Traffic proceeding down Valencia Boulevard as viewed from pedestrian bridge near City Hall looking west. (Dan Watson / Signal file art)
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I keep hearing how terrible the increase in the gas tax will be because it doesn’t expand lane capacity. How many expensive new lanes will it take for us to realize that the solution to traffic is not more lanes on the freeway, but a change in how we get to work?

$1.1 billion spent on expanding the 405 freeway led to a minute longer commute. The simple reality is more lanes leads to more drivers. If you really care about traffic, invest in buses and trains to get people where they need to go, not more pavement. Even if you don’t use it, you’ll be happy when there are less people on the 5 and 14 when you’re trying to get where you need to be.

 

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  • Brian Baker

    “More buses and trains” that people won’t use. Good plan! Then we can have crowded roads AND empty mass transit vehicles. Very fiscally sound plan.

    • Eric Heilbrun

      I regularly commute to Downtown LA using either Metrolink or our Commuter bus to North Hollywood/Red LIne. I have used the Expo Line from Downtown to Culver City and Santa Monica. I have used the Gold Line from Union Station to Pasadena. Our mass transit vehicles are far from empty. What we DON’T need is High Speed Rail, but more investment in transit WITHIN our metro centers, not BETWEEN them. Perhaps if someone had only given Jerry Brown that toy train he always wanted as a kid, he would stop cramming this boondoggle down our throats that NO Democrat has the courage to oppose.

    • Nathan Bousfield

      Have you ever taken Metrolink in the morning? It’s always packed. Same with the Metro lines.

      • Ron Bischof

        My wife diligently used the Santa Clarita Express and Metro buses to commute to her office in Beverly Hills for over 6 months, Mr. Bousfield.

        Predictably, it added an average of 2+ hours to her workday with scheduled instead of on demand transport and exposed her to the vagaries of weather as well.

        There are rational time and economic reasons the majority of commuters to physical work and school locations choose personal vehicles over public transport if they have the economic means to do so.

        If appropriate, telecommuting is a far better solution then further subsidy of public transportation.

    • Brian Baker

      So what? That only means there are enough trains NOW.

      Adding more trains won’t do anything more, and what about buses? No one rides the buses anywhere, if they have a car.

      You suffer from the lib delusion that people are EVER going to abandon their cars here in SoCal. Never gonna happen.

      • Eric Heilbrun

        Brian, the empty local buses in Santa Clarita are not an indication of how widespread public transit is used throughout LA County by commuters, especially to Downtown. I think a Good Line type light rail along the 405 corridor would be welcome by many that have to make that God forsaken drive 5 days a week. Yes, we love our cars, we like driving. But the pain of traffic is beginning to change mindsets.

        • Brian Baker

          You’re addressing one sole aspect of traffic: commuting. That’s the fatal flaw in this discussion.

          People drive all the time for all kinds of reasons, to go to many different places to do all kinds of things.

          Who’s going to take a bus, or a train, to go get a pizza? Or pick up some home improvement materials? Or visit grandma? Or see a movie? Or go to a restaurant? Or hit the mall? Or visit Vasquez Rocks or the zoo? Or take their kids to school? Or go to the beach? Or the mountains? Or skiing? Going grocery shopping?

          Ain’t gonna happen.

          There’s a reason “rush hour” is an all-day condition, including outside of normal “commute” times. The only time the roads are clear is WAY deep at night, when people have finally gone home to sleep.

          Mass transit works fine in some places, typically older cities that were designed and built in the era before personal transportation became available: NYC, Chicago, Boston, DC. But those cities that boomed after the personal car became common developed along a different paradigm, centered on a less structured environment that exploited the freedom of movement afforded by cars, and a centralized mass transit system won’t work.

          Why would I spend at least 45 minutes using a bus system, in addition to having to walk to a bus stop, not one of which is at all close to my house, to go to the mall, when I can hop in the car at my front door and be there in 10 minutes?

          Further, this is Southern California, the epitome and birthplace of the “car culture”. You are what you drive. Who wants to be “that guy who uses the bus”?

          Nope. As I said, this is just one more example of the socialist utopian fantasy of turning people into ant colonies. It’s nonsense.

          • Eric Heilbrun

            Brian, you seem to be looking at this as an “all or nothing” proposition. Public transit complements personal transit, it doesn’t replace it. If I’m going to the Pantages, I will drive to North Hollywood and (up until recently) park for free, then take the Red Line to Hollywood/Vine and walk across the street to the theater. Same deal if I’m going to the Hollywood Bowl, except I will get off at Hollywood/Highland and then either walk or take a shuttle to the Bowl. No, I’m not taking a bus around town, but when it makes sense, I will use public transit. And it often makes sense. There is a time and place for using a car, and a time and place for using public transit. Public transit is not a utopian fantasy, it’s a solution to a problem that didn’t exist when our “car culture” was blossoming. The joy of driving as been replaced by the frustration of unbearable gridlock and congestion. Transit systems won’t end those problems, but it does give people an alternative if they choose. Not always faster, but the time can be put to use for either business or pleasure.

          • Brian Baker

            “Brian, you seem to be looking at this as an ‘all or nothing’ proposition.”

            I’m responding to the LTE as written, Eric.