Post-Carmageddon lessons

The Los Angeles Times published an opinion piece this
week following Carmageddon, opening with a line that we think is great: ‘Now
that we’ve finished freaking out about the weekend closure of 10 miles of the
405 Freeway, can we do something about the fact that it’s Carmageddon every
single day in West Los Angeles?’

The article goes on to discuss a number of alternative
transport methods; and the lack of them that Los Angeles has. With no real rail
service in the region of the 405 and buses travelling just as slow as cars, the
author laments the lack of viable alternatives.

However, they go on to propose that the Government can
have a hand in driving a shift from cars to other transportation methods,
including measures such as increasing the tax on petrol, and using the proceeds
to pay for public transit improvements; employing congestion pricing to make it
expensive to drive solo during rush hour to employment hubs;  closing major arteries to cars and opening
them to bicycles, or turning them into dedicated bus lanes; and stopping businesses
offering free parking to their employees. Great ideas, but a significant shift
in thinking for a city that’s almost wholly dependent on the car for personal
and commuting transport.

Another piece we found this week from The Washington Post reinforces the underlying issues, claiming that ‘not only do we love
owning and driving cars but we are addicted to being able to park them as close
as possible to building entrances, and at little or no cost. It will be at
least a generation before Americans believe convenient parking isn’t an
entitlement.’ Written by architect Roger K. Lewis, it shows the range of issues
that planners, architects, developers, transportation engineers and public
officials face.

To close, back to another article we came across this
week via idea site PSFK, showing how ‘Carmageddon’ also created a rare
opportunity for artistic expression and articulation of varying visual
perspectives. In the video below, videographer Ross Ching captures the very
essence of a car-less metropolis and the peace that appears to come with it.
Great viewing.

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