Out of Control Policy Blog

Traffic Snarl--Day 5

The final question from the week-long LA Times debate: God just gave L.A. $100 billion to fix traffic. What would you do?

Him:

    It's been a pleasure brawling against your esteemed institution and your version of logic. Now, back to reality: Given the the generous contribution, the most ambitious item on the list is indeed the most obvious one: $10 billion to extend the Wilshire Boulevard subway to Santa Monica, with stops at Century City and UCLA. Another $7 billion would be used to create either a subway spur or a separate light rail line to connect the San Fernando Valley with LAX and Westwood. This line would tunnel between UCLA and Sherman Oaks and continue north on Van Nuys Boulevard above ground.

Me:

    It's a testament to boosters' Lanleyesque powers of persuasion that rail transit proposals aren't laughed out of Los Angeles.

    Here's some of what I might do with the dough:

    Reduce transit bus fares to recreate the 40% increase in ridership from the 50-cent fare of the early 1980s–except, this time, I would also increase bus service and make it last.

    Fund a ballot initiative to require every member of a transit agency board to take transit at least four times a week–no exceptions.

    Install some queue-jumpers so motorists could hurdle over intersections, expand roadway capacity where it makes sense, unclog some of the worst bottlenecks (101/405), and build some tunnels. The first tunnel would fill in the missing link in the 710. Apart from the improving traffic flow, the project would provide a Euro chic vibe, as it would be very similar to the tunnel project on the A86 in Paris.

Whole day's exchange here.

All five exchanges archived here.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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