A few weeks ago LA unveiled a sweeping new transportation vision for the city that will swap car-centric planning with more transit, biking, and walking. But a different plan says getting people out of their cars is not the solution. What we really need, are more places for those cars to go. UNDERGROUND.
Last week, the Reason Foundation released its own $700 billion mobility plan for LA. The plan relies heavily on a future of cars, so many more cars, and so much more land devoted to cars, including at least seven major tunnels that will burrow their way below the city’s mountain ranges connecting one gigantor freeway to another.
New tunnels will slice through the Santa Monica Mountains where people can sit in traffic underground
Don’t like driving? Too bad. There isn’t a cent allocated to light-rail or subway projects:
If they need the flexibility of the automobile, they can use the general purpose lanes for free or pay to use the free-flowing express lanes. If they want to take transit, they can choose fast, reliable region-wide bus rapid transit and express bus.
Let me translate: Angelenos don’t deserve the extremely affordable state-of-the-art rail network that’s being built out for them, so they should spend more of their income on a car payment instead. Oh, and if they can’t afford the pricey express lanes, they’ll simply sit in traffic with everyone else.
Right, did I forget to mention that part? To pay for all of this, those new tunnels will become toll roads!
Besides the fact that it’s been scientifically proven that wider roads actually makes congestion worse, LA has its own failed case study in this area: The city spent five years and $1.1 billion to add two lanes to its 405 Freeway and travel times were increased by one minute.
Why stop with the existing freeways? The plan also includes turning smaller LA streets into “managed arterials”—essentially mini-freeways with tolls and some sections that are, yep, underground
The city has made tremendous gains over the last decade with better sidewalks, more bike lanes, and some of the most ambitious rail construction in the country. This $700 billion idea sounds like it was conceived in the 1960s, during the city’s brief love affair with seemingly infinite fossil fuels and prioritizing vehicles over people. It’s nice for these “plans” to come along every once in awhile to help us realize just how far LA has come.
Follow the author at @awalkerinLA