Grading the freeways

Metro recently completed a big document — hey, we’re government and we like big documents — called the congestion management plan. In short, it’s a state-mandated report that looks at current transportation conditions in L.A. County, the idea being to show that state funds are accomplishing something.

I like to think of it as kind of a companion piece to Metro’s own long-range transportation plan, a document that spells out in detail the road and transit projects the agency hopes to accomplish in coming years. Of the two big reports, I think the LRTP is the much more interesting. It’s the roadmap to the future.

If anything, though, the CMP does have some charts and stats that may interest you. It also suggests that perhaps it’s time that developers be charged a fee for the impacts their buildings have on transportation in the county — a new way to raise transportation funds. It’s certainly an interesting proposal but has proven to have a difficult time finding political traction in much of Southern California. (Damien Newton at L.A. Streetsblog has more on that in a recent post).

I’m guessing you’re more interested in the following charts that show current driving conditions on freeways in the county. Here’s a look how freeways grade during the AM peak hours. The letter grades are intuitive — A is good, F is not. Keep in mind the green on the chart below is a bit generous and covers grades E through A and L.A. County freeways average an E (I’ve posted a chart explaining the grades after the jump).

Click above for a larger image.

And here’s the afternoon drive map:

Click for larger image.

And here’s a chart showing how the AM and PM drives have changed in recent years. The gist of it:

Click for larger image.

And here’s the chart that explains the grading system:

Click above to see a larger image.

Here are a few other points that I cut-and-pasted from the report:

•Half of the freeway system operates at LOS E and F, the two most congested levels, in the morning and afternoon rush hours. Almost 20% of the arterial intersections operate at LOS E and F in the morning rush hours, and just over 20% of the intersections operate at LOS E and F in the afternoon.

•Freeway monitoring data indicates a highly complex travel pattern for Los Angeles County, with many freeway segments experiencing congestion in both directions during the morning and afternoon rush hours. This differs from the traditional suburban to a central downtown commute patterns.

•Some Los Angeles County freeways experience heavy congestion in both directions during peak periods. These include:

• The Santa Monica Freeway (Route 10) between the East LA Interchange and the San Diego Freeway (Route 405);

• The Golden State Freeway (Route 5) between the Glendale Freeway (Route 2) and the Hollywood Freeway (Route 170).

• The Santa Ana Freeway (Route 5) between Lakewood Boulevard (Route 19) and the Orange County line.

•Looking at all of the eleven CMP Transit Network corridors combined, the Network speed increased about 6.1% (16 to 17 miles per hour) from 1992 to 2009.

•From 1995-2009 construction permits were issued for 208,732 dwelling units while 47,289 demolition permits were issued, yielding a net increase of 161,443 units countywide. Permits were issued for the construction of nearly 306.6 million square feet of nonresidential development, compared to 119.1 million square feet of demolition, resulting in a net increase of 187.4 million square feet.

•While the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, and North County sub-areas all constituted the most significant shares of the countywide net residential activity, the net non-residential development activity trends were a bit different, with the San Gabriel Valley sub-area accounting for the largest single share (22%) of the countywide total. The City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, North County, Gateway, and South Bay sub-areas maintained significant shares of the overall net non-residential activity as well. The percentage of countywide net non-residential growth is as follows:

• City of Los Angeles 17%

• Los Angeles County 15%

• North County 13%

• San Gabriel Valley 22%

• Gateway 13%

• South Bay 12%

• Westside 3%

• Arroyo Verdugo 2%

• Las Virgenes Malibu 3%

Residential growth in L.A. County:

• City of Los Angeles 34%

• Los Angeles County 21%

• North County 18%

• San Gabriel Valley 11%

• Gateway 6%

• South Bay 5%

• Westside 2%

• Arroyo Verdugo 2%

• Las Virgenes Malibu 1%