Out of Control Policy Blog

Is your world shrinking?

From yesterday's LA Daily News:

    WOODLAND HILLS - He can't stand spending one more minute in traffic.

    And after commuting all week to work at Warner Center, Divine Hicklin usually stays home on weekends to take a break from battling the bulging bottlenecks on the roads.

    "When the weekend comes, I want to stay home, in my pajamas, in front of my computer and away from traffic," said the downtown Los Angeles commuter. "I do it all the time."

    Whether behind the wheel or sitting on a bus, Los Angeles commuters spend about 93 hours a year stuck in traffic. And those like Hicklin often end up feeling so wiped out by the gridlock, they're becoming increasingly inclined to stick - whenever they can - to their own little neighborhoods on weekends.

    "I think a lot of us have gotten used to not doing things," said Ted Balaker, policy analyst for the Reason Foundation
    , a Los Angeles-based nonprofit. "It makes this city less of a grand metropolis and more into isolated hamlets."

    As congestion makes it more trying to get around, Balaker said Angelenos are subconsciously paring back their lives in everything from where they choose jobs to visiting friends on another side of town or even eating out in a different area.

    Many don't even realize what they're giving up in life because they're trying to avoid traffic, said Balaker, author of a report released last month that assesses the impact of mobility on personal lives.

    But as congestion grows, people ultimately are becoming less spontaneous and less adventurous.

Read Sue Doyle's interesting piece here; some interesting reader comments below the fold:

Ted Balaker is Producer


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