Thursday, January 25, 2007

Los Angeles Subway

What would we call it? The Metro? Underground? Tube? Whatever it may be a subway in Los Angeles would be the most exciting thing to happen to Los Angeles since the Dodgers came to town.

The complex subway system, developed by Damien Goodmon (whose initiative Get LA Moving is supposed to have a site launching any second now) is brilliantly laid out and would be a welcome relief to traffic, it would aid LA economy by allowing larger groups of people to move about the city a lot easier-- and of course helping the fight against global climate change. Los Angeles has major reconstruction plans for downtown which would be unrealistic without some sort of plan to accommodate increased traffic and transportation issues.

When I met with Mayor Villaraigosa last year for SNM the idea of a subway was considered, "cost prohibitive" without the help of federal funding. The plan is said to have an estimated cost of 40 billion dollars-- and with the federal deficit being as high as it is, the idea does not seem plausible.

But after the President's SOTU address this week-- and a newly announced commitment to fight global climate change-- and eliminating America's dependence on foreign oil-- the idea of sponsoring the subway system (even a fraction of it) of Los Angeles to some sort of energy efficient and environmentally friendly mass transit system could be a step towards getting the President some needed good press. It would show the American people that he was serious towards his commitment and who knows, maybe he could do something GOOD for the U.S. before he leaves office.

I left the meeting Villaraigosa jaded and underwhelmed with the proposed improvements to our transportation system. I remember him saying, "if everyone would take the bus or any other transit system to work just one day of the week-- it would improve traffic drastically," I also remember thinking to myself, "Do YOU take the bus to work Mr. Mayor?"

I think not.

It would be up to Angelenos to rally behind the Get LA Moving initiative, unless we stand up and demand a public transportation system worthy of our great city we'll have to stick to single passenger vehicles, smog and increasingly congested traffic.

1 comment:

Scott Jonesilicious said...

I like the idea but is a little utopian. It's definitely a good goal that could be accomplished a few steps at a time.

It would be easier if there were a way to build it without tunnels, yet keeping it out of traffic. Something like the Orange Line in the Valley, that's on it's OWN surface streets without traffic and with a limited interaction to traffic lights. Or maybe something like running a rail line down the middle of the 405, no traffic lights and no expensive digging.

In places where you absolutely have to put transportation underground, put it underground and supplement it with above ground rail and buses that don't use regular surface streets.