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Solving traffic crisis in LA - Page 2

post #16 of 24
I'm not sure you can build your way out of this situation. Build bigger freeways to reduce present-day congestion and you just enable more people to live farther from the center, which increases the number of cars. Then you do it again.
post #17 of 24
Any economist will tell you that the easiest way to decrease traffic is to raise gas prices. Sure, they're high now, but there is *always* a level at which price will have a significant impact. Having said that, congestion on the 110 is hell. The problem is that so much traffic goes through the downtown core that even if you are trying to get from Tarzana (NW) to Long Beach (SE) you are going to have to take the 110. Often, the jam is unidirectional depending on whether it is the morning or evening rush hour. Some other Freeways (the 710, for example) are much better. A good solution may be to make alternative routes more attractive (Not everyone works in the downtown core.) Another solution might be to hire better city planners and give them more clout.
post #18 of 24
lnteresting thread. ln Australias biggest cities our widest freeways are 3 lanes. Most are 2 lanes. l suppose our traffic doesn't compare to over America.
post #19 of 24
i live about 8 short blocks from an onramp to the santa monica fwy. there have been times when it took me a half hour just to get from my house and onto the freeway. there was an idea put forth a few years ago to build another level on the hollywood fwy so that there would actually be 2 levels of traffic going in both directions, but as john says, this would only make more people move out to the valley for cheaper rent, and the traffic would end up being the same. in mexico city, due to the smog, they have a program where each vehicle is assigned a colored sticker. each day, only cars which have the appropriate color are allowed to be on the streets. so you may be able to drive to work on tuesday and thursday, but the rest of the week you are forced to carpool. it's an idea... btw, i don't like the london idea of charging people to drive into the heart of the city. it's bad for the small businesses in that area and there's just something unfair about it. if you're going to restrict traffic, it shouldn't be based on someone's economic status.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Any economist will tell you that the easiest way to decrease traffic is to raise gas prices.  Sure, they're high now, but there is *always* a level at which price will have a significant impact.  
But, that's because they haven't dealt with Angelenos and our cars. If gas prices continued to rise, I don't see if this would have much of an effect on traffic. People would just accept the increase, and continue driving. Its forced people to downsize from their mammoth SUV to a smaller SUV, but they're still driving. And, it might force people to drive more efficient cars like the hybrids which would help solve the pollution without helping our traffic crisis. The money spent on gas would still be cheaper than living closer to the center, where housing prices are higher. I forsee a future where our skies are as congested as our freeway's today, where you have lanes and lanes of helicopters hovering above each other, stuck in air traffic.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
But, that's because they haven't dealt with Angelenos and our cars. If gas prices continued to rise, I don't see if this would have much of an effect on traffic. People would just accept the increase, and continue driving.
Well, yes and no. Your scenario assumes that the price increases are not so high that driving becomes a real financial burden to even relatively well off people. At some price, driving *would* become prohibitively expensive (let's say, hypothetically, that we raised LA gas prices to 27.00 instead of the 2.7 I've been seeing recently.) This would nearly definitely result in increased pressure for better public transportation, people choosing housing closer to their place of employment, and increased use of car pools. It'd be a harder sell and a more difficult infrastructure to change in LA than in many other cities, but ultimately, would be doable.
post #22 of 24
interesting discussion. have a few thoughts as someone who has lived in quite a few places (adelaide, melbourne, los angeles, hong kong, singapore, saigon) when it comes to traffic, nothing has ever amazed me as much as the inevitable calculations i used to end up doing while sitting stuck on the 405...start thinking "each car is 4 meters, with a gap of 1 meter between them, i can see a mile ahead of me up the hill x 5 lines and noone is moving...where are all these people going?" australia - barring sydney on an incredibly bad day - has no traffic to speak of. hong kong jams up, but the place is so small that it never really bothered me. singapore has a similar "enter the city then you must pay" system, which has only one effect - makes it impossible to get a taxi inside the city area at peak hour - no driver wants to pay the toll in an empty taxi to get his next fare. singapore of course also has giant taxation on cars to discourage ownership - you need to apply to the govt for the right to own a car for 10 years - budget US$20000 for this alone. that said, the public transport is superb and the taxis are cheap. but now, living in vietnam, its the other end of the spectrum. as anyone who has ever been here can attest, the traffic is insane. Vietnam has 19 million motorscooters on the road - and the government has only ever licensed 2 million riders. normally you can expect a 2 lane road to have 12 motorbikes across. crossing the street is like frogger. there are officially something like 2000 deaths a week on the road here - and for some reason the govt doesnt include those who die from an accident after a certain number of days in hospital - that alone will probably double this number. god my landlord killed someone last week and his wife of three months is in hospital now after having surgery on a broken neck. it seems that she will walk again, which is good news i guess. he paid off the police and the victims family and no charges will be laid. ive seen people cram five people and a small dog onto a 50cc scooter here, ive seen people use them to transport everything from palm trees to refrigerators. a photographer with whom i am acquainted here recently published a book on this scooter culture, some samples of his work are here. some incredible shots. i dont know what will happen here when the economy reaches the point where all these people can afford cars - but with the pace of economic growth here, thats not too far away. Matt
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
LAGuy: Since we're dealing with hypotheticals here of $27 gasoline, I am also going to assume that there would be enough hybrid and electric cars where people would switch to this method of transportation if gasoine prices spiked that high.  As of today, these more efficient cars are more expensive than convential cars and gas prices aren't high yet high enough to justify the price to the average consumer. In this sceanrio, smog and pollution would be controlled, but we'd still have no solution to traffic. One thing that always bothered me about public transportation in LA: let's pretend we were succesful and built a viable subway for LA. But, wouldn't people still have to drive their cars to get to these subway stops? So, instead of traffic on the 405, we'd simply shift the traffic to freeways that took Angelonos to the subway.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Since we're dealing with hypotheticals here of $27 gasoline, I am also going to assume that there would be enough hybrid and electric cars where people would switch to this method of transportation if gasoine prices spiked that high.
Well, most viable "alternative" energy sources are actually just more efficient use of fossil fuels (including natural gas), so unless everyone switches to solar powered cars, I don't think people could just switch to more efficient automobiles under my hypothetical scenario. Also, there is much more to public transportation than subways. I could envision a scenario in which MBTA buses were used for short commutes and to reach the subway system, which are, given the size the the greater LA region,. essentially commuter rail services. There are MBTA stops of every second block. Of course, this scenario would require an incredible amount of political will and a leader with Svengali like powers, so I am not optimistic that this would ever work; but it's not an unworkable scenario, I think, by any means.
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