Los Angeles Mass Transit Projects - NO!

An examination of Mass Transit solutions for the problems of Los Angeles traffic congestion and pollution, with an alternate proposal which solves both problems, at a fraction of the cost.

Los Angeles is just TOO big for mass transit to really be an effective alternate for more than just a few people. Having spent 18 months without an auto between 2004-2005, I found that unless I was going someplace relatively close, but further away than I would ride on my bicycle, it took an average of 1.5-2 hours to get anywhere in this city. That's mainly because of the number of stops, but also because the routes are all straight lines, converging downtown. When I had to go from West LA to Long Beach or the SFV, a 30-45 minute drive would take a minimum of 2 hours, and multiple transfers. Oh, mass transit does work, I'm not denying that. When I lived in Boston, I lived 2 blocks from the subway station in Quincy and there was a subway stop, after one transfer, right at the Prudential Center where I worked. Time of travel, 20-25 minutes whereas it would take 30-45 minutes to do the same route by auto. And having spent a lot of time in New York City, I know it's an ideal place for mass transit. But sorry, Los Angeles is not!

LA's traffic problems will not be relieved by extending more transit lines, because Angelinos also carry computers, bags from shopping, tools, beach accessories, etc, which become unwieldy on mass transit. Especially if you don't live right near a station and are going to a location near another station. And all these grandiose plans do not consider one major thing about Los Angeles - we are a center of car culture and we LOVE the independence that automobiles give us.

What's really needed is a smaller, electric commuter car. Considering that the commute around Los Angeles is probably no more than 25-50 miles, designing a car for this doesn't necessitate the need for new technology. The cost of just one of these transit projects could fund the building of hundreds of thousands electric cars, which could be leased or sold to LA commuters. One billion dollars invested the first year could fund the creation of 10,000 small electric commuter cars, and most of that would be recovered every year by those driving those cars, which would then fund following years, if needed. Certainly a LOT less than the billions proposed for new mass transit options. Smaller commuter cars will also have a smaller impact on traffic congestion, requiring adjustments to existing freeways without rebuilding. And since the majority of auto pollution is generated by commuter traffic, an electric commuter auto would greatly impact it, lowering the overall environmental impact of commuting. The key to this commuter car is a solar charging system, to supplement any plug-in system. After all, it does no good to lower the pollution from cars if we increase it from additional electricity generation.

The number of additional passengers that will take advantage of public transportation will not increase proportionally to the billions spent on these projects or the impact to neighborhoods that building more routes would cause. And considering the nature of the automobile industry in America right now, a boost like this is exactly what's needed, right now.


By: ASkeptic
On: 10/23/2009 02:08:40
The MTA is saying 150-200,000 people would use the new lines. Isn't that worth the effort?
By: Bob Mutascio
On: 10/23/2009 02:16:14
But who will that 150-200k really be? Is it going to be commuters who now have to drive? Some, sure, but the majority of commuters will still take their cars for the convenience factor, or rather the inconvenience factor of mass transit, which will do very little towards contributing to the end of global warming. That will only come with replacement of fossil fuel autos. Any percentage of commuter autos running strictly on electric, especially when solar-powered, takes gas guzzlers off the road. And people will still keep the cars they love, but don't need to take them to work every day, for recreational driving.

This is not a total solution, but any dent made in fossil fuel consumption is a win for everyone. Except OPEC.

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