Out of Control Policy Blog

Give Up the Suburb? Yes. Give Up the Car? No Way

So reads the headline of this LA Times story

"I can't imagine not having a car," he said. "It's not as essential as breathing or food, but, honestly ... this is Los Angeles."

But he doesn't think much of L.A.'s public transportation, and he uses the car frequently – to visit clients, shop for groceries, even to reach such downtown destinations as Arnie Morton's Steakhouse at 7th and Figueroa streets.

He just wants to drive, he likes it better.

He and other downtown residents ride public transit for just 7% of their overall trips for work, shopping and other purposes, according to the Southern California Assn. of Governments. The other 93% – minus a statistically insignificant number of trips on foot – are made by car.

"Downtown L.A. will continue to be a place where you need a car for the majority of your trips," said Hasan Ikhrata, the association's director of policy and planning. "I don't see less reliance on the automobile in the near future."

. . . .

When Marie Condron moved downtown from West Hollywood five years ago, she didn't expect to keep driving to work.

But she drives to her job as communications director for the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, even though her office is just 1 1/2 miles from her Spring Street apartment. She needs the car, she says, for business meetings, and she complains that there's no convenient bus route to work from her apartment building, where she parks in a garage.

"I'm really ashamed of myself that I'm doing it," said Condron, who is married to an urban planning student and believes in reducing society's reliance on automobiles.

It is just much more convenient and flexible for her to drive.

All this in the densest city in the nation, where hundreds of millions are spent on public transit.

Nuff said.

Adrian Moore is Vice President, Policy


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