Monday's Zocalo forum will ask: Is traffic L.A.’s destiny? (We certainly hope not!)

Metro photo

Metro photo

What could speed up traffic? We all have opinions, of course. But at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Petersen Automotive Museum some pretty good minds will tackle the subject as part of a Zocalo Public Square forum. The forum is free and open to the public. Reservations are recommended.

Here’s how the Zocalo website describes it:

When people say that death and taxes are the only certain things in life, they are forgetting about Southern California traffic. Despite freeway widening and highway construction and newly synchronized streetlights, there’s still not enough room on the roads. We now get accident reports in real time and can change our routes to avoid jams, but Angelenos still spend more time in traffic than other Americans. However, there is more change still to come. The region is in the early stages of a 30-year transit transformation that began with the passage of Measure R in 2008, a sales tax increase that is funding a wide range of transportation projects. Will express lanes, fewer potholes, and improved interchanges speed drivers along? And will new rail lines, improved bus service, and bike lanes finally get millions of people out of their cars? L.A. Business Council president Mary Leslie, UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies director Brian D. Taylor, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic executive director Hilary Norton, and Metro CEO Art Leahy visit Zócalo to ask whether traffic is forever L.A.’s destiny. KCRW traffic reporter Kajon Cermak will moderate.

What could speed up traffic? Taking Metro bus 720 or 20 down Wilshire or the 217 down Fairfax to the Monday night forum could help. Find out more at the forum.

Zocalo is an L.A. based not-for-profit group that blends live events with written and broadcast journalism. Metro and Zocalo are co-presenting the event.

8 replies

  1. Get real. Of course traffic — i.e., bad traffic — is L.A.’s destiny. This is not London or Tokyo or Hong Kong, where the millions of people are crammed together in a relatively small space. The curse/blessing of Southern California is that we live in a sprawling urban area and the sprawl is getting wider. Moreover, improved automobile technology means that the per-mile cost of operating a car will continue to drop during the next decades.

  2. Agreed. Unless a major earthquake happens that flattens this city to rubbles and we get to start over again, rebuilding this city to a transit friendly city will not happen. It will, and always be, an automobile centric city as that’s the way it was planned by the city planners decades ago.

    Besides, we all know too well that there’s too much bureaucracy, red tape, and NIMBY issues that prevent any form of transit friendly development to occur quickly.

    Try to build something, anything, there’s always going to be somebody somewhere who has an issue about it. And then there’s the endless meetings, studies, and lawsuits, probably political agendas, that take forever to resolve.

    Things happen way too slow here in Los Angeles.

  3. Traffic has gotten better for me in downtown Los Angeles. When I have to go to LA, I no longer drive but take Amtrak and Metro. It’s not always faster, but it’s always better.

    Now if only Donald Bren would allow the OC Board of Supervisors to begin building mass transit, we’d be getting somewhere.

  4. Agree with you Gary. OC’s answer is “The toll roads”. Insteading of reaching out to LA’s Metro, they feel only widening freeways is the only way to go…

  5. It does not have to be, if traffic gets to critical levels we will have no other option but to depend on rail and public transit, I had a nice car back in 2009, I do miss it but I don’t miss the cost of maintaining that vehicle, the insurance and gas was $400 a month alone plus my car payment it came out to be $700 a month just for a car, I guess I could have afforded rent with that price, now that I don’t make as much money I just ride my bike around l.a. I burn calories and not gas and I love it.

  6. I hate to say it, but…. Traffic is basically the destiny of any large city. Even in Tokyo, where it’s terribly expensive to own a car, public transit is extensive and efficient, and the population density is spectacular… the roads are still jammed full of cars. The only way we’re going to get cars off the road is when the oil runs out.

  7. How nice! Just Great! There are people who are still making excuses for the existence of this horrible freeway system, which is, in reality, an import of Adolf Hitler’s Autobahn, which he developed not as a meansof transport, byt as a means to control his subordinates. It must be understood that in order to receive the full benefit of any automotive-based transportation system, one must possess a car; in order to use that car, one must obtain a license; in order to obtain that license, one must submit themselves to an agency that is very intimately connected to law enforcement agencies at every level of government. It must also be understood that Los Angeles did NOT start out as the automobiliated hell hole that it is today; there were two very pervasive and extensive rail networks which moved people around far more efficiently than the automobile in any of its three forms (car, bus, and truck), powered by centrally-generated electricity (which could be generated by any source of mechanical power at an efficiency which far surpasses that of the engines used in the automobile today), ran on tracks which provided a “permanence” to transit that no bus can hold a candle to (also, rails last decades longer than asphalt or concrete pavement demanded by the automobile), and rail vehicles outlast automobiles by a factor of fifty to one. The decision to automobiliate Los Angeles, turning it from a real city into nothing more than an inhuman death camp with traffic lights, was more of a business decision than any reason of practicality. Let’s forget the mad ravings of people like Randall O’Toole and others whose interests are the destruction of public transportation, and start concentrating on the implementation of balanced transportation strategies which benefit us ALL, and not a bunch of industry loudmouths, who are hell-bent on screwing us out of the enjoyment of a fairly, reasonably good life!