A growing-disconnect on a better connected L.A. (L.A. Times)
Architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne poses this question: for all the signs that Angelenos want a city that’s easier to get around, there are still plenty of signs, too, that L.A. is stuck in its old way of thinking. In particular, Hawthorne sees that in opposition to the Westside Subway Extension because it won’t fix Westside traffic. Excerpt:
There are legitimate reasons to oppose the Westside subway, which comes with a staggering price tag. But the fact that it won’t improve traffic is not one of them. The large and enviable subway systems of the world — London’s, New York’s — were not built, and do not manage today, to substantially improve the flow of cars. Indeed, it’s worth remembering that virtually every city we think of as cosmopolitan and walkable, from Paris to Tokyo, also has terrible gridlock.
Car traffic in Los Angeles is going to continue to get worse as our population grows, even if we continue to widen roads and freeways, and whether or not we build more transit lines. What we need — desperately — are other mobility options, at the small scale of the bike lane and shaded sidewalk, the medium scale of the bus line and the major scale of the subway tunnel.
Luckily, many Angelenos — particularly, it must be said, younger ones and ones who live some distance from certain subway-fearing precincts on the Westside — see the issue very differently. Many of them made a persuasive case in the comments section of [the] LA Weekly piece, wondering why the paper — on other issues a consistently liberal voice — turns so conservative and obstructionist when it comes to transit, traffic and growth.
The subway issue (New York Times)
With the subway in the Big Apple celebrating its 106th anniversary, the NYT offers a long list of stories and galleries. There’s a good profile of MTA chairman Jay Walder, who has had to grapple with a $1-billion budget hole. Another story chronicles the long list of complaints riders have about the system: there are too few trains, they’re too crowded and noisy, the stations are dark and there are hardly any public bathrooms.
Beverly Hills school board members threaten legal action against Metro (Beverly Hills Patch)
While on the subject of the Wetside subway, this opinion piece quotes a pair of members of the school board saying they’d be willing to see the board use legal action to try to stop the Westside Subway Extension from possibly tunneling under Beverly Hills High School and some nearby homes. One says it would be a shame to see money spent on legal expenses instead of education.