i don't know how feasible it is, for long stretches of highway. intuitively it seems like that strategy would work best on short bottlenecks.
post #3 of 24
In Honolulu they make use of swappable contraflow lanes, over several miles of freeway. Extra lane inbound in the morning and outbound in the afternoon. They have gaps in the permanent center divider and go through with "zipper lane" machines that pick up and move chunks of concrete divider to reverse the flow of the fast lanes. My first impression from watching those machines was "great idea-seems like it would be ideal on the 10 from National to downtown and the 405 over the pass. My second impression was that our crazy LA drivers will figure out ways to turn it into a death trap.
post #4 of 24
all they have on the golden gate is those little floppy plastic pipes. prior to that i think it was just a painted stripe, no lane swapping. there were a few deaths from headon collisions, last one i remember was maybe 5 years ago, some jerk decided he was too important to wait for the traffic he was in and tried passing in oncoming traffic. then they reduced the speed limit again, i think it's 40 now. it's less hairy than before - i remember being pretty nervous when it was faster, driving in the middle lanes could be stressful.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
After the recent discussion of the broken windows theory with regards to crime, I was wondering if there were any interesting theories on how to get a handle on traffic. I've read that building more roads isn't the solution. All it does is encourage more people to drive, and so those roads get filled up as well. What about the carpool lane? Why don't we just get rid of that concept, and let everybody drive in that lane. It seems almost like a waste since it doesn't seem to have encouraged anymore car sharing. I've heard that in some South American cities, the traffic is so bad that the rich use helicopters to fly over the traffic.
post #6 of 24
I have a perfect solution for your traffic problems: Molecular Transportation. Jon.
post #7 of 24
It seems to me where they use the lane shifts, there are clear in-bound and out-bound flows. While I've never lived in LA (but have visited often), in those places where the traffic jams, it seems to jam in both directions. Are my perceptions accurate?
post #8 of 24
They should have multi-fast lanes, like they do in some South American countries. For instance starting from left to right, the speeds (in km) for the lanes on certain highways in Argentina are thus: 120, 80, 60, and the right lane is any speed over 30; although no one respects the speed limits down there... Why can't they use a similar system in the US? The left lane should be set at speeds between 70 - 80 mph. You can't go any slower in the left lane or you are liable to get a ticket...the same is true if you speed over the 80 mph limit, of course. As you go from left to right, the minimum to maximum speed decreases and thus you are able to merge to exit the highway. Jon.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
While I've never lived in LA (but have visited often), in those places where the traffic jams, it seems to jam in both directions.  Are my perceptions accurate?
That really depends on what freeway you are talking about. There are several major freeways that definitely have unidirectional congestion.
post #10 of 24
Quote:
Obviously, LA is too wide spread to ever have an effective mass transist system. So, I was wondering, could we simply shift the number of lanes depending on the traffic? For the 405, there's 4 or 5 lanes going each way. However, its always one end that's congested while the other one has much less traffic. Couldn't they simply shift the number of lanes so that the busier side, ex. north, would get 6 lanes open while the other side, ex. south,  would get 4. And, at the end of the day when traffic flow reverses, shift the lanes so that the south side would now get 6 lanes and the north get 4. I remember up in Canada, they did something like that. Or, what about what London did to tackle their traffic problems? How effective has that been, and would it work in LA? I think they've made the roads into downtown London toll roads, and the fees would depend on the time. If you went in at peak traffic hours, the fee would be higher than other times.
Is LA really that spread out? Toronto is one of the biggest cities in terms of square kilometers, and its transportation system is amazing. I dont see why with enough capital LA could do it. Time to modernize.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Is LA really that spread out? Toronto is one of the biggest cities in terms of square kilometers, and its transportation system is amazing. I dont see why with enough capital LA could do it. Time to modernize.
LA County itself is more than 4,000 square miles (large parts are undeveloped), but the commute radius for what most people would consider the LA area includes parts of Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties. I know only know a few people who have a commute shorter than 10 miles. I know plenty of people who commute 20-30 miles. While I agree in principle that there is no infrastructure problem that cannot be solved with enough capital, where do you think the capital will come from? We'd be talking not only about the construction costs, but the costs of the government buying the property to place the infrastructure--homes, apartment buildings, and commercial properties that would have to be purchased at fair market value and demo'ed to build above ground. If you're thinking of below-surface projects, we've already proven that subways don't come cheap. Then add the costs for mandatory environmental impact studies, environmental remediation, litigation with people who won't move out of their property, litigation with environmental groups, litigation with contractors, litigation among local governments on the route, litigation with community groups who believe the chosen route is discriminatory, litigation with suppliers, litigation for the sake of litigation . . . .
post #12 of 24
Quote:
Quote:
(PHV @ April 20 2005,10:40) Is LA really that spread out? Toronto is one of the biggest cities in terms of square kilometers, and its transportation system is amazing. I dont see why with enough capital LA could do it. Time to modernize.
LA County itself is more than 4,000 square miles (large parts are undeveloped), but the commute radius for what most people would consider the LA area includes parts of Ventura, San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange counties.  I know only know a few people who have a commute shorter than 10 miles.  I know plenty of people who commute 20-30 miles. While I agree in principle that there is no infrastructure problem that cannot be solved with enough capital, where do you think the capital will come from?  We'd be talking not only about the construction costs, but the costs of the government buying the property to place the infrastructure--homes, apartment buildings, and commercial properties that would have to be purchased at fair market value and demo'ed to build above ground.  If you're thinking of below-surface projects, we've already proven that subways don't come cheap.  Then add the costs for mandatory environmental impact studies, environmental remediation, litigation with people who won't move out of their property, litigation with environmental groups, litigation with contractors, litigation among local governments on the route, litigation with community groups who believe the chosen route is discriminatory, litigation with suppliers, litigation for the sake of litigation . . . .
No one said that the project would not be a ludicrously difficult undertaking. However, the reality of the situation is that it is going to become necessary. Unfortunately for LA, like many other big cities, it doesn't have an existing underground structure like many other major cities did from the olden days.
post #13 of 24
I doubt that the average worker in LA commutes any farther than one in Manhattan, although I readily admit this is purely conjecture. Mass transit has little chance of success in LA simply because the culture precludes it; most people there have never relied on public transportation, whereas New Yorkers or Chicagoans, for example, have grown up riding trains around the city. I am amazed that freeway design has not evolved dramatically in the 50-some years since Eisenhower's push for the Interstate system. We seem to make more highways wider and wider, and never solve congestion. Good grief...we have eight-lane freeways in North Dakota for cryin' out loud.
post #14 of 24
i'm rooting for these guys.
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
A couple of points: The ones you see in Chicago, Boston, NYC were built in an era of cheap labor. To attempt that today would be astronomically expensive. CA doesn't have that much money for roads. I don't know why the hell North Dakota would get 8 lanes; maybe it had something to do with a powerful congressman? The state is supposed to set aside some money for roads and things like that, but it always ends up getting raided. I used to have to take the 22, and there's only like 2 or 3 lanes in each direction. It really needs a new lane, but they haven't done anything to it since the 50s or 60s even as traffic has increased. I've always thought that the attempt to build a subway was nothing more than a vanity project. Its unrealistic in LA. Its not just about a culture of people driving, but more importantly, LA doesn't have the population density to make it work. The money would be better spent on more roads and buses. The problem with freeways is when you have cars getting on and getting off. This slows down the traffic.
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